Gamboa Resort, Panama
View of the rainforest from our balcony at Gamboa Resort, Panama

It fell as if scripted. But this was the real thing, and to feel the thunderous power of the Panamanian rainforest was a wondrous thing. We sat on our balcony at Gamboa Resort, not far from the Panama Canal, listening to the thunder echo up and down the river as tropical birds chattered and monkeys fussed. Below, ignoring the downpour, leaf-cutter ants carried leaf cuttings and clippings of bright purple flowers back to their nests under the dripping ficus trees. Steamy humidity rose and filled our room, the weak dehumidifier unable to keep up with the haze.