10 Best things to do in Panama City

There are a lot of reasons to visit Panama. You have probably already thought of the Panama Canal, which is one of the world’s most famous accomplishments of modern engineering. Maybe you have considered a tropical island or beach, or just the climate, which is warm all year round. But there is a lot more to Panama: read here some of our staff picks to do in Panama City.

1.  Visit Seafood market and walk or bike Cinta Costera towards the Casco Antiguo neighborhood while eating a fresh seafood ceviche.
2.  Take a tour at the Biodiversity Museum and hire of our naturalist guides for an introductory rainforest tour in the Metropolitan Park

3.  Bar hopping in Casco Viejo at night and don´t miss the Jazz Bar in the American Trade Hotel

4.  Historical City Tour– walking Panama la Antigua and learn about the Pirates and Conquistadors and the Canal zone era

5.  Kayaking the Panama Canal in the Gatun Lake and a visit to a local Wounaan community for handcrafts shopping

6.  Visit the Contemporary Art Museum and take a Art Cultural Tour with a local panamanian artist

7.  Hike, bike or wildlife observation at one of the many trails of the Soberania National Park

8.  Go on a historical trekking the old 8-mile Camino de Cruces Trail takes you through primarily tropical forest

9.  Ride the Transcontinental train towards the Atlantic side in one day: The Pirate trail and Panama Canal

10.  Enjoy the local gastronomy (tasajo empanada, carimañola, tortilla, yuca frita, and the seafood of Panama).

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Panama and Panama City for Short Stop Overs

A brief stopover or a short stay in Panama will surprise all its visitors! Within 30 minutes from the international airport you could be relaxing in a boutique hotel in the center of the colonial Casco Antiguo or a top-notch luxurious hotel in the Banking District, close to internationally known restaurants and Jazz Bars. Visit museums, parks, and historical areas all within the Panama City limits and just slightly beyond these limits adventure options are endless. Access national parks known for hiking, birding, biking, kayaking and cultural encounters or just have a day relaxing on the Pacific Coastline or a surfing adventure. Take a train to an area once owned by pirates or transit the engineering masterpiece, the Panama Canal!

EcoCircuitos can tastefully design short programs for our clients stay in Panama City that goes beyond the typical City Tour and Panama Canal visit by combining areas of interest and outdoor adventures.  The following are some our current tour options:

  • Rainforest and Ruins – Metropolitan Park, Old Panama and Casco Antiguo
  • Gastronomy Tour – Casco Antiguo, coffee tasting, chocolate production, ceviche, rum and beer tasting.
  • Inner City Tour – Casco Antiguo tour with ex-gang members that will tell you about the history of Casco.
  • Biking tours the rainforest and the City
  • Full Day City Tour (traditional) – Casco Antiguo, Old Panama and Miraflores
  • Half Day City Tour (traditional) – Casco Antiguo and Old Panama

The follow options can be used to tailor a city tour that fits your client’s wishes

  • Old Panama/Panama Vieja – Panama City’s first city
  • Cinta Costera – walking and biking area along the Bay of Panama that leads to Casco Antiguo
  • Fish Market – have a ceviche and people watch
  • Casco Antiguo – Panama City’s second city, colonial style. Home to churches and historical buildings, distinct architecture, shops, restaurants, hotels etc.
  • Amador Causeway – Stroll or bike along the Panama Canal, this causeway connects three islands Naos, Perico and Flamanco. You will find marinas, duty free shops, restaurants and Punta Culebra where Smithsonian has a small nature center and the Biodiversity Museum
  • Smithsonian Nature Center – open air marine center
  • Museums (see the list below)
  • Parks (see the list below)
  • Ancon Hill – Panoramic views of Panama City and the Canal
  • Miraflores Locks – Panama Canal
  • Panama Canal Forts

Parks

National Parks

Open: Morning to dusk

Metropolitan Natural Park

Location:

Open: Monday – Sunday 6:30am- 4:30pm

Rainforest Discovery Center

Location: Soberania National Park

Open: 6am-4pm

Museums

Biodiversity Museum

Location: Amador Causeway

Open: Tuesday – Friday 10am-4pm, Saturday-Sunday 10am-5pm

Contemporary Art Museum

Location: Ancon Hill

Open: Tuesday – Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 10am-4pm

Miraflores Locks

Location: Clayton Area

Open: Monday – Sunday 9am-5pm

Old Panama/ Panama Vieja

Location: Parque Lefevre, southeast of Panama City

Open: Tuesday – Sunday, 8:30am-4:30 am

Panama Canal Interoceanic Museum

Location: Casco Antiguo

Open: Tuesday – Sunday

Explore Panama with us!

Going where the wind blows

By:  Carina Forster – Intern from Austria

Punta Chame is one of Panama`s best kitesurfing spots and has made its name to the world for its excellent conditions from November to April.

Carina Kitesurfing

The spot is a strap of land with constant N-NE and side-onshore wind, perfectly suitable for all levels, as you will always end up back on the beach and not out in the sea.

My session on this wide sandy beach spot started with the mixture of excitement and respect I always feel when the powerful strength of wind is lifting up my kite. After walking a few steps in the crystal blue water, shuffling my feet to avoid stepping on the only danger of the spot – the sting ray – I got on my board and started moving over the ocean. Going faster and faster over the large and uncrowded bay, I felt the salt and heat of the sun on my face while the coastline was getting smaller and smaller. It is pure happiness you feel when every single part of your body and mind is becoming one with the kite in the sky and the board on your feet, using the power of the wind to move forward. It always astonishes me, how I control this phenomenon without having a single thought on my mind, except this foolish song that keeps coming up when I`m happy.

In Punta Chame you can have several sessions a day, starting in the morning and finishing with a sundowner surrounded by the golden lights of dawn. It is a dream spot with constant wind for smooth freestyle or speed rides.

The Spot

  • November- April constant wind
  • N-NE and side-onshore
  • All levels, great for beginners
  • Soft sandy beach, no currents, small waves
  • No crowds, large space for launch
  • Hot weather, warm water (sunscreen!)
  • Dangers: sting rays, small jellyfish

Facilities

There are four kite schools with equipment rentals and repairs, different kinds of places to stay (hotels, hostels, apartments, guest houses), a restaurant and a supermarket.

Getting there and away

  • By car: (1.5 hours) take the Panamericana from Panama City south and exit at the Punta Chame “sign”. Rough road for half an hour till Punta Chame.
  • Public transport: take a bus from the bus terminal on direction of “el Valle de Anton” or “Penonome”. Step out in Coronado when you see the big sign ‘REY’ (a supermarket on the main road). From there take taxi to Punta Chame.

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/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weather in Panama

Many travelers that come to Panama have doubts about the weather; we would like clear these doubts to help you with your travel planning to Panama!

The seasons            

Panama has a tropical climate and it´s divided in two main seasons: dry, which is usually from December to May, and rainy which we like to call the “green season”, from June to November. During the dry season, it usually doesn´t rain, but sometimes we can get a surprise sprinkle of rain. Due to the dryness, these months are good months to travel to Panama. Not only will you be able enjoy the wonderful climate, but you are able to be in the presence of a variety of birds, mammals and great flowers.

The rainy season doesn´t mean that the rain won´t allow you to enjoy Panama, on the contrary, during the rainy season is when Panama is the greenest and our favorite time to enjoy outdoors. You will be able to admire the growing flora and also take advantage of good deals off season, just make sure that if you´re planning an activity outside to check the weather forecast!

**Note: These two seasons don’t apply to all of the country. On the Caribbean side, which includes Colon, Bocas del Toro, and San Blas, might have rainfall during the whole year. Meanwhile in Chiriquí and Valle de Anton, there might be some rainfall during the dry season.

The Temperature

Year-round in Panama the temperature in the daytime usually ranges from 32ºC (90ºF) to 21ºC (70ºF) in the evening, meaning the day is hot and the night is cooler.

However it’s important to mention that the temperature varies according to geography. In the mountainous areas, such as Boquete and El Valle de Anton, the temperature annually may range from 12ºC (53ºF) to 15ºC (59ºF).

Facts about the weather in Panama

  • Even though we have a dry season, Panama´s humidity goes up to 80% all year round.
  • Because of Panama´s location you don´t have to worry about hurricanes.
  • February is the driest month and October is the wettest month
  • Rain can fall for more than 2 hours
  • It’s very rare and important to mention that in the mountainous areas, snow and frost may sometimes be visible, but not in large amount.

Just make sure to check the weather and temperature when booking your trip, to be able to have the best experience in Panama!

Source

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/panama/weather

http://panamainfo.com/en/when-best-time-visit-weather-panama-high-season-and-low-season

https://weather-and-climate.com/average-monthly-Rainfall-Temperature-Sunshine-in-Panama

http://geografia.laguia2000.com/climatologia/panama-clima-y-vegetacion

 

 

 

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

 

 

Surfing in Santa Catalina

by Carina Forster – Intern from Austria

The laid-back town of Santa Catalina hosts a charming mix of international surfers next to locals who are still catching lobsters with their bare hands.

While more experienced surfers test their limits in the world-class waves at a spot called the Point, the smaller but still quite powerful waves at close-by Playa Estero are perfectly suitable for beginners like me.

After making my way through the first set of breaks, the first thing I instantly did as I was surfing in Santa Catalina for the first time was holding on for a minute to admire the wild beauty of widely-stretched Playa Estero.

However, there is not a lot of time to enjoy this view, as waves are constantly rolling in, forcing every single part of your body and mind to concentrate on this very moment. At some point you see the perfect one, which is going to be your wave, and you start paddling, going faster and faster, giving all your strength until you feel the ocean taking you with it. You stand up, riding the wave, forming a part of this incredible force of nature. The pure feeling of happiness makes you forget everything else, it makes you swim out over and over again, until you reach your physical limits.

And there is nothing more pleasureful after an exhausting day of surfing than having some fresh fish for dinner while enjoying the sunset on abandoned Playa Estero.