PANAMA IN EIGHT STOPS
Nature, wild landscapes, incomparable infrastructures or coffee plantations, some of the wonders that invite to visit the country.
A large city, an infrastructure that commercially unites the planet and is considered the eighth wonder of the world . A museum dedicated to nature, some islands that are so wild are the scene of survival programs on television, a dream archipelago, a mountain area , coffee plantations and volcanoes , one of the world’s paradises of kitesurfing and an island where only live a few Guards and a crocodile, who watch each other. This is a trip to Panama in eight stops.
The Old Town of Panama City
Something similar happens in the capital of Singapore: when it comes back after some time, several huge skyscrapers have grown in the modern part of the city, surrounding the highest building in Central America : the apartment tower and hotel Trump, owned by the holding company Of companies of the president of the United States.
What does not change, moreover, improves with time, is the old town , west of the skyscrapers, between the ocean, the Ancon hill and the entrance to the Canal from the Pacific. The buildings of the XVI centuryI, including the official residence of the president (though the current head of state actually lives on the 37th floor of a modern building), are gradually being restored and as you recover, there some installed small hotels or Charming restaurants , which complement some museums and the memorial of the French attempt to build the canal.
A good part of the Quantum of Solace , the 22nd official adventure of James Bond in the cinema was filmed there and even the National Institute or Ministry of Culture pretended to be a nice colonial hotel where the 007incarnated by Daniel Craig.
The Panama Canal
In many guides, books or publications of all kinds, the word “essential” is often read when visiting a place is recommended. At times, this indispensability rubs off the exaggerated. In Panama it is different: no place could understand that a traveler or tourist pass through the country without peeping to know his pride: the Canal , an infrastructure that this 2017 turns 103 years in service and whose expansion a few days ago turned one year.
The best way to get to know it is to reach the visitor center on the Miraflores locks , where an exhibition, a cinema and above all terraces that show the constant maritime traffic show the importance of this infrastructure where a good part of The goods of the world.
A second option to get to know is to take a day cruise that crosses the channel from one ocean to another through all the locks, lakes and cuts of the route.
Nature and biodiversity
In the zone of influence of the channel there is an interesting visit to make: in the pacific entrance of the infrastructure, through which fifty big ships navigate every day. There, on land gained to the ocean with stone extracted from the works, is the Biodiversity Museum , installed in a building designed by Frank Ghery , which in fact is the unique work of this architect in all Latin America.
Bocas del Toro
By car it is ten hours away from the capital and by plane, flying with Air Panama at very reasonable prices, the journey is reduced to less than 60 minutes. Bocas del Toro is a place that has become famous in half the world thanks to being the scene of the recordings of the long survival programs in televisions of 18 countries, including Spain.
Leaving aside this anecdote, the area is one of the great tourist attractions of Panama itself: glorious beaches in the Caribbean Sea , few people, incredible areas to dive , leafy forests and nine idyllic islands , where you eat the fish of the day Freshly caught in small piers on the water. The means of transport are the wooden boats, which are escorted by the dolphins in freedom . The two magnets of the set are the island Colon, more developed and Red Frog (virgin frog) practically virgin.
San Blas Archipelago
Also on the Atlantic or Caribbean coast, in this case closer to Colombia, a territory to which it has been united for decades, the San Blas archipelago is another of Panama’s jewels: 365 islands , most of them uninhabited and Which the European understands as the dreamed Caribbean: palms high or bent almost to fall into crystal clear and calm waters , almost white sands and, sometimes, to have an island for yourself for a few hours when the boat in which you travel anchor In front of them.
“This is not paradise, it’s heaven,” enthused the writer John Le Carré, author of the famous intrigue book The Tailor of Panama . The inhabited islands are in the hands of the Kuna Indians, whose local flag surprises: it is almost the same as the Spanish and in the center is a swastika upside down … symbolizing an octopus.
Today they charge a toll to visit their islands and retain some of their traditions, although perhaps more facing the eventual visitor, in search of authenticity, than for real reasons. They are very practical, although this topic opens another debate that is not the objective of this text.
Boquete and coffee
Located in the west of the country, almost on the border with Costa Rica, the most mountainous area of Panama has its main attraction in Boquete , where hikers enjoy fantastic trails such as the Quetzal trail or can climb to the highest part of the volcano Baru To enjoy the greenest landscapes of the country, a valley where one of the best cafes in Central America is also produced , with a dozen different plantations.
In some you can visit the fields of culture and facilities, where you learn and value the coffee culture and the effort that is after almost every cup of the second most consumed drink in the world. The best farms to enjoy these coffees are Café Ruiz , Café Kotowa and Finca Lérida , which besides plantation is also a boutique hotel decorated with love and taste.
Punta Chame, pure kitesurfing
This village, with only 400 inhabitants registered on the Pacific Coast of the country, has become one of the kitesurfing meccas in the Americas. Almost everything in this locality, located in an isthmus that enters in the ocean, revolves around this sport and other extreme disciplines.
In fact, the multi-world champion of the kite world , Gisela Pulido, landed two years ago to set up a school of her own after having gone for many seasons in winter training, when the southern coast of Andalusia made it impossible for her to fly and sail with her table.
Being located just 100 kilometers from the capital makes access easy for both day visits and longer stays dedicated to water sports in a very authentic environment.
Final stop in a place that the Panamanians themselves consider as one of their national treasures: Coiba , located in the Pacific , to the south of the province of Veraguas. It is the largest island in the country and thanks to the state of conservation of its coral reefs , the exuberant diversity of the animals and plants that are there, was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.
That makes the visits are limited, something that is easy for its location and because it is only accessed by boat … or helicopter , although in this case very limited, as well as limited is the number of people who can Staying to sleep at night, they can not lengthen your stay too much.
Only the forest guards assigned there and a huge crocodile, named Tito, are the permanent inhabitants of Coiba Island, the heart of a national park formed by an archipelago of 38 islands.