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Trip Report Panama Trip Report

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Our group of 6 adults just returned from our first trip with 8 days in Panama. We divided our time between 3 nights in San Blas and 5 nights in Panama City.

We arrived in the late evening and were picked up by PanoramicPanama and taken to La Estancia B&B. It was an extremely hot evening and we were so happy to have air conditioned rooms. We took the short drive to Albrook airport early the next morning for our flight to Playon Chico. The flight was fine and we were met by representatives of Yandup Island for our boat shuttle to the island. Yandup Island is a small, beautiful place with 10 cottages either over or near the water. Our overwater cottage had a nice bathroom, open air windows, 1 double bed with netting and 3 other twin beds (family cottage). Our deck had 2 hammocks and an awesome view.

The AI rates included the room, all meals and 2 excursions a day. The morning excursions went to different deserted islands for swimming and snorkeling. In the afternoons we went to a Kuna village, a mangrove, and a Kuna cemetery. The blowing of a conch each day signaled dining times and excursion times. The island had its own little beach, tons of palm trees, dugout canoes for use, and a volleyball net for pick up games before dinner. The food was heavy on seafood except for the one day when fresh fruit and vegetables arrived. I would highly recommend Yandup Island for a destination.

While researching this destination I read a lot of negative reviews about Air Panama. We were delighted that our first flight went without a hitch. Our return flight to Panama City was to leave at 7a.m. It came on time, but only took 4 of the 10 of us with confirmed tickets. Our Yandup guide loaded us back in the boat and we went back to the lodge for breakfast. 2 1/2 hours later another plane came back to get us. This was the smallest airplane I had ever been in, a twin engine prop. Eight of us plus luggage were literally stuffed into it. My husband's head hit the ceiling and I was back to back with the pilot. We did make it.

PanoramicPanama picked us up at the airport and we went on a 1/2 day tour of Panama
City. We learned a lot about Panama/Us history and enjoyed walking around Casco Viejo.
After a quick trip to a grocery store we were dropped off at our condo rental on Amador Causeway. What a lovely spot! Our condo (VRBO) was on the top of a hill with 360 views of the city , causeway and canal. We made our own breakfasts and lunches and ate 2 times on the causeway islands and at Manolo Caracol and La Posta in the city. The only downside of staying on the causeway is having to use taxis. We spent a lot of money getting to places and were being totally ripped off by the taxi drivers. We spent $20 to get to Miraflores Locks and a taxi tried to charge us $60 for the return trip!

Our excursions in PC included several hours at Miraflores Locks, a morning at Soberania
Park, Punta Culebra Nature Center, bicycling on the causeway, Ancon Hill and walking around Casco Viejo. We spent time at the condo pool and just sitting on our balcony. (We hired Tony Rocha to take us to Soberania Park. For other trips and airport shuttle we used Panoramic Panama)

The weather in late March was in the 90s, but there were enough clouds and breezes to keep us from getting too hot. There was enough sun for all of us to get burned despite using lotion. We had a very positive trip to Panama. I hope this helps anyone else with this trip in mind.

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