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

Let yourself be surprised by a fresh new chocolate experience!

By Juliette Darmon

In the middle of the authentic and historic quarter of Panama, El Casco Antigo, is hidden a fresh start tropical chocolate coffee.

Passionate by chocolate or just thirst for the country discovery, you will be able to taste some 100% artisan and natural chocolates, 100% made in Panama. The team will be pleased to explain you the chocolate process from its fermentation to its finish.

Fermented in Bocas del Toro, in the north west of the country, the cacao is afterwards naturally dried and then carried until Panama, where it is transformed in this delicious natural chocolate that you can taste at Oro Moreno.

It is also possible for you to visit the chocolate factory located in Panama, in order to better understand the transformation process.

Numerous and different flavors will surprise you.

From the amazing and smooth “maracuja chocolate”, going through the original and uncommon coriander chocolate or chili chocolate, or even the delicious Panamanian coffee chocolate, like me, it will be quite hard for you to stop…! And many other surprises await you.

Its authenticity, its bright color, but also its uncommon design, will incite you to not taste only one…! Served with a yummy cappuccino, expresso or hot chocolate, the artistic waiters will amazed you by writing your name or designing animals in your drink. You will also have the chance to taste their famous “fondue de chocolat” offered with fruits.

Ideal for small groups or couples, you will be immersed in a warm, friendly and relaxing atmosphere. You will be able to admire some crafts entirely made in chocolate, and even to buy some “bombones” or other chocolates to bring to your loved ones.

We offer chocolate tasting in partnership with this amazing boutique store.  Precisely with the help of our guides team, you will learn to taste and enjoy the chocolate purity by some specific technics.

Like Ecocircuitos, Oro Moreno proudly believes in the value of products which come out of the land. In this atypical showroom, you will become aware of the value and the strength that producers and manufacturers provide to the national economy.   In partnership with Oro Moreno, EcoCircuitos is the first tour operator in Panama to offer chocolate tours in the area.  Contact us for more information and private tours.

www.ecocircuitos.com

info@ecocircuitos.com

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.

 

 

 

 

Las Perlas off the beaten track

by Carina Forster

A weekend-visit to the picturesque archipelago of Las Perlas astonished me in several ways. While Panama is lush with occasional rain showers during the green season, the islands of Las Perlas hardly see any rain throughout the whole year. Just after a 1,5 hour boat ride from Panama City, you find yourself in a climate and landscape completely distinct from the rest of the country.

The islands are characterized by dry vegetation and palm-fringed beaches, which are amongst the most beautiful ones I have seen throughout Panama, with incredibly white sand and blue waters. The underwater world is spectacular with colorful coral reefs, tropical fish, turtles and rays. Furthermore, the islands are a paradise for bird lovers with hundreds of migrating species passing by in spectacular formations. From May to October humpback whales can be seen on their way to warmer waters.

Instead of visiting the well-developed island of Contadora, we decided to check out its larger, less developed and more economical neighbor Saboga. Without a doubt the beaches being just as beautiful as on famous Contadora, Saboga offers some nice hiking treks and deserted beaches just for your own. For adventurers, the charming village offers authentic local food and simple accommodation behind the police station with a spectacular view over the bay.

We asked a local fisherman to take us to Bartolome Island in the morning, having the little island completely for ourselves before other people arrived at around 11. This white-sanded Robinson Crusoe Island is perfect for snorkeling, with beautiful coral reefs and large colorful fish. And like if it was not perfect enough already, a large group of dolphins accompanied our little boat on the way back.

Panama and the Music of the Heart

 

Music unites all Panamanians as an integral part of our culture of happiness.   Our country is a bridge where our local Indigenous groups along with Spaniards, French, Afro-descendants, Zonians among others play an import role in building our cultural identity.

 

 

Panama has its own distinct sounds and the musical influence of our local indigenous population can still be felt today throughout the country.   La Saloma (local campesino yodeling), Mejorana (a five-stringeg guitar), tambores (wooden drums) and accordion are popular in the traditional folk music and are getting more popular amongst the new generation of local musicians that want go back to the roots by mixing folk and traditional with modern sounds.

Panama also boasts a vibrant history of calypso and mento music sung by nationally well-known musicians such as Lord Panama, Delicious, Two-Gun Smokey, Lady Trixie, Lord Kitty, and Lord Cobra.  Also Reggaeton is well known in Panama with the famous artists:  Nando Boom, Kafu Banton and El General.

Festivals such as the Annual Jazz Festival, Macro Fest and others are inspirations for local talents to create new and innovative music by mixing the sounds of Panama.  Come and discover the amazing sounds of Panama that reflect the country’s unique diversity.

Sandra and Samy Sandoval and Ulpiano Vergara for típico interiorano (Local typical music).

A generation of Panamanian rockers are: Los Rabanes, Señor Loop, Carlos Mendez, Los Miserables and Llevarte a Marte among others.

And the most international Panamanian musicians:  Ruben Blades a salsa solo musician and Danilo Perez a pianist and jazz star.