To fully perceive the beauty and variety of the Panamanian culture, simply jump in the car and go. With some of the best roads in Central America and a rapidly-changing scenery, taking a road trip through Panama is the perfect way to explore the country’s unexpected culinary pleasures.

From beach eateries to mountain refuges, here’s the route to a magical gastronomic journey through the tropical paradise.

Leave the elegant fusion restaurants of the city behind and venture into Panama’s heartland to explore some of the country’s most deep-rooted customs. Skirting the Pacific Coast, just a few hundred miles from Panama City, the Azuero Peninsula will greet you with native produce such as the iconic chorizo santeño (a local sausage), the alfajores (cookies filled with dulce de leche and jam) and of course, tasty empanadas.