About your Panama Guides

Your guides are your gateway to the world of the tropical rainforest. Even if you don’t see a single animal, you’ll laugh; you’ll cry; and you’ll learn things. Each guide’s personality colors your experience of Panama, and reveals the richness and diversity of its people and culture. Guides provide education, insight into the culture, and knowledge of nature. Travelers who have decided to go it alone often end up wishing they had a guide.

Our partners wholesalers as WPA strives to use the best local guides available (EcoCircuitos guides)  at each destination on your adventure. At times, naturalists, biologists or biology students may be used as guides but are not guaranteed, nor are they always the best guides for the activity. You’ll find our guides have just the right mix of personality, knowledge and training to make your experience fun, safe, educational, and full of wonder. We’ve found that the best guides are the ones who live at each location and absolutely love what they are doing. Their enthusiasm and curiosity is contagious and will awaken the wonder–and the guide—in you.  You’ll find that spotting the wildlife yourself is half the fun! In addition to your guides, we’ll have bird and wildlife books and materials to help identify what we see. With thousands of different species of flora and fauna in each area of the country, and new species being identified each year, a rare siting could be the highlight of your trip!

Tipping your guide in Panama

EcoCircuitos recommends the following guidelines for tipping our guides, drivers and staff in Panama:

  • Naturalist guide:  US$15.00 – US$20.00 per person per / day
  • Day tour guide:  US$10.00 per person per day
  • Transfer driver:  US$2.00 per person
  • Tour driver:  US$5.00 per person per day
  • Tour boat driver:  US$5.00 per person per day
  • Hotel bellman:  US$1.00 per person per piece of luggage

International airport bellmen:  US$1.00 per piece of luggage

True People of Casco Antiguo

 EcoCircuitos Panama is proud to introduce a new sociocultural Panama City tour experience! This new option can be added to any one of our Panama City tours (Half or Full Day City Tour or Gastronomic Tour). Gain valuable insight on Casco Antiguo’s community from one of its past gang members, learn how “Casco” has transformed through its people to become the destination it has become today. Walk down side streets and alleys that still have not been restored, listening to untold stories that lay behind the historic walls. Your guide will take you back in time to when Casco was considered a red zone with violence, gang activity and no place for a tourist. This experience is perfect for the socially conscious traveler looking for undiscovered side of the gentrified Casco Antiguo. For more information contact: info@ecocircuitos.com    

Meet our Naturalist guides: Raul Velasquez

Raul is a passionate and dedicated tour guide, he was born in the Chiriqui Province among coffee farms and agriculture. He became a tour guide in 2008, he actively worked in the Pearl Archipelago when tourism was just starting in Panama. Raul guided whale watching tours as well as island day tours in the Archipelago and after 5 years working there he decided to come back to Boquete and start working as a naturalist and birding guide. He is a certified naturalist guide and MarViva guide. Birdwatching at the Ceriana Farm is his favorite activity and his favorite bird is the Three-wattled Bellbird. Raul enjoys showing Boquete to all visitors and encourages more people to visit the area. He currently resides in Boquete.

Favorite Bird:  Tree Wattle Bellbird

Boquete Bee and Butterfly Farm

By Jennie C. Trow

Last week we had the pleasure of visiting the Boquete Bee and Butterfly Farm during a site inspection in the Chiriqui Highlands. Emily Hawthorn, the owner of the farm gave us a warm introduction to the farm and what it’s visitors can expect when taking a tour. We visited the Honey house where visitors can taste and purchase variety of different honey products such as raw honey, creamed honey and honey combs. There are over 15 different varieties of honey products that are sold in her farm, some honey products are combined with ginger, turmeric, lavender, hot peppers and more. Each year the farm produces around 10-15 tons of honey.

During the honey tour visitors learn not only about honey and bees but also about the area, plants and flowers and why the Boquete bees are so special. Visitors will also get to observe petroglyphs on the property. In addition, they will be able to visit the Butterfly Farm that just opened about a month ago. The farm hosts over 35 native butterflies species and can be observed in the butter fly house and in a small educational area where different colorful chrysalises are kept before butterflies emerge.

This fascinating tour should not be missed on your visit to Boquete. For more information contact info@ecocircuitos.com  This tour can be booked individually or together with one of our culinary experience programs.

 

 

 

 

EcoCircuitos Pride Tours

By:  Carina Forster – Intern from Austria

Over the years Panama has become a multi-cultural place, influenced by a variety of different world-powers. Today it is considered one of the most open-minded countries for gay people in Central America. Even though Panama is a religious catholic country and gay marriage is still not legal, people are generally accepting on a personal level. The constantly growing Gay Community in Panama is very welcoming and accessible. Since 2005, a Gay Pride Parade is held every year and the famous annual carnival on the Peninsula Azuero has become an adopted holiday for Panama’s gay population.

Nightlife is extensive in Panama City; there are several Gourmet Restaurants, Clubs and Bars where you can party until dawn. During the day time you can find a variety of beaches, forests, and historical sites along with many other interesting things to see. Panama offers a wide variety of gay friendly hotels at amazing destinations. Weather you seek for party, luxury, adventure, family trips or a romantic time with your partner, Panama is the place for you to go.

EcoCircuitos offers various LGBT tours and vacation options throughout Panama:

  • Adventure Tours
  • Honeymoon
  • Beach Retreats
  • Romantic Tours
  • Family Tours
  • Educational Tours

Join our tours!  and work with the family!

Going where the wind blows

By:  Carina Forster – Intern from Austria

Punta Chame is one of Panama`s best kitesurfing spots and has made its name to the world for its excellent conditions from November to April.

Carina Kitesurfing

The spot is a strap of land with constant N-NE and side-onshore wind, perfectly suitable for all levels, as you will always end up back on the beach and not out in the sea.

My session on this wide sandy beach spot started with the mixture of excitement and respect I always feel when the powerful strength of wind is lifting up my kite. After walking a few steps in the crystal blue water, shuffling my feet to avoid stepping on the only danger of the spot – the sting ray – I got on my board and started moving over the ocean. Going faster and faster over the large and uncrowded bay, I felt the salt and heat of the sun on my face while the coastline was getting smaller and smaller. It is pure happiness you feel when every single part of your body and mind is becoming one with the kite in the sky and the board on your feet, using the power of the wind to move forward. It always astonishes me, how I control this phenomenon without having a single thought on my mind, except this foolish song that keeps coming up when I`m happy.

In Punta Chame you can have several sessions a day, starting in the morning and finishing with a sundowner surrounded by the golden lights of dawn. It is a dream spot with constant wind for smooth freestyle or speed rides.

The Spot

  • November- April constant wind
  • N-NE and side-onshore
  • All levels, great for beginners
  • Soft sandy beach, no currents, small waves
  • No crowds, large space for launch
  • Hot weather, warm water (sunscreen!)
  • Dangers: sting rays, small jellyfish

Facilities

There are four kite schools with equipment rentals and repairs, different kinds of places to stay (hotels, hostels, apartments, guest houses), a restaurant and a supermarket.

Getting there and away

  • By car: (1.5 hours) take the Panamericana from Panama City south and exit at the Punta Chame “sign”. Rough road for half an hour till Punta Chame.
  • Public transport: take a bus from the bus terminal on direction of “el Valle de Anton” or “Penonome”. Step out in Coronado when you see the big sign ‘REY’ (a supermarket on the main road). From there take taxi to Punta Chame.

Biodiversity Museum in Panama

 

biomuseo2

Panama is known for the greatest man-made creation, the Panama Canal, but people don’t realize Panama`s emergence has great importance. Panama emerged 3 million years ago, creating a barrier between the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean, uniting two continents (North America and South America) and contributing to the migration of species North to South. This led to a monumental change in the biodiversity of the world.

Frank Gehry, the renowned Canadian architect known for the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain; after 5 years of waiting and 10 years of construction finally presents his uniquely designed Biodiversity Museum to tell the hidden past, inquisitive present and the attractive future of this small but flourishing isthmus that change the world.

Where is it located?  The Biodiversity Museum is located in a strategic spot on the Amador Causeway, you can see the contrast in Panama´s growing skyline, the greenery from Cerro Ancon and look out into the Pacific Ocean to see boats cruising towards the Canal.

The Exhibitions:  The Biodiversity Museum has eight galleries, presently five are hosting exhibitions.

Biodiversity Gallery:   When you enter the first gallery, you will listen and see the abundance of life here in Panama; not only its fauna, but flora as well.

Panamarama:   Be prepared to be transported into Panama´s ecosystem with the help of ten screens and audiovisual display.

Building the bridge: You will learn why Panama is known as the “Bridge of Life”, through the geological explanation of the emergence from the sea.

Worlds Collide:   Beware! The animals might come alive in this exhibition. When the two land masses, North and South America came together, Panama became one of the main stomping grounds for a diversity of animals.

 

The Human Path: The history from when the first settlers arrived to the Isthmus until the present is portrayed in sixteen columns, each representing an important story on the human and nature relationship in Panama.

Additionally they have three temporary exhibitions.

Giant Sharks and Tiny Camels – Present until Saturday, December 31, 2016.

With the Expansion of the Canal, new discoveries of fossils have been exposed.

 The Biomuseo of the Future – Present until Saturday, December 31, 2016.

You will have the opportunity to learn more about the future three galleries that are coming to the Biodiversity Museum.

 Gehry in Panama – Present until Sunday, July 17, 2016.

Why Panama? There´s a reason why Gehry choose Panama from other Latin America to build this museum. Learn more about this interesting story and it´s construction.

Museum Hours

Closed on Monday

Tuesday through Friday 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Saturday and Sunday 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

For more information on visiting the Biomuseo in Panama, contact us at info@ecocircuitos.com

 

Sources:

http://www.biomuseopanama.org/en/meet-biomuseo/galleries

http://www.biomuseopanama.org/en/eventos

http://elviajero.elpais.com/elviajero/2015/03/12/actualidad/1426171547_292795.html

biomuseo2http://dondeycuantopty.com/biomuseopanama/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend getaway: Historic Portobelo and Caribbean Beaches

By:  Carina Forster – Intern from Austria

Insider tipp: Last weekend I explored the charming small town of Portobelo on the Caribbean Coast which is a hotspot for Panamanian weekend retreats; however, it still remains mainly unexplored by foreign tourists. The only way of getting there- except from day tour with a tour operator EcoCircuitos Panama – involved a bumpy ride in a colorful old school bus, where happy salsa music loudly went along with the roaring old engines of the rattling bus.

It was hard to believe that this laid-back village has once hosted Central America`s most important harbor. Only the old ruins and the UNESCO forts, which are spread out all over the charming fishing village, prove of its glorious past.  If you tour with a naturalist and interpretative guide you will travel to the battles between Pirates and Conquistadors.

A short boat ride away, I found cast-away Caribbean beaches, where lush rain forests meet white sand, turquoise waters and coral reefs. And while already being astonished by the unreal beauty surrounding me, two toucans were peacefully flying over the picturesque bay, forming a scenario like in a dream.

If you are interested in this tour and many more, please contact us for more information.  We offer snorkeling tours in the Caribbean side of Portobello.  Contact info@ecocircuitos.com

New Tour: Skywalk in the Highlands

EcoCircuitos Panama is excited to offer a brand new skywalk tour in the Chiriqui Highlands! This 3-4 hour tour will take you on a 25 minute drive into the valley behind Boquete town, during the drive you can admire the countryside, coffee farms and more as climb into the valley. Upon your arrival you will be given a briefing about the 5km loop that will take you over 5 Skywalk bridges that range from 1,600 – 1,800 meters over sea level. Walk through the treetops of the cloud forest, keep your eyes out for exotic bird species and other animals native to the area. Admire the surrounds scenery as your guide, interprets the ecosystem that surrounds you.

IMG_0412 (2)
Skywalk the Highlands
Bridge Details
Bridge 1 Length: 135m/Height: 40m
Bridge 2 Length: 70m/Height: 15m
Bridge 3 Length: 110m/Height: 55m
Bridge 4 Length: 110m/Height: 70m
Bridge 5 Length: 85m/Height: 44m

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skywalk Tour Detail
Time 3-4 hours
Distance 5km
Hiking Level Medium
Restrictions Children 5 and under not permitted
Includes Private transportation, private guide, entrance fees,
Optional Lunch

 

 

Blokarting: Sailing on Land

By Briana Reece

When people think of sailing, they mostly think they need water and a boat, but what if you could sail on land?

Blokarting, is an extreme sport created by combining hand gliding and land sailing, but what’s the difference between land sailing and blokarting?

Two words… hand steering. It all comes down to the fact that you can control the movement by steering your pod with the help of the wind.

The creation of this yatch dates back to 1999, when the New Zealander Paul Beckett, saw a fun, fast and compact toy, which would offer adventure to people of all ages, gender and even those with disability.

Now imagine you are placed into a small compact unit and it has two wheels in the back and one in the front. When you enter this small “cart or pod”, a seatbelt is placed around you and instructions are given. It sounds simple, you pull a rope to go faster, if you let it go your speed will decrease, and most importantly if you feel you’re going to tip over place your hands on the steering. Then you just sit back, grab the rope, place your hands on the steering and get ready to be blown away. Just make sure you’re not going against the wind.

The experience

It was scary at first, especially when you know you could tip over because of the wind. You feel like you´re in control, but at the same time you´re not because you´re depending of the wind to help you move. Having to pull or let go of the rope while trying to hand steer required coordination. It was like driving a manual car, the rope is your shift stick and clutch; and the hand steering is your steering wheel

There were times when one of my tires lifted, and my first thought was move towards the lifted tire and let go of the rope to maintain balance. It´s not easy at first, but once you get the hang of it, you´re able to enjoy the ride and feel the adventure, especially in every turn you take.

Having begun in New Zealand, Blokarting has managed to make its way to South Africa, Australia and will soon be available in the hidden and forgotten Island of Naos at Causeway, Amador.

Don’t miss this opportunity, check out Panama Landsailng Adventures for more information or contact us for reservations.

Sources:

http://www.blokart.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blokart

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_sailing

http://blokarts.co.uk/blokart-blog/4590803590