Unesco recognizes the real Panama Hat

LA PINTADA, Panama (AP) — Cultural authorities at UNESCO have recognized the artisans of Panama for their distinctive woven hats. No, not those hats; the famed “Panama hat” comes from Ecuador.

Panama’s real contribution to the world’s hat heritage is the pintao, or painted hat, handmade from five different plants and a dose of swamp mud.

Production of the circular-brimmed hats is still a family affair carried out on a household scale. The industry’s center is La Pintada, a district about 170 kilometers (105 miles) west of Panama City.

“They don’t have anything (artificial), no machinery; no factory as such exists here in La Pintada,” said Reinaldo Quiros, a well-known artisan, and designer who sells hats out of his home. “Each artisan in his own home makes the hats maintaining the techniques taught by his ancestors.”

The widely known “Panama hat” is a brimmed hat traditionally made in Ecuador from the straw of the South American toquilla palm plant. The hats are thought to have earned their misleading name because many were sold in nearby Panama to prospectors traveling through that country to California during the Gold Rush.

Artisans of the truly Panamanian pintao hat start with the fibers of several plants that are cured and then woven into braids that are wrapped around a wooden form and sewn together from the crown of the hat down.

Pasion Gutierrez, 81, grows some of the plants around his house in El Jaguito outside La Pintada, while others are found high in the mountains. Gutierrez, his wife Anazaria and several of their children and grandchildren make pintaos.  His eyesight doesn’t allow him to do the fine needlework anymore, but he harvests, prepares and braids the fibers.

On a recent day, Gutierrez said he’d gone out the night before to cut agave leaves because they believe the quality of the fibers is best when harvested under a full moon.

“It’s no good with a new moon,” he said.

Several bands of fiber are dyed black with the leaves from a different plant and then stuck in mud for three days. The fibers are woven into fine geometric designs and integrated into the hat giving it its name.

“The pintao hat has become an integral part of regional outfits throughout the country worn during traditional dances and community festivities,” the United Nations’ heritage arm’s statement said.

Depending on the quality of the work some pintao hats can cost hundreds of dollars. Authorities estimate that 4,000 of La Pintada’s 25,000 residents work creating or selling the hats.

Pedro Mendoza, a 50-year-old hat maker, hopes that the UNESCO recognition takes the pintao hat beyond the country’s borders.

“It’s really good what’s happened,” he said. “The hat for us is a way of life.”

Original article:  https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/unesco-recognizes-panamas-hat/4180101.html 

New Hotel in Panama: Santa Maria Luxury Collection

A new and contemporary hotel just open doors in Panama City this month.  The beautiful Santa Maria Golf & Country Club.

The Santa María Hotel is a luxury hotel by the Starwood brand, as part of their Luxury Collection.  Located within the Santa María Country Club near the international Tocumen airport.

The hotel’s 182 accommodations allow the stunning city and golf course views, many from balconies. Feel at home with a coffeemaker, wireless High-Speed Internet Access, and a flat-screen TV with cable channels. Restful sleep is ensured by one king-size or two double Luxury Collection beds. Bathrooms clad in Italian marble offer refined amenities and bathrobes.   Suitable for both business and leisure, each Executive Suite includes a separate living area for meetings or casual gatherings. Two exclusive Deluxe Suites are distinguished by the best views of the golf course from outdoor terraces.

Balance and wellness are the goals of our world-class spa, whose 600 square meters include five treatment cabins, a Turkish bath, a steam room, a beauty salon, a relaxation area, and locker rooms. Yoga and Reiki sessions are held outside.

For more information on rates, special discounts and Events, contact our office at info@ecocircuitos.com  or for incentives info@discoversublime.com

EcoCircuitos merges with Panama Marine Adventures!

Panama City, February 16, 2018 – EcoCircuitos Panama has been a leading tour operator in Panama since 1999 and today we are excited to announce our merger with Panama Marine Adventures, Inc., a leader in the creation and development of high-quality experiential products for Panama’s tourism industry since 2003.  The merger is effective today, and the companies will combine business operations in the coming year.

Annie Young will continue as Executive Director in EcoCircuitos, with Jose Rodolfo de la Guardia joining the board of Director of EcoCircuitos. The companies have been providing high-quality services in Panama, Central America and will continue to operate as usual.

EcoCircuitos Panama, with over 18 years of experience, has been under the sole direction of Annie Young and now with this merge the company “will drive technology, new tour products, and innovation, addressing the needs of event planners, marketers, and international wholesalers”.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be partners of Panama Marine Adventures. Their high-quality service combined with our knowledge and talented team will create a leading tour operator and DMC committed to our clients and responsible travel in Panama”. Annie Young, EcoCircuitos.

“We are delighted to join forces with EcoCircuitos Panama team, whose reputation, talent and experience will expand our capabilities to develop new products. The merger will also enhance our expertise in the design and implementation of events, activities, transportation and program logistics”. Joselo de la Guardia, Panama Marine Adventures.

Discover Panama better than before with us! For details and more information contact our us at:

Annie Young J. – annie@ecocircuitos.com
Jose Rodolfo de la Guardia – jrdelaguardia@pmatours.net

New Luxury Collection hotel in Panama

The Santa Maria, a Luxury Collection Hotel & Golf Resort is the ultimate getaway world-class golf destination, located in the exclusive community of Santa Maria, a five-star enclave delivering bespoke experiences crafted for travelers seeking a deeper, more authentic connection to the places they visit. As a true Destination Authority®, the resort’s team of experienced concierges led by Les Clefs d´Or® invite guests to explore the hidden gems of Panama’s culture and to live unique lifetime experiences that are a reflection of its culture and its love for the outdoors. A place where explorers of today can experience the treasures of Panama.

santa maria


– 7 miles, 9 minutes’ drive from Tocumen International Airport (PTY)

– 8 miles, 12 minutes’ drive from Panama City

– Next to the business community of Costa del Este and Santa Maria Business Districts


This luxurious urban oasis boasts elegantly-appointed deluxe guestrooms and suites with authentic Panamanian design elements including the Guna Yala inspired traditional Mola bed runners, handmade baskets made by the Embera indigenous community and wood extracted from the depth of the Gatun Lake.

Offering 182 luxury rooms with stunning urban and golf course views including:

– 164 spacious Deluxe Rooms (52 Double Bedrooms)

– 16 One-bedroom Executive Suites featuring private living room and golf course views

– 2 exceptionally spacious Suites: The Master Suite and The Grand Suite beautifully decorated and privately set with dining room, living room, and stunning golf course views. The Grand Suite features a private terrace, perfect for a hospitality suite.



Is the centerpiece of the 285 hectares of the Santa Maria community. The 18 hole, 72-par Nicklaus Design private golf course is immaculately groomed to perfection. The golf course features rippling fairways, beautiful greens, and sculpted bunkers, forming the center stage of the resort and creating breathtaking views from nearly every corner.

For more information, please contact us at info@discoversublime.com  or info@ecocircuitos.com .  This is the ideal place for your meetings, incentives, and conventions.

5 Top EcoLodges in Panama

Panama is the best keep secret in Latin America.  My country is one of the best adventure travel destinations with amazing ecolodges surrounded by nature.   Panama is part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor and is known as one of the most biologically diverse countries in Central America.   There are more ecolodges in Panama and below you will see a list of my favorites.

Mount Totumas Cloudforest Ecolodge


Just 2 hours from David in Volcan is located this wonderful cloudforest Eco lodge a truly unique experience in Panama.  At Mount Totumas Cloud Forest there is a variety of accommodations and depending on guests preferences and budget.   I love the Cabin where I stayed with my partner and loved the amazing views of the National Park.   The ecolodge is located in the buffer zone directly bordering La Amistad National Park.  Guests can enjoy 8 marked trails through the reserve with access into the adjacent national park, which is Central America’s largest protected mountain wilderness area. Hot springs are also located nearby. In the Mount Totumas Cloud Forest Reserve there are keystone species presented such as Resplendent Quetzal, Three Wattled Bellbirds, Mantled Howler Monkey, Black and Crested Guan, White-Faced Capuchin, spider monkeys, mountain lions amongst many others.   The hotel has a sustainable practice and most of the employees and guides are locals who work as integral players in the operation of the hotel.  The owner brings her expertise in Asian and European cuisine to Mount Totumas and creates dishes drawing from their gardens  and the local produce vendors in Volcan.

Canopy Camp Darien

canopy tent

This is the best birding ecolodge to experience the Darien specialties.  The Canopy Camp Darien features eight large, safari-style tents that are designed specifically for use in environmentally sensitive areas; they are very eco-friendly. The tents are on raised platforms, to keep you up off the ground and dry in the lowland rainforest of Darien.  Each the tents occupies an area of 173 square feet and offer plenty of space to store your luggage, clothing, and gear. Large windows on all sides with flaps allow natural light and breeze to enter the tent during the daylight hours.  Each has two single beds or one queen bed, two tables, a floor fan and overhead light, and a solid plantation teak wood floor.  Each tent has a full private bathroom located directly outside of the tent on the platform.  Each bathroom has all the essentials – flush toilets and a shower that offers serene, private views of the surrounding rainforest.   Just a step outside of the tent, the platform offers covered space to relax in lounge chairs in the shade during the hot mid-day sun or an afternoon rain, with exquisite views of the jungle surrounding the camp from your own observation deck.

Tranquilo Bay EcoLodge


Discover the ecosystem of Bocas del Toro Archipelago through snorkeling, kayaking or hiking with one of the lodge’s biologist guides. Encounter uncounted birds, different monkey species, iguanas and much more during your stay, relax and refresh in a unique natural environment.The interior of each of the cabanas is tastefully and comfortably appointed with air-conditioning, local hardwoods, tile floors, fine linens and a calming color palette to welcome you at the end of your adventure each day.
 The Tranquilo Bay EcoLodge offers 6 individual cabanas, 4 with ocean view and 2 with rainforest view, and all equipped with either queen-size or double bed equipped with orthopedic mattresses. Additional beds for children are available upon request. The furniture is carefully handcrafted from local hardwoods, and every bedroom is equipped with a small seating area, reading lights and a small supply of books for leisurely hours. And if you prefer relaxing outdoors, there’s a covered porch with hammock and Adirondack chairs waiting for you. All cabanas have air conditioning and hot water, as well as coffee makers and hair dryers.  A covered porch with a hammock and Adirondack chairs awaits to help you escape the “every day” that you left behind when you enter the grounds at Tranquilo Bay.


Villa Tavida Ecolodge

 Located in a private reserve that has been protected for 25 years, Villa Tavida offers its guests the opportunity to escape from the modern day world. Surrounded in nature, guests have breathtaking views of a nearby waterfall and can easily be accessed by a hike down a nature trail to get a closer look. Villa Tavida is just 35 km from Penonome and approximately 50 km from Playa Blanca.  This exclusive guest house offers 5 comfortable rooms, all overlooking the waterfall Tavida.  Some units include a balcony and/or patio. Every unit has a private bathroom with free toiletries.  The lodge offers free parking on-site. Guests can enjoy a meal at the on-site restaurant. The services are aimed at promoting environmental, cultural and economic welfare.


Isla Palenque EcoResort

IP Rooms 3 4 Outside A

A beautiful island of  160 hectares of lush jungle, framed by 7 untouched beaches, house a number of wilderness trails and hidden spaces to be explored by guests of the barefoot-luxury Beach Suites (mid-2018) and Villa Estate.  The ecolodge is at just minutes walk from the beach and it offers an outdoor pool and a restaurant.  The accommodation will provide you with iPad. Featuring a shower, the private bathrooms also come with a hairdryer and free toiletries. Some rooms offer views of the sea and the pool area. Extras include a safety deposit box, linen, and a fan.  At The Resort at Isla Palenque, you will find a private beach area. Other facilities offered at the property include a tour desk and luggage storage. Daily guided tours are offered and the property has a large area with hiking trails.  An additional package must be purchased directly to the Hotel to include additional services : 3 daily meals at the on-site restaurant, as well as on-site guided tours and one round trip boat transfer per party between Boca Chica and Isla Palenque.We encourage you to travel different in Panama.  Explore the real and authentic destination and stay in unique properties that will make your vacation memorable.For more information on this ecolodges and other options in Panama, please contact us at info@ecocircuitos.com


The Arqueological Compound of Panama La Vieja

Approximately two miles from the Panama City center are found the archeological compound of the first city of Panama known as “Panama La Vieja” or Old Panama, founded in 1519 by Pedrarias Davila.  Fragments of walls and arches stand in an open park, recalling the splendor of the Spaniard’s first settlement on the Pacific Ocean.  From here, expeditions were mounted to conquer the Inca Empire of South America.  All of the wealth from Peru and Chile flowed to Spain through Old Panama.  Not surprisingly, the enormous quantities of gold attracted pirates like sharks to Panama’s water.  When Henry Morgan looted the city in 1671, Panama’s governor ordered the powder magazine burned, and the whole city went up in flames.  the capital was moved two miles to the west, and present-day Panama city was founded in 1673.  The most impressive structures remaining are the cathedral, that you can climb and have an amazing view of the City and market.   This is one of the spots not to missed if you visit our City.


Panama City gay guide: things to do

Panama City is often nicknamed The Dubai of Latin America because of its immense economic growth in recent years and impressive dense skyline. But unlike Dubai, this mighty Latin American metropolis has a far more welcoming gay life, in a country where although culturally conservative, is pushing towards civil union equality for gay couples.

Panama City gay guide: best bars, clubs, hotels and things to do

Most will associate Panama City with the famous canal, which is a reason alone to visit. The city is also the gateway to some gorgeous tropical beaches within Panama, like San Blas and further afield – Bocas del Toro.

We stayed in Panama City for a week and found it to be a lot of fun, full of things to do, plenty of trendy bars, but most importantly, we left with a thirst to return. This is our gay guide to Panama City following our experience here during our big Latin America trip.

 For more information click here