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!
Celebrating 500 years since its foundation, in 2019 Panama City was designated Gastronomic Capital of the Americas. For many years, the country has been a treat for the food enthusiasts – particularly in September when Panama City holds Restaurant week. Panamanian cuisine is a mix of African, Spanish, and native American influences where dishes and ingredients, reflect our diverse and beautiful population.
Sometimes hot and spicy, the food is hearty with rice present at just about every meal. Seafood is excellent and abundant, especially along the Caribbean coast. The ceviche is superb, usually served with an ice-cold beer. Panama’s national dishes are a traditional chicken soup: sancocho de Gallina served with herbs, tamal de maiz (a type of polenta filled with meat), guacho de mariscos (seafood stew).
Casco Antiguo Food tours
One of the best ways to discover Panamanian cuisine is to eat and drink your way through Panama City’s historic Casco Antiguo district, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed old quarter, now home to some of the city’s hippest food and drink venues. Our tour includes a visit to a coffee roaster (here you can try a sample of the best coffee in the world: Geisha), a chocolate shop (sample a piece of organic chocolate from Bocas del Toro area), a rum house, a microbrewery, the seafood market (enjoy fresh and authentic ceviche), and a rooftop cocktail bar, sampling more culinary delights as you go.
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:
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
By Juliette Darmon
Spending a week-end in Casco is always so pleasant! Take some time to walk around and you will discover so many hidden places…!
During a free day, let’s try the hidden Mediterranean restaurant Siroco to have lunch, in the middle of the historic Casco Antiguo. With its private and cozy terrace, you will taste some delicious Mediterranean dishes.
For a dessert or a break, you could try Granclement ice-cream. Near the Central Hotel, these gourmet ice-creams are one of the best of the city. With such a wide selection, and a lovely place, you will feel obliged to taste more than just one!
You also could enjoy your ice-cream by walking around and having a nice view on Panama by turning on your right Avenida Central.
To stay with sweet, if by any chance you like chocolate, then go straight to Oro Moreno coffee and taste these amazing and authentic Panamanian chocolates, as the maracuja, the coco, the honey, the coffee one and so many more favors. Take a delicious cappuccino and chill out on this European atmosphere!
Furthermore, if you are curious to try the traditional and sweet Panamanian raspao’, you will find some by street (in front of the Panama view, Avenida Central for instance).
For a good dinner or a simple happy hour, why wouldn’t you try the Villa Palma Hotel for a relaxed and peaceful drink in their rooftop on the center of Casco?
The nice view on the sea along with a fresh sangria or smoothie will remind you an holiday atmosphere! This boutique hotel also has a chic and warmly restaurant downstairs. Do not miss it!
For a trendier and fancier place, you definitely have to go to Tantalo or Zaza restaurant! Both also have a rooftop bar/ club.
Both are recommendable for their food, and prices are more or less competitive.
On Tantalo, the roofbar is bigger and higher (which also means more crowded, mainly on Friday and Saturday night) than the Zaza’s.
Tantalo is more trendy and cozy than Zaza which is more spangled!
Note: The Zaza restaurant became a night club around 12am during the week end and it’s closed on Sunday.
Take some time to discover the nicest area of Panama and enjoy some city or gastronomic/ culinary tours with EcoCircuitos!
EcoCircuitos Panama is proud to introduce a new sociocultural Panama City tour experience! This new option can be added to any one of our Panama City tours (Half or Full Day City Tour or Gastronomic Tour). Gain valuable insight on Casco Antiguo’s community from one of its past gang members, learn how “Casco” has transformed through its people to become the destination it has become today. Walk down side streets and alleys that still have not been restored, listening to untold stories that lay behind the historic walls. Your guide will take you back in time to when Casco was considered a red zone with violence, gang activity and no place for a tourist. This experience is perfect for the socially conscious traveler looking for undiscovered side of the gentrified Casco Antiguo. For more information contact: email@example.com
By: Carina Forster – Intern from Austria
Over the years Panama has become a multi-cultural place, influenced by a variety of different world-powers. Today it is considered one of the most open-minded countries for gay people in Central America. Even though Panama is a religious catholic country and gay marriage is still not legal, people are generally accepting on a personal level. The constantly growing Gay Community in Panama is very welcoming and accessible. Since 2005, a Gay Pride Parade is held every year and the famous annual carnival on the Peninsula Azuero has become an adopted holiday for Panama’s gay population.
Nightlife is extensive in Panama City; there are several Gourmet Restaurants, Clubs and Bars where you can party until dawn. During the day time you can find a variety of beaches, forests, and historical sites along with many other interesting things to see. Panama offers a wide variety of gay friendly hotels at amazing destinations. Weather you seek for party, luxury, adventure, family trips or a romantic time with your partner, Panama is the place for you to go.
EcoCircuitos offers various LGBT tours and vacation options throughout Panama:
- Adventure Tours
- Beach Retreats
- Romantic Tours
- Family Tours
- Educational Tours
Join our tours! and work with the family!
We have many visitors experiencing Panama with us every year and we chose this beautiful post to share with you in our blog. Below you will find the review from Zach and Teresa in Panama. They visited us from Portland Oregon from December 21 to January 11, 2016.
EcoCircuitos Review by Zack and Teresa
This not being my first trip to Panama, I wanted to expand my experience and broaden the locations I would visit beyond the standard tourist path. Flying into Panama City, I decided to revisit the Panama Viejo site because much had changed since I last visited. The ruin’s infrastructure had become greatly informative with illustrative information signs and anyone without a guide would have a welcoming and historical visit. The guide from Ecocircuitos provided great historical information on the biography of adventurous nuns who lived in the convents, while also providing a contemporary scope on the way the site transforms for concerts and celebrations in the thriving metropolitan city.
Panama City is growing and its growing fast with food, art and transportation. A new Metro Rail will get you to the hot upcoming locations without the wait of traffic, but for a direct journey Uber is at your fingertips letting you skirt past any language barriers. After the seeing castle ruins the guide took me over to Casco Viejo to check out the old Panama City neighbor hood full of beautiful churches and great places to grab a drink or a bite to eat. At Tántalo Hotel, I tried a delicious smoked chorizo stuffed calamari and some plantains with pulled pork. Continuing to wander around finding great mojitos and gelato was an easy task. Strolling along the narrow streets and wandered around the area’s waterfront to marvel at the city skyline was a great way to end a full day in the city.
Although the Boquete highlands is a common destination for the coffee obsessed and those needing a break from the heat of the country, Ecocircuitos allowed me to get a memorable and intimate experience through small organic coffee farms. I didn’t have a huge understanding of coffee farming but one tour took me from growing the plants including the famous Geisha plant to processing and roasting the beans using recycled farm equipment and an old Jeep. The guide was informative with lighthearted jokes, and since he worked on the farm as a young boy he had a true passion for his explanations. The tour really helped explain how delicate the coffee plant from the climate, to its elevation and even the chemicals on your body. The coffee was great to taste and the town was full of generous and kind hearted individuals. Boquete also offered an abundance of wildlife and rigorous hikes through the numerous microclimates and if you were tired of drinking coffee the was a nice micro brewery offering a variety of beers full of flavor.
The Casco Antiguo & Gastronomic tour will give you a unique introduction to Panama’s history and its diverse gastronomy. This tour will take place in Casco Antiguo, the colonial section of Panama City. We will visit a coffee shop and learn about different types of coffee that are produced in Panama, also we will try a delicious local chocolate and learn how it is prepared (the chocolate visit is available for groups of 4 people minimum).
During this tour you will also learn about the history of Casco Viejo (the old city compound) which dates back to the late 1600’s, leading up to the eventual movement of the capital city to its present location. Casco Antiguo is home to the monuments of Ferdinand de Lesseps and other Frenchmen instrumental to the ill-fated attempt of the French to construct a canal through Panama.
We will continue the tour to a local microbrewery, where we will taste different artisan beers prepared in Panama and learn about how it is processed, if it is possible we will have the opportunity to see how the beer is made. Next we will walk along the Cinta Costera to the Seafood Market where you will enjoy the popular “Ceviche” (raw fish and seafood cured with lemon and spices). There you will find a lot of stands with variety of seafood. This is a popular place visited by locals that enjoy fresh seafood and who like to relax and admire the scenery, it is perfectly located on the Bay of Panama. The tour ends with a cocktail tasting of locally prepared Rum. Panama offers a good rum aging in white oak barrels. A local lunch is also included in this tour. (B, L)
For more information and prices please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org
Also known as Colonial Panama, Casco Antiguo is the historic center of the capital. It is a charming district of narrow streets overlooked by flower-bedecked balconies of two or three-story houses. At its tip lies the French Plaza, a monument to the French builders of the Panama Canal, and the French Embassy. On the walkway around the monument, visitors have a fine view of the Amador Causeway, the Biodiversity Museum, the Bridge of the Americans and the skyscraper skyline of Panama City to the east. A plaque on the walkway commemorates the firing of cannon shots to drive away a Colombian warship and consolidate Panama’s independence from Colombia in 1903. To one side of the monument is an old Spanish structure called Las Bovedas, now home to an art gallery and French restaurant.
“Strolling about this 337-year-old neighborhood, enjoy both history and contemporary local culture- every corner has something of historical significance or local color. Another attraction is the sweeping ocean views of Panama Bay’s modern skyscraper skyline by day and night, the Amador Causeway islands and the ship-busy entrance to the Panama Canal.”
“Panamanian sounds and smells that fill the Casco Viejo air are part of that local color. Street peddlers cry out ‘bollo‘ as they sell soft corn wrapped up in corn leaves, a Panamanian favorite. At Panama’s “White House” the presidential honor guard’s cheerful cadence perform early morning calisthenics, local kids play basketball in a community court, Kuna Indians sell colorful molas in the Plazas as lovers stroll hand in hand catching glimpses of the distant Canal, old-timers settle on park benches as their grandchildren play soccer around groups of passing tourists. The best way to experience Casco Viejo is to stay in a hotel in one of the beautifully restored buildings. This is the place to enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the ocean free from Panama City’s sprawl and traffic, yet the business district is a short 10 minutes away.”
Some excellent museums, art craft shops, galleries, and boutiques are found in Casco Viejo, including the Canal Museum, which traces Panama’s history as the route connecting Atlantic and Pacific from pre-Hispanic to modern times. Next door is the old cathedral that is under major renovation, with gleaming spires inlaid with mother-of-pearl. Neary is a small museum dedicated to religious art found in the old Santo Domingo monastery, where visitors will also see the famous Flat Arch, which reportedly helped convince engineers that Panama was earthquake safe country. You can also walk towards the San Jose Cathedral or the beautiful Golden Altar, intricately carved of wood and gilded with gold. Another building that you should not miss is the Presidential Palace, which can be toured on Sundays.
If you visit Casco Antiguo at night is totally a different vibe, full of cafes, bars, and excellent restaurants. Don´t miss the opportunity to discover more about Panama’s history and book a biking or walking tour to Casco Viejo with one of our history expert guides.