Need Help Choosing Vacation Spot

Mar 22nd, 2005, 01:08 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 20
Need Help Choosing Vacation Spot

Message: My husband and I were thinking of visting Panama. But, I'm seriously wondering if the place is for me. I'm not as eco-adventurous as others who go there. I know this sounds lame, but I'm a city girl. I'm not into zip lining, trekking across forest, hiking, etc.
I do love snorkeling and swimming in the ocean. I really love visiting new cities and experiencing a completely different culture than U.S. I love meeting people from all over the world. And I really love history.
I thought that Bocas del Toro would be a neat place for beaching, but traveling there sounds like a pain. I guess I'd rather be somewhere where my hotel is in walking distance of a decent beach for swimming, but is not overpaced with tourists. Maybe it's just that Bocas isn't for me, is there any other place in Panama? (San Blas sounds nice, but again, a little too much "roughing it")
I'm not a snob, just trying to find a good vacation spot. Hope I didn't offend anyone as that was definitely not my intention. : )
Any advice? Thanks in advance!!
t_hoy is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2005, 01:20 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 14,080
Panama is a wonderful country and you don't have to be eco adventurous to love it. Here's a possible itinerary for you, fly to PTY and spend the first night or two at the Bristol, if you have the $$$, if not, the Country Inn and Suites, very reasonable price and great views of the ships queing for the Canal crossing. Use this as your base to check out the city (wonderful historical area), shops (especially the craft market in the old Zone) and visit the Miraflores locks to see the amazing construction marvel. Then rent a car and drive up to Santa Clara. You can find a cottage on the beach for around $90.00 a night. During the week the beach will be yours. On weekends it can get crowded. You can do day trips to the areas nearby (like El Valle with its fabulous markets and crafts...check out Dave's) but have the gorgeous beach to come back to. If you feel a bit more adventurous go to the Coffee Estate Inn in Boquete for a few days of cool temps, pretty flowers and small town Panama. Don't shy away from Panama.
cmcfong is online now  
Mar 22nd, 2005, 05:19 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 14,080
t hoy A friend of mine just returned from Panama last night. Here are some restaurant reviews from her: " a Spanish
tapas restaurant in Casco Viejo that was outstanding. Its name is Marcelo
Caracol. Also went to an Argentinian restaurant that was also very good.
My favorite place is still the one at Amador Beach and its sister restaurant
Pencas (by Amador Officer's Club)"

Another very popular restaurant is the one at Miraflores locks.
cmcfong is online now  
Mar 23rd, 2005, 09:20 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 20
thanks cmcfong! I'll keep your advice in mind. I really appreciate your help!! Take care...
t_hoy is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2005, 11:16 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 14,080
Glad to do it. Panama is a wonderful country. Buen viaje.
cmcfong is online now  
Mar 30th, 2005, 09:19 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 71
I second cmcfong's post. Panama has it all, leisurely beaches, cool mountains, cosmopolitan city, lush jungles. Check out these spots: Hacienda del Mar (Pearl Islands), Gamboa Rainforest Resort (30-40 minutes outside of Panama City), Punta Caracol and Sweet Bocas (Bocas del Toro). For a tame and safe rainforest hike, check out Barro Colorado Island run by the Smithsonian Institute. There is plenty of history in Panama, from the pirate days, Balboa discovering the Pacific, the Spanish conquest, the building of the Canal, etc. There's good shopping in Panama (Avenue Central) and at the little craft market in Balboa (behind the old YMCA). But the highlight of our trip, and probably one of our most unique and fun traveling experiences, was our trip to the San Blas. Some places are more rustic than others, and you can take your pick. I found our rustic accomodations (Dolphin Inn) to be very acceptable for the few days we were there. It's like you're in another world there. Even a city girl would enjoy it--very laid back.
ojoy is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2005, 03:50 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 226
Take a look at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort, you can lay by the pool, or many other eco things, but still have some luxury and its still near PCity. We were there last week and so were lots of other Americans. We heard that the weekends are businest, but Easter is the busiest of all times in Panama. They offer free activities during the day, so hiking for 45 minutes in close proximity of the hotel, or open kayaking (not the kind you squeeze into) on the Chagres river which we did twice it was so nice. Plus lots of other things. Main receiption area is not air conditioned...just a warning.
Another poster wrote that a friend loved " a Spanish
tapas restaurant in Casco Viejo that was outstanding. Its name is Marcelo
Caracol." The Miramar concierge recommended it to us. We loved it. 10 or so tapas for $16 the night we went. Price runs a bit different depending upon what they serve. Its a set menu. I'm not sure I would call what we ate was better than Lemoncillo's in Marbella (few blocks from Miramar) that folks also rave about.
tmt is offline  

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