A visit to the Volcano Crater in El Valle

By Raffaele Capomolla

Have you heard about El Valle de Anton? There you will find the crater of a dormant volcano that once used to be the largest of Central America, and it’s located just a 2 hours drive from Panama City. It is a great place for hikers and birders, but also if you just want to escape from the hot and humid weather in the city – this picturesque valley is 600 m above the sea level and offers a cool and pleasant climate. You will find a lot of attractions in El Valle, such as hot springs, canopy zip lines, butterfly gardens, waterfalls, rock climbing and hikes for all abilities!

Ecocircuitos offers exciting tours to visit The Crater of El Valle de Anton; just contact sales@ecocircuitos.com if we can help you with more information just let us know.  Our guides will made the difference and will take you to the secret spots in this natural jewel.

empanada

 

Secret Tip: Do you want to try the best Cheese-empanadas of Panama? Well, so you should absolutely go to Quesos Chela! It’s just in the middle of the way to El Valle, it’s a MUST-Stop, trust me!

 

A day in the Tropical Rainforest

By Raffaele Capomolla

Yesterday the EcoCircuitos team had the great pleasure to offer a morning rainforest tour to a group of travelers from Australia.  This group has been exploring different sights of Panama and yesterday  they have a wonderful day in the Rainforest.  We want to share with you some of the pictures of this trip.   Our guests enjoyed a delicious lunch with a stunning view over the rainforest and having some very beautiful Hummingbirds to bear company.

Our guests enjoyed a delicious lunch at the Rainforest Discovery Center, an environmental facility that focus on birds habitats.  They learn about the efforts in Panama to support conservation throughout the tourism industry.   The place offers stunning views over the rainforest and having some very beautiful Hummingbirds to bear company and to practice Photography.

Our naturalist guide Kenny Weeks was explaining the group about how Panama is the Isthmus that changes the world by becoming a bridge between continents and offering different interpretations of the tropical rainforest.

As  Tony Coates  mention in an interviewAll the animals of South America would be unique marsupials, like in Australia, very different to today because they would never have been invaded and overtaken by all the species that colonized from North America. The Caribbean and the East Pacific would be one ocean with similar species; today they are very different with corals reefs abundant in the Caribbean but without large supplies of commercial fish, whereas the Pacific has few small coral reefs and large important commercial fisheries. Humans from Asia might not have reached South America via the Bering Land Bridge from the north so different kinds of humans might have arrived, say, from Polynesia. Columbus might have sailed on to Asia! The Ice Age would have been different and Europe’s ports might freeze every winter like the Saint Laurence seaway does. El Niño and climates in other parts of the world might have been different in ways that we still do not fully understand.”

After lunch the group went for a nice hike through the trails surrounding the Rainforest Discovery Center at the core of the Soberania National park, more precisely the Pipeline Road called ‘Camino del oleoducto’, and went up to the top of the tower which has an incredible view over the tree tops. With a little bit of luck, you can see Monkeys, Sloths and beautiful birds in this amazing National Park.

For more information on this tour and others please click here

Escape the winter to Panama

There are many reasons to visit Panama. You have probably already thought of the Panama Canal, which is one of the world’s most famous feats of modern engineering. Maybe you have considered the exotic jungles or the weather, which is warm year round. But there is much more to discover in Panama!

Cultural Diversity – The Panamanian cultural diversity consists of indigenous groups who keep their culture alive today to Caribbean and Latin American sub-cultures with influences of the Spanish conquistadores and also the pirates. Today, the country’s population is made up of Chinese, Jewish and Arab neighbors living in harmony with people and backpackers from around the world. Making Panama a truly and colorful melting pot.

Wildlife – There are an incredible number of animals living in Panama. Roughly 230 types of mammals and more than 1000 bird species. This does not include the numerous reptiles, amphibians and insect species!  You can spot amazing wildlife at just 45 minutes from the City limits. Butterflies as large as your hand freely fly through neighboring rainforests. There are sloths, Howler monkeys, toucans, agotis, coatimundis and other animals that make their home within the city limits of Panama City. Just imagine what you may encounter in the countryside… tiny brightly colored frogs, ocelots, anteaters and more.

Different Places to Be – It is quite well known that Panama has superb rainforests. Jungle excursions are a definite option here. For a slight change of scenery, we recommend visiting the cloud forest in the highlands, where lush mossy trees are covered by the fog and where wild orchids flourish. But this not only what the country has to offer. There are mountains, where world-famous coffee is grown such as the Geisha; mangrove swamps and even a desert in Sarigua, Azuero. And we have coasts on both sides of the country, 2,500 kilometers of it to be precise. Numerous beaches and islands in the Caribbean Sea and off the Pacific Coast are waiting to be explored. Crystal clear waters meet white sandy beaches with the occasional coconut tree, Panama is the place to be! Coral reefs? Panama has those too. And it’s all within easy reach. All it takes is few hours’ drive or a short flight to arrive to a unique picturesque destination! There is even a national park inside the city limits of Panama City!

Things to Do – There are many things to do in Panama. Adventure? There is river rafting, rock climbing, snorkeling and wilderness expeditions in the jungles of Darien, just to name a few. Also there is great kayaking as well, mountain biking, horseback riding and many other outdoor sports. There are many great surfing and diving spots that can be found in both oceans and the wonderful beaches on both coastlines. And for those who have had enough activity, there are so many hidden island retreats and luxurious spa options. Panama’s rich culture offers arts, cultural celebrations, great food and drink and local fiestas.

Panama City – Panama City deserves a visit. The Biodiversity Museum by Frank Gehry, little art galleries and amazing restaurants are waiting to be discover by you. Every weekend brings a new event, festival, concert or an exhibition. The beautiful colonial old quarters (UESCO World Heritage Site) known as Casco Antiguo, is always worth a visit. The combination of the old and new Panama City offers traditional crafts and modern art; old buildings set against the backdrop of the modern skyline and the accessible National Parks. And don’t miss the Jazz Festival in January!

For more information contact us info@ecocircuitos.com

Why should you visit Panama during the rainy season?

By Juliette Darmon

Contrary to what you think, visiting Panama during the rainy season has many advantages.

And first of all, if the rain is scaring you, then you have to know that it’s also raining in dry season as it’s raining 200 days per year in Panama…! And despite the name “rainy season”, it is most of the time raining only one hour per day!

So rain is not an excuse for not visiting this surprising country in rainy season!

Favorable and worthwhile:

The first and not the less, is that travelling during this period is much cheaper than during the dry season. You will so enjoy nicest hotels and places for less expansive, and could spend your money in extras, something you may not afford during the dry season.

Attractive and greener:

For travelers keen on nature, you definitely have to visit Panama during the rainy season, when it is much more eye-catching!

Panama has one of the most spectacular untouched rainforest in the world. And precisely in this period of the year, the nature and rainforest are greener and more authentic. It is one of the most picturesque times of the year!

Furthermore, because of the everyday rain (one hour downpour), Panama is open up to plenty of water-based activities (white water rafting, surf along the Caribbean coast..). Indeed, the rivers and streams are about 23 feet (7meters) higher, meaning that every watering place, like river, creek and lake are navigable.

You will so have the opportunity to explore more of the waterways of Amazonia and discovering more plant and wildlife areas than in the dry season.

More wildlife, less crowded:

As flowers, blooms, tropical fruits and vegetables are more abundant in this season, you will for sure have the chance to cross a lot of monkeys, birds and other wild animals.

Animals don’t really like tourists and they more tend to hide during the dry season, when travelers get too numerous. Take the chance to be fully immersed in Panamanian nature and wildlife by coming in the rainy season!

And less tourists also means less crowded, and so more availabilities and choices in terms of hotels, restaurants, activities and so on…!

KEEP THAT CHANCE! Try the rainy season in Panama!

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