Adventure in Coiba National Park

Coiba national park

With the exception of the Galapagos and Isla del Coco, few places in the Americas are as exotic and biodiverse as this national park on Coiba Island. Due to its hard accessibility and the strict environmental protection, the island features pristine ecosystems and a unique fauna.

Coiba National Park consists of a group of Islands in the Pacific Ocean south of Veraguas Province. The park covers 270,125 hectares, of which about 80% is marine, the islands cover only 20% of the surface area. The waters around Coiba are very rich in life. There may be as many as 700 species of fish swimming in the waters around Coiba and some of those are present in large numbers.

While snorkeling near Coiba, you are often surrounded by hundreds of fish, mostly by small plankton-eating fish such as panamic sergeant majors and scissortails. The reefs are inhabited by morays, butterfly fish, angel fish, parrot fish, hawk fish, tile fish, moorish idols, wrasses, white-tipped reef-sharks (harmless) and many others. Occasionally, you may encounter a huge snapper, grouper or a nurse shark on the reef. The reefs are also home to turtles, mostly hawksbill and olive ridley turtles, but green turtles and loggerheads have been seen as well. The edges of the reef are often visited by blue-fin trevally and other species of jacks, trevallies, rainbow runners and occasionally schools of black-tail barracudas (harmless) also make a pass along the reefs. Wahoo, yellow fin tuna, sail fish and marlins roam the deeper waters of the park.

The island is home to 36 species of mammals, 39 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 147 species of birds. Some of the land animals have been isolated from the mainland for so long that they have evolved into different species. The Coiba agouti and the Coiba howler monkeys are a different species from those you encounter on the mainland. These two and the Coiba spinetail (Cranioleuca dissita), a bird, only occur on Coiba and nowhere else in the world. Coiba is also the only place in Panama where you can see flocks of the threatened Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao).

Check our Coiba adventure for more information.  We offer special discounts for students and groups.

For more information contact info@ecocircuitos.com  or call +507 3151488

Sublime Incentives with EcoCircuitos

By Annie Young J.

Incentive travel is becoming more popular in Panama since recently. We saw last year, more clients interested in real and authentic experiences for their Incentives, Rewards and Recognitions.

The trend is changing and we have to be more innovative and creative to bring more quality incentives to Panama and EcoCircuitos is in the lead with our Sublime Journeys Incentive chapter!

The demand is for experiential travel and our Sublime Incentives offers unique and authentic programs out of the box and customize to the participants.

We deliver programs that create an immersion in Panama maintaining the luxury demanded by the incentive travelers of today’s world. We want you to experience our amazing country and engage with the locals.

  • Adventure and Nature – From unforgettable wildlife encounters to challenging group activities, our team let you share incredible outdoor experiences.
  • Explore Panama- Whether by kayak, bike or on foot. We provide unique outdoor activities for groups of all sizes and participants of all levels of physical fitness.
  • Cultural Discovery- Cultural exchange broadens the mind and helps personal growth. The cultural activities of Sublime Journeys focus on providing exclusive insights into the culture, gastronomy and history of Panama. Encounter one of Panama’s seven unique indigenous groups.
  • Experiential and Authentic- Take a painting class in Portobello, learn how to make Panamanian ceviche with a local chef, experience traditional congo dance, or learn to dance Merengue with a local expert. Cosmopolitan nightlife of Panama City and the gourmet side of the country with our world class chefs.
  • Relax and Enjoy – We have the a great array of hotels for you, whether you you want to stay in the Old city, Downtown on the beach or in the rainforest.
  • Day cruise or excursion- Private sailing or Yachts for luxury tours to private islands on the Pacific side. Beach BBQ, Beach Volleyball, snorkeling, whale watching and more.
  • Community Outreach Activities – Commit to a social responsibility project helping a local school and sharing your time and energy with the locals.

For more information visit our Incentive page: www.discoversublime.com

We look forward to have you in Panama in 2017!

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!

Do I Need a Special Vaccination to Enter Panama?

You may need malaria prophylaxis if you are planning on traveling to remote jungle areas such as the Darien. There are several cases of dengue fever reported annually throughout Panama; so we generally recommend avoiding mosquito bites by wearing long clothes and using repellents. Yellow fever also exists in certain parts of Panama, mostly in remote Jungle areas like the Darien. We recommend consulting your doctor before your trip to decide, whether vaccinations are necessary or not.

Yellow Fever vaccination 

As of November 01, 2008, Panama requires valid Yellow Fever Vaccination to enter or leave the country for the following countries:

South America: Bolivia, Brasil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela.

Africa: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo Democratic Rep., Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leona, Sudan.

If you have any health concerns, we strongly recommend consulting your doctor or clinic before traveling.

For more information about Panama and our FAQs.  Please click here

Las Perlas off the beaten track

by Carina Forster

A weekend-visit to the picturesque archipelago of Las Perlas astonished me in several ways. While Panama is lush with occasional rain showers during the green season, the islands of Las Perlas hardly see any rain throughout the whole year. Just after a 1,5 hour boat ride from Panama City, you find yourself in a climate and landscape completely distinct from the rest of the country.

The islands are characterized by dry vegetation and palm-fringed beaches, which are amongst the most beautiful ones I have seen throughout Panama, with incredibly white sand and blue waters. The underwater world is spectacular with colorful coral reefs, tropical fish, turtles and rays. Furthermore, the islands are a paradise for bird lovers with hundreds of migrating species passing by in spectacular formations. From May to October humpback whales can be seen on their way to warmer waters.

Instead of visiting the well-developed island of Contadora, we decided to check out its larger, less developed and more economical neighbor Saboga. Without a doubt the beaches being just as beautiful as on famous Contadora, Saboga offers some nice hiking treks and deserted beaches just for your own. For adventurers, the charming village offers authentic local food and simple accommodation behind the police station with a spectacular view over the bay.

We asked a local fisherman to take us to Bartolome Island in the morning, having the little island completely for ourselves before other people arrived at around 11. This white-sanded Robinson Crusoe Island is perfect for snorkeling, with beautiful coral reefs and large colorful fish. And like if it was not perfect enough already, a large group of dolphins accompanied our little boat on the way back.

Blokarting: Sailing on Land

By Briana Reece

When people think of sailing, they mostly think they need water and a boat, but what if you could sail on land?

Blokarting, is an extreme sport created by combining hand gliding and land sailing, but what’s the difference between land sailing and blokarting?

Two words… hand steering. It all comes down to the fact that you can control the movement by steering your pod with the help of the wind.

The creation of this yatch dates back to 1999, when the New Zealander Paul Beckett, saw a fun, fast and compact toy, which would offer adventure to people of all ages, gender and even those with disability.

Now imagine you are placed into a small compact unit and it has two wheels in the back and one in the front. When you enter this small “cart or pod”, a seatbelt is placed around you and instructions are given. It sounds simple, you pull a rope to go faster, if you let it go your speed will decrease, and most importantly if you feel you’re going to tip over place your hands on the steering. Then you just sit back, grab the rope, place your hands on the steering and get ready to be blown away. Just make sure you’re not going against the wind.

The experience

It was scary at first, especially when you know you could tip over because of the wind. You feel like you´re in control, but at the same time you´re not because you´re depending of the wind to help you move. Having to pull or let go of the rope while trying to hand steer required coordination. It was like driving a manual car, the rope is your shift stick and clutch; and the hand steering is your steering wheel

There were times when one of my tires lifted, and my first thought was move towards the lifted tire and let go of the rope to maintain balance. It´s not easy at first, but once you get the hang of it, you´re able to enjoy the ride and feel the adventure, especially in every turn you take.

Having begun in New Zealand, Blokarting has managed to make its way to South Africa, Australia and will soon be available in the hidden and forgotten Island of Naos at Causeway, Amador.

Don’t miss this opportunity, check out Panama Landsailng Adventures for more information or contact us for reservations.

Sources:

http://www.blokart.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blokart

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_sailing

http://blokarts.co.uk/blokart-blog/4590803590

 

 

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.