As you have probably figured out, we like Panama and go there often. This last trip we brought friends with us who had never been to Panama before. They had the same concept of what to expect as we did when we first arrived. We expected a third-world country. Panama City is
definitely a modern metropolitan city with lots of high rises, great restaurants, and nice people. Most of the international companies that do business in Central and South America have their office headquarters in Panama City, so the people are very diverse.
The main problem for us is that we only speak English. The main language spoken in Panama is Spanish although the more educated people also speak English. I am now taking Spanish lessons. I am using a program called Duolingo. I really enjoy doing the lessons. It is like playing a game, and I have been going on daily – sometimes for an hour. Most lessons are 10-15 minutes, but I get caught up in “playing” and just keep learning. I will let you know if the lessons are helping after our next trip.
We took our friends to Casco Viejo (the old city). It is being restored and has a lot of businesses for both tourists and locals. We have a friend that has a hair salon in Casco Viejo in a restored building. It has old stone walls and is a modern salon. Through large barn doors at the rear of the shop, it opens into a great bar and restaurant. Her clients can eat and drink while being serviced, and she just puts her products away when she closes the salon, and the bar/restaurant closes several hours later. The bar serves great margaritas and sushi.
One of the shops in Casco Viejo has items made by indigenous people in the area. We and our friends bought some beautiful animal masks woven from raffia-type plant material. They are truly works of art.
They also make beautiful jewelry and, of course, tourist items. It is a fun and safe place to wander and eat at great restaurants as well.
For more information and to book your next trip, call Paige MacDonald at A Destination Travel, 702-606-0993 cell/text or 702-248-1234 work. Get more travel inspiration at www.adestinationtravel.com. As Nevada’s only Virtuoso agency, we can offer the following exclusive perks and upgrades through our Virtuoso travel suppliers.
I have had several members and homeowners ask about starting a travel club. I think that is a terrific idea and one we can certainly implement. If you are interested, please contact me and we will set up an open meeting where everyone can put in suggestions for future trips. In previous years, we have put together skiing trips, golf trips, tours, cruises, local concerts and concerts in other cities. You can reach me at 702-499-6223.
Shopping is pretty good. The main shopping mall is Multiplaza and it’s twice as big as Fashion Show Mall here in Las Vegas. It also has a large grocery store on the third level called Riba Smith. It carries a wide range of imported products and a few local brands. It also has meat, deli, fish, and bakery counters, as well as a pharmacy, plants, and flowers. On the bottom floor, there is a store called DIC (Do It Center).
While in Panama, we took a tour to Monkey Island. It is a 45-minute ride along the Panama Canal to a dock where we got on a boat and rode to a group of islands. We pulled in and the head monkey jumped on our boat. We had peanuts (without shells) which we held in our hands, and the monkey gently took them and ate them. Once he was full, he got off the boat and the other monkeys started jumping on the boat for peanuts. They were so cute and gentle. You are told not to pet them, but they come up and eat right out of your hand. We even saw a mama monkey with a baby on her back. The monkeys were white-faced or Capuchin monkeys. We also saw Howler monkeys, but they don’t come on the boats. We also had Tamarin monkeys come onto the boat. They are about the size of squirrels and were only interested in eating bananas, which we cut up and offered to them. Again, they were very gentle but strange-looking.
We also flew to David airport, a 45-minute flight from Panama City, then drove about another 30 minutes to Boquete, a small mountain town of about 20,000 with a lot of ex-pats. Rich was interested in a golf course and surrounding property. The Lucerno Golf Course is a beautiful golf course set in the rainforest. It is about the same size as DragonRidge. We played the front 9, and then it started to rain. Actually, rain would have been fine – this was a downpour in buckets. We went back to the clubhouse and had drinks and lunch. It is interesting to note that they have planted coffee beans along the course, which they harvest and sell to other coffee farmers.
The area is known for coffee. There are various coffee plantations, but we chose to tour a coffee plantation called Don Pepe Estate Coffee which has been owned by the same family since 1898. I liked it because they don’t use pesticides and also because they won the Best Panama Coffee of the Year in 2021 and sold 100 pounds of their Geisha coffee at $2,568 per pound to the Japanese Saza Coffee company. That is the highest price received for any coffee sold anywhere in the world. We wanted to try the Geisha coffee and this is the plantation where it is grown. We actually tried 7 different types of coffees that they grow and bought coffee to bring home (but not at $2,568 per pound).
We love Panama and are enjoying spending time there. You should put it on your bucket list.
For more information and to book your next trip, call Paige MacDonald at A Destination Travel, 702-606-0993 cell/text or 702-248-1234 work. Get more travel inspiration at www.adestinationtravel.com. As Nevada’s only Virtuoso agency, we can offer the following exclusive perks and upgrades through our Virtuoso travel suppliers