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!

 

 

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The Taste of Panama

Try our EcoCircuitos chocolate and have a pure taste of Panama! Our fine dark chocolate is harvested in the lush region of Bocas del Toro, where the fresh air of the rainforest and a light salty sea breeze give the cocoa fruits a special flavor. You can taste the old knowledge and traditional harvesting processes of the indigenous Ngoebe people, and their deep respect for the “brown gold”.

And you taste the passion and commitment of EcoCircuitos, who donate 100% of every bar of chocolate sold to their partner organization APTSO.org, the Organization for Sustainable Tourism in Panama. You taste passion for responsible tourism and its contribution to conservation and sustainable development. You taste respect and fairness combined with in-depth insights in the culture, the people and biodiversity of Panama. You taste responsible outdoor adventures that take place without endangering natural environments and their inhabitants. And you taste the happiness of indigenous people, whose education is supported by scholarships of APTSO.

This is the fine taste of fair and responsible circulations; of Panama`s beautiful environment and its inhabitants, cultures and travelers being in harmony and benefiting from each other.

If you want more, join the EcoCircuitos chocolate tour and become a witness of the traditional manufacturing processes and old Ngoebe cultures in Bocas del Toro!

I love Panama Chocolate!

The Panamanian chocolate is not yet well known, but once  you have tasted it you will love it forever!

Panama is the 31st largest producer of CACAO with a total production of an estimated 900 tones.  This amazing country produces a unique quality of cacao that is getting noticed among the chocolate lovers.

In Panama the Chocolate tourism is just beginning to become popular and EcoCircuitos offer visits to different communities in Bocas del Toro were sustainable local community farms are emerging as producers on international markets.  One successful example is the co-operative growers of Cocabo.   These farms are off the beaten track located close to the Friendship National Park, surrounded by lush forest and exotic beauty.   The network of Sustainable and Rural Tourism also offers long experiences interacting with the cacao farmers to learn more about the organic production of chocolate while discovering the amazing biodiversity with the Nasso people from Bonyic or the beautiful Bri Bri communities of El Guabo de Yorkin.

Chocolate, Si Gracias!

Panamanian chocolate culture has begun to flourish, local companies such as I Love Panama Chocolate and Oro Moreno have taken the lead in the chocolate market. Both companies buy organic chocolate from farmers in the Bocas del Toro Province, where the majority of chocolate is harvested in Panama. Later it is and process it in Panama City and combined with other local favorite foods and flavors such as coconut, sea salt, coffee, passion fruit, rum, cashews, hot pepper and more! Come to Panama, taste some of the world`s best chocolate and learn about the chocolate process with EcoCircuitos!

Chocolate Tour

The Cacao Tour is a unique experience for visitors to witness the process of how chocolate is made and processed. In the indigenous region of Bocas del Toro in the area of Risco Valley the community Rio Oeste Abajo demonstrates to visitors how to make chocolate from a tropical fruit seeds how they have been doing it for years. The tour starts in the field where a naturalist guide will explain how cacao trees are grown and cacao process. Visitors will get to participate in picking, cleaning and roasting the cacao seeds to make chocolate. The visitors will also learn about the community and their way of life. A local lunch is included that is prepared by the local hosts, which consists of boiled roots, vegetables and chicken or fish.

Come to Panama and fall in love with our Chocolate!
For more information of our chocolate tours, contact us at info@ecocircuitos.com

How much chocolate do the Guna people eat?

guna peopleFrom STRI.org

Jeffrey Barnes, STRI short-term fellow from Dawson College in Quebec asked household heads in Panama’s indigenous community of Aligandi if they had Siagwa (cacao), and answers varied “from a simple yes or no, to an enthusiastic demonstration of their hidden stash” of cacao beans; the source ingredient for chocolate. Others showed Barnes a bag of processed cocoa powder.

Barnes found the Guna (or Kuna) people hold cacao in high esteem. It is an essential component of countless ceremonies. But, likely due to plant diseases, consumption of Siagwa beverages has remained low since mid-century. In Aligandi, a Caribbean island community, consumption of locally derived cacao beverages is less than one cup per week.

Barnes’ findings contrast with studies suggesting Guna consume up to four or five cacao beverages daily. This may have been true in the 1950s, but not today, Barnes contents. High consumption of locally derived cacao has been publicized as key to the cardiovascular fitness of the Guna and used to highlight health benefits of chocolate.

In evaluating household consumption of cacao, Barnes proposes a novel method that might help nutritionists to refine their understanding of indigenous diets – a practice that Barnes argues is easier said than done.