Dictators, cigars and the world's most famous short-cut? There's more to Panama than its clichés. More than a third of Panama's land is protected; it's home to 940 bird species and some of the world's most important turtle nesting grounds. Here puma prowl, the drumming of riotous festivals fills the air – and visitor numbers are soaring by more than 10% year on year. It's also a land where timetables are unpredictable and public holidays occur without notice, where places have three names spelt four different ways and roads terminate unannounced. The Bradt guide is the most thorough on the market. Visitors to Panama will need it.