New Hotel Opening: Hotel Central

Are you ready to explore and learn about the Panamanian culture?
Let’s be immersed in the historic Casco Viejo and experience the new Panama Central Hotel.

Let’s (re)discoverthe historical, glamourous and luxurious Central Hotel Panama and its 135 guestrooms and suites immersed in a colonial-era and modern comfort, located in the middle of the Casco Viejo.
Since its opening in 1874 as the first hotel in the country, Central Hotel Panama succeed to become the meeting place for intrepid travelers, but also known/popular for its
excellence reputation.
You will also love their pool and its poolside lounge bar on the roof with a beautiful view on Casco Antiguo, their relaxing spa & beauty salon and their fitness center.
Do not hesitate to ask them for planning your private or professional events.
Their downtown location is perfect for discovering and undertaking several activities.
For more information click here

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.

New Coffee Farm: Finca Ceriana

Strategically located between the highlands and lowlands of Chiriquí, Finca Ceriana forms part of a privately protected area for the conservation of flora and fauna in the region.

One of Finca Ceriana’s unique characteristics is the number of bird species and other animals from the upper and lower mountain areas. The property is part of the biological corridor that hosts the famous volcano lagoons and a large variety of animal and plant species. Apart from being an important migration zone for birds, the biological corridor of the lagoons and Finca Ceriana is vital for the wellbeing of the protected areas of La Amistad International Park and Baru Volcano National Park. 

The farm offers its visitors easy nature trails for outdoor activities and particularly bird watching, a unique canopy tower, gourmet picnic, sugar cane mill and much more. The total area counts 10 hectares of protected land and nearly 3 kilometers of nature trails, in addition to one of the most beautiful views to Costa Rica’s Golfo Dulce and Osa peninsula as well as to Punta Burica in Panama.


Amazing Gastronomy in Panama

If you like Seafood, Panama offers a wide variety of options – with catch from the Atlantic or the Pacific, you will be delighted by the flavors and colors of the gastronomy of Panama.

This Central American Isthmus is a melting pot of Afro-Caribbean, Latin American and European cultures, and the gastronomy of Panama’s reflects the beautiful and diverse heritage: from simple and delicious ceviche from the Seafood Market to exquisite recipes with Organic ingredients.   Restaurants in Panama will please the most difficult and will tempt any palate. The Panamanian cuisine includes seafood with coconut rice, yellow curry, local herbs, accompanied by local fruits and vegetables such as name and yucca (root vegetables), corn, coconuts and plantains, organic meat and chicken and much more.  Come and explore the gastronomy of this amazing country and experience a wide selection of dishes in Panama!   For some restaurant options, click here.

If you would like to learn more about the different options or take a cooking class, contact us!


Festival Internacional de ARtes Escénicas Panamá 2014

El Festival de Artes Escénicas es el evento de mayor calidad en las artes escénicas, teatro y danza en Panamá. Este año, contamos con participantes de países como Francia, México, Finlandia, Ecuador, Argentina, Alemania, Costa Rica y otros.   Se realizará del 27 de Marzo al 2 de Abril, en espacios como Teatro Nacional y Teatro Anita Villalaz, como podrá ver en la volante que adjunto al correo y la programación.

This Full Moon: The “Nance”

From Biomuseo Blog

by Jorge Ventocilla

Genus Byrsonima has over 135 species; however, depending on how useful they are for human beings, there is always one species that stands out. In this case, it is the crassifolia species.

Byrsonima crassifolia, scientific name for the nance (Savanna Serret), is a flowering plant native to the American continent, with a natural range extending southern Mexico to Peru and Brazil. Undoubtedly, this is very popular in Panama. It is frequently found on the Pacific coast, close to either urban or rural areas and, in less numbers, in mature forests.

Besides mainland America, it is also found in islands of the Caribbean region as Trinidad, Barbados, Curaçao, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Dominican Republic and Cuba. And, of course, there are many popular names for this tree: changugu, chi, nance agrio, nanche, nanchi and nantzin, in Mexico; nancito or crabo in Honduras; crabo also in Belize; doncela and maricao in Dominican Republic; peralejo in Puerto Rico and Cuba; tapal in Guatemala; chaparro (meaning short in English…maybe they use this word because of the size of the tree), mantequera or noro, in Colombia; mirixi or muruci-da-praia, in Brazil; and so on…

Its yellow flowers grow in clusters or racemes. The small fruit is green when it first sprouts, and then turns yellow. It is abundant during the month of August. The fruit has a strong scent when ripe. Its skin is very delicate and the pulp is white and juicy, and it ranges from very sweet to flavorless. There are two types of fruits, one is very small, acidic and good for beverages (chicha) and desserts (pesada de nance). The other is larger, sometimes too sweet, not suitable for beverages or pesada, but kids like to eat the fruit right from the tree.

On its natural habitat, its propagation is by seeds; however, it is easy to make it germinate by cutting. David Fairchild, a botanist who worked in Panama during the early years of the Canal Zone, wrote that he took some nance seeds to the United States Department of Agriculture. I have read that a few specimens exist in special collections in southern Florida; although, due to how easy its propagation is, I am pretty sure it has now spread to even more places where it is easy for nance to grow. It was introduced into the Philippines in 1918.

I will mention other uses for nance, besides the popular “chicha de nance” (beverage) and the famous “pesada de nance” (dessert prepared with nance fruit, sugar and flour). The fruit, when green, is good for dyeing cotton fabric: the skin gives a light-brown hue. The bark is used for giving leather a light-yellow tone. Branches are cut into small pieces and then grinded and spilled into the water to stupefy fish and make it easy to capture them. In Magdalena, Colombia, the fruit is boiled in water in order to extract an edible fat.

Nance is also used for making ice cream (I don’t want to post any free advertisements here, but I think many of you know where you can get this ice cream in Panama City). A nance liquor is also made in Costa Rica.
It also has medicinal uses: the bark infusion is used to halt diarrhea and also as an anthelmintic treatment. The wood is not highly durable, but it is used for making tool handles and small items. In some countries, it is used for making charcoal.

Nance is, certainly, one of those fruits that has a large number of fans on one side, and a large number of people who would tell you “thanks, but no thanks”, on the other side.

My recommendation is to give nance a chance. I must say I am one of those people who learned to value nance at an older age. I have to thank Maritza Samudio, Mary, for that. She makes a delicious “pesada de nance, with cheese and evaporated milk”. At home, we switched sides since we tried Mary’s pesada.

Here are some of Mary’s recipes:

“Chicha de nance”
Squeeze the fruit (use your hands if no blender is available). Use a strainer to get rid of the seeds. Add raspadura (unrefined cane sugar), mix together, add ice and voilà! If you use a blender the texture is more like that of a smoothie, and it even tastes better.

“Pesada de nance”
Squeeze and prepare nance, just as if you were making chicha. Dissolve corn flour (maicena) in water, separately. Then, mix these two together, add raspadura and cook in medium heat, mixing with a spoon (a wooden spoon works best) for about 25 minutes. Don’t leave it unattended. Simmer after it has thickened, uncovered, for half an hour, mixing every 5 minutes.  Serve with grated cheese (white Panamanian cheese) and evaporated milk.

As we can see, biodiversity is not only found in our museums, forests and oceans. It is also present at our table.

English translation by Sara I. Melo D.