Having recently finished its expansion, the Canal continues to drive Panama's service-based economy and remains one of the most important transportation links in the world.

In addition to the country's strong economic base, Panama's physical infrastructure, including modern hospitals, airports and roads, is more highly developed than its Central American neighbors. It is worth spending some time reading up on Panama and communicating with locals, expats and fellow travelers alike before arriving in the country.

As the isthmus connecting two massive continents, Panama's flora and fauna is incredibly diverse.

Panama's many indigenous tribes are still thriving, living in the same ancient manner as their ancestors, making its cultural fabric exceptionally rich.

Panama's government has strong ties to the United States and strongly supports business, development and tourism.

The ease of travel and wide array of experiences make Panama one of the most attractive emerging tourism destinations in the world.

In just one week, visitors can enjoy two different oceans, experience the mountains and rainforest, learn about native cultures and take advantage of vibrant urban life.

Most areas are quite warm, but a few places, such as Boquete, Cerro Punta and El Valle can get a little chilly at night.

You definitely want a heavy rain-proof jacket if you're going to the top of Volcan BarĂº since you will be above 3000m for a little while.Panama boasts a large expat community; about 25,000 U. Consider joining some local forums [3] or blogs for expats or the Central America Forum.Many of the local blogs can give you the most current info on: floods, earthquakes, trail closings, and the best restaurant reviews.Because of its geographic position, it is very unlikely that Panama could be in the path of any hurricane, unlike the other Central American countries. Interior mostly steep, rugged mountains and dissected, upland plains; coastal areas largely plains and rolling hills Highest point : Volcan BarĂº in Chiriqui Province 3,475 m.On a clear day they say you can see both oceans from the peak.Natural hazards: Occasional severe storms and forest fires in the remote Darien area.