Zika Virus in Central America and Panama

The World Health Organisation advise pregnant women or women who are trying to become pregnant against traveling to Zika-affected areas due to risk of birth defects.

Zika cases have been verified across Latin America, including Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Suriname, and Venezuela.

Travellers should take the basic precautions described above to protect themselves from mosquito bites.   The best protection from Zika virus is preventing mosquito bites. Preventing mosquito bites will protect people from Zika virus, as well as other diseases that are transmitted by mosquitoes such as dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.

This can be done by using insect repellent; wearing clothes (preferably light-coloured) that cover as much of the body as possible; using physical barriers such as screens, closed doors and windows; and sleeping under mosquito nets. It is also important to empty, clean or cover containers that can hold water such as buckets, flower pots or tyres, so that places where mosquitoes can breed are removed.

What is the Zika virus?

Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.

If Zika fever itself is usually mild, why is it getting so much attention?

In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infection in Brazil. The outbreak in Brazil led to reports of Guillain-Barre syndrome and pregnant women giving birth to babies with birth defects and poor pregnancy outcomes.

In response, CDC has issued a travel alert (Level 2-Practice Enhanced Precautions) for people traveling to regions and certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.

Is it safe to travel to affected regions?

Until more is known, and out of an abundance of caution, CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant:

Pregnant women in any trimester or women trying to become pregnant should consider postponing travel to the areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Pregnant women who do travel to one of these areas should talk to their doctor or other healthcare provider first.

What’s happening in Panama?

EcoCircuitos knows of no Zika cases having been reported by any of our clients and travelers, and the only area being affected so far is Kuna Yala in the San Blas Islands. However, local governments are beginning to advise women to consider postponing pregnancy due to the uncertainty of the virus and its connection to birth defects.

EcoCircuitos advice all tour passengers to travel sensibly, and to take preventive measures against mosquito bites, as one naturally does when traveling to the Tropics.  Any passenger who is pregnant or think they may become pregnant during or prior to their trip should contact their doctor and consider cancelling their trip in accordance with CDC/WHO advice.

We invite you to watch this video from WHO.

Advertisements

Whale Watching in Boca Chica: Featuring Bocas del Mar Lodge

Enjoy a luxurious bungalow room with panoramic views of the ocean and tropical gardens in the best boutique hotels in 2014. This is a magnificent place to view the migrating humpback whales.

Whale Watching

  • Ride in a fast and comfortable boat from the hotels private dock in Boca Chica, Chiriqui.
  • Observe humpback whales in their natural environment
  • Includes visits to beaches, including 2 deserted islands covered with palms in the Gulf of Chiriqui. Enjoy the white sand beaches, warm waters while touring the Bay.
  • Includes snorkeling (depending on the weather)
  • Observe other marine life such as dolphins and manta rays
  • Depart at 9:00am and return at 1:30pm, 4 hours of an unforgettable excursion (this includes beach time

Contact us for detailed information about this tour.

Cala Mia lodge in the Gulf of Chiriqui

This boutique hotel is located on the tip of an island in the Chiriquí province, 15 minutes by boat from Boca Chica and on the border with the nearly unexplored Chiriqui Marine Park, which provides habitat for birds, monkeys, dolphins, turtles and much more.  Each of the 11 individual air-conditioned bungalow suites with their thatched roofs have a “rancho” rest area, hammocks and big sofas for relaxing and generously designed bathrooms with hot water showers. With the ocean being never more than 10 meters away from your bungalow enjoy the cool evening breeze while looking out on the Pacific and the surrounding nature.
The restaurant, located on the highest point of the peninsula, offers stunning views of the surrounding area, while you treat yourself to one of the exquisite Mediterranean style dishes. Many of the ingredients are directly grown on the hotel’s organic farm. Meet other visitors around the big table in the evenings to revive age-old customs of storytelling and companionable silence as you watch the sun set.
Pamper yourself in the spa located on an adjacent islet accessible by a suspension bridge or enjoy the infinity pool on the shore. The hotel offers half and full day tours for the exploration of the nearby areas.

Mango Mango

Mango_TommyAtkins02_Asit

By Jorge Ventocilla

Mango production is different every year; and every season is different for each and every mango tree. Some experts say that it all depends on the characteristics of each dry season. They also say that different branches produce different amount of mangoes and I see mangoes everywhere.

Coming back from the countryside a few weeks ago, I was looking at the landscape through the bus window, at least visible areas not hidden by advertisements, and found myself counting how many mango trees were along the road (per kilometer). I counted a minimum of fifteen trees per kilometer.

There are so many mango trees in Panama that it may lead us to think that they are native to this country.  Truth be told, Mangifera indica, scientific name of the tree, comes from India; Eastern India, Myanmar (Burma) and Andaman Islands, to be exact.

For complete article please click here.

American Trade Hotel and Hall open in Casco Viejo

American Trade Hotel and Hall just open in Panama City, occupying a lovingly restored landmark building in Casco Viejo. The property stands at the ecological and cultural crossroads of  the Americas, deeply connected to both the historic Old Quarter and the nascent new Panama City – a meeting place for  influencers, creatives and cultures from around the world. The property and surrounding area are steeped in local heritage and culture, while the hotel has been thoroughly outfitted with the contemporary conveniences and modern luxuries today’s traveler requires.    The property is the result of a joint undertaking between Atelier Ace, Panama City-based Conservatorio, and Commune Design. American Trade Hotel is the first independent addition to Atelier Ace’s portfolio, which also includes the distinctive Ace Hotels.

The American Trade Hotel and Hall is a historical luxury property located in Casco Viejo – the old quarter of Panama City – a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, founded in 1673. The building was built in 1917 as a department store and bank with apartments on the upper floors, the American Trade building was designed by Leonardo Villanueva Meyer, the most prominent twentieth century architect in Panama City. Within walking distance of many historic buildings, fine restaurants, galleries, museums and concert venues, American Trade Hotel is a 50-room exclusive hotel.  (Room rates range from $189 to $609 per night.) Inside the hotel will be a jazz bar, a farm-to-table restaurant and a rooftop pool. Single-source Panamanian coffee will be roasted on-site and served in the lobby cafe. The hotel’s ballroom is housed in a neighboring Art Deco building that was once the Panamanian headquarters of First National City Bank of New York (later Citibank) – which was instrumental in financing the Panama Canal.  We are delighted to announce that EcoCircuitos Panama will have a tour desk at the American Trade hotel from January 2014.   For more information and rates contact us at info@ecocircuitos.com