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.

Meet “our” Green Iguana

2000-01-02 01.14.03By Meret Schueschke

We have recently acquired a new visitor to our office: A Green Iguana who lives in the trees behind our building and occasionally stops by in front of our window.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGreen Iguanas can be found in the rainforests of Central America and the Caribbean, as well as in parts of South America.  Even though they seem slow at first, they are surprisingly agile and (as I can observe from the office as I write this) very good climbers.  And if they ever happen to fall, they can survive falls from as high as fifteen meters (50 Feet)!Iguanas are quite good swimmers as well (they use their long tails for moving along) and usually live near water.

Counting their long tails, these Lizards can grow to a length of almost two meters (6 feet) and can be up to 5 Kilos in weight.  During the day they move through the branches of the forest, where they forage for fruit and leaves. Usually the Green Iguana is a very peaceful animal who prefers to flee before it has to fight, and it can even cast off its tail to get out of a dangerous situation. If escape is not possible, the Iguana can use its long tail like a whip to defend itself.

We were, of course, wondering whether “our” Iguana is a male or female, but our operations manager Laura could help us out there: The one in front of our window is a male, recognizable by the thick spines on his back and the dewlap under his chin. During the mating season he shakes his head up and down to show off this dewlap and attract females.

In Panama and Costa Rica, the Iguanas have received the nickname “Gallina de Palo” or “Chicken of the Tree”, in reference to the fact that the local cultures have been using these lizards as a popular food source.  These days, Iguanas are not commonly eaten anymore, but they now face another danger: the American pet trade. Apparently, Green Iguanas are hugely popular as pets, and their species has been reduced to the point that they have been added to the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) Appendix II, which means “their trade must be controlled so as to not harm the species in the future”.

The Green Iguana is a truly fascinating creature and watching it climb a tree is definitely a thing worth seeing.

Did you know the Shining Honeycreeper?

The Shining Honeycreeper is a small bird in the tanager family. It is found in the tropical New World in Central America from southern Mexico to Panama and northwest Colombia. It is sometimes considered to be conspecific with the Purple Hon eycreeper, but the two species breed sympatrically in eastern Panama and northwest Colombia.

This is a forest canopy species, but also occurs in forest edges and secondary growth. The female builds a shallow cup nest in a tree, and incubates the clutch of two eggs.
The Shining Honeycreeper is 10 cm long, weighs 11 g and has a long black decurved bill. The male is purple-blue with black wings, tail and throat, and bright yellow legs. The female has green upperparts, a greenish-blue head, buff throat and buff-streaked bluish underparts. The immature is similar to the female, but is greener on the head and breast.
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