A Fantastic Journey: Part 5

Barro Colorado Island

By Louie Celerier

Tuesday was another early starting day, 6:00 am to be exact, in order to get to Gamboa in time for the launch to Barro Colorado, the wildlife island refuge operated by the Smithsonian Institute in the middle of Gatun Lake. EcoCircuitos was, as always, right on time.
Barro Colorado is not for the casual tourist. This is a place for the study of insect, plant and animal life. Nevertheless, I wanted to go there and satisfy my curiosity about the place. I was fully rewarded, but the trip taxed my stamina. I had expected mild climbing and mostly even ground. This was not so. Much climbing and going steeply down was involved.
Arriving at the island around 8:30 am, we faced the first climb immediately. The dock was at the bottom of a very steep hill and the main building was quite a way up this hill. The steps I climbed rivaled anything in San Francisco, or so it seemed to me. Reaching the building with my lungs about to burst, I was faced with another set of stairs inside the building to go to the top floor. There, we were given complimentary coffee and, because they felt sorry for me, they let me have two delicious carimañolas left over from the staff breakfast, at no charge. After a short break, we were ushered to a conference room for a short lecture about what we were about to do and see. Some of it was above my comprehension, but several in the group were there to study and they really understood it all and could hardly wait to get started.
We left the building and immediately we were faced with a very steep climb into the forest. After climbing for a short, but difficult, time, we stopped because a group of howler monkeys had been spotted. They started howling when they saw us, but I don’t know who was making more noise, they with their howling, or I with my wheezing. The next series of climbs were more gradual and, because the naturalists in the group were involved in bird watching and plant admiration, I was able to rest a bit. Then, I broke from the group and climbed ahead until I came to a clearing with some crude benches. I picked the best of the lot and laid down to wait for the group. Thanks to this, I was fully refreshed when they caught up with me and I had no more trouble keeping up with the group from there on. Well, I lie a bit. The climbs were not as steep from there on and, after a while, we started to come down. Two and a half hours after starting our trek, we reached the main building again.
This time we were fed an excellent Panamanian lunch. After a short rest, we were again ushered into the conference room for a bit more information and to answer any questions we may have had. By then, our main subject of conversation were the many ticks and chiggers we had picked up during our hike. It  became a game to see who could spot ticks quicker running up our clothes. By 3:30 pm it was time to catch the staff boat taking workers getting off work back to the mainland at Gamboa.
EcoCircuitos met us at the dock and took us to the big and beautiful Gamboa resort for refreshments before heading back to our hotel. We ran into some classmates there and, as much as I try, I cannot remember who they were. Please forgive me and make allowances for old age. If you read this, please remind me who you were as the suspense is killing me.
While at the resort, we had a good, but short rain shower. Something they tell me is not uncommon for Gamboa, even in dry season as it was then. We left the resort driving a bit through what is left of the town of Gamboa and photographing a beautiful Guayacan tree in full yellow bloom. I kept thinking back how interesting it might have been to grow up in Gamboa, isolated from the rest of the world and with all that bountiful nature around. Not for the weak at heart, I bet. Kids that grew up there must have wonderful memories and tales to tell.
The remaining houses in Gamboa have been refurbished and look very good, as the photos will show. I guess the folks living there are still working for the dredging division, as I believe was the case in the past. Correct me if I am wrong. The place looked very clean and neat.
Finally, we headed for our hotel in the city under a misty rain, which cleared after leaving the Gamboa area. That night I dreamed about climbing stairs and mountains.

Every Monday we publish part of Louis Celerier’s mesmerizing tale of how he rediscovered the country of his childhood. Subscribe to this blog or follow us on Facebook to make sure not to miss anything! If you also have a story you would like to share with us, or if you are interested in taking a Fantastic Journey yourself, let us know in the comments or by email at marketing@ecocircuitos.com

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Panama with Canal Transit January 17-21 and March 6-10, 2013

Join one of our small group tours on January 17-21 and March 6-10, 2013 that we are doing in partnership with a U.S. Tour Operator in Charlotte, NC.  The tour includes a full range of activities to take you through five centuries of Panamanian history as an international trade crossroad.  View details at:

Transpanama trail completed by Rick Morales

When the original pioneers began settling the land that is Panamá such a trail existed; however, to this day there is no single map outlining the original route or the settlements along its path.  By undertaking this project, the volunteers of TransPanama Foundation realize a tangible sense of participation in the making of Panamanian history.

Recently one of the top naturalist guides of Panama, Rick Morales, had an adventure of his life:  Trekking the Transpanama Trail from the border of Colombia to the border of Costa Rica.   It took him 2 months and 27 days of adventures and hard walk.  He encounter different towns and communities and had the opportunity to connected with the roots of Panama and the different beautiful people along his amazing trip.

We are proud to announce that Rick Morales is one of the senior tour operators working with EcoCircuitos Panama.  For more information on the transpanama check thelink.

For more information on trekking and adventures in Panama, contact us at info@ecocircuitos.com or call our toll free number 1-800-830-7142

Central America Travel Mart 2011

This year, the Central American Travel Market (CATM) will take place in Panama fom October 19 – 21.

The Central American Travel Market (CATM) is a vocational meeting, which features tourist offers from the Central American countries. It offers the opportunity to establish relationships between providers of Central American tourism services and wholesalers from major international markets: Europe (priority market), Asia and Latin America among others.

General Objectives

  • Promote the region as a highly competitive and multi-destination tourism venue in the international markets.
  • Increase the Central America market-share of international tourists, in turn creating more jobs in the tourism sector, higher incomes and promoting local development in Central America.

Annie Young Director and Founder of EcoCircuitos Panama will be attending CATM this year.  To request an appointment with us, please email at annie@ecocircuitos.com  For Panama, the CATM is a great opportunity for agents from all over the world to experience Panama and familiarize  with this new and amazing Central America destination!!

We are hosting a special event on October 21 from 5.00PM to 7.00 and involves hiking and a sunset cocktail in a privilege part of the city.  If you are interested in meeting our staff and learn more about our sustainable products for Panama, please contact us at info@ecocircuitos.com as we have limited space.   We are providing free transportation to the rainforest and back to the city on the day.

We look forward to meeting you in Panama!!!

Discover Coiba National Park

This national park and UNESCO World Heritage site is located in the southern part of the Veraguas province in the Pacific Ocean, made up of a group of islands. Coiba is the biggest island. The area of the land on the islands combined with the marine territory comes to the amazing total of 270,125 hectares (650,000 acres), making it one of the most extensive marine parks in the world. This park protects three different kinds of ecosystems: the island, reef and marine life. Due to its geographical location a penal colony was established here in 1910, the remains can still be seen today because of this situation the forest on the Coiba Island remained untouched.

For more information and itineraries to Coiba, please contact us at info@ecocircuitos.com

Fun day with the Kids from Casa Esperanza

Last Saturday the EcoCircuitos team invited a group of 8 children from Casa Esperanza on an unforgettable jungle boat tour at the Panama Canal and a visit to the Rainforest Discovery Center following our program of environmental education for the children in need.

The kids have the opportunity to learn about the tropical rainforest and the biodiversity of the Gatun Lake, the Panama Canal and the importance of recycling and protecting our wildlife.  They admire different animals as:  White face capuchins, howler monkeys, three toe sloths, American crocodile, green iguanas, river turtles and more.

After the boat tour the group did a mini hike on Sobarania National Park before the tropical rain started and then visited the Rainforest Discovery Center where the staff and our team and the kids played different games that explain the importance of the rainforest in our daily lives.

“It was a great and unforgettable adventure and I can´t wait to tell my friends”. Nadia a girl from the group commented before leaving them at the Casa Esperanza Center.  After the tour all the crew and kids enjoy a great and fun lunch in a local restaurant in the city.

 

Amigo de Panama!

Amigo de Panamá – Friend of Panama is an online training program for international travel agents. The expertise of travel agents on Panama as a product, is the number one priority “FRIEND OF PANAMA”.

Digital training through the Panama current information, provides access to the travel agent through advanced Internet, using technology.

This new model of training consists of brochures in digital format that serve as orientation guide and travel agent at the time of offering a trip to Panama.

For more information, please click here