Panama Canal (MiraFlores Locks)

panamacanal1

Cost: 8 US Dollars

I guess since you came all the way to Panama you better go and see the locks, eh? It’s big and it’s bad! Check out the locks and the museum at Miraflora Locks. It’s really convenient and gives you a good taste of part of the canal. Plus the building has the best air conditioner. Personally I think the Museum in Casco Viejo is better than here.

panamacanal1

panamacanal2

Go to the Museum in Casco Viejo (I dare you). It’s a lot better.
panamacanal3

 

Casco Viejo (Panama City)

cascoviejo1

If you are in Panama City, don’t miss going to Casco Viejo. Lots of neat things to see there. The Panama Canal museum is there and lots of Colonial architecture. It’s like taking a time machine back to the past. Not all of Casco Viejo is safe to walk around in, but there are plenty of tourist police to make sure you don’t stray into the dangerous parts of town. Just use common sense and leave your fancy stuff at the hotel.

cascoviejo1
cascoviejo2
cascoviejo3
This is the Panama Canal Museum below. No photos allowed inside.
cascoviejo4
The skyline of Panama City from Casco Viejo.
cascoviejo5
cascoviejo6

 

Pedasi (Panama)

pedasitodo1

Getting there: From Chitre take mini van to Las Tablas, then catch another mini van to Pedasi. Takes about 1 1/2 hours for the whole trip.

Pedasi is a neat town to go and visit. Not a whole lot to do there and perhaps that is a good reason to go. The two local beaches (Playas El Torro and La Garita) are not the best for swimming, but I liked taking the long half hour hike to reach them. The town offers an assortment of hotels and restaurants to choose from. There is a bank in the town now.The town square below of Pedasi.
pedasitodo1
The town is so layed back that you can walk down the center of the road most of the time.
pedasitodo2
The road too both beaches is dirt and is pretty isolated.
pedasitodo3
Playa El Torro Below. It’s a 1/2 hour walk from Pedasi.pedasitodo4

Playa El Aguillito (Chitre) (Birding Paradise)

playaelaquillito1
Chitre, Panama

If you like mud and lots of exploring, then maybe Playa El Aguillito is worth a visit. This is a migratory stop for thousands of birds. The small park at the entrance is not very impressive and the road going through the Sanctuary is lined with litter. But Playa El Aguillito serves its purpose for the birds. The park just needs a good clean up and it would really be nice. Evidently there is a ecological station in the park, I didn’t stay long enough to locate it.

playaelaquillito1

playaelaquillito2
I stopped at this point of the road. It’s up to you from this point to see whats ahead.

Chitre (Panama)

chitre4

Chitre is a fun town to explore. Still kinda like it was in the old days. Traditional restaurants and old buildings to explore. The people are real friendly.The Cathedral is real nice to see at night! Lots of lights to highlight the building.

chitre1

Discover the statues.

chitre2

Discover the history of Panama in Museo de Herrera.

chitre3

Take it from these guys. Siesta time!
chitre4

Boquete (Panama)

boquete1

I had high expectations of my visit to Boquete, unfortunately the once quaint town is now overrun with commercial buildings and I think has lost its charm. There is still some charm left, you just have to look a little harder. Maybe I didn’t give the town a fair shot and have a hard look around. After two days I hit the road. Talking to some local folks and a lot of them are moving from the town. Head to Boquete and see what you think. I just didn’t see what the fuss was about.

boquete1

boquete2

boquete3

Bastimentos Island (Panama)

bastimentostodo1

Lots of things to do on Bastimentos Island. Exploring the Island you will discover unspoiled beaches, great restaurants, friendly locals, exotic fruits and most importantly you might discover something about yourself that you did not know.

bastimentostodo1

Long walks to the beaches and jungle hikes await you on Bastimentos Island. Bastimentos Island is not as touristy as Bocas Del Toro.

Learn about the struggles of the local people at they face the influx of developers buying up the land and trying to make the easy dollar with no respect for the island. Not all is perfect in paradise. The Island struggles with litter and sewage runoff along the main village shore.
bastimentostodo2
Discover for yourself the secrets of Bastimentos Island!
bastimentostodo3

 

Shop up in the hill (Bastimentos Island)

shopinthehill1

Bastimentos Island, Panama

Location:Follow the signs along the sidewalk and up the hill. Takes about 20 minutes and is very scenic. Lemonade awaits you at your destination.
shopinthehill1
Take a lovely walk to the Shop Up In The Hill and discover how a young couple built their dream with love and hard work. They grow organic cacao beans and make a assortment of products. They sell homemade natural body products made from the cacao beans. Try the homemade chocolate brownies with a creamy frosting, then pinch yourself to make sure it’s not a dream. The lemonade is just perfect to sit and relax with and hear the jungle tales.

They are completely off the grid here. They get their electricity from the sun and water from the rain. It’s a fascinating place to discover and learn how difficult it is to build a dream in paradise on Bastimentos Island.

shopinthehill2
Homemade chocolate brownie using coconut oil instead of butter.
shopinthehill3

 

Cafe Coca Cola (Casco Viejo)

cafecocacola1

Location:Across the street from Parque Santa Ana.

Cafe Coca Cola supposedly has a lot of history behind it. Since it was around the corner from hotels that housed the Panama Canal workers, many workers used this restaurant for meals and social gatherings. If you are interested in the history of the restaurant talk to a cook named (James) and he can tell you all about it. I ate breakfast there and it was not very good. Looks like they have good deserts though.

cafecocacola1

cafecocacola2

The breakfast needs work.
cafecocacola3

 

Hotel Colon (Casco Viejo)

hotelcolon1
Casco Viejo, Panama
Location: Corner of Calle 12 Oeste and Avenida BPrice: 6.50 US dollars shared bath
11 US dollars private bath and double bed

Hotel Colon has a lot of history to it. The hotel housed the Panama Canal workers. From the roof top you can see the ships entering the Panama Canal. The hotel is rather run down now, though you can still see how grand it use to be. But the bed was comfortable and the water still ran from the shower. The hotel is secure and staff are friendly. Nice location that you can grab a bite to eat after dark and still feel safe. Plenty of Internet cafes around.

I stayed here for a week and was pretty comfortable. The black market is nearby and the seafood market is not far.

hotelcolon1

hotelcolon2

hotelcolon3
The grand lobby is still in pretty good shape.
hotelcolon4
Notice military helicopter overhead. At the time a protest was going on and the word on the street was “riot.”  This picture was take from the roof of Hotel Colon. The neighborhood is very poor and certain sections you will either be robbed or shot. But don’t worry because plenty of Police around.hotelcolon5Pros:

  • Good locks
  • Good location
  • Running water
  • Most lights work

Cons:

  • No room service