Where to go in January? Panama!

by TravelLocal.com

There are hundreds of wonderful destinations across the globe to travel to, but how on earth do you know which to choose?  Travel Local selected 12 destinations to help you get your holiday daydreams on the track for 2018.  And Panama is on the list for January!

January:  Jazz Festival in Panama

Panama is a magical country, whichever way you look at it – endless

tropical beaches, exotic wildlife, and mountains covered in cloud forest

make it a dreamy holiday destination. In January, it comes alive in the

form of jazz! If you love music, you must visit at the beginning of the year

in order to get your toe tapping at the annual Jazz Festival in Panama

City, which will run from 15th – 18th January 2018. Since 2003, the

festival has attracted over 300,000 fans of this soul-stirring genre from

all over the world and is expecting 30,000 attendees in 2018. Mingle

with internationally acclaimed musicians and fellow fans in a vivacious

celebration – a perfect way to sample the lively Panamanian culture

before continuing on with your holiday, whether that involves sandy

sunbathing or seeking out sloths.

January in Panama is in the beginning of the dry season and therefore, the high season.

The diversity of Panama makes it a fantastic place to take a holiday.

When you visit, make the most of the varied opportunities – adventurous

travelers can delve deep into tropical cloud forest, encounter

indigenous peoples and explore the notorious jungles of the Darien.

Those looking more for relaxation can recline on sun-soaked sands with

the waves of the Caribbean sea lapping the shore. And, history-buffs,

don’t forget that famous canal!

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Educational and Academic tours

What is Authenticity?

Take as an example a photo you took of an indigenous woman in colorful clothes during your travels and imagine looking at it at home. Imagine knowing this woman’s story, having experienced her every-day life and the beauty of her culture and traditions. Imagine the difference it would make, if you would have taken the photo just when seeing this woman on the street on coincidence, without knowing anything about her. The only thing you would personally take out of this encounter is a nice photo, without the possibility of broadening your mind and knowledge.

The key in an authentic travel experience lies in interpretation and interaction. There is a difference between seeing something and understanding something, not only with cultural encounters, but also with wildlife watching, bird viewing or walking through an unknown ecosystem.

EcoCircuitos Academic Tours

EcoCircuitos is specialized in educational travel experiences. Our guides are experts in their field and provide in-depth insights and understandings from culture and history to biodiversity. These understandings foster authentic travel experiences as well as responsible encounters between travelers and nature, biodiversity and local people.

With being one of the most biodiverse places on earth, Panama hosts world-class biological and geological experiences. With its numerous indigenous communities, colonial towns, ancient ruins and the Panama Canal, the Isthmus it is also a top-spot for historians, anthropologists and architecture lovers. What is less known, is Panama’s extensive art scene; from numerous galleries in the capital, Afro-Caribbean remains and indigenous handicrafts to artisans dating back to colonial times.

Biodiversity Tour San Edwards University

Last week, our expert guide Fabio Trujillo led the Biology class of San Edwards University from Texas on their Academic trip through Panama for 15 days. The excursion started in the rainforest area around Panama City, continued to the cloud forest-covered highlands of Chiriqui and ended in the Caribbean archipelago of Bocas del Toro. With a focus on interpretation, the students gained holistic understandings of the different ecosystems, without losing the fun-factor through outdoor adventures like zip lining and snorkeling.

 

 

EcoCircuitos Pride Tours

By:  Carina Forster – Intern from Austria

Over the years Panama has become a multi-cultural place, influenced by a variety of different world-powers. Today it is considered one of the most open-minded countries for gay people in Central America. Even though Panama is a religious catholic country and gay marriage is still not legal, people are generally accepting on a personal level. The constantly growing Gay Community in Panama is very welcoming and accessible. Since 2005, a Gay Pride Parade is held every year and the famous annual carnival on the Peninsula Azuero has become an adopted holiday for Panama’s gay population.

Nightlife is extensive in Panama City; there are several Gourmet Restaurants, Clubs and Bars where you can party until dawn. During the day time you can find a variety of beaches, forests, and historical sites along with many other interesting things to see. Panama offers a wide variety of gay friendly hotels at amazing destinations. Weather you seek for party, luxury, adventure, family trips or a romantic time with your partner, Panama is the place for you to go.

EcoCircuitos offers various LGBT tours and vacation options throughout Panama:

  • Adventure Tours
  • Honeymoon
  • Beach Retreats
  • Romantic Tours
  • Family Tours
  • Educational Tours

Join our tours!  and work with the family!

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.

 

Biodiversity Museum in Panama

 

biomuseo2

Panama is known for the greatest man-made creation, the Panama Canal, but people don’t realize Panama`s emergence has great importance. Panama emerged 3 million years ago, creating a barrier between the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean, uniting two continents (North America and South America) and contributing to the migration of species North to South. This led to a monumental change in the biodiversity of the world.

Frank Gehry, the renowned Canadian architect known for the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain; after 5 years of waiting and 10 years of construction finally presents his uniquely designed Biodiversity Museum to tell the hidden past, inquisitive present and the attractive future of this small but flourishing isthmus that change the world.

Where is it located?  The Biodiversity Museum is located in a strategic spot on the Amador Causeway, you can see the contrast in Panama´s growing skyline, the greenery from Cerro Ancon and look out into the Pacific Ocean to see boats cruising towards the Canal.

The Exhibitions:  The Biodiversity Museum has eight galleries, presently five are hosting exhibitions.

Biodiversity Gallery:   When you enter the first gallery, you will listen and see the abundance of life here in Panama; not only its fauna, but flora as well.

Panamarama:   Be prepared to be transported into Panama´s ecosystem with the help of ten screens and audiovisual display.

Building the bridge: You will learn why Panama is known as the “Bridge of Life”, through the geological explanation of the emergence from the sea.

Worlds Collide:   Beware! The animals might come alive in this exhibition. When the two land masses, North and South America came together, Panama became one of the main stomping grounds for a diversity of animals.

 

The Human Path: The history from when the first settlers arrived to the Isthmus until the present is portrayed in sixteen columns, each representing an important story on the human and nature relationship in Panama.

Additionally they have three temporary exhibitions.

Giant Sharks and Tiny Camels – Present until Saturday, December 31, 2016.

With the Expansion of the Canal, new discoveries of fossils have been exposed.

 The Biomuseo of the Future – Present until Saturday, December 31, 2016.

You will have the opportunity to learn more about the future three galleries that are coming to the Biodiversity Museum.

 Gehry in Panama – Present until Sunday, July 17, 2016.

Why Panama? There´s a reason why Gehry choose Panama from other Latin America to build this museum. Learn more about this interesting story and it´s construction.

Museum Hours

Closed on Monday

Tuesday through Friday 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Saturday and Sunday 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

For more information on visiting the Biomuseo in Panama, contact us at info@ecocircuitos.com

 

Sources:

http://www.biomuseopanama.org/en/meet-biomuseo/galleries

http://www.biomuseopanama.org/en/eventos

http://elviajero.elpais.com/elviajero/2015/03/12/actualidad/1426171547_292795.html

biomuseo2http://dondeycuantopty.com/biomuseopanama/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tips when Traveling to Guna Yala/San Blas

 The San Blas Archipelago / Guna Yala is home to the Guna people. This province consists of numerous small islands and keys and part of the mainland. It is known picturesque scenery that consists of white deserted sandy beaches with palms, transparent blue waters, seafood and the colorful Guna culture.

For EcoCircuitos it is important to manage expectations to all destinations, but particularly San Blas Archipelago/ Guna Yala territory.  We would like to highlight the following:

  • Very rustic, it is not a luxurious destination nor a snorkeling or diving destination. It is a cultural destination.
  • Lodging is rustic with basic amenities
  • Take precautions for mosquitos, chitras, bats and other rodents
  • Be flexible, you will be on Guna time
  • Remember everything in this area of the country is operated by the Gunas under their rules and regulations
  • Tours can change due to climate and weather conditions

Flying to Achutupu or Playon Chico: Domestic flights to San Blas are operated in small planes that seat around 12 people and have the strict check in baggage limitations. Each person is allowed to check in 14kg and can carry a small bag. Don’t be surprised if the airline representative asks to weigh you as well.  They are very conscious of how much weight the planes can carry. This flight is approximately 30 minutes long.

When flying to Achutupu or Playon Chico it is possible your plane could make multiple stops, be sure to listen to the captain at each stop when he announces the name of the area. If you do not hear name of the stop, please ask the captain.

Achutupu Airstrip: When you arrive to Achutupu you will see an airstrip and a small one room concrete structure. Your host will be waiting for you to transfer you approximately 15 minutes to your lodge.

Playon Chico: When you arrive to Playon Chico you will see the airstrip and a long walking bridge that connects the airport area to the Playon Chico island. A representative from the lodge will be waiting for you to take you to your lodge, which is less than 10 minutes away.

Arriving by car to Carti (Please remember your passport): From Panama City to the coast of San Blas it can take approximately 3 hours. You will travel east along the Pan American Highway passing the Tocumen International Airport in the direction towards Darien. You will pass through one checkpoint. Eventually you will veer to the right and travel down a windy and curvy road that will take you through the Guna Yala Territory to the coast. There will be two check points, one will be a police check point and the other will be to pay Guna tourism taxes. The road is like a roller coaster and we recommend travellers with that are sensitive to motion to take motion sickness medicine just in case.

Once you arrive to Carti you will be met by your local host and will be transferred by boat to your lodge, this boat transfer could take approximately 20 minutes.

To take: enough cash ($100 max each for two nights/ three days, better to take more than less just in case. Also useful for some Kuna handcrafted products to buy on the island), a mosquito net, mosquito spray, toilet paper, shower gel and shampoo, sunglasses and high protection sun cream (the sun is really hard in the tropics), hat, towel, snacks and water, raincoat and camera/ gopro of course! Better to wear long clothes during the night.

*After reading this document and you still have questions or would like more details, please contact us at info@ecocircuitos.com or marketing@ecocircuitos.com