I want to travel the country, but I don’t want to have to rent a car and drive around.
Panama has an excellent network of domestic flights, that can get you to virtually any part of the country cheaply and quickly. There are more than three domestic airstrips around the country, including on many of the islands on the Pacific and Caribbean coasts such as the Kuna Yala territory and the Las Perlas archipelago. This makes it very easy to get around by air, as Panama is not a huge territory. There are several airlines that ply these routes, and the two main airlines that fly domestically are Air Panama and Aeroperlas. The main hub is the Marcos A. Gelabert airport in the Paitilla neighbourhood of Panama City, also knows as ‘Albrook Airport’. Not all destinations have daily flights, and some are only seasonal, so you should check ahead to plan your itinerary. Finally, there are also companies that do charter flights, and many private airstrips around the country as well.
The Revolution Tower is an unforgettable icon in the heart of Panama City’s Banking and Business district. This commercial tower offers units of 2000 to 6500 square meters, with private, secure working areas and superb views of the ocean and glittering city lights.
Offices, meeting and video conference rooms are fully furnished and equipped with standard office equipment such as printer, fax, scanner, copier, mail and postage machinery. The tower offers complete telecommunication services including multi-access T1 and telephone ports, continuous IT maintenance and support, digital telephones, high-speed internet and LAN with security system protection. Common areas include fully-stocked kitchens; offices are cleaned daily. The lobby area includes a reception desk and welcome area, and an on-site center manager is available to address any concerns.
Obarrio is one of Panama City’s most prestigious central neighborhoods, set between El Cangrejo and San Francisco. A blend of the commercial and residential, it is home to many swanky boutiques, shops and office buildings, as well as luxurious homes and condominiums. Many of Panama’s most high-end real estate projects are being erected in this neighborhood, and designer names are plentiful along Samuel Lewis Avenue. Names like Lalique, Ferrari, Ralph Lauren and Rolls Royce head the the gleaming store fronts.
Obarrio is also part of the city’s prestigious banking district with more than 100 international banks operating within Panama, attracting a elite suite of residents and business tenants.
The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute recently found that Panama has more forest landscape variation, meaning “as many or even more tree species”, than even parts of the Amazon. Scientifically-speaking this is known as “beta-diversity”. Researchers say there’s more variety among tree species stretching across 50km of Panama, than a 1400km-span in western Amazonia. The institute concluded trees in Panama vary more across less distance, whereas the forests of the Amazon are generally more uniform, and less diverse.
I’m headed to Bocas del Toro, what types of dishes should I expect to see?
The Bocas del Toro archipelago is rich in Afro-Caribbean, American, Spanish and indigenous cultures. The Caribbean’s food reflects a deliciously vibrant mixture of these influences. Unlike the majority of Panamanian dishes, spices play a bigger part will in Panama’s Caribbean cuisine, as evidenced by the use of jerk sauces, curry flavors and cilantro. While Panamanian cuisine on the whole can become pretty repetitive, cuisine in Bocas will keep you pleasantly surprised. You can expect to see dishes like “corbina con arroz” (sea bass with rice) and “arroz con coco y frijoles” (coconut rice with beans)—a very typical Bocas dish. You’ll also see “pargo” (snapper) cooked Caribbean style with onion and sweet garlic; patacones (pressed and fried yucca); the very rich Jamaican dish of “rondon”, a soup which includes fish, coconut milk and Caribbean vegetables; and other seafood-based dishes. To be sure, Caribbean food is delicious, but, for conservation reasons, I highly recommend not trying any dish involving turtles or turtle eggs.
There are different versions as to how the country got its name, but the strongest etymological origin is that a fishing village was called Panamá, which meant “many fish”. Some people argue, however, that Panamá is a type of tree; and yet others attest the word comes from the country’s indigenous people and means “many butterflies”. Nowadays, Panamá’s schools teach children that the word means a mixture of all three etymologies: “an abundance of fish, trees, and butterflies.”
There has been a lot of talk about refineries, natural gas plants, oil pipelines in the news lately.
Panama’s central location in the Americas, plus the Canal, does make it an ideal location as an energy hub for Central America and the Caribbean, and even linking South American and North American markets. Plans are still (slowly) under way for a major refinery on the Caribbean side, in partnership with Qatar. In 2008, the defunct TransPanamanian oil pipeline got a new lease on life when British Petroleum signed an agreement to modernize the pipeline for reverse shipments from the Pacific to the Atlantic, and last October there was an announcement that the terminal storage facilities would be expanded, which indicates there is likely to be a jump in usage (think: Venezuela). Finally, the Ministry of Finance announced earlier this month that the government would be spending $430 on a new natural gas terminal and gas-fired generating plant. It all seems to point to a very specific plan to take advantage of Panama’s location and existing infrastructure.
Balboa Avenue is Panama’s most famous promenade and thoroughfare, stretching along the waterfront between the Casco Viejo (Old Town), the financial district and Punta Paitilla. It is lined with some of the city’s most prestigious projects overlooking the Bay of Panama, with luxury high-rises like Arts Tower, Hilton Hotel & Casino, Yacht Club and many more, shopping malls, restaurants and shops jockeying for position on this impressive roadway.
It has undergone an expansion to relieve traffic congestion by linking some of the city’s major roadways, and beautification of the waterfront, with an additional 35 hectares includes green zones, pedestrian walkways, sport facilities as well as cultural and recreational facilities. The expansion was completed in 2009, Balboa Avenue is one of the major attraction in its own right for residents and tourists alike.
I’m a huge fan of the show, and I would love to visit the location.
Survivor: Panama was filmed in the Las Perlas Archipelago, a.k.a. the Pearl Islands, a gorgeous cluster of islands off the Pacific Coast of Panama, due south of Panama City. It’s actually just one of three seasons filmed there – ‘Survivor: Pearl Islands’ and ‘Survivor: All-Stars’ were also filmed at the same location. Most of the 200+ islands in the archipelago are sparsely inhabited, or completely uninhabited, but Contadora Island is famous as the playground of the rich and famous. Isla Viveros, Isla del Rey and Isla San Jose are some of the bigger and more populated islands, where development is taking place.
Is the Panamanian government in charge of the canal, or is it a private organization? Are any other countries involved?
The Panama Canal is under the control of the Panama government, and administered by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), a semi-autonomous government agency. The operation of the shipping container ports at either end of the Canal was contracted out to a Hong-Kong based firm, Hutchison Whampoa. The Canal used to be under US control, but in December 1999 the US relinquished control of this valuable shipping and trade hub, and withdrew their presence from the country.
Located in the posh Punta Pacifica district, with complete access to elegant shops, restaurants, banks and all amenities, Pacific Village is one of the largest and most exclusive private residential developments in Central America.
Residents of Pacific Village can enjoy exclusive access to the complex’s private beach club and docking pier, stroll through lush gardens, enjoy a relaxing massage at the Village Spa, and browse through the complex’s boutiques and shops. The Village also offers great recreational areas for all ages, including the sky lounge, bar, swimming pool, children’s playgrounds, racquetball and squash courts. The fitness center includes an aerobics room, a spinning room, cardiovascular equipment, free-weights and sauna.