5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites that reveals Panama’s cultural and natural wonders

Did you know that Panama has 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites? Well if you didn’t, check this out!

Three Natural Sites

Since 1981: Darien National Park

This incredible National Park in the Eastern part of Panama, on the borders of Colombia, is home to an extraordinarily rich flora and fauna. It has a variety of habitats from tropical forests, mangroves and swamps, wetlands and beaches. Two of Panama’s indigenous tribes the Wounaan and Embera have their home in this incredible park. It has 169 identified mammals, to name some of them: the near threatened jaguar, the endangered tapir, bush dog and the capybara. Darien National Park has a lot to offer if you are in love with nature and incredible biodiversity!

 

Since 1983: La Amistad National Park and Talamanca Range- La Amistad reserves

The Talamanca Mountains are enclosed by this breathtaking national park and reserves. It is considered to be the tallest and wildest mountain range in Central America. There are numerous ecosystems and landforms, such as rivers, valleys and lakes which were shaped by glaciers. Also in this national park you can find an incredible amount of different animals: 215 mammals including the Puma and Jaguar and abundant bird, amphibian, reptile and fish species. Don’t miss this incredible biodiversity and unique scenery!

Since 2005: Coiba National Park

This unique island  once was a penal colony and along with other 38 smaller islands and its surrounding marine area is the Coiba site National Park. Abundant marine life such as whales and tiger sharks has its home in the surrounding marine area. The variety of endemic flora and fauna on this wonderful island is due to years of separation from the Mainland. You really should discover the natural beauties of the island, but always in a sustainable way!

Two Cultural Sites

Since 1980: Portobelo-San Lorenzo Caribbean Fortifications

The forts of Portobelo and San Lorenzo, listed as endangered, were constructed by Spanish colonialists to protect the first town of Panama Ciy which had become a very significant trade center. The forts continuously suffered attacks by pirates. It really is an incredible site, as it provides very important information about the defense system which was used in the 17th and the 18th centuries!  Don’t miss the site for the real Pirates of the Caribbean.

 

Since 1997: Panamá Viejo Archaeological Site and Historic District of Panamá

The Panama Viejo Archaeological Site and Historic District of Panama dates back to the 16th century, and is the oldest European settlement along the Pacific coast. In 1673 it has been burned to the ground, so it was located in Casco Viejo.

Significant information on various aspects of the social life, communication and the economy can be read through the ruins. Numerous Churches, medieval houses, the presidential palace and the Salón Bolivar are cultural landmarks in the historic district. Follow the the steps of the Spanish empire in Latin America in this beautiful site and book a historical tour with us.

Panama has so much to offer – besides of an incredible nature and biodiversity, our beautiful country has a very significant history. Our local guides will take you through an unforgettable cultural, historical and natural experience through our beautiful country! For tours or more information contact annie@ecocircuitos.com or visit our website http://www.ecocircuitos.com.

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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

Jazz Festival in Panama

By Juliette Darmon

For the 14th edition, the Jazz Festival takes place in Panama City, from the 10th to the 14th of January 2017.

This celebration is a cultural project where the creativity, exchange, talent and inspiration made of this event a real international reference which welcomes more than 20 thousand people each year.

For 2017, the festival is proud to dedicate the event to the famous singer Violeta Green, for its contribution. Thanks to the help of the government, private companies, non-governmental organizations and a large public, the capital of Panama becomes the backdrop of world jazz for 4 days.

It is the most important event of the year that the Danilo Pérez Foundation undertakes.

So book your tickets online NOW, join this event and enjoy the 25 artists of this festival!

Few words about the Panama Jazz Festival’ story:

Everything began in 1965 when Danilo Pérez Urriola (father) decided to use the music for young people in troubles, in the province of Colón. He wrote a thesis about how the music can help these young to practice their creativity and becoming good citizens.

Afterwards, his son, the famous jazz pianist Danilo Pérez Samudio, decided to create some free music classes for young people and, after some studies in the United States, he became a prominent Jazz figure and established the famous music program Jamboree Juventud de Panamá in 1980.

After various helps in some Jazz programs and many concerts and master classes in Panama and all over the world, he decided to start the International Jazz Festival in 2003. He also finally founded the Danilo Perez Foundation in 2004, in order to organize educational events and doing of these programs, a sustainable project that can reach all the country.

He wants to make of this event, a real international jazz festival of the highest category. The first year, the Festival welcomed over 8 thousand people and more than 200 music students.

On the 11th edition, the Festival attracted more than 25 thousand people and over 2 thousand students from all over the world.

Since its beginning, they have counted more than 220 000 persons worldwide.

The Panama Jazz Festival is made of music lessons during the week from 9am to 4pm, followed by various concerts in different parts of Panama City.

From 4 to 6pm: Afternoon family concerts

From 7 to 11pm: Concerts in the Ateneo Theater

From 9pm to 2am: Jam sessions at Danilo’s Jazz Club

The music lessons are made up of instruments, composition, folklore, classical music, improvisation, musical therapy, and many other topics directly linked to music.

The professors who teach the lessons are the best students and teachers of the music schools, in partnership with the festival.

Furthermore, since the 11th edition, the total amount announced in grants during the Panama Jazz Festival, exceeds 3,5 billions of dollars.

Take part of this unique moment that is this Panamanian Festival.

Simple amateur or a big fan of Jazz, you will spend such a good time listening the 25 artists, dancing with your friends, meeting people and sharing your passion for music.

More than just a Festival, go to learn more about its story, enjoying the knowledge of its teachers and so more…

You won’t be disappointed, that’s for sure!

Escape to Veracruz Beach

At only 30 minutes away from Panama city, this little hidden beach named Playa Venado at Veracruz is a really nice place to relax a Saturday or Sunday.

Located in an area known for its several bars and restaurants, you will be immersed in a reggae, relaxed and casual atmosphere.  Fried fish and ceviche is a must and some local cocktails will be refreshing you while overlooking the views.

You can take paddling tours or classes with Paddle Paradise  or with Panama Stand Up Paddle Boarding Association, taking a fresh and traditional maracuya smoothie on the beach to relax while you are getting tanned, having lunch in a local restaurant with delicious grilled and fresh fish or any type of seafood, and ending your day with a lovely and yummy cocktail in the reggae bar at the sunset time.

Bring your camera and your good mood, and go to enjoy some free time in this original place, so close from the city!

GAMBOA RAINFOREST AND APPC

By Juliette Darmon

Nature, wild animals, birds, rainforest, amazing views… What a beautiful day in Gamboa, less than one hour away from the city!

Asociación Panamericana para la conservación (APPC) center rescues threatened wild animals finding in the middle of the jungle to save, care and heal them all year long before putting them back in their territory.

The owner, his wife and all the volunteers are really devoted to their job, and they will explain you with commitment and passion what their work consists in and how do they help these animals, but also what happened to them, how do they live, and even some touching personal experiences.

You will learn why a sloth is that slow, but also that they can usually live 15 years in nature against only some weeks or months, in captivity!

You couldn’t touch these little lovely creatures in order to not scared them but you will be so close that it’s going to be the same! And as me, you will for sure, enjoy taking some selfies with sloths! You will also love meeting the famous and gorgeous jaguar Fiona, rescued at the age of 3 months!

Note bis: Some volunteer experiences are available at APPC Center.

Under a beautiful and hot sun, we have boarded on an aerial tram in the middle of jungle where we discovered and learned a lot about wildlife and nature with our guide.

We had the chance to see wild sloths grabbed to trees, impressive ants’ nests but also amazing views of the jungle and canal while we were going up.

Once up, like us, you will enjoy to climb on the Gamboa Tower and chill out for some time to admire this beautiful view!

End your day by three wonderful and rewarding exhibits.

One about orchids and gorgeous flowers and plants you could find in Panama. The guide will make you smell some herbs, and you will probably smell one which seems to be chicken…! Really weird for plants, but true story!

Then, enjoy looking at these little colored frogs in a private greenhouse. Definitely cute yes, but from far away! These little animals are indeed venomous and better not meeting them on your way.

To end, let’s discover this lovely and relaxing butterfly house. Hundreds butterflies were flying above our heads, and we could watch them feeding with some mixture especially prepared for them. Learn the process from their eggs to their transformation in butterfly.
It’s always so impressive to learn about how the Nature works and what she is able to do… Did you know that the butterfly lifetime is about one month? Did you also know that when a butterfly’s egg becomes black it means that it has been infected by another insect or mosquito which would have put some venom inside? And that this egg will actually become the insect or mosquito in question later on? Really fascinating…!

After this instructive and enjoying day, your driver will drop you off to your hotel in the city, and as us, you could take some time to look at your beautiful pictures of the day!

If you are staying in Gamboa Rainforest Resort try visit APPC.

For more information, contact us info@ecocircuitos.com

 

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