Boquete: A must-visit place in Panama

By Raffaelle Capamolla, intern

Have you already been to Boquete? If you are in Panama, this is a place you must visit! Boquete is the town, where Panama’s greatest coffee comes from. The many Coffee farmers produce and export one of the world’s best coffee. Of course, the small town is not a producer of big Volume, but definitely of great quality, such as the Geisha coffee.

Surrounded by the central mountain range and the Barú Volcano, it is also the place in Panama, where you’ll find cooler temperatures, compared to the rest of the country.  It is in fact an ideal place for people escaping the hot and humid weather in the lowlands.

You will even find fresh strawberries and savor many different types of honey! Boquete is just different to the rest of Panama. Nationals and Travelers from all around the world also come every year to assist to its main attraction, the Festival of Flowers and Coffee.

Not only the great fresh climate, the flowers, finest coffee, fruits and beautiful surrounding make this town unique, but especially the friendliness of the people living in this charming place. The people will let you feel at home and are very helpful!

If you plan to hike the Quetzal Trail and admire the resplendent Quetzal bird, or to hike to the top of Volcan Barú, Panama’s highest point, where you’ll have an amazing view over the pacific and the Atlantic Ocean, Boquete is a great hub to overnight. You can stay in Hotels, hostels, ecolodges, or even in a coffee farm. Imagine waking up to a cup of locally grown, roasted and ground coffee!

Boquete is a great spot for Adventurers from all ages: You practice do Zip Line, Biking, White Water Rafting, horse back riding, rock climbing, trekking, camping and much more! Of course Boquete is great for taking it easy too, and just let your traveling companions do the adventuring.

EcoCircuitos is your local expert when it comes to real experiences in Boquete. We’ve been exploring the area for many years, so whether coffee tours, guided hikings, birdwatching or tailor-made tours, we would love to organize an unforgettable trip for you!

Contact annie@ecocircuitos.com and visit our website http://www.ecocircuitos.com

 

 

 

Top 6 Reasons to travel to Panama during Green Season

Panama is worth seeing throughout the year! Not only the dry season is a good time to travel to the Isthmus, the wet and green season could be the best time to explore and enjoy different outdoor activities with less people and better prices.

Some of the reasons to visit Panama during the green season:

  1. Fewer Tourist walking the streets of Casco Viejo.  You can enjoy more time on the attractions without the crowds, have a reservation at one of the best rooftops restaurants and enjoy the beauty of this UNESCO site just for you.
  2. Lush nature in national parks and tropical fruits.  The green season is the best time to go hiking, wildlife observation or just trekking  in our national parks.  It is the time for the flowers, the birds and beautiful plants.   It is also the time for many of our tropical fruits, so get ready to taste new flavors!
  3. More water for paddling in river, kayaking and water sports.  If you are like me and enjoy paddling,  the green season is the best time for learning SUP or going kayaking in many places around Panama.
  4. Surf and Whale watching season.  The season for the humpback whale watching is starting in April and is the best time of the year to go and experience this amazing mammals.  Also good waves in both Caribbean and Pacific with less surfers.  You will have the waves just for you!
  5. Special Discounts in tours and hotels.  This is the best time to travel and get special rates.  The industry lower the rates during the green season and you will get the best deals from us.
  6. Discover the local culture.  Many national festivals and activities are held during the low season.  The national day of La Pollera on July 22 is one good opportunity to admire the national dress and hundrends of women wearing it on one day parade.  This is just one of many.

 

5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites that reveals Panama’s cultural and natural wonders

Did you know that Panama has 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites? Well if you didn’t, check this out!

Three Natural Sites

Since 1981: Darien National Park

This incredible National Park in the Eastern part of Panama, on the borders of Colombia, is home to an extraordinarily rich flora and fauna. It has a variety of habitats from tropical forests, mangroves and swamps, wetlands and beaches. Two of Panama’s indigenous tribes the Wounaan and Embera have their home in this incredible park. It has 169 identified mammals, to name some of them: the near threatened jaguar, the endangered tapir, bush dog and the capybara. Darien National Park has a lot to offer if you are in love with nature and incredible biodiversity!

 

Since 1983: La Amistad National Park and Talamanca Range- La Amistad reserves

The Talamanca Mountains are enclosed by this breathtaking national park and reserves. It is considered to be the tallest and wildest mountain range in Central America. There are numerous ecosystems and landforms, such as rivers, valleys and lakes which were shaped by glaciers. Also in this national park you can find an incredible amount of different animals: 215 mammals including the Puma and Jaguar and abundant bird, amphibian, reptile and fish species. Don’t miss this incredible biodiversity and unique scenery!

Since 2005: Coiba National Park

This unique island  once was a penal colony and along with other 38 smaller islands and its surrounding marine area is the Coiba site National Park. Abundant marine life such as whales and tiger sharks has its home in the surrounding marine area. The variety of endemic flora and fauna on this wonderful island is due to years of separation from the Mainland. You really should discover the natural beauties of the island, but always in a sustainable way!

Two Cultural Sites

Since 1980: Portobelo-San Lorenzo Caribbean Fortifications

The forts of Portobelo and San Lorenzo, listed as endangered, were constructed by Spanish colonialists to protect the first town of Panama Ciy which had become a very significant trade center. The forts continuously suffered attacks by pirates. It really is an incredible site, as it provides very important information about the defense system which was used in the 17th and the 18th centuries!  Don’t miss the site for the real Pirates of the Caribbean.

 

Since 1997: Panamá Viejo Archaeological Site and Historic District of Panamá

The Panama Viejo Archaeological Site and Historic District of Panama dates back to the 16th century, and is the oldest European settlement along the Pacific coast. In 1673 it has been burned to the ground, so it was located in Casco Viejo.

Significant information on various aspects of the social life, communication and the economy can be read through the ruins. Numerous Churches, medieval houses, the presidential palace and the Salón Bolivar are cultural landmarks in the historic district. Follow the the steps of the Spanish empire in Latin America in this beautiful site and book a historical tour with us.

Panama has so much to offer – besides of an incredible nature and biodiversity, our beautiful country has a very significant history. Our local guides will take you through an unforgettable cultural, historical and natural experience through our beautiful country! For tours or more information contact annie@ecocircuitos.com or visit our website http://www.ecocircuitos.com.

Adventure, Conservation and Education

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. Contact us and experience the real #Panama.

48 hours in Panama City – What to Do?

So you are traveling, your Stopover is in Panama City and you dispose of 48 hours to see the whole city? Well, of course you will have to do it in a rush – But 48 hours are sufficient to get a great taste of Panama, and it will certainly convince you to come back for a longer time and completely discover this beautiful country with its culture, nature and people!

Casco Antiguo

Let’s start very active – Day 1 in the morning!

Feel a bit of Panama’s nature – Go for a half day hike to Gamboa in the Soberania National Park, one of the most accessible national parks in Panama and keep your eyes open for beautiful birds and monkeys. Your EcoCircuitos guide will pick you up early in the morning for a 45 minutes drive along the scenic Gamboa Road. Your hiking Tour will be tailored to your physical abilities and interests!

In the afternoon

After Lunch you should rent a bike and cycle on the recently amplified Causeway, a narrow land-bridge built with rocks that were excavated during the construction of the Panama Canal, connecting four island next to the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal. The view on the Bridge of the Americas and the Canal is amazing and the ride very pleasant! As the Bio-museum is just on the road, have a stop there – You will be amazed of this incredible building designed by Frank Gehry!

Day 2 in the morning

You can’t leave Panama City without visiting one of the greatest and most impressive engineering feat – The Panama Canal. Go to Miraflores and visit the Museum, where you will learn about the whole history and the difficulties during the construction. And of course watch the giant boats passing through the canal!

In the afternoon

There’s no time to lose – Go to the fish market ‘Mercado de Mariscos’ and satisfy your stomach with a delicious Ceviche. Right after that, walk to Casco Viejo, the old, colonial town of Panama which is Unesco World Heritage Site and admire the beautiful architecture from the 17th century!

Time flies and 48 hours pass really quickly – but Panama has a lot to offer. So if you have the chance to come back you should definitely consider to visit the paradisiac beaches, the highlands and experience the beautiful culture. For more information just contact info@ecocircuitos.com !

 

Expedition to Darien and Guna Yala

Adventure, Conservation and Education

By Raffaele Capomolla

The Darien – A region of Panama, that is still unexplored, with an incredible biodiversity, stunning wildlife and a breathtaking beauty. The Darien is not just a place to go and see, but place you will admire, where you will literally feel the nature, which will offer you an unforgettable experience. I had the chance to accompany a group of biology students from the St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas through an adventure in Panama’s treasure of wildlife. The adventure started very early in the morning in Panama City, where we were picked up for a long drive to El Real in the Region of Darien. Once arrived there, we had to hike for 2 hours until we arrive to place called “Rancho Frio”, where we would overnight in tents and hammocks, exposed to nature, in the middle of this beautiful, virgin rainforest. The next day we went on a trail in the area, which beat all our expectations – we saw the impressive harpy eagle, a powerful and very beautiful prey bird. To finish this great trail our extraordinary local guides took us to a wonderful waterfall to have a swim and eat a snack in the middle of nature. We were impressed of what the Darien gave us to see; amazing birds, snakes, insects and amphibians. The region of the Darien is also habitat of the Jaguars; unfortunately, we didn’t see them, but that’s nature is – unpredictable.

Our next part of the trip was an incredible, cultural experience. We went to the Mogue indigenous community, where the “Embera” have their houses made of wood. We literally got to experience their way of living, their old traditions, their typical food and their language. We were impressed of the simplicity of their lives, with no electricity, no internet, just using the nature in a sustainable way.  I was touched of the answer of an Embera when I asked him: “How much meat do you eat? Do you kill animals for food every day?” And he replies: No, because if we kill a lot of animals in a short time, we won’t have enough”. It seems ridiculous, but this is something a lot of people nowadays still don’t realize – Such a simple and obvious answer, but too many people still continue to eat meat every day. We stayed a night in one of those rustic but very authentic houses of the Embera.

Guna Yala, San Blas Cultural Expedition

The last part of our trip was in the beautiful Archipelago of San Blas, called “Kuna Yala” in indigenous language. Not only we enjoyed the typical Caribbean, crystal-clear waters of the Atlantic ocean, but also the culture of this indigenous community, which had to fight a lot for their territory. We slept in comfortable, rustic cabanas and had fresh seafood every day. The Kunas are very organized and very proud of their culture, which they always transmit to future generations. I was picking up a coconut that fell from a palm tree and was first a little confused when a Kuna asked me to pay for the coconut I just found on the sand. But then I understood as he explained to me that the coconut is a very important and sacred object in their daily lives, because the coconut is still used as a payment method for goods. We had then the chance to visit the village and the Museum of the Kunas, where Mister Delfino explained us everything about the history, the culture and traditions of the kunas.

If you are planning to come to Panama, don’t miss the chance to visit the incredible, natural beauty of the Darien and the marvelous clear waters of San Blas. You will have it all in one – Nature, Culture and Adventure! The EcoCircuitos Team and our naturalist guides will be happy to organize this adventure for you. Just contact us!

info@ecocircuitos.com or annie@ecocircuitos.com

Traveling with Pets to Panama

Traveling with Pets with Air Panama

  • All animals must travel inside a cage or suitable container to size, test it to escape and spills. Make it tough. It can be handled safely by airline personnel.
  • When traveling the animal will be accepted only if the person who transports, present all documents required as proof of immunizations and health certificate.
  • No animal will be accepted for travel in the passenger cabin unless a guide or rescue dog accompanying its owner, carrying his harness or belt.

Cost to transport animals in the Plane

  • You will be charged for the transportation of animals at the fare of $ 5.00 per container. As long as it is within the weight of the passenger baggage allowance. The difference is paid as overweight.
  • According to Ministry of Health Circular No. 003-DGZ-DCZ of 06/03/2014 each pet (dog, cat, other susceptible species) that is transferred via air in commercial and private flights must have the vaccine anti-rabies.
  • Their owners have to provide proof (card or certificate copy) signed by a veterinarian, stating being immunized the animal against the disease. This document must be filed the health officer at the airport, otherwise the animal may not shipment.

Some Additional Tips

1. If your pet is in the cabin, they must fit comfortably under the seat in a pre-approved carrier.

2. If your pet is flying in the cargo area make sure they are kept in strong carriers that are well ventilated.

3. Carriers should also be just big enough that your pet can stand up, lie down, and turn around comfortably. (*Dr Becker recommends the Expand-A-Space pet carrier, $42.49 on petco.com)

4. Whether your pet is flying with you in the cabin or is banished to cargo, be sure to include dog blankets and toys, as they will be alone in a strange place, and these things will offer comfort.

5. Update your pet ID tags before you travel anywhere. If you get separated from your pet, it will be easier to locate and reunite with them with updated tags.

6. For safety in a car or plane and confinement in a hotel room, bring the pet’s crate so they have familiar surroundings.

Traveling with Pets on International Flights with Air Panama

  • Transporting pets on international flights is not allowed.