Before I get into all the details of our trip that we took for mid-Winter break. I just want to let you know that we were traveling with 3 kids from pre-school to middle school so I wanted somewhere where we could both relax and do excursions but at a low-key, non-stressful pace and in a comfortable environment that all my kids would enjoy.
With Panama, I basically found a place that has the ease of vacationing in Miami or Scottsdale but with the adventures you can get in the rainforest and beaches of Costa Rica and Brazil. On United or Singapore it is also only 35k RT in Economy or 60K in J, with tons of flights out of NY, LA and other markets. Since there are no direct flights from where we live in Denver we booked the outbound through IAH and on the return we did a two night stopover in Cancun. Because we knew we were going to Cancun we did not make the effort to visit some of the amazing beaches and islands they have in Panama, although I'll try to still provide info on them.
Ok here is it goes (and before I begin, thank you to @Yehuda for helping me with the pictures)...we arrived late on a Sunday and thanks to this AMAZING app called Kosher PTY we had awesome sushi and pasta waiting for us at our hotel!
The app is in spanish but a lot of the words are the same and y'all have google translate so you should be able to figure it out! Also, they do NOT accept payment over the app, it is just for ordering so remember you need to be there at your delivery time (so you can't have food waiting at your hotel for you).
We stayed at the Hilton on Avenida Balboa, and I would HIGHLY recommend it! Because hotels are so cheap, I actually decided not to waste any points and just paid for the room (Panama City would be a great place to spend less points by booking with your Sapphire Reserve although I will also have info later on one hotel that might be the best possible use of your Marriott 7 night cert in the whole system). Since it cost less than two rooms, and I don't like being crammed with our kids into one room we booked an Executive Master Suite. It was HUGE, over 1100sqft. with a full kitchen and 2 bathrooms.
Here are some pics:
Kitchen, Living and Dining Area
We had a huge bedroom and Master Bath and another full bathroom with shower although my pictures of those are loading her upside down so if someone wants to help me figure out how to post them correctly, I can add some pics of them too!
Most people don't know that Panama City has more skyscrapers than any city in Latin America (yep, more than Rio and Mexico City) and it has a truly stunning skyline...
The hotel lobby was also just gorgeous with stunning two story windows and views of the Pacific Ocean and Bay:
This is a picture take from our suite of the Waldorf Astoria, one block over (sorry it's showing landscape and not portrait). You can see it is a row back so it doesn't have water views from most rooms or the pool. The pool also looks really small. Because of those reasons and also no breakfast or lounge, I decided to book instead at the Hilton and was very happy with my choice. The Hilton, Waldorf Astoria, Le Meridian and InterContiental are all super close and in what I think is an excellent location.
Since it was a long day of outbound travel and we were there a full week, we decided to make the first day a lazy one. That morning got up late and went to the Kosher Coffee Bean literally a block from the Hilton and enjoyed some awesome pastries and empanadas and they have beautiful salads and sandwiches too (and all those wrapped goods had a hecsher on each product, in addition to the teudah on the store). I have a picture from here but that one also is loading upside down so it's not included.
We then walked a few blocks more to the Multi-Centro Mall to the HUGE Deli K Supermarket. My kids actually had fun picking out stuff from Israel and all over that we can't buy in Denver. They also have a sit down meat and dairy restaurants (we did not order from those though). For those of you that keep CY, they even had shelf stable CY milk. We didn't do any overnight or extreme excursions while we were there but if you were you wouldn't have to bring anything from the US and I would pick up everything here. I regretted packing any snacks as they really do have everything!
After our little shopping trip and laden down with bags we decided to take a cab the almost mile back to the hotel and it was a whopping two bucks and I didn't even have to bargain (try that in Israel or Cancun where you better be ready to battle the cab drivers over fares)!
We then headed down to the gorgeous Hilton Pool, it's on their 12th floor, with great views.
Hope you enjoyed the beginning of my TR, my apologies for newbie photo or other errors and hopefully more is coming soon!