Not really thrilled with Panama City

Old Aug 28th, 2009, 05:30 PM
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Not really thrilled with Panama City

We are staying for 3 nights (only 2 full days) on our way back from Aruba in January. I know nothing about Panama so I started reading all the usual posts. Honestly, I am not too thrilled with what I am reading and wonder if there is another spot outside of Panama city that is not too far from the airport to spend a couple of days that would be worth our while. F.Y.I. we are a family of four. Would love to stay in a rainforest if it is feasible.

Thanks so much!!!
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Old Aug 28th, 2009, 06:47 PM
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You could stay at Gamboa. Decent resort hotel, close to the canal, and not far from Panama City.

I enjoyed Panama City. Pleasant (and cheap) bars and restaurants. I was comfortable there, unlike how I felt in San Jose, Costa Rica.
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Old Aug 29th, 2009, 05:16 AM
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www.gamboaresort.com
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Old Sep 1st, 2009, 07:32 PM
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What are you reading that makes you "not too thrilled"??? No one that has come to visit us over the past 12 years here has gone away less than thrilled and vowing to return.
What exactly are you looking for and not finding?
What do you want and like to do?
How adventurous are you?
Can you budget for internal flights - $180 per person return?

With more info can point you in the right direction. Panama is so diverse and you can do so much.

Cheers,
Andrew
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Old Sep 6th, 2009, 10:27 AM
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You are right. I shouldn't have phrased it like that. I was looking for more nature and wildlife I guess than being in Panama City but then again with only 2 full days I was thinking that maybe it is best to be based in Panama City and travel from there. Does it pay to rent a car?? I guess I was just having a hard time getting a handle on where to stay and just frustrated with only 2 days.
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Old Sep 6th, 2009, 07:26 PM
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From Panama City within 30-45 minutes you can be in primary rainforests...
You can head to Pipeline road next to Gamboa township - a world record setting location for birdwatching plus there is a plethora of other animals etc - very early morning is best. You could combine this with a visit to the Miraflores Locks to see the canal - then visit Metropolitan Park right in the center of the city, plus tour Casco Viejo for a touch of culture and Amador Causeway for great views of the city and sunset drinks - that's one full day.

You could do an Embera village tour which takes you into the thick of the Chagres National Park where you will be surrounded by as much nature as you could want.
Alternatively, you could do a day trip to El Valle - hiking La India Dormida and other trails you will be in some cloud forest areas, you could combine this with a couple of hours on the beach at Santa Clara or San Carlos.

You will definitely be frustrated with only 2 days as there is so much to do.

Cheers,
Andrew
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Old Sep 7th, 2009, 06:59 AM
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We have family in Panama City and have used Ancon Expeditions on several trips. We are a family of 4. Are you traveling alone, with kids? We stay in the city (great dining) and Ancon comes to pick us up for Day Trips from my sister's house- unbelievably knowledgable guides -worth every penny. Also check out the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute site - you must register ahead to visit the Barro Colorado island but the Punta Culebra Nature Center is only 15 min from downtown Panama (and Ancon can also take you there).

When the kids were little we took them to Pipeline Rd - amazing birds, butterflies, howler monkeys,leaf cutter ants, etc... You would never realize you were 30-45 min from a major city. Last visit we traveled up the Chagres River to an Embera Drua Village- also very cool!

Traveling with Ancon (or another travel company) means no driving and no buses (definitely would not ride the wild and crazy independent buses). A great way to go with limited time. We also had dinner at Miraflores locks- we saw the visitors center info, then watched the ships come through at night. One last advantage of the city-you will be able to do things without the water and malaria worries of prolonged rain forest visits (just wear repellent for day trips).
Have a fantastic time!
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