One week in Panama

Old Feb 22nd, 2013, 04:27 AM
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One week in Panama

My wife and i Have decided to spend a week, around the 4th of July, in Panama we have heard so many good things about the country that we might be thinking of buying a little house there if this corresponds to what we have heard.
How can I pack a maximum in one week?
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Old Feb 22nd, 2013, 12:59 PM
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Below is my Panamá tour information & in the following sig block is my website & blog on Panamá. You can call me if you wish to for more assistance on Panamá. The below info includes where to stay, eat, visit, chauffeur, eco sites, etc.

Louis Seldon
Keller, TX
Cell # 954-610-5121
I was born and lived in Panama until I was 15 years old and visit Panama regularly. I am constantly receiving current news on Panama from the internet and friends living in Panama.
The Isthmus of Panama forms a bridge between South and Central America, and borders Costa Rica to the west and Colombia to the east. Panama City has flights to and from all Central American countries and both North and South America. Major US airlines such as American, Continental and Delta fly to Tocumen Airport in Panama City on a daily basis; COPA Airlines is the national airline.

Panama uses the US dollar as its currency. Don’t be confused by its official name, the Balboa—bills are exactly the same. Panamanian coins are of the same value and size as US coins, which are also accepted.

The climate in Panama varies very little throughout the year. There are only two seasons: the dry season, from January to mid-April, and the rainy season, from mid-April to December. Temperatures usually range between 70°F and 90°F, but it can get a little cooler in the highlands, especially in the province of Chiriqui.

Spanish is the official language, but many people speak English as a second language. The country’s population of almost 3 million reflects a history of mixed ethnicities, due largely to the significant influx of immigrants that arrived during the construction of the Panama Canal. In terms of religion, the Isthmus is predominantly Roman Catholic, but there are some small groups of Muslims, Protestants, Hindus and Jews.

The capital of Panama is a modern, thriving metropolis, with plenty of restaurants, shops and entertainment. Among its main attractions are the Casco Viejo (or Old District, new name for a combination of 3 barrios, El Chorrillo, San Felipe & Santa Ana), Panama Viejo (or Old Panama, dating back to the 16th Century), the Amador causeway and, of course, the Panama Canal Tourist center at Miraflores Locks on the Pacific side, the beaches, best ones are 1 - 2 hour drive west of Panama City & the many old Spanish Forts that are in Panama.. For shopping, head to Via España or to one of the new shopping malls, if you want to avoid the heat. Also there are two Artisan Centers (Flee Markets) in Balboa.
Panama 's economy is based on the service sector, which accounts for three-fourths of the country’s GDP. Besides the Canal, Panama City boasts an important international banking center, while Colon City, on the Caribbean coast, is home to the one of the largest free zones in the world.
The Panama Canal:
The canal was built by the United States beginning in 1904 and was opened in 1914. It consists of three sets of double locks that are 1000 feet long and 110 feet wide. Today a new set of locks are under construction that consist of three lock chambers that will be 1400 ft. long, 180 ft. wide and 60 ft. deep, with each lock complex measuring more than a mile and a half in length on each side of the canal.
For more information on the Panama Canal see: Thanks to a Delaware student Natalie for find this website, very good information on Panama.

Some Panama organizations:
U.S. Navy League: PTY Navy League:
American Society of Panama:
ExPats in Panama:
Panama Historical Society (No website)
Canadian ExPats in Panama:

Panama Hotels & B&Bs :
Panama City & Balboa:
Albrook Inn: Old U.S. Air Force base in the Visiting Offices' Quarters (should have a car to stay here & be familiar with the area)
Balboa Inn B&B: Balboa [email protected] 314-1520
Inn on the Canal B&B: La Boca/Balboa, [email protected] 314-0112
Esplenador Hotel, Banking District,
Av. Samuel Lewis y Calle Gerardo Ortega ( NULL)
RESERVATION +507 209-9696
Front Desk 507 209-9600 [email protected]

La Estencia B&B, My favorites in Panama City, located on the site of the old U.S. military Southern Command Headquarters, it is convenient to good shopping, casino, restaurants/cafes, supermarket, drug stores, etc. La Estencia is owned by a great Asian couple, Gustavo & Tammy Lu, it is located in an old U.S Military NCO quarters building converted to the best B&B in the area. Great animal watching at breakfast from their balcony.
Office: 314-1417&1604 email:
[email protected] Website:
Hotel Las Vegas: El Cangrejo
[email protected] 507-300-2020
Hotel Marbella: El Cangrejo, see 263-2220
Hotel Milan: El Cangrejo, see [email protected] 263-6130 Fax 263-7723
Torres de Alba Apartment Hotel, El Cangrejo see: email: [email protected]
Veneto Wyndham Grand Hotel & Casino, El Cangrejo Tel # 340-8888, reservation 340-8686 website:
My favorites in Panama City, El Cangrego area, convenient to good shopping, casino, restaurants/cafes, supermarket, drug stores, etc.
My favorite Bed & Breakfast in the old Canal Area is located on the old U.S. military Southern Command Headquarters area on Ancon Hill. Owned by a great Asian couple in an old U.S Mil NCO quarters building converted to the best B&B in the area. Great animal watching at breakfast from their balcony.
Beaches including Azuero Peninsular :
Breezes Resort, Playa Blanca:
Casita Margarita B&B, Pedasí: email [email protected] phone 995-2898
Coronado Bay Hotel/Condos & Golf:
Liz Larroquette
Sales Coronado Bay & Coronado Golf
Tel. 345-3900
Cel. 6981-1717
Email: [email protected]
Corowalk Inn,
Coronado by the PanAm hwy & the El Rey Super Mercado, on the 2nd level of the bldg. phone: 240-1516 FAX 240-1135
DeCameron Resort, Playa Blanca-Farallón
Gaviota, Coronado
Royalton Hotel, Playa Blanca, More info, see:
Playa Venao-El Sitio Resort & Surf Club Azuero Peninsular 6.5 hour drive west of Panama City, site of annual surf competition Email
[email protected] Phone (597)-832-1010 Web info:
Rio Mar Surf & Skate Camp, Owned by canal tug captain Alan Barnes, Email:
[email protected] Web info: Phones: 345-4010 or Cell 6675-2526
Santa Clara: La Sirenas Casitas Will be closing the summer of 2012
THE HAVEN health spa, health clinic, fitness center and hotel
luxury mountain retreat, Boquete, Panama
Phone: (001 507) 730 9345 Email:
[email protected] or [email protected]
Finca Lerida: E-mail to [email protected] e-mail Reservation Form Toll free from the US or Canada at 1-888-535-8832 / 1-800-948-3770
Hotel Ladera:
Oasis B&B:

Chiriqui Province

Bocas del Mar Resort, Boca Chica, Panama: Bocas Del Mar Resort, in Boca Chica, is a boutique hotel with modern features including eleven large contemporary-style guest bungalows which are set in tropical gardens surrounding. It is situated on the Gulf of Chiriquí Marine National Park which has many charming green islands with palm-tree-fringed white beaches and an a variety of wildlife. For more information see

Washington Hotel: Email [email protected] Phone: 441-7133
Gamboa Rain Forrest Resort: Located 30 minutes from Panama City, Gamboa Rainforest Resort is a unique property nearby the Soberania National Park Rainforest, on the banks of the Chagres River and Panama Canal. Website:
Ivan´s Bed & Breakfast Birding Lodge, Gamboa:
Some facts about the owners & the B&B
-Ivan & Gladys Ortiz ( Owners and Operators )
- Landline 507 314-9436 mobile 507-6981-4583
-We are a family operated B&B comprising of 4 rooms with a birding and nature observation objectives
-No restaurants, bars or shopping facilities in the Gamboa area except the Rainforest Resort
-Homemade dinners are available under previous arrangments and arrival at our lodge as an option to our guest at extra cost
-breakfast is included in nightly rate
-we do not cook lunches.
-Panama´s current bird species count is 972, Panama Central ( Gamboa ) over 300 species
- The worldwide nature and birding iconic Pipeline Road is located about 2 Km, walking distance from our lodge.
-all transactions at our lodge are cash basis only
-2 ATM´s are available in the Town of Gamboa
reservations and information email:[email protected]
El Valle:
1 ½ hour drive west of Panama City located in an extinct volcano crater, know for it’s week end “Flee Markets”, cooler temperatures & Eco environment:
The Anton Valley Hotel:
983-6097 or 6484-5978
Crater Valley Adventure Spa:
8 Rooms Tel #: 983-6942 [email protected] Tel #: 215-2326 & 983-6942 Fax: 215-2329
The Golden Frog Inn:
8 rooms, Suites
Phone: 983-6117
Cell Phone: 6565-8307
[email protected]
La Casa de Lourdes
El Valle de Antón, Panama Hotel: 507-983-6645 Restaurant: 507-983-6450
[email protected] Breakfast included
Los Mandarinos Boutique Hotel & Spa (adjacent and part of a magnificent complex with Casa de Lourdes)
Boutique Hotel & Restaurante [email protected]
Los Capitanes Hotel: 15 rooms, tel #: 983-6080 [email protected] and website
Park Eden Bed & Breakfast:
5 rooms Tel #: 983-6167 / 226-8858
Info: & [email protected] 5+ rooms, includes full breakfast 2 persons per room, additional cost per each additional person. No restaurant.
Rincon Vallero:
14 Rooms Tel #: 983-6175/264-9119 Includes breakfast.
[email protected] and their website is at
Taboga Island:
B&B Hotel Cerrito Tropical, Isla Taboga,
Owner/operator: Cynthia Cudmore Mulder
[email protected]
Taboga Blog:
Bambito Resort: website:
Cielito Sur B&B : located between the towns of Cerro Punta and Volcan in the Province of Chiriqui.
Hotel Don Tavo,
Volcan: Website:
My favorite places to eat in Panama City:
Balboa Yacht Club, Amador beside Country Inn & Suites & FGI Fridays on the Panama Canal (typical Panama food +), great for sunset drink, week end live live music with local groups.
Calle Uruguay has many good restaurants, clubs and bars, it is like the “South Beach“ of the city. Located one block east of Frederico Boyd & south of Calle 50.
Vegetarian Restaurants in Panama City.
Costa Azul Restaurant (typical Panama food +), on side street from Via España between the Continental Hotel & the Marriott Hotel, Banking District
Jimmy’s Parrilla Restaurant (typical Panama food +), , two locations Banking District & San Francisco, see:
Lung Fung (Chinese) Restaurant, Betania area, Vía Simón Bolívar (Transístmica) and Calle 62 C. Oeste Take a taxi, parking is tight under the building, but there is a parking lot up the street. Taxi drivers know the name.
Manolo’s Cafes, several in the city, Via Veneto (this one has the best prices), Via Argentina, etc.
Martin Fierro (Argentine cruise), El Cangrejo, Calle Eusebio Morales, down the street from the Las Vegas Hotel
Me gusta Comida Vegetariana is off via España on the side street between the Continental Hotel & Marriott Hotel (across the street from Restaurant Costa Azul on the “rounded“ corner).
Mi Ranchito (typical Panama food +), on the first island on the Amador Causeway, see:
Napoli Italian Restaurant, original off Avenida de Martes near the old Canal Zone & the new one south of Via España on a side street in Obarrio
Niko’s Cafes (buffet-cafeteria style), all over Panama City & Balboa, see:
Pomodoro Restaurant Italian cuisine in a bohemian cafe atmosphere, located on the left side of the entrance to the Las Vegas Hotel lobby on Via Veneto see:
Rincon Aleman, Germany Restaurant, one block off Frederico Boyd & one block north of Calle 50 beside Tinajas Restaurant, see:
Rincon Suizo, Swiss Restaurant, El Cangrejo, Calle Eusebio Morales, down the street from the Las Vegas Hotel, see:
Rino’s Italian & International cuisine, Banking District, Ave Federico Boyd & Calle 49.
Tinajas Restaurant, (typical Panama food with typical Panama dance shows most nights), one block off Frederico Boyd & one block north of Calle 50 beside Rincon Aleman Restaurant, see:
Wine Bar, on the right side of the entrance to Las Vegas Hotel lobby offers pizzas, great wines and other Italian menu items along with live music of local groups. See:
U.S. Chain restaurant:
TGI Fridays, Bennigan’s, Hooters + many U.S. chain fast foods: KFC, McDonalds, Subway, etc.
Outside of Panama City:
Los Camisones, Pan American highway (typical Panama food +), 1.5 hour drive west of Panama City or about 15 kilometers past the entrance to El Valle, KM 104, north side of the Pan Am Hwy, look for a small sign, it’s easy to miss. The restaurant is on s short one lane road up a hill.
Las Ruinas Restaurant (typical Panama food +, American chief & owner), Boquete, Chiriquí province, see:

Shopping in Panama the City area:
Appliance Stores in Panama:
Furniture City, Novey's, Price Smart, Do It Center, Panafoto, Audiofoto, Mega Depot & Casa Gala. Most have website if you search for them.
Coronado Golf & Beach Resort, 1.5 drive west of Panama City, see:
DeCameron Golf Course, located at the DeCameron Resort, Farallón Beach, 2 hour drive west of Panama City. See:
Panama City Golf Course: Panama City, San Miguelito area, see:
Santa Maria Golf & Country County
(Future/Planned), Costa del Sol, between Tocumen International Airport & Panama City, see:
Summit Golf Course, located about 35-40 minute drive north of Panama City on the road to Gamboa & by-past to the transmission highway, see:
Tucín Country Club & Resort, west bank of the canal (site of the old military course HoRoKo for the join bases Howard Air Force base, Rodman Naval Station, Kobbe Army post--all located on the west bank of the canal) & when the U.S. had the Canal Zone), see:
Vista Mar Golf Club, 1.7 hour drive west of Panama City, see:
Internet cafes are all over the area for 50c-$20/hour & international telephone service, calls to the U.S. between 10-20c/minute. Phone calls are charged by the minute, cell phone calls are more expensive. Cell phone numbers have 6 digits, others have 5 digit numbers. Best way to use phone to make local calls is to use a Cable & wireless plastic credit card looking item that fits in a slot on the front of pay telephone. These cards can be bought from vending machines in $5, 10 & 20 denominations.
Computer Repair:
Luis Carlos Hooper a.k.a Hooperman Phone: 6640-0102
Tour guide & chauffer service:
Jesus played base ball in the U.S. and his English is good. He charges $15 per hour for his service which includes taking you to tourist areas & $25 to & from the airport IF you tell him I referred you. Jesus Cell # is 6754-3378, Jesus has a van/taxi/tour service, I met him when he was a security guard (suit) at the Marriott Hotel in Panama City. Jesus does not do email but if you text him a message to call you, he will call you back. He has an international calling plan on his cell phone.
Bare Foot Panama Tours:
Bare Foot Panama is tour company run by a Kevin O’brien, an American from Boston, Mass with all kinds of tours ranging from a top ranked City Tour to 2 week cross country trips. Kevin has 15 years guiding experience. Check out Kevin’s web site or contact Kevin directly at [email protected] or call Kevin at # (011-507) 6780-3010 or U.S. # 781 479 2011.
Night Life/Clubs:
Many casinos in the city at all major hotels, clubs/restaurants on Via Veneto & the near the Marriott Hotel, Via Uruguay, Via Argentina, Balboa (Amador) Yacht Club & on the islands at the end of Amador Causeway (Panama’s South Beach). Casco Viejo (Antiguo: combined barrios of El Chorrillo, San Felipe & Santa Ana)
Things to see & do:
Panama City area:
Old Panama (Panamá Viejo) destroyed by the Pirate Capt Morgan.
New old town: Casco Viejo: city build after the destruction of Panamá Viejo by Capt Morgan. This is the combined “barrios” of San Felipe, Santa Ana & El Chorrillo. Central Avenue is a closed street-walking shopping area, Ave B is the Asian shopping street with bargain shops. “Sale se Puedes” is a side street close by vendor with shops in the middle of the street, warning “Sale se Puedes” translates to “get out if you can”, good bargains and I’ve never personally known of anyone not to get out, but “¿quien sabes?”
Amador Causeway: Shopping/clubs/yacht facility including Mi Ranchito Restaurant first island on the right, best view, prices & view. Balboa (Amador) Yacht Club located just before the causeway (Amador) by the TGI Friday/Town & Country Inn. See
Balboa: Shopping at the Artisan Center back side of the YMCA building in the old gym for gifts & souvenirs.
Azuero Peninsula: including Las Tablas, Pedasi & the beaches in this area. This area is a 5-6 hour drive west of Panama City. Best B&B Casita Margarita email [email protected] website
Beaches-west of Panama City:
1-2 hour drive, beaches include Chame, Gorgona, Coronado, San Carlos, Rio Mar, Santa Clara & Farallon. The PanAm highway “dips” down along the coast in this area & the beaches in this area stretch for about 40-50 kilometers. Hotel Coronado: Gaviota Hotel, Coronado Coronado phone 240-4526, Panama phone 224-9056 Also the DeCameron & Breezes all-inclusive resorts are located on these beaches.
Canopy Tower Bird Watching Sanctuary: Gamboa Road, between Summit Gardens & one-way bridge to Gamboa:
David, Boquette, El Volcan & Chiriqui Province:
This area is a 6 - 61/2 hour drive west of Panama City.
Very popular for the higher elevation & cooler temperatures located north of David.
El Valle:
Volcanic area 1½ hour drive west of Panama City, week end flee markets, mud bathes, Zoo & a number of excellent B&Bs. Also a number of great B&Bs.
Miraflores Locks tourist center:
museum, viewing area of the locks operation & restaurant. See:
Summit Gardens Zoo & Gardens just past the “Y” to Gamboa on Gamboa Road.
Taboga Island:
Located just south of the Pacific entrance to the canal, about a 35 minute launch ride to the island. See
Eco/Nature/Birds/Fish Sites:
Barro Colorado Island: Gatun Lake, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, see:
Canopy Tower Bird watching: near Gamboa, see:
Eco Tours:
Embera Village, see:
Gamboa Rain Forrest Resort: see:
Gamboa Ivan’s B&B: Birding Lodge (Bird Watching), see:
Panama Railroad, Though not eco itself, you will see a lot by riding the train. see:
Playa Venao: Azuero Peninsular, El Sitio beach & surf resort, see:
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Ancon, see:
Taboga Island: Located just south of the Pacific entrance to the canal, about a 35 minute launch ride to the island. See:
Torti, Panama: about 2 hour drive east of Panama City toward the Darien includes the Hotel Avicar and Restaurant Avicar. The hotel, is a 10 room hotel with swimming pool. Prices ranges depending on the occupancy (beds) from 35.00 to 50.00 US Dollars. The food at the restaurant is a la carte and it ranges from 3.00 to 5.00 US Dollars (steak with rice and salad). Bird watching & jungle tours, for more information contact Luis Gonzalez Nelson at [email protected] or see:
Tranquilo Bay Eco Lodge
: Bocas del Toro, see:
Tropic Star Lodge, Piñas Bay, World class Marlin fishing:
Whale Watching:
Real Estate for Sale
20 Acres - 8 hectares for sale near Penonome, Panama which is about a 2.5 - 3 hour drive west of Panama City. See:

Schools in Panama City area:
The International School of Panama (ISP) Website:
Balboa Academy: Cuidad del Saber (Clayton), Website:
King’s College (School), Cuidad del Saber (Clayton), Age 3 – 9 (each year higher grades will be added), British system with UK qualified teachers. see: or contact:
Lindsay Carmody
Head of Admissions
King’s College Panama
The British School of Panama
Tel: (001 507) 6378 4265
Email: [email protected]
Oxford International School, (OIS) Via Espana
Metropolitan School, Cuidad del Saber (Clayton), former Canal Zone Website:
The Episcopal School in El Carmen Website:
St Mary’s School in Albrook Website:
Crossroads Christian Academy in Cardenas Website:
Information websites:
3rd Locks website:
The Panama Perspective, Travel and Real Estate:
Pet relocation to Panama info:
Welcome to Panama:

Tentative Itinerary (Tenative, work-in-progress, more coming later)
Day ?: Panama City: Panama Viejo, old Panama, original city destroy by the pirate Capt Morgan of the rum fame *Ü*, including shopping at an artisan center.
Casco Viejo including Central Ave walking mall & Sales se Puedes
Amador Causeway including Balboa Yacht Club, YMCA artisan center, & restaurants & shops on the islands at the end of the causeway; probably have a meal at Mi Ranchito, one of my favorite eating places in Panama.
Balboa, La Boca including the a visit to the Administration Bldg of the Panama Canal.
Day ?: Miraflores visitor center, museum & canal lock observation center , Pedro Miguel Locks, Summit Gardens & Gamboa including the Gamboa Rain Forrest Resort
Day ?: Atlantic side, Fort Sherman, Fort San Lorenzo-old Spanish Fort , Portobelo-old Spanish Fort,_Col%C3%B3n , Free Zone , maybe overnight at the Washinton Hotel, .
Day ?: El Valle & Beaches: Gorgona, Coronado, Santa Clara, Farallón, Playa Blanco. El Valle is located in an extinct volcano & has a popular “flee market” on the week ends, several very nice B&B located in the area. El Valle is located about 1.5 hour drive west of Panama City. Beaches are located 1 - 2 hour drive west of Panama City.
Day ?: Interior Chiriquí Provence including Boquete,Volcan & David, Azuero Pinsaluar including Pedasí & Las Tablas, Bocas del Toro, San Blas Islands, Perlas Islands (Contradora), Darien.
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