AgroTourism in Panama

Agrotourism or Rural tourism is becoming more popular and an international trend among sustainable travelers.  This type of tourism promotes cultural, historical, adventure and ecological activities and provide an understanding of the countryside heritage and a closer look at local towns, communities, local campesinos and indigenous groups that use farming as a way of life.     For travelers who are seeking a real rural experience and who want a “hands on” experience, this is the adventure for you.    The ‘Fincas’ offer you a natural space, outside of the cosmopolitan city, and delicious, natural and especially organic products.  Panama has great spots for those who want to experience the great outdoors and the healthy living of the countryside farmers.

We started in the cosmopolitan Panama City and head for the interior, where we will learn about the rice fields, poultry and porcine farms.  We also made our first agrotourism stop on the same day: a visit to La Granja Turistica San Judas Tadeo  in Chorrera a farm near the City that aims to teach visitors the best ways to make good use of animal  farms and essential crops of basic consumption and the  benefit  for the local economy. From here we will head to a beautiful circuit combining the Pacific, highlands, Caribbean and more.  In Panama, exist more than 35 licensed farms that offer basic accommodation, and agricultural activities for recreation and visitor learning.  Most rural tourism sites are located in Colón, Capira, La Chorrera, Coclé, Azuero and  Chiriquí.

Why we like rural and agro tourism vacations?   Because being truly sustainable!   The communities you visit helps sustain and develop the village for future generations.   Also Agrotourism is an activity  that helps a person understand and appreciate the land and the people who live on it.  This is the best way to meet with locals  in their natural environments and become more involved with the land they are visiting.

In Panama, exist more than 35 licensed farms that offer basic accommodation, and agricultural activities for recreation and visitor learning.  Most rural tourism sites are located in Colón, Capira, La Chorrera, Coclé, and  Chiriquí.

 

PINEAPPLE FARMS

The sweetest Pineapples of the world are from Panama! For example, Verba Odrec, located in Chorrera, is a local family farm, committed to responsible practices and minimizing pesticide and quality of our pinapples in every box. Visiting this farm is an incredible experience where you will learn everything about the growing of pineapples, and of course also tasting it.

COFFEE FARMS

Panama produces one of the best coffees in the world. If you’re a real coffee-lover, and ever wondered how coffee is made, Finca Lerida, a coffee farm which also offers accommodation is the place to go. You will learn about the history, origin, qualities and secrets of coffee handling directly in an ecological reserve! It is located in Boquete, in the highlands of the province of Chiriqui, which offers a perfect climatic condition to produce high quality coffee.

HONEY FARMS

Honey? In Panama? YES! In the province of Chiriqui you will find farms that produce excellent sweet honey. The honey that ‘Boquetebees’ produces is bioactive and minimally filtered. This incredible farm is committed to educate and increase the understanding of the importance of bees to sustainable biodiverse ecosystems.

EcoCircuitos Panama is specialized in sustainable tourism and tailor-made tours through the beautiful country of Panama. There are much more fincas to discover! Contact us and let us create your agricultural experience! info@ecocircuitos.com or visit www.ecocircuitos.com

 

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Zoom on Casco

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!

 

 

Why should you get married in Panama?

 

by Juliette Darmon

Panama is known as the perfect getaway for a short vacation and and is the perfect destination for nature lovers.

Its tropical climate and warm weather throughout the year, is a magical opportunity to visit Panama at any time.

December, January and February, the colder months in the North but still summer time in Panama.  You will be able to wear your summer wedding dress you were dreaming about!

If you are dreaming about a summer wedding destination, Panama is the place for you!  You will find any type of wedding you were looking for!

Panama is a melting pot and has plenty to offer.  From a cosmopolitan City and a hub for an amazing gastronomy to beautiful beaches in the Caribbean and Pacific where the sunset is waiting for you.

With a great eco-diversity and untouched beaches, you would have the possibility to get married in heavenly and white-sand islands around the archipelago of Bocas del Toro. What better place to spend and enjoy a romantic and relaxed wedding than the Caribbean coast, where the turquoise sea, coral reefs, sun, turtles and exotic fishes will be present?!

You could also prefer a more adventurous wedding in the highlands of Chiriqui, immersed in the mountain fresh air, and hiking the highlands, testing local coffee and honey, learning about butterflies, zip lining and relaxing in other amazing islands in Pacific side like Islas Secas in the Gulf of Chiriqui where snorkeling and kayaking are great for those more adventurous.

Are you more looking for a totally private and shy wedding? Then, the archipelago of San Blas will be the perfect place you were searching for. But be aware that it is also going to be a real rustic wedding!

Enjoy the blue sea view for kilometers, watch at the playful dolphins leap alongside sailboats, the deserted island, palm and coconut trees, cabanas in bamboos, and be immersed in Kuna community’s culture for your wedding.

*You could also decide to get married in a private sailboat, a real original experience not available everywhere…!

For the city lovers, you won’t totally feel out of place! You could have the chance to get married in the charming historic Casco Viejo, enjoying romantic dinners in typical or modern restaurants, staying in a luxurious resort or smaller cozy hotels, tasting local chocolates, walking around the Cinta Costera and visiting the surroundings as the Canal, the tropical rainforest, boarding on the jungle boat or even hiking in the National Park.

You now probably got that Panama has all the options required for any types of weddings and could make your wedding a real customized, appropriate, unique and unforgettable day, whatever your cultural and religious requests are.

Most of all, as you probably know Panama is a wonderful place for sustainable and green travels, and become therefore the perfect place for the trendy and fancy “Green Wedding”.

More than just getting married, take advantage of being in such a lush country for enjoying the honeymoon trip of your dreams.

Visit our honeymoon page here: http://ecocircuitos.com/tour-category/honeymoon/ and decide the kind of experience you are ready to live!

Do not forget that all our programs and itineraries can be arranged and tailor-made for you.  Contact us for more information at info@ecocircuitos.com

 

Panama Review from Zach and Teresa

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.   

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.

Discovering Boquete, the highlands of Panama

by Juan Jose Calvache – Operations Manager

Last week I had the opportunity to visit Boquete in a Fam Trip organized by Finca Lerida, Air Panama, Tree Trek and Fresas Café.

It was a beautiful experience, discovering new and charming landscapes of the mountains of Panama, Chiriqui province at the western side bordering Costa Rica.

We flew with Air Panama with the new fleet of modern planes and upon arrival the staff of Finca Lerida was organizing our transfer to their mountain lodge.  Cesar one of our top birder guides in the highlands was in charge of the group and he show all his skills as a top birder and naturalist guide.

We discover with other eyes Boquete, the nature and its people.  We hike around the national park, and around Finca Lerida private reserve, we visit the coffee farm and learn about the amazing process of coffee… the smell of fresh coffee is fantastic!

Boquete offers amazing array of activities, such as the Canopy Adventure, Rafting, coffee farms, strawberry picking and hiking the cloudforest.  I had the opportunity to spot an amazing bird… The Quetzal in its splendor.

I highly recommend this great extension tour to the Highlands where EcoCircuitos will organize a trip to your needs.   If you are in Panama, don´t miss the opportunity to explore Boquete at the western side of Panama.

For more information, contact us at info@ecocircuitos.com  or call our toll free number at 1-800-830-7142