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El Panama Hotel | It’s ‘English Spoken Here’ On an Island Off Panama

THERE were no taxis when my plane landed on a Saturday afternoon in the town of Bocas del Toro, Panama. I hung around the terminal for a few minutes, then strapped on my backpack and started walking. Twenty paces later, fat raindrops began falling and I scurried under the wooden eaves of a tiny refreshment shack.

”Where are you staying? La Veranda?” asked the woman at the counter, in an English that had a heavy West Indian accent. ”Well that’s right over there,”

She pointed out a blue house, just on the other side of the small dirt runway, and I headed that way. The rain, and the urgency of settling into a dry place with my gear, had distracted me so much that it took me another 20 paces for it to register — I’d just had a conversation in English (West Indian-style) in Panama.

The Bocas del Toro Archipelago, on the Caribbean coast of western Panama, is a tiny enclave of English-speaking Afro-Antilleans in a Spanish country. History, politics and labor migrations have created a handful of these colonias, as they’re called, all along Central America’s east coast — Nicaragua and Honduras, for example, have the Garifunas, and there are Afro-West Indian communities in Limón, Costa Rica; Colón, Panama, and on the tiny Colombian islands of San Andrés and Providencia.

The colonia in Bocas Town, on Colón Island, came about because the United Fruit Company built a headquarters here around the turn of the century. The company hired Caribbean migrants, mainly from Jamaica, to work banana plantations. When United Fruit moved to the Panamanian mainland some years later, the Caribbean workers stayed on the islands, settling in to fish, farm and trade.

More than 100 years later, Bocas Town still feels like an abandoned company outpost. Walking quickly along dirt streets, I noticed that the houses were mostly wooden two-story cottages with identical silhouettes: wide porches; framed, shuttered windows; and, occasionally, wood gingerbread trim. Many appeared on the verge of collapse, others were well-maintained and boldly painted — red with green, yellow with blue. Laughter, music (gospel and B. B. King), and the sputter of old car engines being tinkered with drifted through the air — the sounds of Saturday on any small Caribbean island.

While I was intrigued by Bocas’s unusual past, I had other reasons for including it in my trip to Panama last January. With 9 islands, 51 keys and more than 200 islets spread across the lagoon of Chiriquí, the Bocas del Toro Archipelago is like a mini-Caribbean off Panama’s coast. But it gets a fraction of the Caribbean’s tourist traffic, and there are no resorts or big hotels on the islands, only small inexpensive guest houses. A national marine park in the lagoon, on the nearby island of Bastimentos, protects the archipelago’s nearly pristine reef for snorkelers and divers.

Shivering under a thin blanket on my last night in Panama’s mountains, I dreamed about swimming in blue-green waters, lying on empty beaches and snorkeling with the equipment I’d lugged from New York.

Bocas Town, the provincial capital on Colón, the archipelago’s main island, didn’t have much of a beach (the public beach there fronts on the ominously named Bahia Sand Fly), but it is where most travelers go because of its central location. From there I could rent little boats to take me on short day trips to the marine park, 20 minutes away, and to uninhabited islands.

By the time I reached La Veranda guest house, the rain had slacked to a gentle drizzle. I’d found La Veranda in a roundabout way. When I called a nearby guest house, Cocomo on the Sea, it was full. I asked the friendly sounding American owner if she could recommend something, and she suggested La Veranda, which wasn’t in either of my guidebooks (both had been published before it opened two years ago). I liked the name, picturing a house with a big, cozy porch. On this instinct alone, I called the day before I arrived in Bocas Town and booked a single with bath for $25.

Not knowing what to expect, I realized after I walked up the old wooden stairs to the big second-story porch that I’d stumbled upon a rare find — a cheap guest house with terrific style. Heather Guidi, a former nurse from British Columbia who bought and restored the house, had turned it into a funky Caribbean fantasy of blue, yellow, purple and sea-green walls, original wood plank floors, ceiling fans and gingerbread trim. In my room were many things that pleased me — thrift shop mirrors, a billowy white mosquito net, handmade chairs painted turquoise, and, beside the queen bed, a lamp that made me laugh with its shade speckled with tiny sea shells.

The large veranda had an antique sofa and comfy wicker chairs with batik cushions. There was a kitchen at one end, with a big refrigerator, a stove and a sink. ”You’re welcome to use it,” Heather said, and told me the grocery was two blocks away.

Lounging on the couch and chairs were three of my fellow guests, two blond crewcut men, and an earnest blond woman, in their 20’s. One young man was working on a computer, the second was cleaning the sink; the woman was reading the Bible. They were freelance missionaries from Colorado, on a break between projects in Central America.

I found this out because shortly after I unpacked, the rain came back, this time in exuberant waves, sheet after tropical sheet. There was little to do but sit on the veranda, chat and wait for a break in the clouds. A brief one did come, and I ran down the street to the grocery store, the ”Epicenter of Savings,” for coffee, milk, water, bread and cheese. On my way back, drops began to trickle down again. I scurried up the stairs as thunder began to roll.

It was not the rainy season, Heather said. In fact, it was the time of year that is supposed to have the lightest rainfall. This made me hopeful that tomorrow would be sunny. My mood lifted, and when the missionaries invited me out for a beer, I joined them.

The next morning, the sky was gray, but there were some breaks in the clouds that encouraged optimism. After fixing coffee and eating some fruit, I walked down Bocas Town’s main road to the town center in about 10 minutes. Along the harbor was a road lined with fishermen’s bars, dive shops and places that arranged boat excursions. I got as far as asking about a snorkel expedition when the gray clouds turned black again, and I headed back to the guest house pronto.

But the rain caught me in the middle of Calle 3, Bocas Town’s main street. I jumped onto a creaky wooden porch where an elderly man sat silently, watching the nearly-empty street. He’d caught my eye because his house listed about 30 degrees to the left and appeared to be only moments from collapse, and because he looked like a member of the Buena Vista Social Club, distinguished in a starched white guayabera. In an Afro-Antillean town, the man stood out, a reminder of Hispanic Panama.
His name was Don Mario, and when I introduced myself, he immediately got up and went back into his house. I heard some scraping and banging, and he emerged holding an old steel folding chair.

Rain pounded, I sat, and Don Mario entertained me with episodes from his 83 years, beginning with the time he ran off, in his 20’s, to Havana. ”Oh, mi amiguita, what a time it was!” he said, his eyes clouding wistfully. ”I danced in the clubs, I heard all the great musicians, saw the great comedians — it was the best time of my life.” More stories emerged, of his travels around South America on a merchant marine vessel, his adventures in Panama City during World War II. He did not explain in detail how he’d ended up as a tailor in Bocas Town, but I did find out what made his house tipsy: an earthquake in Bocas about 10 years ago. In any event, explained Don Mario, it would be torn down soon, for, like many Bocas old-timers, he was selling his property to an investor who would probably put up a little hotel, or a restaurant, to join the others now popping up along Calle 3.

After my conversation with Don Mario, I drifted along the main street, noticing now how tourism was reshaping the sleepy little backwater. There were three or four restaurants with Italian names and owners, and the clatter of hammers announced renovation and new construction. Over a terrific, simple lunch of fish and rice at Restaurante Kuna, run by Kuna Indians from eastern Panama, I overheard Latin men with mustaches speaking rapidly into cell phones, while their gringo lunch companions questioned them, in bad but enthusiastic Spanish, about real estate opportunities.

I realized I’d arrived in Bocas Town at that pause before the tourism machinery kicks in, before the friendly smiles of the locals turn into professional grins (or irritated masks). Suddenly, I didn’t really care if I ever used that snorkel here.

The rains continued to pass over La Veranda. Between downpours, I walked in the neighborhood, met the neighbors and explored the little piers that jutted out from the light brown crescent-shaped beach opposite Sand Fly Bay (which, happily, didn’t live up to its name). On one old wooden pier, a group of children sang me Spanish pop songs, spoke to me in the local English patois, and showed me how to fish with a plastic line.

And then, one afternoon, the sun appeared, and I ran down to the central docks. Suddenly, everything was in color: green sea, blue sky, little red and white boats. It was now or never — I hired a small boat (a bote) to ferry me across the bay to Isla Bastimentos (for $1), the next largest island in the archipelago, and home to an Afro-Antillean community that was preparing for a big carnival. (I had been eagerly reading the posters that announced the parades.)
In a tiny wooden vessel that had been carved, Indian style, from a single piece of wood, I set out with two boatmen, one talkative, the other strangely silent. Suddenly, about five minutes out to sea, the wind kicked up, sending the little craft slamming down with a loud thump. The silent boatman didn’t even flinch.
”Don’t worry,” said the chatty boatman. ”He’s deaf.”

”Deaf?”

”He can’t speak, either. We’re a team — he drives, and I talk.”

We put in at Isla Bastimentos, and I noticed there weren’t any other taxi boats. So I asked the partner to wait while I explored the island for around 30 minutes. I offered him an extra dollar, and he said O.K. Seconds after I turned my back, I heard the motor sputtering; the boat turned around and sped across the bay back to town.

Isla Bastimentos has one main street, about a half-mile long. At one end, women were playing drums and chanting and clapping carnival songs. At the other was an open-air bar jutting into the harbor. It was old and funky, with missing floorboards and a strong smell of rum and sea salt. Only after I walked in did I notice that the only other woman in the place was the bartender.

Soca music pounded and echoed across the empty dance floor, and so did my heart. Was I stranded? Had I taken enough cash in case I had to spend the night? Worst of all, the sky was turning into a gray soup again. My face must have telegraphed my panic because moments later, one fisherman had bought me a beer and another had gone to look for his neighbor. ”Yuh no worry,” said the neighbor in patois, ”I can take you back in my boat.”

The rain held off until just before we pulled into Bocas Town harbor. Then the sky burst, all at once, and the showers came down, thick, warm and comforting.

The bottom line: an island enclave

I spent $38.62 a day on food, hotel and transport during four days and nights in Bocas del Toro. Prices are in United States dollars, which are widely used in Panama. The international dialing code for Panama is 507.

Transportation

From David, in southwestern Panama, I flew to Bocas del Toro for $24. My flight back to Panama City cost $49.35. Both were on Aeroperlas, Panama’s main domestic airline; (507) 757 9341, on the Web at www.aeroperlas.com.

My guest house, La Veranda, was a five-minute walk from the airport. Water taxis, which leave from the main dock by the harbor, charge about $1 for the 15-minute ride to Isla Bastimentos. Boat owners congregate at the pier, offering various excursions; I would have gone on a four-hour snorkel trip to nearby Hospital Point if it had ever stopped raining. The price I negotiated was $8.

Street addresses are not commonly used in tiny Bocas Town; the streets, arranged in a grid, have numbers or letters. Most hotels and restaurants are on or near Calle 3, the main drag, which can be walked from end to end in 15 minutes. The airport is near the center of town.

Places to Stay

The four-room Veranda guest house, telephone and fax (507) 757 9211, www.laverandahotel.com, had a sense of personal style that is rare in budget lodgings. Rates are now $35 a night, but my large room cost $25 a night and had its own bathroom with a shower, a queen bed, and lots of shelves and pegs for hanging and storage. La Veranda doesn’t serve breakfast, but the guest rooms open to a large, airy veranda with couches, a dining table, chairs and a communal kitchen. Perhaps the only drawback is that it is two blocks away from the sea (guests have access to the hotel’s swimming dock).

If a sea view is a priority, I’d recommend the nearby Cocomo on the Sea guest house, (507) 757 9259, www.panamainfo.com/cocomo, a more upscale, more conventional place with an inviting deck overlooking the water, and four rooms, which I couldn’t inspect because they were full when I visited. Rooms cost around $50, with breakfast.

A budget standby is Las Brisas Botel, (507) 757 9248, where a rather drab, dingy room without windows is about $25 a night. The draw of the place is its spacious breezy deck overlooking the water.

Where to Eat

La Ballena, (507) 757 9089, is an Italian-owned restaurant on Avenida E one block off Calle 3. It’s upscale for Bocas Town — dinner entrees are $9 to $12 — but the portions are huge. My meal of tomato and mozzarella salad, followed by spaghetti with octopus sauce, could have fed two. The bill was $18 with a glass of surprisingly good house wine.

Kuna is an unpretentious restaurant across from Las Brisas Botel. Seafood dinner entrees (around $7) are served on a wide, breezy porch overlooking the main street. I had very good shrimp and calamari in garlic sauce, and returned the next night for grilled red snapper. There is no phone. DAISANN McLANE

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Source: VIP Panama

El Panama Hotel | InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort & Spa in Panama Opens

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) (LSE:IHG) (NYSE:IHG) (ADRs), the world’s largest hotel group by number of rooms, announces the grand opening of the InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort&Spa, the first luxury beach resort in Panama. The 300-room resort is the second InterContinental hotel and the third IHG property in Panama. Owned by Empresas Bern under a license agreement with InterContinental Hotels Group (Nachrichten), the resort is situated on 20 acres of lush rainforest and is located just 20 minutes outside Panama City near the western entrance of the Panama Canal. It is the third alliance between IHG and Empresas Bern, one of Panama’s most prosperous developers. Bern has had long-standing agreements with IHG; and his Miramar InterContinental Panama and the Crowne Plaza Panama properties are both located in Panama City. “This magnificent property is a marvelous complement to IHG’s resorts across the globe,” says Alvaro Diago, Area President of InterContinental Hotels Group Latin America. “Herman Bern’s vision, once again, surpasses everyone’s expectations. This resort is IHG’s first in Central America and is destined to be one of the region’s premier properties.”

At InterContinental Playa Bonita, luxury begins with its spacious guestrooms, which feature magnificent views of the ocean and a casual yet elegant West Indies-inspired decor. Every room is thoughtfully appointed and equipped with luxury bedding, rich wood furnishings, air conditioning, cable television and wireless Internet access. In addition, Playa Bonita’s prime locale, within a self-contained enclave along a one mile stretch of golden beach bordered by natural reserves, provides guests with a tranquil oceanfront resort that is isolated from the outside world; yet, it has convenient access to the rainforest, Panama Canal, Panama City, the historic colonial city of Casco Viejo and Amador Causeway for a truly lavish travel experience.

Designed with the well-seasoned traveler in mind, InterContinental Playa Bonita’s brilliant white Mediterranean-influenced architecture, coupled with sophisticated and imaginative style, surrounds guests with a refreshing sense of peace and relaxation. White day beds scatter the grounds overlooking the Pacific Ocean and hammocks hang between every palm tree lining the beach. A mist pool provides a quiet oasis for adults and Bonita Del Mar, the resort’s 10,000 sq ft holistic spa, is the ultimate escape to cool off from the Panama sun. Additionally, the resort boasts four free-form swimming pools, three restaurants, 12,500 feet of meeting space and a number of outdoor activities.

“Playa Bonita is truly a grand work of art,” continued Alvaro Diago. “Herman Bern set out to deliver the luxury product that this destination has been missing, and I’m proud to say that Playa Bonita is it.”

“This property brings together the best elements of both companies,” adds Bern. “We have always been proud of our involvement with IHG, as their brands lend unparalleled global recognition. There is unlimited potential when two companies like ours are working together to develop a property.”

For more information or to make a reservation, please call 1-800-327-0200 or visit https://www.intercontinental.com .

The InterContinental Playa Bonita participates in Priority Club Rewards, the world’s first and most global hotel loyalty program spanning more than 3,600 hotels in nearly 100 countries. Members earn their choice of points toward free hotel nights or merchandise, or earn frequent flyer miles with more than 40 domestic and international airline partners. Enrollment in Priority Club Rewards is free. Guests enroll online at https://www.priorityclub.com, by calling 1-888-211-9874 or at the front desk of any InterContinental Hotels& Resorts property.

InterContinental Hotels&Resorts continues to grow its presence in the Americas region. In 2005, the company’s flagship hotel, the InterContinental Buckhead, completed its first full year of operations. The InterContinental Merida in Mexico joined the portfolio in 2005 and was quickly followed by the opening of the InterContinental Kansas City at the Plaza in January 2006. This Spring, the InterContinental Harbor Court Baltimore will open. Currently under construction are the InterContinental Boston, scheduled to open in Fall 2006, the InterContinental San Francisco, scheduled to open in late 2007 and the InterContinental Sacramento scheduled to open in mid-2008. Plans are also underway for the new InterContinental Resort&Residences Orlando with construction expected to begin in late 2006 and the property expected to open in early 2009.

IHG has been serving Latin America for 60 years — with hotels situated in nearly every key market in Central and South America. IHG is one of the leading hotel companies in Central and South America.

Note to Editors:

InterContinental Hotels Group PLC of the United Kingdom (LON:IHG, NYSE:IHG (ADRs)) is the world’s largest hotel group by number of rooms. InterContinental Hotels Group owns, manages, leases or franchises, through various subsidiaries, over 3,600 hotels and 537,000 guest rooms in nearly 100 countries and territories around the world. The Group owns a portfolio of well recognised and respected hotel brands including InterContinental(R) Hotels&Resorts, Crowne Plaza(R) Hotels&Resorts, Holiday Inn(R) Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express(R), Staybridge Suites(R), Candlewood Suites(R) and Hotel Indigo(TM), and also manages the world’s largest hotel loyalty program, Priority Club(R) Rewards.

InterContinental Hotels Group offers information and online reservations for all its hotel brands at https://www.ichotelsgroup.com and information for the Priority Club Rewards program at https://www.priorityclub.com.

For the latest news from InterContinental Hotels Group, visit our online Press Office at https://www.ihgplc.com/media

https://www.finanznachrichten.de/nachrichten-2006-03/artikel-6222810.asp
SOURCE: Don Winner @ Panama-guide.com

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Source: VIP Panama

El Panama Hotel | Intercontinental Playa Bonita Resort and Spa Panama

Golden sands fringed by an emerald ocean, beautiful sunrises and the most stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, provide the perfect setting for The InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort and Spa. Nestled on a private beach and surrounded by lush tropical vegetation, the Resort has been designed as an enchanted enclave of infinite pools, cascades and exotic gardens with an impressive architecture inspired by a fusion of Mediterranean, Colonial and Panamanian styles offering the perfect facilities and services to conveniently enjoy this Paradise.

On the Pacific Coast of Panama…

  • 2km of private beach on the Pacific Coast of Panama, overlooking the sunrise and the entrance of the Panama Canal
  • 20 min. West of Panama City
  • 40 min. from Tocumen International Airport (PTY)
  • 10 min. from Marcos A. Gelabert – Domestic Airport
  • 15 min. to the Panama Canal’s visitors Center in Miraflores
  • 10 min. from Horoko Golf Course
  • 30 min. from the Summit Golf Course
  • 45 min. from Gamboa Rainforest Resort
  • 20 min. From Taboga Island (by Ferry)
  • 2 hrs. To the Pearl Islands (by Ferry).

For leisure activities, the InterContinental Playa Bonita is a sanctuary for the senses. The 10,000 sq. feet holistic Spa offers restful luxury that defines the perfect rejuvenating experience with soothing therapies, outdoor massages, seaweed wraps, facials and exotic invigorating treatments, while the resort pools and private beach offer an array of watersports and activities to sooth every personal preference.

The InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort & Spa has been conceived as the ultimate prize for those who enjoy the good life. From original and extravagant incentive groups to your own personal incentive vacation, the resort provides and array of activities and attractions to enterntain the most curious and well travelled visitors.

Just minutes from the Resort, excursions can include visits to Panama Canal Miraflores locks´ visitors center, the historical colonial district of Panama city, the Amador Causeway, or an exploration of the tastes of Panama with the many dine around options in the city. From Playa Bonita boat trips are offered to the Pearl Islands for salt water fishing, whale watching or simple relaxation and sun worshiping.

Located just 40 minutes away on the banks of the Panama Canal and in the heart of the Soberania national park, is the Gamboa Rainforest Resort, Playa Bonita’s sister property, offering tours that include the Rainforest Aerial Tram, educational exhibits, wildlife observation safaris and fresh water fishing at the Panama Canal

Offering a magical blend of ambience, pampering service, and luxuries facilities, our guests every need has been thoughfully anticipated. The 300 All Ocean View Rooms and Suites offer an elegant décor combining world class comforts with a touch of Panamanian inspired elements. Take your senses on a culinary tour though our three remarkable dining venues, or enjoy 24 hour in-room dinning at your room’s own private balcony as you gaze out at the islands and the Panama Canal entrance.

Resort Features:

  • 300 Deluxe Rooms including 15 One Bedroom Suites and 2 Presidential Suites
  • Three Restaurants and a Lobby Bar
  • 24 hour in Room dining
  • Concierge and Guest Relations Service
  • Club InterContinental Lounge
  • Laundry and Valet services
  • Gift Shop
  • Heliport
  • Multilingual staff

 Special Groups and Incentives Features

  • 12,500 sq feet of meeting and banquet space, on 7 column-free meeting rooms of various sizes.
  • Main Ballroom capacity of 850 people banquet style with an impressive double height of 16 feet.
  • Separate outdoor venue for private group functions
  • Hospitality Suite
  • Private group check-In
  • Dedicated groups and conventions coordinator
  • On site audiovisual services
  • Custom, specialized themed events
  • In House DMC
  • Also available: Group Coordinators office, Turndown gift option, Customed assistance at the airport, fruit and flower arrangements, photographer, music and enterntainment.

 The InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort & Spa is set to have a soft opening by December 15th, 2005. Our online reservations system is not active yet. Please contact us for any reservations requests.

Sales & Reservations
Bern Hotels & Resorts Panama
Tel. +(507) 206-8800
Fax. +(507) 206-8870
U.S. Toll Free 1-877-800-1690
E-Mail: [email protected]
Website: www.playabonitapanama.com

SOURCE: Don Winner @ Panama-guide.com

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Source: VIP Panama

El Panama Hotel | How to Find Luxury Hotels in Panama

October 03, 2007
By: admin
Category: Panama Hotels

Introduction
Nestled in Central America, Panama is bordered by Columbia and Costa Rica. It’s not the first place one thinks of when planning a high-end vacation, but Panama does offer a handful of resorts designed to satisfy travelers in search of luxury accommodations.
Instructions
Difficulty: Moderate
Book Luxury Accommodations in Panama
Steps
1
Step One

Call the Instituto Panameño de Turismo toll-free for more information about booking luxuxry accommodations in Panama at (800) 962-1526. You can also book online through their Web site (see Resources).
2
Step Two

Find your own little paradise at the Royal Decameron Beach Resort, Golf and Casino in Playa Blanca. As the name suggests, there are all kinds of sports and activities available. All meals, drinks, gratuities and most amenities are included in the price of the room. Book reservations online (see Resources) or call 011 (+507) 9 932255. (From outside of the United States and Canada, call 00 (+507) 9 932255.)
3
Step Three

Mellow out by booking a room on Panama’s Caribbean coast. Hotels on this coast offer an easygoing Caribbean mood and amenities like snorkeling. Rooms are available for around $120 per night.
4
Step Four

Get away from it all by booking a room at a hotel on Pearl Islands, a secluded archipelago located off the coast of Panama. These islands are home to swank resorts and remote, unspoiled beaches, and offer the opportunity for a truly secluded vacation.
5
Step Five
Book accommodations near Panama City to cool your heels in some of the country’s most upscale hotels. Hotels are available that occupy acres and acres of land near the country’s picturesque rain forests. Amenities include gift shops, beauty services, laundry/valet services, high-speed Internet and spa services. Expect to pay over $300 per night.

eHow

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Source: VIP Panama

El Panama Hotel | How to Find Cheap Hotels in Panama City, Panama

October 03, 2007
By: admin
Category: Panama Hotels

Locating cheap accommodations in the Latin American hotspot of Panama City, Panama, gives a break to the traveler’s budget. This allows more money to be spent on the ample and inexpensive shopping opportunities afforded by Panama’s many free trade zones.

Book Cheap Accommodations in Panama City

Step One

Use the toll-free number of the Instituto Panameño de Turismo to call for more information about booking accommodations in Panama at (800) 962-1526 or visit their Web site (see Resources below).

Step Two

Consider visiting in Panama’s “Green Season” from August to September. Though it occurs during wet weather, the countryside is lush and beautiful, and fewer tourists means price breaks in lodging.

Step Three

Locate information on the accommodations in the area. Hostels and bed-and-breakfasts tend to be very cheap in Panama City, though many reasonably priced hotels are also in abundance.

Step Four

Decide when you want to take your vacation and make a reservation right away. The further in advance you book, the more likely you are to get your first choice of places to stay. You may even stumble upon a cheap rate or great package deal.

Tips & Warnings

  • Ask accommodations about free meals offered to guests. This is a great opportunity to save some cash.

eHow

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Source: VIP Panama

El Panama Hotel | Hotels in El Valle

On Behalf Of Charles A. Garcia: Here is the information on El Valle. If you go to files on most of these forums you will find the information posted by me there on El Valle including the Panama Guide. You can find out much about Panama quicker if you visit the files of these different forums and look. You would be surprised how much effort has been put in by the members to make it easier for the newcomers to find information which has previously been asked. Better Hotels to stay at in El Valle. These prices vary and may be less or more than what is mentioned below.

From: [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]] On Behalf Of Charles A. Garcia
Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2005 4:19 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: [americans_in_panama] Re: car rental and getting a good map

HOTEL LOS CAPITANES 13 rooms, tel #: 983-6080 [email protected] and website https://www.panamainfo.com/loscapitanes/ Good restaurant.
Includes breakfast. Around $60 per night.

HOTEL CAMPESTRE 28 rooms Tel #: 983-6146 website at www.hotelcampestre.com. Includes breakfast [email protected] Around $60 per room.

HOTEL LOS NANCE’S BED & BREAKFAST 5 Rooms Tel #: 983-6126 Includes breakfast. $60 per room. Recommend persons renting here have 4-wheel drive, as this is up on the side of the hill above Park Eden, and road very steep.

RINCON VALLERO 14 Rooms Tel #: 983-6175/264-9119 Includes breakfast.
Email address is [email protected] and their website is at www.rinconvallero.com. Excellent restaurant. Rooms from $80-around $110.

PARK EDEN BED & BREAKFAST 5 rooms Tel #: 983-6167 / 226-8858 www.parkeden.com & www.panamainfo.com/parkeden [email protected]
5 rooms, includes full breakfast 2 persons per room, additional cost per each additional person. $60/$85/$95/$95 and an entire house with two bedrooms $195. No restaurant.

LA CASA DE LOURDES 3 Rooms Tel #: 983-6450 / 269-6237 This is the tops, nothing better…Gourmet breakfast included…exclusive cuisine & accommodations…where the IN people dine. 16 Rooms from $175. Best gourmet restaurant & luxury accomodations in the area.

CRATER VALLEY ADVENTURE SPA 8 Rooms Tel #: 983-6942 https://www.crater-valley.com/docs/rooms.htm https://www.crater- valley.com/ [email protected] Tel #: 215-2326 & 983-6942 Fax:
215-2329 Among the best in El Valle. Has pool,restaurant, sauna, massage parlor, beauty saloon, and lush grounds. Expect it to be pricey, but worth it. Room Rates: $90-$110.

APARTOTEL EL VALLE: 13 Rooms Tel #: 264-2272 [email protected] New large rooms with just the basics, but clean & spacious. Natural thermal waters pool. www.panamareservation.net Rooms from $37.50- $60 per day. No restaurant.

Some of the other places available at much more economical rates:
Hotel Don Pepe: 983-6835
Hotel Greco: 983-6149
Hotel Residencial El Valle: 983-6536
Cabañas las Mozas: 983-6071
Cabañas de Colores: 983-6613

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Source: VIP Panama

El Panama Hotel | First Time In Panama?

October 03, 2007
By: admin
Category: Panama Hotels

I’ve been meaning to commit this to writing since I got back from a conference in Panama City. The conference was held this past May in a beautiful setting along with some truly inspirational people. But, if you’re going to Panama for the first and staying in some of the same places I stayed in there are a couple of things you need to know.

#1. NO WASHCLOTHS. Now I never used a wash cloth until my wife pointed out the need for ex foliation. I don’t know how I ever survived without instituting this into my life before, but the nightmares have almost gone away. At the Plaza Piatilla they have hand towels and they have bath towels…not a washcloth in sight. The puzzled looks I got from the wait staff was priceless. Just an observation that is hotel specific? Nope. No washcloths in David, Panama hotels either.

#2. NO FREE REFILLS. Except for the higher end eating establishments, there is no such animal. I was irritated by this at first. Must be a money thing, huh? Well, yes and no. let’s go to the video tape. I was watching the Latin American version of American Idol and I got my answer. You recall how the three judges in the United States version always display the large chalice with the name brand emblazoned so big and so rich in color that it can be seen from the waiting room? Taking a look at the Latin American table, we see cans. Yep, cans. Aha! A clue! Taps filled with co2 are few and far between. Even the star judges don’t get that kind of treatment. Coffee is the same way. You’ll pay for each and every cup. Found this in David as well. Of course, you don’t need too many cups of Panamanian Coffee to get your groove on. Unlike U.S. coffee, this is a REAL cup of coffee.

#3 U.S. FAST FOODS. I can eat just about anywhere. Some would say therein lies my problem. It’s a heavy burden. But a piece of KFC chicken over at the mall in Panama is not the same chicken you get in the U.S. Seemed to me the spices were cut in half. It was like listening to a song that you can barely make out. You know it from somewhere but you can’t hear enough of it to really identify it. No Ranch Dressing either. I can live without it but my better half has been known to leave the premises grumbling in cases of the ranch dressing void.

#4. BEEF IS RANGE FED. Now this is a good thing. This is the way God meant it to be. No hormones or antibiotics to mess up your system. Pure, simple, range fed beef. They don’t age the beef either. This is probably another key to longevity in the little latitudes. Aged beef is another way of saying “decomposing beef.” Aging came about to tenderize range fed beef. A good idea at the time, except that you’re basically eating a half rotting corpse. Believe me, you’ll live longer by not eating semi-rotten meat.

I guess that what I like though. The choices. I like being able to choose what I want, how I want to live (or die). It’s sure not from consuming some chemically induced animal carcass. The people in the mountain ranges enjoy some of the longest lives anywhere. In light of this, maybe I’ll just go back to using hand towels.

M.C. Kopfer is former radio program director and talent scout. A graduate of Kent State University and a retired State Law Enforcement Agent. He is currently a member representative for the VR Group and an active contributor to Privacy Club International For more information please go to https://Kopfer.vrgroup.info or contact him via email a

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Source: VIP Panama

El Panama Hotel | Find Your Perfect Location in Panama City

October 03, 2007
By: admin
Category: Panama Hotels

Step One

Determine which sites you want to be near, be it shopping districts, the Panama canal or beaches. Consult a map of Panama and a tourism guide, or the Web site to explore points of interest.

Step Two

Plan to begin your journey to the land of the canal, passport in hand, prepared to pay for your $5 tourist card at the departure gate.

Tips & Warnings

  • In many areas of Panama, the sidewalks are in disrepair. If planning to travel by foot, be sure the neighborhood you’re staying in has maintained sidewalks, or the money you save by walking will quickly become the money you spend on taxis.
  • Research beachfront resorts closely. Due to polluted bodies of water throughout Panama, many beaches are not open for public swimming.
  • As in any large city, the risk of crime is present. Use a taxi to get around at night.

eHow

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Source: VIP Panama

The average front page review of Central Americans about El Panama Hotel

The average front page review of Central American’s renown El Panama Hotel reads like this:

“It is hard to believe that this deluxe Caribbean-style hotel, set amidst acres of palm-laden gardens, is located in the heart of Panama City. For delicious dining, guests relish the elegant surroundings of the renowned Portobello Restaurant or a barbecue alfresco by the fabulous pool.”

However, floating along on the breezes aren’t just the sweet scents of success, while this Summit property is a four star hotel, the real world traveler reviews are mixed.

One guest stated, “The pool is wonderful, has a huge, swim up bar and I love the layout of this property. It has so much potential if the right owners came along. The food was bad, the furniture in the rooms is old, and the disco stays open until 2 every night and it’s not just loud, it’s blaring all over the place”.

Another reviewer noted that “the swim up bar is very beautiful, but the pool bar has odd hours, as it isn’t open in the afternoons, when the pool is open”.  Now that seems like a really unusual choice for hoteliers to make…but maybe it wasn’t cost effective to keep the pool bar staffed in the afternoons?

If hotels are considered as ladies, then this one may be a grand old dame, but with so many remarkable new properties being built in Panama City, her name and her history may not hold her in her current four star position.



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