Every child dreams about exploring jungles, admiring wild animals, and being an authentic adventurer. With EcoCircuitos Panama and our preferred partners, you can enjoy an exciting family vacation. We offer brand-new family experiences, developed through the eyes of our children. Our favorite adventure starts with a biking tour at the promenade of Panama City, after trying exotic ice-cream flavors in the colorful and Old Town. We will also visit the Caribbean side, where we will discover the Portobelo and San Lorenzo forts and will learn about the real Pirates of the Caribbean. Families turn into real explorers when spotting howler monkeys, unique birds as the Toucan, and crocodiles while learning about the ecosystems of the tropical rainforest on board of a jungle boat. Discover why Panama is the Isthmus that changed the world. Click here!
Category: Panama Canal History
Family Fun Adventures
This fun-filled trip is perfect for families who are ready to start an exciting adventure holiday in the tropics. Explore the natural beauties of Panama together with your whole family and keep an eye out for wild animals with your fun guide. Get ready for the vacation of the year!
Experience the facets of the Panama Canal in this great itinerary combining the history of this amazing feat of human engineering with the biodiversity of its lush rainforest surroundings in the Soberania National Park. Our guides are specialists trained to provide in-depth insights and understandings in their field, from ornithology, botany, and herpetology to history, culture and traditions. These understandings foster unforgettable travel experiences, as well as responsible encounters between travelers and nature, animals and local people.
On this unique adventure you will visit the Atlantic locks and the UNESCO site in Portobello and San Lorenzo, a magnificent example of 17th- and 18th-century military architecture, these Panamanian forts on the Caribbean coast form part of the defense system built by the Spanish Crown to protect transatlantic trade. What an unforgettable adventure for families! Recreate the real Pirates of the Caribbean!
Academic Travel in Panama: The Isthmus that Changed the world
Recently the Hanover College students participated on a Cross-Cultural Communication tour in Panama City, where they learn about Panamanian history and its culturally diverse society. EcoCircuitos Panama organize the program under our motto: Adventure, Conservation and Education.
In the video the EcoCircuitos Tour guide and staff leading the tour on an amazing week where history, interpretation, new discoveries, new friends and fun where part of the daily activities.
Video courtesy of Hannover Students.
Contact us if you are interested in Academic and Educational Travel adventures and want your students to gain a deeper understanding of Panama’s history, ecological and environmental culture. For details: firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to go in January? Panama!
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!
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.
You can check all visa and health requirements here
For more information about Panama and our FAQs. Please click here
Are you ready for the New Locks?
By Jennie C. Trow
The Panama Canal Expansion project has brought many new innovative changes to the Panama Canal and the way it is visited. Now you will visit the new Aguas Claras Locks Visitor Center instead of the Gatun Locks Visitor Center. Both locks will still be used by ships crossing the Canal. The Aguas Claras Locks were constructed to accommodate larger vessels that will transit the Canal.
The Aguas Claras Visitor Center was built in an ecologically conscious manner, taking advantage of its natural surroundings, allowing its visitors to not only have an amazing panoramic view of the Canal but also being in the middle of nature. Visitors will have the opportunity to watch a short movie about the construction of the locks, visitors center and the several Panamanians that were involved in the project.
Afterwards if you are up for a short adventure, walk along an ecological trail close to the Center and identify the different species the Panama Canal Rescue Team has relocated within the trail.
For more information, please contact us email@example.com
Cruising the Panama Canal
By: Carina Forster – Intern from Austria
The way to the dock itself already hosts one of the city‘s panoramic highlights: the Causeway, a road which is literally on the ocean, surrounded by water on both sides. Locals as well as tourists come here for jogging, biking or taking a walk while enjoying the stunning view of the skyline.
After a short bus ride leading through traditional canal villages and dense jungle forests you finally get to see what is considered one of mankind’s greatest ingenieuric feeds: the Panama Canal.
Starting with a nice and calm river cruise through canal landscapes, our little ship eventually reached the first lock. I heard in advance that ships are risen up to a total of 26 meters above sea level to cross the Gatun lake, but I just could not believe my eyes when I saw the sudden end of water behind the lock, making it look like our boat was on the edge of a cliff. I could not believe how incredibly high our vessel was, compared to the water level after the lock where we were about to go. And every year, 14.000 ships of several tons are lifted up and down this height, just by gravity! The technology behind this is amazingly simple, I actually could have thought of it myself, with a river dam-building experience of several years as a child. However, this simple technique is efficiently working like this since 100 years already, making the Panama Canal one of the seven wonders of modern world. Together with two other passenger ships and a huge mountain of cargo ship transporting 6000 cars, we were slowly sinking down, making testimony of this amazing technology and the incredible force of human kind.
Ending this epic cruise, reaching the Pacific Ocean, you enter a scene where cargo ships are peacefully resting in the bay at dawn, surrounded by gulls fishing for their dinner in front of the Skyline.
Best Diving and Snorkeling Spots in Panama
From: Dive Advisor
Panama was named after an indigenous word meaning, “abundance of fish.” This beautiful Central America paradise is one of the few places in the world where you can dive two oceans in one day. With the warm, tropical waters of the Caribbean on its east and the cooler waters of the Pacific on the west, it’s just a two-hour car ride between them in some places. Panama boasts 1,207km of Caribbean coast and 1,700km of Pacific coast.
On the Caribbean side, divers come for the abundance of colorful reef fish and corals. When rating the best diving in Central American, Bocas del Toro always comes up with its white sand beaches and many calm and the Bastimentos Marine National park. It’s a great place to learn how to dive and the marine life make it a great place to keep diving. Another popular spot on the Caribbean coast is Colon, only two hours from Panama City. Just offshore, the Portobelo National Marine Park has beautiful corals and the area is filled with a history of pirate battles and sunken ships. Sir Francis Drake died at sea in 1596 and his body, clad in a full suit of armour and in a lead coffin, is thought to be off the coast of Portobello.
On the Pacific side, cooler waters and currents make encounters with pelagic common. Lucky divers can see several species of shark, whale sharks, humpback whales, dolphins, and more. Coiba National Marine Park is often referred to as the Galapagos of Central America and has the second largest coral reef in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Pearl Archipelago also offers great options close to Panama City.
Just nine degrees north of the equator, Panama is hot and humid year round. The rainy season is May- November and the dry season is December-April (with less humidity and almost no rain.) Panama is not in the hurricane belt, but it can get strong winds from nearby storms. Air temperatures throughout the year range form 20-32C, being a bit cooler in the winter/dry season. Water temperatures vary between coasts. The Caribbean side the water can be as cool as 25C in the winter and as warm as 28C in the summer. Coiba can get as cold as 20C during winter and reaches a high of around 24C in the summer.
Best Spots to Dive in Panama
Coiba National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes 38 islands. Lonely Planet says it’s “The best diving to be found along the Pacific Coast from Columbia to Mexico.” Coiba gets the big stuff. Sharks can be seen on almost every dive including white-tip reef sharks, black-tip reef sharks, and occasional hammerheads, bull, and tiger sharks. Whale sharks are common visitors from December to April. Humpback whales are seen July through October and orcas and pilot whales frequent the area. Large schools of mantas and mobula rays sometimes swim by, and most dives have turtles, schools of large fish, angelfish, butterflyfish, and dolphins.
On the Caribbean side of Panama, close to the Costa Rica boarder, is Bocas del Toro. This archipelago of nine large islands includes the protected area of Isla Bastimentos National Marine. Bocas is known for its well-preserved hard and soft corals. Being outside of the official hurricane zone, away from large cities and river mouths, the coral is very healthy. It is estimated that 95% of the coral species found in the Caribbean Sea can be found within the archipelago.
Tiger Rock is rated one of the best dive sites around Bocas del Toro, and is three rock pinnacles that rise up from the sea floor at 40m. It’s an advanced dive and can have strong currents, but is a good place to see sharks, rays, large fish schools, whale sharks and dolphins. Its location requires perfect sea conditions for boats to be able to get there. Dolphin Rock is another offshore rock formation where sharks can be seen and has lots of colorful fish life. The diving is also very good around Zapatillas Cays, another more distant boat ride.
Closer to town, Bouy Line is a poplar shallow site (near a deep water channel buoy) that has sea horses, lionfish, crabs, and lots of morays. Hospital Point is near the north end of Isla Solarte and has healthy cauliflower and brain corals on a sloping wall. The dive usually has a slow current and is 15m deep max. Sashek is another drift dive between Bastimentos and Carenero that has rare long lure frogfish. Airport is a protected site good for training dives, and has lots of coral.
Also on the Caribbean side, but further southeast is Portobelo National Park. This is also a popular diving area with great marine life. Being closer to Panama City, people come directly from the city to dive this area that has great reef dives and several wrecks.
Water temperatures on the Caribbean side are warm year round (23-27C) and a 3mm is usually plenty. On the Pacific side, colder currents bring waters (15-23C), so a 5mm will be comfortable. For those doing deep dives in the winter, thermoclines can be present, so a 7mm might be useful.
If you are looking for good snorkelling one of the best spots is the San Blas Archipelago. In this Guna land is forbidden to dive with a tank but here you will find one of the most untouched coral reefs by mankind. The reef holds its beauty for decades now since people do not pollute the waters around it. The Kuna Indians or Guna indians live from the sea and hunt on it. They hunt the reefs and sandbanks by using simple snorkeling gear and do not over fish their own waters because they only take what is needed to stay alive. They are scared that scuba dives will kill the great schools of fish and leave the Kuna without food to survive. They will preserve the coral reef for future generations this way.
The rich sea life and the crystal clear water will give you plenty enough time to drift away from the world above water. One of the easy places to get in touch with this sea life is the shipwreck near Isla Perro. This place is perfect for people not used to snorkeling or scuba diving but also gives people that have done it before a nice challenge to spot all the sea life around the ship. Don’t forget to bring your underwater camera because spotting a wild turtle, shark or octopus isn’t a rare sight in the waters around the San Blas Islands. The best way to snorkel in San Blas is charter a sailing boat. EcoCircuitos Panama organize this adventure for you.
Ecocircuitos Panama: getting ready for the green season
Panama is worth seeing throughout the year! Not only the dry season is a good time to travel to the “bridge of the world”- as Panama is called by locals. Many people think that the green season is the better time to explore this country since- as the name suggests- everything is green and blossoms. An additional benefit is that hotels and tours are available much better since there are fewer tourists in the green season. Tours like hiking and kayaking can be more worth seeing when the plants and trees unfold their whole splendor. But also City-, sightseeing- and rafting tours are a good way to enjoy Panamanian “winter” since it is only a term indicating that it rains more often than on the high season. Not that it rains all day every day.
by Marius Leidig
Exploring the City of Panama, Central America
By Marius Leidig
In my first week here in Panama I tried to explore Casco Viejo on my own and I really thought that my guidebook would be enough to get all important information. Today I know that I was mistaking: There is nothing like a sympathetic, well-educated guide to explore a beautiful place.
But first of all I would like to introduce myself. My name is Marius and I am a German tourism student doing an internship in Panama. I am very happy to be part of the Ecocircuitos Team for five months. Right now I am part of the operations department.
Even if I like the work at our office a lot, I was happy to be invited to join a half day city tour with our staff guide Fabio Trujillo. I was very excited to see the old parts of the city with a guide who knows a lot about the history of Panama. At 9:00am we picked up our client who booked the tour. From El Cangrejo we headed for the outskirts of the modern city of Panama where we got a vivid description of the historic district. Fabio explained that Panama Viejo was the first city built on Panamas Pacific coast. Founded in 1519; Panama Viejo has been for more than 150 years an important base and reloading point for the captured treasures. A walk between the remaining ruins such as the tower of the old cathedral are perfect to put oneself into the position of Henry Morgan who was a famous pirate that attacked the city in 1671 which lead to a huge fire that destroyed most parts of the city.
After Panama Viejo has been destroyed, it was rebuilt in today’s Casco Viejo. So the old town of Panama became our second attraction. In my eyes, Casco Viejo is the loveliest and most colorful district of Panama City. It is a vivid place with plenty historical buildings and nice cafes and restaurants. Numerous varicolored modern street arts contrast the ancient buildings which creates a special atmosphere.
One of the attractions that stayed in my mind is the golden altar from Iglesia San Jose. When pirates attacked the city, the altar was painted black to cover its beauty to make it uncomely to the buccaneers. Obviously, the plan worked.
Passing plenty of indigenous street vendors we headed for the French quarter. Plaza de Francia with its monument dedicated to the French workers who died during the attempt to build the canal offers a great view to Amador Causeway and the impressive skyline of Panama City.
A visit at one of the best ice cream parlors I have ever been named Granclement in the Old Quarters was a worthy end of a special day in Panama!
For more information about this tour and others, you can visit our website www.ecocircuitos.com or write an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.