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Panama Trip Report, August 2016 After coming across the Panama thread and trip reports here recently, I was reminded of what an awesome trip I had there in August 2016 and was inspired to write up a trip report (even if itís a little late.)

View of Panama City from Casco Viejo

We were in Panama for a week, Thursday-Thursday. We flew on Copa Airlines and they were great. The economy seats are spacious and comfortable and there was plenty of room in the overhead bins. They also allowed 2 free checked bags per person.

Hotel - We stayed in the Hyatt Place Panama Downtown. We paid cash and did not use points as the room rates were cheap. The hotel was brand new and really nice, extremely clean. They had breakfast included but we could not eat much except for coffee and fruit. The hotel is a far walk from the shul and kosher eateries though, about 30 minutes. This doesn't make much difference during the week as taxis are plentiful and cheap, but can be hard on Shabbos.

View from our hotel

Transportation - We took Uber everywhere within Panama City. They even have an option to choose an English speaking driver. Short trips in the city averaged about $2-3. We took day trips outside of Panama City and hired drivers. I wouldnít recommend driving within Panama City. The drivers are very reckless and traffic laws seem to be just suggestions.

Weather - We were in Panama during the rainy season. Thankfully, the rain did not interfere with our plans as it mostly rained in the late afternoons or evenings. However, the humidity was like nothing we had ever experienced, so be forewarned. Somehow, the Panamanians managed to keep their hair straight! As for the mosquitoes, we wore mosquito repellant bracelets and used a very strong repellant spray I bought on Amazon and barely got any bites. I get more bites in the Catskills!

As it has been a while since the trip, I donít remember many details about the food, except that it was all exceptional and very reasonably priced, compared to NYC prices. Most foods in the supermarkets, even those imported from the US, were cheaper than back in the States! And you can get steaks there for a lot less than in Manhattan. Our favorite places to eat were Lula by Darna (meat) as well as their dairy places (we tried both locations), and Kava. At Kava, the sushi pizza is a must. There was a kosher yogurt place in Casco Viejo called Forever Yogurt that was very good. The Coffee Beans are kosher there as well, even the one in the airport which came in handy while we were waiting for our return flight. Just a note, most of the dairy places are not Cholov Yisroel, although many of them have CY options, so keep that in mind.

Outside of Darna

Kosher supermarket

On our first morning in Panama, we ate at Pita Pan, a dairy/pizza place. The owner, Alberto Kadosh, a Colombian Jew, came over to talk to us and helped us arrange the rest of our trip! He was extremely helpful and kept in touch with us throughout the week. Many people came over to us throughout the day and at shul on Friday night to invite us for the Shabbos meals and just in general to make sure we were well taken care of.

Pita Pan

January 15, 2018, 07:43:51 PM