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Trip Report Panama City Trip Report

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We arrived in Panama City early in the day Wednesday and checked to Intercontinental Miramar Hotel.
http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/intercontinental/en/gb/locations/panama
We joined the Ambassador Club before visiting and had a great 2-bedroom suite with living and dining area. It was perfect and spacious for a family of 4. We had access to the club level concierge room and private pool. Reviews on the hotel on Tripadvisor were pretty bad. Yes, the hotel needs updating and paint, but we were told it was the most service-oriented hotel in the city.
We took a car to the Amador Causeway and had lunch at Lenos y Carbon. The view was lovely. We began walking back along the causeway and stopped for a cold snack at a fruit shake place in one of the strip malls. We hopped in a cab and to Cerro Ancon to hike to the summit. We saw more vultures that I had ever seen in one place; apparently they are in a migration pattern over the isthmus. We also saw agoudi, which look like a rat bunny.

Thursday - We booked the Embera tour with Sendero Panama.
http://www.senderopanama.com/default.htm
Mica and chris picked us up at our hotel and drive us out to the river launch. While driving we learned of the history of Panama. During the day we saw Toucan, Capped Heron, Great Blue Heron, Cormorants, Kingfishers, blue morpho butterflies, a sloth, hot pick dragonflies, frogs, Jesus Christ lizards. We made a stop and hiked to a waterfall and went swimming - so fun!!! Then we visited the Drua Embera village and ate the traditional fish meal –my 7 year old asked for seconds, watched dancing, and learned about their culture and arts.

Friday- we spent most of the day on the Panama Canal and Gatun Lake exploring islands looking for wildlife with Sendero Panama.
Here is out list of sightings:
Capuchin Monkeys, Howler Monkeys, Sloths, Crocodiles, Slider Turtles, Iguanas, Coati, Hawks, Vultures, Red Bellied Whistling Ducks, Toads, Bats, and butterflies and BUGS! Our transportation was a small boat that zipped around in between Cruise Ships, Auto Carriers, and Massive Cargo ships passing through the canal. We had a picnic lunch with ceviche, chicken, salads, and tropical fruit on a deserted island in the middle of the lake.

We spent the afternoon exploring the Miraflores Locks visitor center and saw a Celebrity cruise ship pass through the locks lowered about 60 feet to get back into the Pacific Ocean.

Mica and Chris - who my children adored - from Sendero Panama, were so knowledgeable and we really enjoyed learning so much about Panama with them.

We ate dinner in the best restaurant in Panama City - La Posta.
http://www.lapostapanama.com/
Reservations are required.

Sat – we explored Casco Viejo. We used our Fodors book as a guide. We took it at a slower pace today. We bought Panama Hats and ate incredible ice cream at a shop on Central Ave. We enjoyed dinner at La Papa.
http://www.lapostapanama.com/

Sunday – we ventured back to Soberania National Park and did some birding. The cab driver did not know where to drop off us and we wanted to go to Pipeline road. We ended up at Plantation. We hiked that area and ran into another group with a birding guide so we were lucky to spot far more than we would have on our own. We saw flycatchers, blue trogons, motmots, and a nightbird that looked like an owl.
From there we went to Summit to check out the Jaguar. It was unbelievably gorgeous!! They also have other big cats - Margay, Ocelot. The kids enjoyed watching the Capuchin monkeys. They are working on building better habitats for their animals.

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