The Central American country of Panama is actually and east-west country, not a north-south one as one might expect. Its historic claim to fame is two-fold. It was here that Spanish conquistadors first set eyes on the vast Pacific Ocean, and it is here that much of the world's commercial goods pass from the Pacific to the Atlantic. The Canal is extremely important, and a "must see" attraction, but the country offers much more. Santa Catalina is a world-class surfing destination. The Pearl Islands feature virgin forest and pristine beaches. Boquette, in the northern mountains, is the valley of the flowers. Panama City is a vibrant economic centre for shopping. In recent years, Panama has invested heavily in tourism. The roads are excellent, the people are friendly, the restaurants are excellent, and the country is peaceful. Who could ask for more?