FITUR 2014 will host the centennial of the Panama Canal

The Panama Canal, one of the engineering marvels of the world, is gearing up to celebrate its 100 years of existence in 2014. The country will kick off the celebration of the historic event at FITUR 2014, to be held from January 22nd to 26th in Madrid, Spain.

Hundreds of thousands of visitors come every year to the Miraflores Visitor Center, a former administrative building that now houses the information center, restaurant, and gift shop for the canal, situated just 10 kilometers from Panama City. An expansion project for the canal's locks and watershed is currently in full swing.

The work being done on the canal can now also be observed during a visit to the Canal Expansion Observation Center, located in Colón. Yet another major event slated for next year is the inauguration of the Biomuseum, a space dedicated to science and biodiversity designed by architect Frank Gehry, creator of the Guggenheim in Bilbao.

Spaniards are finding ever more attractions in Panama. The number of Spanish tourists who visited the country in 2012 increased by 22.6% to reach nearly 40,000 visitors, according to figures released from the regional Ministry of Tourism and gathered by the website

A direct flight connection from Madrid, coupled with the quality of the tourism attractions, has favored the increase in Spanish travelers, indicates the Tourism Promotion Agency of Central America.

Overall, the total number of visitors who arrived in Panama from all over the world grew by 4.1% in 2012. Likewise, the amount of Europeans visiting also rose, as 9.7% more tourists from the 'old continent' were registered. This is not entirely surprising, since we're talking about a spectacular destination that offers more than 2,850 kilometers of coastline and 1,800 islands scattered across the Caribbean Sea, in the north, and the Pacific Ocean, to the south.

From the exotic waters of the Caribbean emerge beaches and coral reefs packed with colorful fish. In this idyllic setting, Bocas del Toro is one of the preferred destinations in the country, boasting natural spaces such as Zapatilla Island or Bay of the Dolphins. Beaches bathed in warm, clear waters teeming with starfish in Guna Ayala, the San Blas archipelago, complete the options of amazing natural sites along the Panamanian Caribbean coast.