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

 

 

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New Hotel in Bocas del Toro: Turtle Beach House

Turtle Beach House is a four-bedroom,boutique style Bed and Breakfast. Our beach house is a short stroll away from one of Bocas longest stretches of beach – Bluff Beach (which is literally at the end of the garden).This is a municipal reserve and nesting ground for leather back sea turtles and Carey sea turtles. It is also home to some of the best surf in Panama. We are an eco resort with solar power and all of our water is rainwater collection. We aim for a low carbon foot print while maintaining elegant, comfortable surroundings.  Trip Advisor Green Leaders Gold Award for commitment to green practices.

Quality finishes and stylish contemporary Caribbean design are found throughout the breezy, relaxed holiday home. Granite and local wood counter tops adorn the well-appointed, open-plan kitchen with it’s stunning views across the garden and lawn down to the beach. Guests are encouraged to enjoy the comfortable sitting room and covered veranda.

There are four Master bedrooms, all with pillow top king-size or twin beds, soft linens, and decorated with cool, neutral tones.High power ceiling fans and the ocean breeze keep the rooms cool and comfortable. Each bedroom has an en-suite bathroom with shower and hot water. Furthermore, both of the upstairs master bedrooms enjoy wonderful jungle views,downstairs ,the two master bedrooms enjoy views of the beautiful mature garden .

Breakfast is a time to get together to hear about our guest experiences. This is also the time for us  to assist with recommendations and make reservations for  tours and activities  to ensure our guests get the most out of their stay .

For more information contact info@ecocircuitos.com

Panama Jazz Festival 2016

On January 11-16, 2016 the annual Panama Jazz Festival, one of the region’s largest music education events held in Panama City, marks its 13th anniversary. Since its foundation in September 2003 by Panamanian Grammy-winning pianist Danilo Pérez, the festival has become a cultural tourist attraction by drawing audiences from across the globe.

We are offering an amazing itinerary to take advantage of this beautiful event.

Jan 11 – Welcome to Panama!

Today at the appropriate time an EcoCircuitos representative will meet you at the Tocumen International Airport to assist and transfer you to your hotel located in Panama City. At this time you will also receive an EcoCircuitos information kit that will provide you with all the details for your stay in Panama. Once you arrive to your hotel, please check-in at the hotel.

Overnight hotel in Panama City for 5 nights in chosen hotel.

Jan 12 – Half Day Historical City Tour

During the half-day morning tour you will visit the ruins of Old Panama, climb up the Cathedral tower, visit the Old Panama Museum and then continue to Casco Viejo (the old city compound), which dates from the late 1600’s. A bilingual guide will describe the events in history leading up to the eventual movement of the capital city to its present location. Casco Viejo is home to monuments to Ferdinand de Lesseps and other Frenchmen instrumental in the ill-fated attempt of the French to construct a canal through Panama. Your tour ends with a visit to the Panama Canal Museum. (B)

 Optional Jazz Concert: MAIN ARTIST: Rudresh Mahanthappa Quintet

http://rudreshm.com

Show Opening: Joshue Ashby C3 Project

http://www.tvn-2.com/heroesporpanama/perfiles/joshue_ashby/

SHOW TIME: 8 p.m. Place: Ateneo, Ciudad del Saber

Prices from $20.00 – $200.00

 Jan 13 – Free day for Relaxing or optional tours in Panama City

For a list of tours visit: here

 Optional Gala night at Teatro Anayansi, Centro de Convenciones Atlapa

MAIN ARTIST: Danny Rivera y Danilo Pérez + The Pan-American Detroit Big Band

http://www.dannyrivera.com

http://www.detroitjazzfest.com

SHOW TIME: 8 p.m.

Prices from $15.00 – $200.00

Jan 14 – Free day for Relaxing or optional tours in Panama City

For a list of tours visit: here

 Optional Jazz Concert: MAIN ARTIST Randy Weston

Show Opening: John & Tom Patitucci 4et

SHOW TIME: 8 p.m. Place: Ateneo, Ciudad del Saber

 Jan 15 – Free day for optional tours in Panama City

MAIN ARTIST: MCA Power Trio (David Murray, Terry Lyne Carrington, Geri Allen)

Show Opening: Dominique Eade con New England Conservatory

SHOW TIME: 8 p.m. Place: Ateneo, Ciudad del Saber

Prices from $20.00 – $200.00

 ** END OF SERVICES**

 Price per person in double occupancy: from $499.00

 Includes:  all transfers, 4 nights of lodging + taxes, bilingual guide on tour, entrance fees to attraction, 24 hour assistance from EcoCircuitos staff, Panama kit including a PBA Stainless Steel bottle and lots of fun!

Getting to know our Indigenous People in Panama: The Ngobe

The Ngobe People (also spelled Ngäbe or Ngöbe) is the largest and most populous of Panama’s three indigenous comarcas.

The Comarca Ngäbe-Buglé was created in 1997 when the Panamanian government finally granted land rights to the group.  Their land covers approximately 6968 square kilometers comprising part of the vast Chiriqui, Veraguas and Bocas del Toro mountain range and some Caribbean side.

The Ngobe traditionally referred to themselves as the Guaymí– a term that simply means “people” in the Ngäbe language. The term is infrequently used today. More often, the Ngobe are referred to as Ngöbe Buglé—this is a union of the Ngobe (Ngöbe) and the Bokota (Buglé) Peoples who live together in the Ngöbe–Buglé Comarca (an indigenous province that signifies a high degree of administrative autonomy). Although both Indigenous Peoples are closely associated, the Ngäbe and Buglé are two separate linguistic/indigenous groups whose languages are mutually unintelligible.  Collectively, these two groups make up the largest indigenous population in Panama.

Historically, Ngobe subsistence relied on crop raising, small-scale livestock production, hunting, and fishing; however, external pressures on the Ngobe’s land has led to a significant decrease in local wildlife, which has forced many Ngobe to take part in a cash economy. As a direct result of this, the Ngobe-Bugle are considered to be the most impoverished of all indigenous Peoples in Panama.

Lack of sufficient infrastructure and under provision of social services by the government is often the root of many problems that plague the most rural areas of this communities.

Despite their past and present-day challenges, the Ngobe have largely maintained their customs, traditions and language. According to some estimates, there are more than 250,000 Ngäbere speakers.

Things to do during your vacation in Boquete

Boquete is a small town nestled in the green mountainous highlands located in the westen-most Chiriquí Province that boards with Costa Rica.  The Caldera River makes its way through this picturesque town.

Due to its elevation 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) above sea level, its climate is cooler than that of the lowlands. Its beautiful mountain landscape, temperature, and natural environment make it popular destination for the adventure traveler.

Our staff suggests the following activities while during your stay in Boquete:

  1.  White water river rafting –  Experience adrenaline-filled, world-class white water rafting in amazing scenic rivers.  We suggest the following outfitters:  BOA and Chiriqui River Rafting.
  2. Horse back riding tours – Boquete and Caldera offer amazing horseback riding adventures through the stunning Chiriqui landscapes. This local tour supports community farms in Boquete and use local farmers as guides. We suggest Franklin’s horseback riding.
  3. Hiking the Baru National Park – you don´t have to go to the top of the mountain to experience a great adventure.  There are several trails in the national park for all levels.   For safety always go with a local expert guide from  EcoCircuitos Panama.
  4. Los Quetzales Trail – this is one of Panama’s most spectaculars hiking trails of the western highlands. The 8km route takes between 5 and 7 hours. It runs between Boquete and Cerro Punta, crossing Caldera river.  For those in very good shape.
  5. Hot Springs and Caldera Petroglyphs – enjoy nature at its finest and discover Caldera’s famous hot springs. You will visit a typical town and walk to the petroglyphs where you will be able to observe part of the history of Panama’s indigenous past.
  6. Coffee Tours – Boquete offers some of the best coffees in the world and you can´t miss the unique opportunity to visit a coffee plantation, discover the processing mills and learn about how coffee makes it journey from the coffee bush to your cup.   Don´t miss to taste a cup of Geisha coffe from Ruiz coffee shop.
  7. Rock Climbing – Boquete is becoming a world-class rock climbing destination. You can learn from the masters and climb one of the most incredible natural columnar basalt rock formations with different levels from easy to very difficult.
  8. Birding tours in private reserves, national parks and pipeline trail – don´t miss the opportunity to admire a great variety of the species from the highlands of Panama.  The Resplendant Quetzal, Bell Bird and Volcano Hummingbird are some of the stars. Make sure to reserve a birding guide with our team!
  9. Canopy Adventure / Zip lining -glide on zip lines through the canopy of old cloud forest, high above rivers and waterfalls, an unforgetable adventure with 3 kilometers in total length and 12 different platforms.
  10. Try the local gastronomy of the area – we suggest El Pianista, Finca Lerida restaurant, La Roca, Panamonte and if you have time to drive towards volcan, why not Cerro Brujo Restaurant.

Kayaking Adventures in San Blas , Guna Yala

The Natural and Cultural Heritage of Kuna Yala

In close collaboration with Kuna authorities and under organized community managed sustainable tourism development frameworks, we’ll use our stable sea kayaks to explore the islands West of the traditional community of Digir. It was here where several important actions of the Kuna Revolution took place in 1925, resulting in law 16 of 1954 by the Republic of Panama that guarantees the Kuna their sovereignty and territorial boundaries.

A detailed study in 2003 by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the Kuna NGO, PEMASKY; showed that Kuna Yala has the highest diversity of coral species as well as the best reef development in all of Panama. We will become intimately familiar with them as our Kuna guides paddle with us between several different small white sand islands, where the greatest snorkeling is right outside your tent. The cultural interaction on this journey is unprecedented. The itinerary will remain flexible, to take into account weather conditions, currents and tides, and we expect an occasional non-paddling day to provide ample opportunity for exploratory hikes – bring good walking shoes for pristine forest creek bed trekking!

What to Bring to this Kayaking adventure:

  • Binoculars
  • Camera with extra batteries
  • Flashlight with extra bulb & batteries
  • Hat, day pack
  • Dry sack
  • Water bottles
  • Lightwight/quick dry cotton clothes
  • Windbreaker, rain gear
  • Sandals, sneakers, hiking shoes
  • Money in small denominations
  • Toiletries & personal medications
  • Snorkeling equipment
  • Bathing suit
  • Insect repellent
  • sunscreen

Do I need Visa to visit Panama, Central America

What are the requirements to enter Panama?

If you are visiting Panama you will require a valid passport and a return ticket.

Additional requirements vary according to nationality and are subject to change. Citizens from certain countries need a tourist card, others need an authorized visa and others do not need anything.  We recommend you to check with a Panamanian Consulate, Embassy, travel agency or an airlines that fly to Panama to obtain the most updated and accurate information.

The following countries DO NOT need a visa to enter Panama because their countries hold treaties with Panama that entitle their citizens to visit for up to 180 days without a visa:  Andorra, Angola, Antigua y Barbuda, Arabia Saudita, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Belarus, Belgium, Botsuana, Bhutan, Brazil, Bolivia, Bosnia y Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Canada, Czech Republic, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Corea del Sur, Costa Rica, Croacia, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, England, Fiyi, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Georgia, Gibraltar, Granada, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Holland, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Jamaica, Kenia, Kiribati, Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Kuwait, Letonia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg,  Macedonia,  Malta,Mauricio, Micronesia, Mexico, Moldovia, Monaco,  Montenegro, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zeland, Nicaragua, Norway, Palaos, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Rumania, Russia, Saint Kitts y Nevis, Saint Lucia, Salomon Islands, Samoa, São Tomé and Príncipe, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweeden, Switzerland, Tailand,  The Vatican, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, USA, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Citizens from these countries can apply for an extension for up to another 30, 60 or 90 days. Petitions are approved or denied on a case-by-case basis. Immigration recommends you apply at least a week before your time is up.

Do I need a Tourist Card to enter Panama?

If you don´t need a visa you won´t need a tourist card.   A tourist card can be purchase for only $5.

Nationals from the following countries DO REQUIRE a tourist card (US $5), available from Panamanian embassies and consulates, airlines serving Panama, border crossings, or at the international airport: Antigua, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Denmark, Granada, Greece, Guyana, Iceland, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, San Marino, South Korea, Suriname, Taiwan, Tobago, Trinidad, USA, Venezuela. In other words, if you are on this list, do not bother going to a consulate or embassy to get a tourist card: once you are on your flight you will probably be given one and if not, when you land on Tocumen Airport you will be able to purchase one before going through immigration.

Nationals from Chad, Ecuador, Egypt, Philippines, Perú, Dominican Republic and Thailand require tourist visas and should contact an embassy or consulate before coming to Panama.

There are two types of visas for Panama, “stamped visas” and “authorized visas.”

The so-called “stamped visas” let some travelers enter Panama several times throughout the year. This type of visa is only available through a Panamanian embassy or consulate, and the Panamanian authorities decide the length of the stay, which is usually 30 days per visit. Anyone who is eligible to visit Panama on a tourist card can apply for a stamped visa instead, although citizens of some countries are required to have a stamped visa. These countries include the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Georgia, Peru, Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe. As with other things in Panamanian officialdom, this list is subject to change.

Citizens of some countries are required to have an “authorized visa,” the most restrictive type of tourist visa. Like the stamped visa, this kind is only available through a Panamanian consulate or embassy. The officials will choose to either approve to decline the visa application, and will determine the length of stay. The majority of countries on this list are in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, or eastern Europe. These include Bangladesh, Cuba, Haiti, India, Pakistan, China, and South Africa, India, Indonesia, Iran, Irak, Jordania, Kuwait, Laos, Moan, Emiratos Arabes, Turkey, Filipines, Saudi Arabia, although the list is subject to change. The requirements can vary by consulate, so it’s a good idea to check with one before beginning the application process. It’s recommended to begin the application process at least a month before the start of travel.

Applicants for “authorized visas” will need to present the following documents:

  • A completed application form
  • A valid passport
  • A copy of the passport (including the pages that show entry and exit stamps)
  • A letter from a local Panamanian sponsor. The sponsor must also present a recent bank statement and utility bill. This letter can come from a Panamanian guide company or tour operator.
  • A copy of your ID or residence card from your home country
  • A copy of your most recent Panama visa, if applicable
  • Two passport-size photographs

Some consulates will require you to have proof of a round-trip as well.