Pride in Panama: Gay guide to Panama

LGBT and Queer welcome to Panama! It is our pleasure to be your tour operator in Panama. Our goal is to make every minute of your stay enjoyable and help you to get to know our country’s charms and natural beauty.

Located at the heart of the Americas, Panama City is the most cosmopolitan of the Central American capitals; overflowing with trendy new clubs, cool boutique hotels and gay friendly neighborhoods and attractions.  As a long established hub for international business, trade and transportation the City has developed into a modern, busy metropolis attracting visitors from around the world.

LGBT travelers may find Panama City more gay friendly than other Central American countries;  many of the main destinations throughout the country are friendly to all visitors and will make LGBT families and travelers feel at home.

Panama is a safe, stable and friendly country of almost three million inhabitants and 75.517 square kilometers. It is among the most biologically diverse countries on the planet and features a variety of unique ecosystems. With a total of over 2,500 km of coastline on two oceans, 15 national Parks and seven distinct indigenous cultures there is much to explore. Five UNESCO World Heritage sites wait to be discovered.

This short guide will direct you to the best spots in town but keep in mind that nightlife in Panama does not really start after midnight. Have Fun!!

 WHAT TO DO IN PANAMA CITY

Panama City is a cosmopolitan city, a delightful combination of the historic and modern. It is also one of the safest cities in Latin America. There are three Cities: the historical ruins of the 16th Century city named Panama Viejo, the 17th Century Spanish Colonial Casco Antiguo area of the city and the modern skyscraper city with the business district.

Day tour of Panama City – Visit the three cities in one day: the ruins of the 16th century original city, walk the Casco Antiguo colonial city and admire the modern city.  Walk the Casco Viejo – Old Quarters at night for bar hoping.  There are several roof top bars that will offer an amazing view of the City.  Our suggestion:  Tantalo, Barlovento and Casa Jaguar.

The Panama Canal – City tour includes a trip to the Panama Canal. A must-do is a visit to the Visitors Center at Miraflores Locks.   Admision is $12.00 per person and if you want an unforgetable experience, go dining to Atlantic and Pacific Co. Overlooking the Miraflores locks.

The Panama Canal Transits – Only on special schedule, this is a great option for those that interested in the complete history of the Panama Canal and experience crossing the locks.

Amador Causeway and Biodiversity Museum – A visit to the Amador Causeway is also a good option to admire the spectacular views of the Panama City’s skyline and the Panama Canal.   You can bike or walk the area or just enjoy a Panama bear at the restaurants in the Marina.  A must to see is the Biodiversity Museum, an architectonic jewel design by Frank Gerhy.

Panama Canal Railway trans-isthmus – Ride the historic Panama Canal Railway, the original transcontinental railway inaugurated in 1855. In special observation cars, the trip takes you across the scenic Isthmus from Panama City on the Pacific, to Colon on the Atlantic Side.

Metropolitan Park, Soberania National Park – ecological tours – Panama City’s Metropolitan Park is the only rainforest within the city limits of a modern metropolis. Ask for a guided nature tour of the Park and hiking and birding tour at Soberania National Park.

The Rainforst Discovery Center in Soberania National Park – The Discovery Center in the Panama Canal Rainforest is open every day from 6.00AM to 4.00PM Climb this 100 foot Observation Tower for a breathtaking views above the forest canopy and hike the trails around the center. You will learn about sustainable practices in this fantasctic place. Ideal for families.

Portobello: A picturesque bayside town of with the ruins of Spanish forts and a restored Spanish Colonial treasure house. In Spanish colonial times the Portobello Treasure House was the center for trans-shipment of all the Peruvian gold and treasure taken from Latin America to Spain. Spanish galleons came and went constantly and many fairs were held. That easy heyday ended with the arrival of English pirates like Sir Francis Drake who repeatedly looted Portobellos treasures and brought about its eventual demise. The Portobelo Ruins are a pillar of Spanish colonial times, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Fort San Lorenzo: A well preserved fort ruin perched high on a stunning promontory above the Chagres River as it meets the sea. Sir Henry Morgan attacked the fort and made away with booty in 1666. It is essential to go with a tour operator since to date this unusual site has no signs or tourist info of any kind.

Embera Cultural Encounters, Chagres National Park – An unforgettable encounter with a living Indian culture in Panama’s rain forest. Panama is the only place in the world where you can have this experience in a day trip from a major metropolitan city. The tour begins 1.5 hours from Panama City, where you’ll take a motorized canoe up a scenic rainforest river, the only means of transport in the jungle, to an authentic Embera Indian village on river bank deep inside the rainforest. The village consists mostly of the rough wood and palm homes on stilts typical of the jungle Indians. Embera indians will perform a tribal dance offer authentic body paintings, exquisite handicrafts, share a typical meal and explain their way of life, traditions and beliefs.

Handicrafts and shopping – Try el Valle Sunday Market, the Balboa Artisan’s Market and don´t miss the city’s shopping malls, ideals for those looking for brands.  Check Multiplaza a high end shopping mall.

Optional day tours from Panama city: Historical Tours, Cultural exchange at the Embera Indian Village at the Chagres National Park, Panama Mini Cruises, Barro Colorado Island, Canopy Adventure, surfing, boat tour the gatun lake, hiking the National Parks, birding Soberania National Park, white water rafting, kayaking, biking tours, arts tours, camping and extension tours to Bocas del Toro, San Blas, Azuero and the highlands.

For more information click on our website:  EcoCircuitos.Com

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Celebrate Green Friday with EcoCircuitos Panama

This November 28th when everyone will be rushing to the malls to shop, EcoCircuitos Panama will be supporting a local school by promoting environmental education.  We want to encourage the Panamanian youth on the importance of taking care of our environment.  By simple tasks as recycling, garbage disposal and other responsible practices that everyone can benefit from. Instead of being caught in traffic and the hustle and bustle in the city, join your community to turn Black Friday into Green Friday and plant a tree.  For those interested in a different adventure on the weekend, ask our office for the green tours including kayaking, biking, hiking and birding day tours.

New Hotels opening in Panama

Waldorf Astoria Panama

A number of exciting new Hotels, among them several well known brands, are opening for business in Panama this year:

The recently open JW Marriott Panama is located within the Buenaventura resort community, 80 miles southwest of Panama City on the Pacific coast.   This premier luxury resort in Panama offers elegant accommodations and suites set amongst lush gardens and a lagoon with vistas of the Pacific and five restaurants, an 18-hole golf course, a spa, a chapel, meeting space and a beachfront clubhouse with an infinity pool and waterfront butler service.

The Waldorf Astoria Panama, Latin America’s first Waldorf Astoria Hotel, located in the trendy Calle Uruguay section, will be less than 15 minutes from the International Airport and walking distance of the waterfront park on Cinta Costera, as well as the banking and central business district. The 130 room luxury Hotel is scheduled to be open in March.

Another big brand expected to open in Panama City this year is the Hilton Panama, expected to receive guests from September onwards. With 347 guest rooms and suites, Spa, Casino, Fitness and Business Center, this centrally located Hotel will offer the typical Hilton Quality to both business and leisure travelers.

Close by M. Gelabert regional Airport and connected to Latin America’s greatest shopping center Albrook Mall, the opening of new TRYP by Wyndham in June will add new possibilities for visitors. The contemporary hotel with its versatile design, rooftop infinity pool and over 300 rooms will be a great new opportunity for the discerning modern traveler.

A premier boutique hotel in Panama’s Casco Viejo will be The American Trade Hotel, a 50 room hotel being built in the former headquarters of the American Trade Developing Co.. Designed by architect Leonardo Villanueva Meyer in 1917, the building is often referred to as Panama’s first skyscraper because at its time it was the country’s tallest building and only the second to have an elevator. The current structure was built in two phases: a first floor begun in 1917 to house the Banco Arias Feraud and The American Trade department store (both owned by the great, great grandfather of one of the current developers); and the upper stories in 1920, which were American Trade Developing Co.’s offices and luxury apartments. Opening is expected at the end of this year.

Ecocircuitos is already having rates and is looking forward to working with these new venues this season, to be able to keep offering their guests the best experience possible.