«

»

May
21

cheap ticket to Panama-it’s all the rage

Panama…. It’s been climbing steadily and now tops lists of hot destinations for 2012 and but does it live up to the hype?

panama is hot

panama is hot

Let’s see….

Meet your guide, Jim.  First stop a rickety wooden platform above gentle waves, behind a shack of a cafe, beers in hand. Joe, the guitar man, wearing a palm tree-patterned shirt, strums calypso rhythms, the kind introduced to these islands by the African-Caribbean workers brought in by the banana plantation companies.

carribean vibe

carribean vibe

Caribbean calypso culture may not be what you might expect to find in Panama, but then what is? Aside from hats, coffee and a very big canal most of us know very little about the end of the Central American isthmus. Without the Mayan ruins and markets of Guatemala or the famous surf resorts and hotels of Costa Rica, little is known.

Central America has been popular with backpackers for ages. Lonely Planet has called “Nic-Pan” (Nicaragua and Panama) one of the fastest growing backpacking destinations in the world. Conde Nast Traveller and the New York Times named Panama one of the hottest destinations of 2012.

Panama City's Casco Antiguo

Panama City's Casco Antiguo

The redevelopment of Panama City’s Casco Antiguo, a huge project to restore the attractive colonial district, is a major factor – it has brought in bohemian bars, stylish restaurants, craft stores, and boutique hotels such as the new Casa Del Horno, a very chic redone townhouse with designer suites full of luxury. A great place to book for after you get off your cheap flight to Panama and get ready for your island hopping.

bocas del toro panama

bocas del toro panama

But it is Panama’s wild nature that draws in tourists, and the most popular destination now is Bocas del Toro, a group of 68 Caribbean islands 32km from the Costa Rican border, where rainforest meets the sea. Pristine beaches, great surfing and a young carefree crowd attracts independent travelers to Bocas Del Toro town on Isla Colon, while nature-fanatics head to several ecolodges on the nearby islands which have opened in the last few years. Hop on a cheap flight to Panana City and take a load off!

Tranquilo Bay ecolodge private jetty

Tranquilo Bay ecolodge private jetty

One of the best ones is Tranquilo Bay ecolodge on Isla Bastimentos. It’s a 25-minute motorboat ride from Bocas town across the bay. Despite its popularity, Bocas feels sleepy. Dolphins and flying fish leap from the sea, sloths sit high in the trees, and crabs scuttle ahead as you walk along a wooden walkway above a mangrove to the lodge.

its a jungle

its a jungle

Iguanas, capuchin monkeys, sloths, anteaters, boa constrictors, armadillos and zillions of rare birds live here. This region is more diverse than almost anywhere else on earth. Panama has 125 endemic animal species, 218 mammal species, 226 reptile and 950 bird. Bocas is particularly special because three ecosystems meet: mangrove, reef and rainforest. “Wherever there’s edge, species thrive,” says Jim, one of the owners of Tranquilo. “There are different species on different islands here. Toucans on some, but not the next, as they won’t fly more than a few miles over water.”

 the Ngobe-Bugle

the Ngobe-Bugle

Popa Island is where the Ngobe-Bugle live, the largest of Panama’s seven indigenous groups. They own farm land, live well and have a high degree of political autonomy.

It’s worth a cheap ticket to Panama City just to  kayak and snorkel above tropical fish, football-sized sea urchins and ballooning  jellyfish, and spend an afternoon on Isla Colon, shopping for toucan-patterned bags and lying on Bluff Beach. Don’t miss a  tour of the coffee town of Boquete, a few hours away in Chiriquí state. The drive passes the Continental Divide, jungly hills and nature reserves, ending at the pretty hill town, full of flowers and coffee shops selling world-class, locally grown brands.

View from the boat Isla Colon Bocas del Toro

View from the boat Isla Colon Bocas del Toro

After your flight to Panama, check out the 90-year-old Cafe Ruiz’s plantations and factories. Did you know bad instant coffee is made from  “floaters”, the empty husks of coffee beans (“We call Nescafe ‘no es cafe‘!” laughs our guide, Carlos), and that coffee tasters are as serious as wine-makers.

There are great walks here, around and up Panama’s highest mountain, Volcan Barú, and along the Quetzal Trail, named after a spectacular local bird. We relax in the gorgeous gardens of our hilltop B&B, Los Establos, eat corvina fish cerviche and chicharrón pork belly at luxurious Panamonte Inn & Spa, and cheap, tasty rice dishes in local workers’ cafes, such as Sabrosado. Be sure to pack your hiking boots when you book your flights to Panama!

A major site to see on your next flight to panama is the Chiriquí’s hotsprings, perhaps better without the monkey!

Chiriquí's hotsprings

Chiriquí's hotsprings

The San Blas islands, autonomously run by the Kuna Indians in the Caribbean,are worth the cheap tickets to Panama City any day of the week. How much do you want to be this guy right now?

San Blas

San Blas

And pristine Isla Coiba, in a marine reserve in the Pacific where divers can see what an ocean really should look like. And the great thing about Panama is that flights to Panama City are cheap and then once you’re there, local flights are cheap too. Panama is remarkably well-organized, clean and has all the modern amenities as well as hospitals and clean food. So go ahead, book a few cheap flights to Panama City for some summer fun!

Isla Coiba

Isla Coiba

Continually revise until it is within the accepted paper writing service time length

Flights - Hotels - Vacations - Cars - Cruises - Last Minute - Travel Guides - Airport Guides - City Guides

© 2002-2011 Best Travel Store All Rights Reserved.