Trip to Panama with child(8 yrs) Thanksgiving 2015

Old Sep 19th, 2015, 05:50 AM
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Trip to Panama with child(8 yrs) Thanksgiving 2015

re-post in the correct forum.


We will be visiting Panama the week of Thanksgiving. Have never been to this country and would like to explore what it has to offer. We will arrive Sunday to Panama City and leave the following Sunday. Aside from the mandatory trip to the Canal area and Casco Viejo. What other things can we do? Should we hire a tour company? How safe is the city? We would also like to go to the forest. I have heard there are really cute towns in the country were we could spend maybe 2 nights of our stay. Which towns do you recommend that are near the city? We won't be renting a car. I know this is a lot of questions. But I hope you can help me. Thank you!
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Old Sep 21st, 2015, 05:15 AM
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I think hiring a tour company is not a good choice, at least for me. I like to decide how much time i want to spend in which place The city is quite safe, but it is always hard to say because everyone has diffrent comparison
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Old Sep 21st, 2015, 08:29 AM
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One thing to prepare for is RAIN. Lots of it. Every day. Thunderstorms.
Maybe splitting time between Panama City (a view of the bay could produce great thunderstorm viewing) and the Gamboa rainforest resort would work.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2015, 04:53 PM
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Let me answer to your questions:

Aside from the mandatory trip to the Canal area and Casco Viejo. What other things can we do?

For a day trip from the City, I would suggest you:

1) to do a tour exploring the canal with a small boat and a local captain. Activities: Fishing, observing the wildlife, visiting the Emberas Indian, Monkey Islands, and observe the ships crossing the canal from your small boat. It is a very exciting experience
2) Day trip to Santa Clara Beach (1.30 hours drive)
3) Day trip to the San Blas Islands
4) Portobelo

Should we hire a tour company?

A tour company is not necessary but a personal driver or taxi would help

How safe is the city?

I live here since 2007 without any problems. Security has improved a lot as well as the Casco Viejo. Just avoid the the Santa Ana area and Chorillo, and Colon-City (but I really do not think you will go there... not much to see).

We would also like to go to the forest.

You could combine it with the day tour in the canal by starting early morning with the Pipeline Road

I have heard there are really cute towns in the country were we could spend maybe 2 nights of our stay. Which towns do you recommend that are near the city?

Cute town are Pedasi but it is 6 hours drive from the City. For the mountains you could try El Valle (1.30 hours)

Why not considering 1 or 2 nights in the San Blas Islands with 4x4 transportation from your hotel. (if you are OK with the rustic)

I suggest you to Google these places and contact me if you require further details and local contacts.

Have a nice stay in Panama.
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Old Oct 6th, 2015, 02:24 PM
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Thanks so much for all the feedback!!! I will totally look into these. Can you recommend nice restaurants? We will be spending Thanksgiving there and even though I know it is not celebrated there it would be nice to have dinner at a good place. THANKS!!
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Old Oct 6th, 2015, 06:32 PM
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Sure, you can find here all type of food from Typical to Fusion restaurant and different atmosphere... what are you looking for ? Check the website in my profile for more info about activities in Panama. I do not think we are allowed to post links on this forum.

PS: Yes, Thanksgiving is celebrated a lot here in Panama!
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Old Oct 18th, 2015, 05:47 PM
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@Panamatips, Thanks so much for your feedback. We have finalized our plans and we will spendinng Thanksgiving weekend at El Valle. We are scheduled to stay at a hotel named: Los Mandarinos. We made reservations for a car to take us there and also to pick us up on Sunday to the airport. The total cost quoted for both trips was approx. $170.00 for the 3 of us. Is this ok? I read in one of your posts that Uber is working in PANAMA. Is it safe? I was thinking that one of the days that my husband is working I may take an Uber to go to the Mall with my Son in the city. Also, if you have recommendations for El Valle please send them my way. We will be there from Thursday(Thanksgiving Day) to Sunday (November29). Once again, thanks so much!!!
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Old Oct 19th, 2015, 07:08 PM
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Hi There,

Los Mandarinos is a nice hotel for El Valle, good choice!

USD 170 for Panama to El Valle / El Valle to Panama ? It is very cheap! Did they quote correctly? Normal price for one way should be USD 180.00... Note the transport from the Airport to the City is between 30-40 so 80 both way. Then, it is a 1.30 hours ride to El Valle.

Uber is perfectly safe and even safer than a normal cab who always over charge tourists.

El Valle, you can do some Zip Lining, walk up the India Dormida, There are some hot spring (very basic...) and a small Zoo. Spend time in los Mandarinos and enjoy a nice Spa and massage!

Kind regards.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2015, 07:22 AM
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Awesome!! We are so excited!! Thanks so much!!
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