Panama City Journals

"Panama, why Panama, all they have is a canal?"

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A February 2007 trip to Panama City by Saphira

Country Inn and Suites Panama Canal Photo, Panama City, Panama More Photos
Quote: "Panama, why Panama, all they have is a canal?" Our response, "Ah, that is exactly why we are going to Panama, because we know that most people won't be there." And just a secret between us, there is so much more to Panama than just a Canal.

Isla Grande

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Attraction | "Isla Grande, a Little Piece of Paradise"

Isla Grande Photo, Colon, Panama
Quote:
GETTING THERE- Isla Grande is about a two and a half hour drive and a short boat ride away from Panama City. If you are driving, just head to Portobello then follow the signs to La Guaira where you can find a water taxi to take you to the island. Since it might be difficult figuring out what to do with your car if you drive, taking the bus may be a better option. From Panama City’s main bus terminal take a bus to Sabanitas where you can catch a bus to La Guaira, then a water taxi to the island. The basketball court is a good point of reference when trying to navigate the small island of Isla Grande in Panama. If you stand facing the basketball court and go…RIGHT- The...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 11, 2010

Isla Grande
15 Km offshore from Portobelo
Colon, Panama

Panama Canal

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Attraction | "The Panama Canal/Mira Flores Locks"

Panama Canal Photo, Panama, Central America
Quote:
The jumbled mix of languages pained my ears almost as much as my trodden upon toes. People in the crowded lobby pushed and shoved, showing no courtesy or mercy. After two days of lounging on the beach with barley a soul around, the Panama Canal Visitors’ Center was a shock to our systems and initially left us a bit overwhelmed and disoriented. "Where did all of these people come from?" Clearly the canal was the tourist mecca of Panama. A virgin trip to Panama wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the canal, after all when we told people we were going to Panama they seemed to think the canal was the only thing in Panama worth seeing. THE MAIN DECK- After purchasin...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 11, 2010

Panama Canal
Connects Atlantic Ocean via Caribbean Sea to Pacific Ocean
Isthmus of Panama
272 3165

Panoramic Panama Tours

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Attraction

Panoramic Panama Tours Photo, Panama City, Panama
Quote:
The hotel lobby was crowded and bustling on that sunny humid Panama City morning. All of the bodies bobbed and weaved, attempting to find the groups which they belonged to. We planted ourselves by the staircase wondering how our tour guide would ever find us. I stood on my tip toes trying to scan the sea of heads and noticed one of the heads, one that was connected to a vibrant beaming smile making a beeline toward us. "Hello, you must be Saphira," she greeted, "you look exactly as Gustavo described you." I was already impressed. I had exchanged perhaps a handful of e-mails with Gustavo of Panoramic Panama as I was setting up the tour. Never once had I mentioned any physica...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 11, 2010

Panoramic Panama Tours
Casa 35, Calle Amelia Denis de Icaza
Panama City, Panama
+507 314-1581

Not Quite the Wildlife We Wanted to See

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Story/Tip

Quote:
So far the El Charco trail had been disappointing. The suspension bridge at the beginning of the trail at the Soberania National Park had been full of promise and potential. I felt like I was in one of those tropically themed sections of an amusement park, except this was actually real. I was sure we would spot all kinds of wild life on the trail. I wasn't counting the mosquitoes that were constantly dive bombing me due to my lack of foresight to bring bug spray. We traversed over slippery rocks, slogged through mucky waters and sweated through our t-shirts, and yet the only thing worth noting were some rather impressive fichus trees. In the distance we heard screams. Not terrified screams. It...Read More

Panama City-Free or Almost Free

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Story/Tip

Emerald Museum Photo, Panama City, Panama
Quote:
EMERALD MUSEUM Run by the country of Columbia, this former bank turned museum is located in Plaza Francia in the San Felipe section of the city. Though small, the museum is packed with information regarding how emeralds are formed, mined and turned into jewelry. The tour guide was sweet and enthusiastic and spoke several different languages. I’ll admit that we only stopped in because it was free and you can use the restroom, but we did stay for the tour, browsed the adjacent shop and found the whole experience enjoyable. I thought it was worth the time just to be able to get a look at the former bank vault (now a life size diorama of a mine) with its heavy massive door. Overall it’s a...Read More

Country Inn and Suites Panama Canal

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Hotel | "You May Like It"

Country Inn and Suites Panama Canal Photo, Panama City, Panama
Quote:
I released a rather exaggerated sigh as I gazed up at the hotel ceiling. I tossed and turned again and again but no matter the position, the bed’s springs continued to jab me. It was a long night with little sleep and now it was time to get up and start the day. I was feeling a bit grumpy as I stepped into the shower, but hopefully a nice hot shower would be just the kind of thing to lift my spirits. No luck. The water was frigid and so I did my best to get clean while touching the water as little as possible. I consoled myself by repeating the mantra, it’s okay the room is free, or so I thought.I can be a tad obsessive compulsive when planning trips. Mainly I just like to do wh...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on June 5, 2009

Country Inn and Suites Panama Canal
Amador Ave. and Pelicano Ave.
Panama City, Panama 8001
(507) 211-4500

La Estancia

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Hotel | "The Best Place to Stay in Panama City!"

La Estancia Photo, Panama City, Panama
Quote:
My eyelids sprang open like a pair of window shades as the aroma of bacon seeped under the crack of the door. The sounds of others starting their day lingered lightly in my mind. My bed was immensely comfortable and so I tried to beg my stomach for a few more precious minutes, but in the end my stomach won. I slid out of bed and set my bare feet on the cool tiled floor. The shower was perfectly warm and the water pressure was just right. My coconut scented shampoo will elicit found memories of Panama long after my vacation has ended. The common area was already bustling. Some guests were yawning and bleary eyed, while others were bright and bouncy. Spread across the counter wa...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 30, 2009

La Estancia
Casa 35, Calle Amelia Denis de Icaza, Quarry Heights
Cerro Ancon, Panama
(507) 314-1581

Panama-The Driving Experience

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Story/Tip

Diablo Rojo Photo, Panama City, Panama
Quote:
There is something about vacation that makes you less annoyed when people driving in front of you are moving slowly. Maybe you are just generally more relaxed or maybe it’s the different scenery. We were taking this laid back approach as we lingered behind a dump truck, making our way toward Panama City. Suddenly in the rear view mirror, we spotted a taxi that was approaching at a rapid speed. "It looks clear, I think I can pass this truck," braved Lord Vader. The taxi seemed as though it was about to kiss our bumper. The road was narrow and there was just enough room for us to pass the truck. As we were going around the truck, we heard a noise to our left. When I looked over...Read More

Riande Airport Hotel Resort

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Hotel | "Acceptable for One Night"

Riande Airport Hotel Resort Photo, Panama City, Panama
Quote:
In a perfect world, there would be perfect flights that all arrive at their destinations at about 2:00pm. Then by the time you get your luggage and procure transportation it will be time to check into your accommodation of choice. After a flawless check- in you can freshen up and head out for an eventful night on the town. Unfortunately it is not a perfect world and thus we found ourselves on a plane that was landing in Panama City, at 10:30 at night. After getting our tourist visas, breezing through customs, getting our luggage and signing our rental car agreement, we were finally on our way at 12:30am. Fortunately "our way" wasn’t that far.When we booked the flight we knew that it w...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on May 27, 2009

Riande Airport Hotel Resort
VIA TOCUMEN PANAMA
2430
507 291 9000

The Bank Photo, El Valle, Panama
Quote:
• The surest way to scream, "I’m a tourist!" is to wear shorts. Locals wear pants. If you are a girl Capri pants are fine. Lord Vader and I ended up really loving our cargo pants as they seemed to work best in the environment, especially when hiking.• Be aware that in small towns, ATMs can run out of money and it may take several days before the cash is replenished. We ran into this situation in El Valle where there is only one ATM in the town and it was out of cash, so we had to drive out of town to find another ATM. • There are a lot of stray dogs and stray packs of dogs that roam around just about everywhere, but especially on the beaches. They were completely harmless,...Read More

Punta Culebra

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Attraction | "The Smithsonian Tropical Institute"

Punta Culebra Photo, Panama City, Panama
Quote:
The audience held a collective breath as the acrobat applied her trade. Not only was she moving along the thin branch of an extremely tall tree, she was doing so while carrying her child. When her arm slipped each person gasped. They all held their arms loosely at their sides just in case they might have to catch her. She was so high up that one of the staff passed binoculars around so everyone could have a closer peek. Finally the dare devil mother reached her destination. Satisfied with her new location, she curled up into a ball and drifted off to sleep. A wave of enthusiastic applause rose up from the crowd. She didn’t seem to care that she had just spontaneously entertained an entire...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 26, 2009

Las Bovedas

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Restaurant | "Noshing in a Dungeon"

San Felipe at Night Photo, Panama City, Panama
Quote:
I imagine that his name is Felipe. He is a political prisoner. Dirty and half starved he nervously wonders what time of day it is, it’s difficult to tell when you are chained up in a dungeon. Suddenly the first trickle of water makes its way through the barred dungeon window, tracing a path down the damp stone wall. Soon water will begin pouring in, just as it does every day at high tide. Felipe is not worried about drowning, the water never gets that high, but his fate is almost worse, for at high tide, ravenous sea creatures enter with the water, looking to bite and nibble at Felipe’s exposed flesh. The salt water causes the wounds to burn mercilessly. His captures were truly creative for...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 22, 2009

Panama City Eats-The Short List

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Story/Tip

Country Inn and Suites Panama Canal Photo, Panama City, Panama
Quote:
ALBERTO'S Located on the Amador Causeway in the Flamenco section, this Italian restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating. I highly suggest the outdoor seating as it includes a refreshing breeze and interesting views of people readying their yachts. They have an ample variety of Italian dishes, but as it was lunch time, we settled on a pizza. The crust was thin and the sauce was a chunky pomodoro. The four cheese pizza yielded six slices, which was more than enough to tide us over until dinner. Two iced teas and one pizza cost $11.50 and with good food and enjoyable scenery, Alberto’s makes nice diversion from all of your sight- seeing.EL BARKO ...Read More