Three Questions on Panama

Old Nov 19th, 2006, 05:54 AM
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Three Questions on Panama

In Panama:
1.Is a car necessary or can one move about safely and conveniently on public trans via bus and trains..?
2. State Dept has warnings against Dairen region yet that seems to be the best area to see Rain Forest. Any comments?
3.Does anyone know of working coffee Plantations to allows or provides tours?

Thanks Kindly

Bill

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Old Nov 19th, 2006, 06:45 AM
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In Panama City, I recommend you use taxis. If you want to go to Santa Clara or El Valle from Panama City, renting a car is a good idea. If you plan to go to Volcan or Boquete, I recommend flying there and renting a car on arrival.
I think others will better be able to assess the safety of the Darien region now. On my last visit to Panama, it was considered unsafe.
There are many plantations in the Boquete and Volcan region which offer tours.
http://www.caferuiz.com/
http://coffeeadventures.net
The Coffee Estate Inn offers tours and accomodations.

Buen viaje.
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Old Nov 19th, 2006, 09:13 AM
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Don't know what kind of accommodations appeal to you or your budget, but as previous poster said Coffee Estate Inn in Boquete www.coffeeestateinn.com/
offers a coffee tour on their premises if you stay with them. Theirs is just a small coffee operation, but owner is Canadian, extremely congenial and knowledgeable, and of course the inn itself is just a wonderful place to stay. You couldn't ask for better, more informed hosts.

If you're willing to spend $$$$, you can go to Cana Station in Darien with Ancon Expeditions. We went in February
and had a great time. You'll fly in and out on small plane, land on grass airstrip and stay in rustic accommodations in middle of rainforest.
A pretty safe way to go to Darien. Nothing else there other than that camp - 10 miles or so to nearest tiny town I believe. No roads. There are those who have done Darien on their own recently and lived to tell the tale. Whether that's a good idea or not is for you to judge. Believe there's a recent trip report on lonely planet.com Thorn Tree discussion.
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Old Dec 27th, 2006, 08:21 PM
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Bill,
I am living in Panama right now... so some insight from a "local"
1) If you are in the city, i would avoid a car, people drive crazy (as well as your taxi drivers) and traffic can be a nightmare, so to save the added stress.. pay the very low fare of a taxi driver. It's a 1.25 - 5.00$ to almost anywhere in the city... 1.25-1.50 around the city, and $5 to get to the outer part of the city, Causeway etc. If you are outside the city, traveling a car would be great. If driving up towards Boquete, there are places to stop and see along the highway, endless beaches.. fun local giftshops and ceramic shops, etc..
2)Darian... well, anything can happen anywhere you go.. but you are going to a more secluded area, with fewer roads.. etc i haven't gone down there myself, and have been just as curious about the rainforest. So, i'm not much help on that one sorry. There are other rainforests to visit here in Panama if you have any hesitations.
3)and yes lots of Coffee in Boquete;.. the previous posts listed some of the best ones.. you will love it up there. If you are coming here soon, the flower season is about to start. lots of music, flowers and good times. Great people, excellant coffee... make reservations early.. it is a crowded and busy spot this time of year.. have fun!
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Old Jan 4th, 2007, 08:29 AM
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Bill,
We visited Panama last year without a car and had a wonderful trip. We stayed our first night in Panama City, taking a birding tour the next morning, went to the canal in the afternoon and took in a folklore show at night. It was very easy and inexpensive to get a cab.
The next day we flew to Boco's del toro and had a wonderful few days.The airport is right in town and depending on where you stay you can walk to your hotel. It was again very easy to get a water taxi to go where ever we wished.
After Boco's we hired a driver to take up to Boquette. A beautiful area. We were able to do a coffee tour, lots of hiking and birding.. We had a driver take us to the airport but we missed our flight.. so we got to experience the bus.. also very easy and doable. It was a wonderful trip.. Have fun
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Old Jan 4th, 2007, 11:34 AM
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Love the Darien, but use Ultrathon there (in addition to mosquitos, there are swarming Africanized bees) and Aligandi.
We took helos and motor launches.
M
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