Panama Initial trip planning ?'s

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Aug 31st, 2010, 12:42 PM
  #1
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Panama Initial trip planning ?'s

Hi everyone,

So I am planning a trip to Panama this november and need some basic help determining what to do so I can plan how many days I need to take off from work. I am well travelled and have been to Costa Rica already, but my girlfriend has yet to be outside the U.S. We are in our early 40's and like a little bit of everything. I want to show her as much as possible, new things she has never seen. So here are my initial thoughts after reading a few posts and quickly searching some websites:

Canal locks
birdwatching - pipeline
animals - soberania park (I want her to see monkeys )
That's all I have as definite, I was thinking a day or two an Gamboa resort, monkey island tour etc. The city itself probably just casco viejo area and .......?

Now here is the tricky part - what else?? She loves to snorkel, fish, kayak, white water rafting, coffee. Where should/could we do that? What about indian villages - kuna yala, yandup?? El Valle area?? Volcano worth seeing? It's extinct right? canopy tours and zipline would be fun too. Like I said I have been to Costa Rica so I have seen birds/monkeys/ziplines etc so I would love to throw in something new for me.

So if we arrive at 10:30 am do I spend the rest of the day seeing panama city town and spend the night in the city, then get up go to canal/locks and then off to soberania park for 2 (??) nights doing the wildlife thing and then where to?

I could add as few as 2 days and as many as 5 to that. We like to be busy, but not frantic - she could sit on the beach for a week, I would kill someone after 6 hours - lol. I am sure we could stay busy for 3 months there, but would like nice mix of wildlife, history, water activity and that "x" factor if you know what I mean.

thanks for listening and any help is much appreciated.
ladybug98 is offline  
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Aug 31st, 2010, 01:24 PM
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Ok, first things first Panama City can be done in 1-2 days. In one day you can do the Amador Causeway, Casco Viejo, and the Miraflores Visitors Centers (The Canal). If you choose you could also do a morning trip to Gamboa, I know a local who does fishing tours that include a trip to Monkey Island and an Embera Indian Village. As far as getting outside of Panama City, if you go to San Blas you need to keep in mind the flights leave/arrive in the early morning and I would allow for 1-2 nights for San Blas. I highly recommend staying with Yandup however this would definitely be something more for your girlfriend since it's a very isolated area and you will be pretty much lounging on the beach with trips to other islands or snorkeling. If you decide to scratch San Blas what you could do is after 1-2 nights in the city rent a car and go to the interior. You can visit El Valle de Anton (zip lining, hiking, zoo, etc) and stay the night there (I recommend Casa Di Pietra) and also perhaps a night in Santa Clara (on the beach). Let me know if you have further questions or need contact information. Also for Panama City I would recommend Balboa Inn B&B they've helped me plan trips in the past when I had friends visiting me in Panama.
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Aug 31st, 2010, 04:31 PM
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We really enjoyed Yandup - 2 nights was wonderful, and perfect for us. They provided 2 excursions a day, and the one to their village was really interesting. I'm so glad we did that trip.

We also went to Boquete and Bocas del Toro. Completely different areas, and again, I'm so glad we went to those places. Lots to do in Boquete and Bocas, so either of those places might be good for you. We flew to David and rented a car to drive to Boquete.
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Sep 1st, 2010, 11:31 AM
  #4
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Thanks for the quick replies! panama86 I think I will take you up on your "further questions" offer. I have to wrap my brain around this trip first, but I will be back !

Susanintoronto - how long did it take you to drive from David to Boquette? and you said there was lots to do in Boquete and Bocas - what? Upon first glance the Bocas seem overwheleming - how do you choose where to go, or does it really not matter?

Thanks
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Sep 1st, 2010, 07:00 PM
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Ok
Fine tuned a few things tonight - we decided to skip San Blas, we both felt 1 full day and night would be enough for us, but unfortunately flight schedule forces 2 days and we did not want to sacrifice a day.

New question is? Is going to David and Boquete worth an extra $300 for airfare? Is the wildlife there any better than Soberania? My girlfriend would like to spend 2 days in the park. Also would like zipline and maybe beach. Can we do zipline and beach closer to panama city without the $300 airfare expense and not sacrifice wildlife sightings?

Thanks again
ladybug98 is offline  
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Sep 2nd, 2010, 07:10 AM
  #6
 
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Boquete does have the best ziplining, however if you want to avoid the extra expense rent a car and go to El Valle they have zip lining as well (bit smaller than Boquete) and a wildlife zoo. Not to mention you can still go to Soberania, but make sure you go early in the morning (before 9AM) to ensure better chances of seeing wildlife. Also while you're in El Valle you can take a night or two in Santa Clara which is a great white sand beach just 20 minutes from El Valle. I recommmened TOGO B&B they have a beautiful place. Again the El Valle/Santa Clara is only 1.5-2 hours from Panama City and you can avoid the extra flying costs and just rent a car.
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Sep 2nd, 2010, 04:34 PM
  #7
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Great idea panama86 THANKS!!!
ladybug98 is offline  
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Sep 7th, 2010, 03:31 PM
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Please post your review once you return. 3 of us (in 50's) have rented a condo in Boca del Toro for Feb. 2011. We are doing 2 days early to visit Panama City. Then flying to Boca for the month. Very interested in boating from place to place to save airfare.
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