Panama holidaymakers have whale of a time

29th Jul 2013

Panama is one of only two places on the planet where Humpback whales migrate from both the Southern and Northern hemispheres to breed and give birth.

Tourists there can get a glimpse of this between now and October.

Many thousands of Humpbacks travel more than 5,000 miles, from Antarctica to the warm, shallow and safe calving grounds on Panama's Pacific side.

From December to March, Panama gets a few hundred Humpbacks from North America for the same reason.

Besides over half a year of Humpback activity, holidaymakers to Panama can also savour its haven for more than 30 other species of cetaceans, (whales and dolphins) that are found in its waters.

Among the most common are the round-the-calendar populations of Pantropical Spotted dolphins and Bottlenose dolphins.

Other species that are sometimes glimpsed are Spinner dolphins, Long Beaked Common dolphins, Bryde's whales, Sperm whales, Pilot whales, Blue whales and even Orca whales.

Beyond its famous canal, Panama boasts one of the globe's biggest biodiversities, with 975 species of birds, making it a bird watcher's paradise, while national parks cover 30% of the country.

Exploration of this verdant country reveals lush virgin rainforests, two oceans separated by only 50 miles (80.4 kilometres), snug mountain towns, coffee plantations, canopy zip line attractions, river rafting, big game sport fishing and three individualistic island archipelagos.

It is home to seven unique indigenous populations, and many UNESCO world heritage sites.

The only other country that can match Panama's Humpback whale boast is Costa Rica.

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