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Cala Mia lodge in the Gulf of Chiriqui

This boutique hotel is located on the tip of an island in the Chiriquí province, 15 minutes by boat from Boca Chica and on the border with the nearly unexplored Chiriqui Marine Park, which provides habitat for birds, monkeys, dolphins, turtles and much more.  Each of the 11 individual air-conditioned bungalow suites with their thatched roofs have a “rancho” rest area, hammocks and big sofas for relaxing and generously designed bathrooms with hot water showers. With the ocean being never more than 10 meters away from your bungalow enjoy the cool evening breeze while looking out on the Pacific and the surrounding nature.
The restaurant, located on the highest point of the peninsula, offers stunning views of the surrounding area, while you treat yourself to one of the exquisite Mediterranean style dishes. Many of the ingredients are directly grown on the hotel’s organic farm. Meet other visitors around the big table in the evenings to revive age-old customs of storytelling and companionable silence as you watch the sun set.
Pamper yourself in the spa located on an adjacent islet accessible by a suspension bridge or enjoy the infinity pool on the shore. The hotel offers half and full day tours for the exploration of the nearby areas.

Tourism as Direct Trade: Some thoughts on Responsible Travel

Benefitting Local Communities

“When you travel, you have choices around how to spend your money. You can go to the foreign owned Hilton, or you can seize your vacation as an opportunity to exercise a small form of social justice. You can eat at local restaurants, stay at hotels owned by locals, and go on tours run by people who are in and of the place you’re visiting.”

This paragraph, an excerpt from the very thoughtful article Tourism as Direct Trade, could barely be expressed any better.

Using local resources when you travel is one of the key essentials of responsible tourism. It not only helps local communities sustain themselves, it can also encourage them to value their traditions more – after all, the tradition is a big part of what we come to see.

And, most importantly, if you truly want to get to know a country, a people, a community, the only way to go is to meet the locals. So stay with the locals, take a local guide (he knows all the secret spots your travel agent at home has never heard of), and try the local food.

Who would be better to show you a country than the people who live there, who love it, and who care about its preservation, because they know their children will grow up there? And who would be better off to take your tourist dollars than the people whose land you walk on, whose hospitality you enjoy?

Choose EcoCircuitos Panama on your next trip to this Central America destination and discover why sustainable tourism is the way of the adventure now.  We want to offer unique authentic experience by a local team of Panamanians.  Contact us today!  http://www.ecocircuitos.com

New airline to start operating in Panama

US based Vision Airlines and Panama Aircraft Rental & Sales are planning to bring a new airline to Panama to provide a low-cost opportunity for flights from and to Panama: Vision Panama

The idea is to establish flexible-frequency (with seasonal differences in frequency) air traffic connections to various inland and Latin America destinations, to allow customers to book hotels or rental cars in addition to their flight, and also to offer the possibility of charter flights.

Vision Panama will operate 3 Boeing 767’s, one of which will be equipped with all-business seats for charter, several Boeing 737’s, and various smaller aircraft for regional flights.

Proposed destinations outside of Panama include Sao Paulo, San Jose, Caracas, Cancun, Lima, Bogota, Punta Cana and several US destinations.

The founding company Vision Airlines started up in the US in 1994 focusing primarily on charter flights, among them tour flights for aerial views of tourist destinations such as the Hoover dam and Grand Canyon. Since 2011 the company is also running scheduled services within the US. Panama Aircraft Rental & Sales are an established provider of airplane charters in Panama and provide, among other things, aerial tours of the Panama Canal.

The availability of additional aircraft for popular inland destinations such as San Blas or Bocas del Toro, as well as the added accessibility of affordable flights into the country from major cities in the US and Latin America would add substantial carrying capacity for leisure and business travelers and could increase tourism to and inside Panama significantly. The proposal also includes the plan to support the development of Panama Pacifico airport.

This new venture is a great and exciting opportunity for Panama’s tourism industry, which could end up providing Panama’s greatest destinations with better access, infrastructure and further opportunity.

Free Insurance for Panama Tourists

As of January 17, tourists entering Panama through Tocumen International Airport will have what the Tourism Authority is calling free insurance.

The insurance provides insurance for 30 days, Salomon Shamah, Tourism Aurthority head, had said in a press conference. The government signed a two-year contract with Assicurzioni Generali for $8 million.

“The idea of a medical emergency insurance for tourists who visit us is to raise the quality of what is offered to the people who come to Panama,” said Shamah.

Tourists and Panamanians living abroad will receive a booklet that includes a removable card with insurance details. The benefits include coverage of up to $20,000 to repatriate the tourist’s dead body, $7.000 for a week of hospitalization, $2,000 for dental emergencies, $3,500 for legal services, up to $40,000 in air ambulance service and $500 to $1,000 for drug prescriptions.

According to Panamanian authorities, around 1.05 million visitors entered the country through Tocumen between January and November 2010, representing 70 percent of the 1.5 million people that enter Panama through the various ports of entry.

The $2 charge for the insurance is already included in the $40 airport taxes paid by all travelers.  You as a traveler upon arrival contact the Tourism Bureau kiosk to activate your insurance.

Limitations and Exclusions: 

Pre-existing medical conditions (including pregnancy); nature’s phenomenon, extreme sports, suicide; attempt of suicide, insured’s participation in crime or other offenses; beneficiaries falling to fulfill the Republic of Panama’s migratory laws; accidents, under illegal drugs effects or proven drunkenness, or if accident is caused on account of the insured’s fault or serious negligence; situations provoked, caused or produced because of hostilities, actions or was operations or foreign enemy invasion (being the war declared or not) or of civil war, revolution, rebellion, insurrection or other incidents or offenses against the country’s internal security or terrorism, insured’s participation in crimes or other offenses; death caused by accident on commercial (covered according to the Dirección de Aeronáutica Civil) or private aircraft; loss, material or moral damage and/or loss or profits.

For more information or immediate assistance call: 204-9300/800-2312

Bocas del Toro Panama, Western Caribbean slope