I went to Panama to see the jungle but discovered new interests and great new places to take guests. I am going to tell you my personal highlights as reason for you to travel to Panama….
- Panama Canal– I know it seems funny to come first but it is the last thing I ever thought I would get excited about so I thought it appropriate to bump it up. A day trip to the Miraflores Locks is really eye opening. Learn about the shear numbers of traffic, watch the cargo ships pass through the locks (very interesting, very cool) and how this engineering marvel works! There is also incredible bird watching and wildlife viewing throughout the canal corridor as it’s shrouded in jungle. Enough about the canal but it is a must see.
- Secluded beaches of Bocas del Toro– This is the view from my room in Bocos at a remote island resort looking towards the boat house. At any one of our friends accommodations you will have access to private beach, snorkeling, exquisite food, kayaking, and visits with members of the Ngobe tribe that have traditionally inhabited the area. Bocas really is paradise because there are no crowds once you get away from the port town (Bocastown). If you are planning travel to Bocas del Toro get into accommodations far from the main towns. Though they are a bit pricier it’s well worth it to ensure a relaxed atmosphere away from the ex-pat party (and the party is there in town if you want it!).
- Jungle safari’s- Crocodiles, sloth’s, monkeys, and over 900 possible bird species including Panama national bird, the Harpy Eagle. I sought out the Harpy Eagle unsuccessfully in the Darien but found loads of animals to fill its place. The south of Panama is still completely wild where the Pan American Highway tapers of into the Darien gap. This is one of the most unique places in the world to visit because, though there is a constant flow of tourism, it is very low volume. Low volume disturbance translates into continuous habitat with thriving wildlife populations.
- Coffee (not kidding)- I love coffee but I certainly won’t travel 1000’s of miles for a cup. That would be silly. Or would I? When I came from east to west in Panama, I stopped in the midst of the high range in a town called Boguete. I was looking for Queztals but instead found a hotel with a coffee tour. I learned that this region of Panama had three times won the “Best Coffee in the World” award. I agreed to go on the tour. It was amazing. First, we went through all of the turn of the century equipment to see the original process of picking beans to hot cup of coffee. Then we moved on the the high technology where the husks of the beans are removed and then burned to roast the very bean it came from. We were shuffled into a small room where we were taught which coffee we like best through a series of tastings. Puro Arabica, no Robusta here!
Our tour includes a visit to the Panama Canal with options to take a jungle tour in the Panama Canal corridor or even travel the Panama Canal by boat! Then we are off to Boguete and coffee country. On the east side of the Sierras we will drop down to Bocas del Toro on the Caribbean. From Bocastown we will depart for Paradise on a remote island. Now remember if you travel with your family we can arrange for family run accommodations. This tour is 8-10 days depending on options and starts at 2399USD for adults (children are discounted). We can also arrange for travel into the Darien Gap.
There are more reasons to go to Panama than those I have done. The Azuero Peninsula gives a nice glimpse into a traditional society of farmers and cattle ranchers. The Azuero Peninsula has great beaches that are empty. There are minimalist accommodations but they are clean and the help are always friendly. A rustic getaway is to get out to visit the Kuna Yala people of the San Blas Archipelago. The Kuna Yala also live traditionally through fishing and making handcrafts. Lights go out when the sun goes down so BYOC (bring your own candles).
Thanks for visiting!
Safe travels always!!