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lorenzo Apr 27th, 2002 08:06 AM

Panama-Ibiza of Central America or land of spiders and bananas?
Hi helpful Fodorites,<BR>My girlfriend and I were planning on going to BA, but due to politics have changed are plans. We are thinking of Panama. We both like nightlife, culture, and the beach, so it seems perfect. Does anyone have any specific recommendations? Would Isla Contradora be too isolated? Also, do you think we are overreacting to the situation in Argentina? Thanks for any input.<BR><BR>Lorenzo<BR>PS We'll be gone for around two -three weeks

Gina Thompson Apr 29th, 2002 07:45 AM

I can reccomend you to write at: [email protected] they will find you the best rates and all kinds of activities...<BR><BR>Try this or choose some:<BR>Gamboa Rainforest Resort (4 nights)<BR>Indians at the Panama Canal Rivera (1 day tour)<BR>San Blas Islands (Caribbean, Kuna Indians, 3 nights)<BR>Bocas del Toro (Caribbean, Afro-Antillan culture, 4 or 5 nights)<BR>Decameron (all inclusive and night entertainment at the Pacific side of Panama 4 or 5 nights)<BR>Las Huacas Hotel (city hotel with very original rooms, 3 or 4 nights, try to change of room all days, they are amazing)<BR>Dinner Show (typical meal and cultural presentation)<BR>Panama City tour, Canal tour and Canal Museum (i asked for this special all day tour and it was very complete and nice)<BR>Isla Grande (there is a hotel called Bananas, very nice and you can go to the village by boat or taking a 1 hour walk. In weekends, there is a cultural presentation called "Congos", is very amazing)<BR><BR>Caribbean beaches of Panama are best than the Pacific side ones...The rates for all services and meals are reasonable and mostly low but you can use the people i told you and they will find better rates for all places, hotels and they make excellent recommendations for restaurants...<BR><BR>Regards and ¡have a nice trip!

Sammuel P. Apr 29th, 2002 07:55 AM

<BR>Panama is for sure the most modern city in Central America...<BR>Modern City and full of activities...I like my trip to Panama more than my trip to Costa Rica because the only thing i can´t not find in Panama was Volcanoes, there are 2 volcanoes in Panama but they are not so explored like the Costa Rica ones. Panama have more Flora and Fauna, the streets are pretty much transitables, and beaches are amazing, in Panama you can find a lot of cultures and real Indians (not show) living today the same way that when Columbus arrived...<BR>If you decide go to Panama try to get a travel agency to find better rates on hotels and reccomendations...<BR><BR>good luck!<BR>

silvia Apr 29th, 2002 08:00 AM

<BR>I was in Argentina about 15 days after the politics problems and it was a mistake.... i reccommend you to choose Panama because in Argentina you will find isolated streets, closed banks and many other services facilities, the night life is simply none...<BR>I was in Panama in 1999 and it was very nice...Try Bocas del Toro, Jungle adventures and the Antun Valley "El Valle"...<BR><BR>

DC May 29th, 2002 08:46 AM

I just got back from Panama last night and had a great trip. I only wished I'd stayed longer. Since there's not much in the way of published guides about Panama, I got the feeling there wouldn't be a lot to do there and only spent four days. This was not enough, especially considering the first night I got there I was too tired from my flights (from NYC) to do anything, and it took most of my last day there to fly back. I stayed in the Hotel Caesar Park in Panama City. It was very nice but kind of dull - this is the off-season in Panama and the concierge on my floor told me there were only four other guests on that floor. Also, the hotel is not centrally located so there's nothing to do within walking distance. The highlights of my trip were seeing the canal (of course), hiking along Pipeline Road in Soberania National Park, driving along the beautiful causeway and taking a great tour of the city including all the ruins. The tour in Soberania was offered through the Gamboa Resort, which seemed very nice and in a great area if you want to explore nature. Lastly, I had a great cab driver/tour guide (organized tours are hard to find this time of year so cabbies pick up the slack) named Samuel Casteneda (228-0739) who seemed to know everything about Panama. The only guide I found to Panama was Lonely Planet, and it was very helpful. One interesting thing I wished I'd had time for was to take the recently reinstated train from Panama City to Colon - apparently, the scenery is breathtaking. The downside is that you have to spend the whole day in Colon (not a good idea) unless you arrange with a tour operator to take you sightseeing once you get there. All in all, this was a great destination and I will go back. I wouldn't risk going to Argentina right now when there are so many other great places to see.

rodraad Jun 13th, 2002 04:10 PM

I was at Isla Contadora this Christmas<BR><BR>Isolated. Absolutely. which was perfect for me<BR><BR>Panama is no Ibiza<BR><BR><BR><BR>PS You are not overreacting re Argentina<BR>

Vincent Aug 2nd, 2002 08:59 AM

Nightlife: yes; beach: why not. Culture: forget it. Panama is OK if you love eco-tourism and getting good accommodation and transport value for your money. Otherwise, the climate is very sweaty and hot, the capital city bland and unininteresting. Bocas del Toro archipelago might have some charm of its own, but the canal is by far the most interesting attraction of the whole country. Otherwise, go to Guatemala or Honduras to see ancient civilisation, Venezuela for beaches or even Colombia for everything - except safety !

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