Blogs from Panama City, Panamá, Panama, Central America Caribbean

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Day 2--first full day here--After watching a cruise ship, the Coral Princess, float by, started with breakfast at the hotel and an orientation meeting where we met our guides, updated the schedule, and learned the ground rules. Basically, no one in Panama pays attention to time but we are to be on time for the buses. This morning we went to Panama la Vieja, the original part of panama city, the section destroyed by Morgan when he sacked the city (more later). First, a trip through the Panama , Canal Museum, then a short time to wander, then a walking tour of the old city and some plazas, ending at the French Plaza and a bus trip to lunch. We were divided into 3 groups today because the old city cannot accomodate a big bus. Notes ... read more
Light House
Altar de Oro
French Embassy facing French Plaza


Spent last night at the Dulles Marriott so we didn't have to try and get to Dulles at 8 am on a Monday--worked very nicely. The shuttle had us there in no time, we checked our bag and got our boarding passes (scored TSA pre-check!!) and made our way, via the new underground trains, to the gate and the plane. The plane was not packed to the gills and we ended up being the only two in our three-person half-row. Flew Copa Airlines and it was very pleasant--good food, nice stewards, videos in the seats, etc. Stepped off the plane into the walk way and felt the 91 degrees, got our luggage and found the transport to the hotel--was a 40 minute drive so we were even more glad we arrived in time to take advantage ... read more
Panama City skyline
Front of Hotel
Hotel Hall


So, for those not in the loop--We're going on a Road Scholar trip to the Panama Canal March 25-30 (https://www.roadscholar.org/find-an-adventure/9901/grit-and-glory-exposing-the-panama-canal) for details. Mike's got a camera and Panama Bird book; we've decided on clothes, etc. to take--Susan still needs to get a hat. Think we'll make it with one suitcase (it is only 5 days, after all!). We leave March 24, spending the night before at Dulles. Good news--our flights are close enough to the Road Scholar-provided ones that we'll be able to ride to and from the airport and hotels in Panama City with the group and won't have to arrange our own transport. The dollar is the reigning currency in Panama and we've tested our ATM cards to be sure they work and we know the PIN! Still need to call them and warn ... read more

Central America Caribbean » Panama » Panamá » Panama City December 2nd 2018

Friday morning we awoke early to find we were alreaady entering the Panama Canal. On Deck 3 forward they were serving coffee and a crowd had gathered to watch as we approached the first set of locks. These are the Gatun Locks and there was a cruise ship ahead of us. We watched as the Norwegian Jade gradually rose in front of us. It was a slow process so after coffee I retreated back to the cabin to watch from our balcony.I was not feeling the best and once we were through the first set of locks and into the large lake I went back to bed while Fletcher headed upstairs for some breakfast. I could still see the passing scenery through our floor to ceiling windows.Traversing the canal takes all day so we discovred back ... read more
One of the tugboats
The Norwegian Jade in the first lock
View of the lock and the "mules"

Central America Caribbean » Panama » Panamá » Panama City October 19th 2018

We took the Grand Circle tour ’Panama - A Continent Divide, Oceans United’ which highlighted the Panama Canal. However, in addition to the canal, we also had opportunities to learn about the history and culture of the Panama people. We stayed in the old part of the Panama City and the Colonial style buildings around us all are in different stages of restoration - from dilapidated ruins to newly minted modern hotels all mixed in together. Our tour guide warned us to bring walking stick as the streets and sidewalks are very uneven with lots of pot holes. We walked around the old town and visited historical sites and churches. I noticed a statue with tear streaking face - a saint for loneliness with such a sad expression. Part of our tour included discussion of controversial ... read more
Fish boats in the harbor
Fish Market
Ray with his walking stick.


The only thing we want to do in Panama is see the canal and fortunately that’s pretty easy to do from Panama City as it’s only 5km from the main bus station to the Miraflores lock visitor centre. In order to see something interesting we need to hang around for a couple of hours, but are then rewarded by the bulk carrier “Pretty Sight” and the car transporter “Courageous Ace” heading south through the locks towards the Pacific. The viewing platform is next to the original locks built in 1913, but there are now a new and larger set about 1km west of where we are built to take longer and wider vessels. Panama City is quite unlike anywhere else we have been in Central America with an impressive skyline of modern tower blocks. There is ... read more


Donnerstag, den 10. Mai, kamen Rebecka und ich nach einer langen und ermüdenden 10-stündigen Busfahrt um 4h morgens in Panama City an. Zum Glück hatte Rebecka darauf bestanden ein Bett im Hostel für die Nacht vorher zu buchen, so dass, als wir gegen 5h ankamen, wir sofort ins Bett gehen konnten und noch ein paar Stunden schlafen konnten. Am nächsten Tag bin ich gegen 8h30 aufgestanden und - zu meiner großen Überraschung - saß am Frühstückstisch Nathalie aus England, die ich in Copán, Honduras, kennengelernt hatte. Wir haben zusammen gefrühstückt und dann hat sie mich begleitet, einen Ort zu finden, an dem ich meine nächste Tollwutimpfung bekommen kann. Wir sind zu verschiedenen Apotheken und Krankenhäusern gegangen, aber die Antwort war überall die gleiche : die Tollwutimpfung bekommt man nur im Gesundheitsministerium. Frustriert sind wir dann zum ... read more
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Central America Caribbean » Panama » Panamá » Panama City February 3rd 2018

After Bocas del Toro and Chiriquí province I was back in the bustling, cosmopolitan capital: Panama City. With about one million inhabitants and besides its famous Panama Canal it's also known for its skyline with many skyscrapers. You could already guess: The traffic often gets ugly but fortunately the city has a new metro-system (subway) which opened in 2014. It currently has one line and the second is being built. There is also a more modern bus-system which made the majority of the typical coloured "diablo rojo" buses disappear from the streets. For many in Curaçao, Panama City is well known for its many shopping malls such as Albrook, Pacifica, Los Andes, MetroMall, Los Pueblos etc. What I like about Panama City is that you can get into the rainforest and do some hiking very close ... read more
Panama City
Parque Municipal Summit "Bamboo passage"
Panama City

Central America Caribbean » Panama » Panamá » Panama City January 30th 2018

We took a city tour today. Tour was set up through the hotel. We were the only ones on the tour so it was a private tour. We rode around in a trolley and had a driver and tour guide. Our guide was very knowledgeable. We were the only ones in a trolley driving around the city, so the tourists were taking pictures of us. We went to the Miraflores Locks and watched a container ship go through from the observation area today. We went through the museum and watched the informational movie. The movie and museum were both very informational. We had lunch in Old Town and then relaxed in one of the tourist hang outs. Literally "hanging" out. Met some tourists from Denver that knew about Case IH and spent part of the afternoon ... read more
Old Town Panama City
Miraflores Locks Panama Canal
Miraflores Locks Panama Canal

Central America Caribbean » Panama » Panamá » Panama City January 26th 2018

We have made it to our destination in Panama City. The flight was on time. We took a taxi to the hotel. We have a very nice room and can see the pool from the room. We went out for dinner across the street from the ocean. Pedro found a gelato shop just a couple blocks from our hotel. I am sure we will be back often over the next week. Tonight we took a swim in the hot tub. It was sunny and 88 degrees today. ... read more
Hotel pool in Panama City




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