Topic Wiki

List of TR's:
Denverite
saw50st8
dvol
dvol Pictures
zow
CGR
itreu001
TripsPls
davidrotts63
yuneeq Contadora (Pearl Islands)
Something Fishy (Cuba)
Something Fishy (Honduras)

Kosher Food/ Restaurants:
Places to Eat:
Aria
Aroma Café
Darna Dairy/Bakery
Kava
Jeffrey’s Bakery
Pita Pan
Pita Plus
Lula by Darna
Metsuyan
Hilel Sports Bar and Grill- Closed
Darna
La Spezia
Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (including 2 at PTY)
Dr. Sandwich
Prime Grill
Forever yogurt in casco viejo- Chalav Yisroel ice cream - Closed down
NEW - Jerusalem Israeli Cuisine by Chabad in Casco Viejo
Supermarkets:
Superkosher
Supermacardo Deli K


Synagogue:

The Jewish community in Panama is mainly in Panama City in the Punta Paitilla area.
You must bring your passport with you to enter the shuls. You can bring your passport over during the week if you are not staying in the eruv. They will make a copy of your passport.

Sinagoga Beth El – Orthodox, Ashkenazi. After Shabbat morning services, they have a full sit down Kiddush lunch.
They also serve breakfast after weekday shacharit.
Contact Asistente al Rabino secretaria@centrobethel.com - Déborah Wizel

Shevet Ahim – Sephardic. proper attire required, denied entry for shorts.

Ahavat Sion –

Chabad -  bracha Karniel goldberg  brachagold@gmail.com

Things to Do:
Panama Canal
Amador Causeway
Old City
$30 cabbie for all day
Panama John on FT cab and tour guide
San Blas islands
En Valle Market
Casco Viejo
Barefoot Panama tour company
Boquete
Biosphere
Miraflores Locks
Ancon Hill (tallest point in the City)
Anton Valley (hiking, waterfalls, horseback riding)
Panama Viejo
MultiPlaza (high-end mall)
Parque Natural Metropolitano
Partial canal transit
Monkey Island boat tour
Rainforest Gondola tour
Contadora (Pearl Islands) - whale watching, snorkeling/scuba on Chipera, Mogu Mogu, https://pearlislandsdaytours.com/
Rainbow bass fishing
Ziplining
Rent bikes along the water
Rainforest
Beach- Santa Clara and punta palmar both 1.5+ hours from Panama City
Indigenous tribes
Coffee plantations in the mountains
Whale watching
City tour (includes animals)
Chargres River Tour, hike to waterfall, visit Embrera Indian Village
Hiking Portabello road
Natural Metropolitan Park
www.therealpanamatours.com
Almiza Tours/ My friend mario http://www.bscpma.com/mfm/aboutus.htm (Website not working!)
Colon
Bocas del Toro
Old city/Casco viejo

Hotels:

Getting Around:
Uber is the best way to get around, cheap and reliable (if you go to the rainforest, there might not be any cars available going back, search before)

Notes:


Please Update the Wiki
« Last edited by yitzyul on February 12, 2020, 09:53:43 PM »

Author Topic: Panama Master Thread  (Read 102384 times)

Offline travellove

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #315 on: January 21, 2019, 03:15:42 PM »
I’m here now and will attempt to answer some of your questions but I’m still at the beginning so the rest may be answered at the end of the week.

For Shabbos we stayed at JW Marriot which was extremely Shabbos friendly and close to chabad where we davened and ate Friday night and Bet El for lunch. Reservations for both. We met many wonderful people also staying at Marriot and eating with us. We then moved to The Sortis MS. Both hotels are great in different ways. Marriot had nice infinite pool and Shabbos friendly. Sortis is more hip. Don’t like the bathrooms at Marriot- a little too open for me (sliding frosted door) and I think we were upgraded because we had a bathtub (that I found out other rooms did not) that was only enclosed by a curtain. Sortis bathrooms have regular doors. We were upgraded to a corner suite which is a 1 bedroom, 2 bathroom small kitchen and living room area.

We used Kosher GPS app to find all the kosher restaurants around us. Kosher PTY is in Spanish.
Also, Google Translate app was a lifesaver unless you speak Spanish.

Are you there next week as well? I am Arriving Sunday morning iy”h.  Staying at the Sortis as well.

Offline travellove

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #316 on: January 21, 2019, 03:21:33 PM »
I was very happy with Mario of http://myfriendmario.com (Almiza) as a tour guide.

The Aria Restaurant and Jeffery Bakery both impressed me.

Do the rainforest with the monkey island.

Taxis are very cheap, so for when you're not with a tour guide, it won't cost too much for the taxis.

Casco Viejo is the "old city" so I assume "old Panama" is the same.
I think there is more than 1 rainforest. What is the name and/ or location of the one you recommend to do with Monkey Island?

My question is if I have my own car, are there tours that I can then do on my own instead of having a tour guide. I’m assuming that for some of the tours a large part of having a tour guide is just to have someone that would drive you. Am I coming across clear with my question?

Thanks about the Cosco Viejo answer.

Offline E R K

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #317 on: January 21, 2019, 04:11:58 PM »
Are you there next week as well? I am Arriving Sunday morning iy”h.  Staying at the Sortis as well.

Nope. But I have friends coming but staying at a different hotel. If you’re here for Shabbos I suggest a different hotel if you want to be near Jewish area. It was a nice experience. The shul is beautiful.

Offline davidrotts63

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #318 on: January 21, 2019, 04:13:02 PM »
(Quit) pulling out the flowers, and watering the weeds. -Peter Lynch

Offline travellove

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #319 on: January 21, 2019, 04:28:26 PM »
Nope. But I have friends coming but staying at a different hotel. If you’re here for Shabbos I suggest a different hotel if you want to be near Jewish area. It was a nice experience. The shul is beautiful.

I am not there for Shabes. Thanks. 

Offline E R K

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #320 on: January 21, 2019, 04:59:40 PM »
Which one?

We went to Bet El. They have a Shabbos luncheon with reservations beforehand.

Offline travellove

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #321 on: January 22, 2019, 12:49:40 AM »
I am reposting my questions, but I took off the ones that were answered already. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I will be in Panama for 5 full weekdays IY”H.  Traveling without kids. 

I read through all the posts and they are extremely helpful. I have the following questions.  If anyone can answer, would be much appreciated.

What activities can be done in Panama without a tour guide?

Was thinking of doing 1 day the local stuff like the canal and Monkey Island. I day San Blas or Pearl Island and 1 day El Valle .  What do you suggest for the other 2 days?


Is it Whale watching season now. If not, would it be worth it to go to Pearl Island regardless?

No point in doing both San Blas and Pearl Islands. It’s just either or. Correct?

I saw mentioned “Darien Provence”. Where and what is that?

Monkey Island Boat tour -what other day activity can it be combined with?

Parque Natural Meropolitano –what activities are located there?

Boquete-is that something that comes into my plans for a 5 day stay or that’s for a whole other trip? 

Bocas Del Toro- is that something that comes into my plans for a 5 day stay or that’s for a whole other trip? 

Rainforest gondola tour-where is that?

Portobello Road/ Portobello Island-where and what is that?

Which dairy restaurants are Cholov Yisroel and which are not?

There are so many kosher Restaurants there. Which ones are lie the top ones not to be missed?

Thanks again for your help.

Offline Suave

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #322 on: January 22, 2019, 12:43:48 PM »
I am reposting my questions, but I took off the ones that were answered already. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I will be in Panama for 5 full weekdays IY”H.  Traveling without kids. 

I read through all the posts and they are extremely helpful. I have the following questions.  If anyone can answer, would be much appreciated.

What activities can be done in Panama without a tour guide?

Was thinking of doing 1 day the local stuff like the canal and Monkey Island. I day San Blas or Pearl Island and 1 day El Valle .  What do you suggest for the other 2 days?


Is it Whale watching season now. If not, would it be worth it to go to Pearl Island regardless?

No point in doing both San Blas and Pearl Islands. It’s just either or. Correct?

I saw mentioned “Darien Provence”. Where and what is that?

Monkey Island Boat tour -what other day activity can it be combined with?

Parque Natural Meropolitano –what activities are located there?

Boquete-is that something that comes into my plans for a 5 day stay or that’s for a whole other trip? 

Bocas Del Toro- is that something that comes into my plans for a 5 day stay or that’s for a whole other trip? 

Rainforest gondola tour-where is that?

Portobello Road/ Portobello Island-where and what is that?

Which dairy restaurants are Cholov Yisroel and which are not?

There are so many kosher Restaurants there. Which ones are lie the top ones not to be missed?

Thanks again for your help.
3 days in Boquete should be enough (visit coffee growers, go rafting, chill in the hotsprings etc)
I would recommend spending more time in Bocas Del Toro - Scuba, ATV tours, Snorkling, Dolphin/whale/stingray/shark watching, Boat tours etc. (there's a chabad there, so Kosher food will be easier)
San Blas deserves more than a day. 2 nights at least, turn off your phone, get a REAL vacation, reconnect with yourself.

EDIT, Just noticed you said 5 weekdays - not weekends. I guess Bocas should be it's own trip then. You can skip Boquete. San Blas will cost you in travel time.
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Offline Denverite

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #323 on: January 22, 2019, 05:14:56 PM »
I am reposting my questions, but I took off the ones that were answered already. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I will be in Panama for 5 full weekdays IY”H.  Traveling without kids. 

I read through all the posts and they are extremely helpful. I have the following questions.  If anyone can answer, would be much appreciated.

What activities can be done in Panama without a tour guide?

Was thinking of doing 1 day the local stuff like the canal and Monkey Island. I day San Blas or Pearl Island and 1 day El Valle .  What do you suggest for the other 2 days?


Is it Whale watching season now. If not, would it be worth it to go to Pearl Island regardless?

No point in doing both San Blas and Pearl Islands. It’s just either or. Correct?

I saw mentioned “Darien Provence”. Where and what is that?

Monkey Island Boat tour -what other day activity can it be combined with?

Parque Natural Meropolitano –what activities are located there?

Boquete-is that something that comes into my plans for a 5 day stay or that’s for a whole other trip? 

Bocas Del Toro- is that something that comes into my plans for a 5 day stay or that’s for a whole other trip? 

Rainforest gondola tour-where is that?

Portobello Road/ Portobello Island-where and what is that?

Which dairy restaurants are Cholov Yisroel and which are not?

There are so many kosher Restaurants there. Which ones are lie the top ones not to be missed?

Thanks again for your help.

Can't go through all these but yes, I'd just do Las Perlas or San Blas if you only have 5 days although if you have the money and really love beaches, both would be fun.  I actually just posted some more about our day in Las Perlas in my trip report.  In the Parque Nacional is the national zoo, which is a poor 3rd world zoo but the harpy eagle was super cool.  It's very close to the rainforest tram (that you asked about) in Gamboa.  We took a cab to the zoo and ubered back.  We did the tram and it was ok but if you aren't dragging kids around you could do cooler stuff that isn't as touristy and actually hike in the rainforest.  Hands-down do not miss Aria meat restaraunt.  It's insanely good and literally across the street from the Sortis.  Have a blast there!

Offline travellove

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #324 on: January 22, 2019, 06:27:09 PM »
When is the best time of day to see canal traffic?

Offline Denverite

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #325 on: January 22, 2019, 07:04:23 PM »
When is the best time of day to see canal traffic?

It’s all day long lined up waiting to go trough.

Offline E R K

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #326 on: January 22, 2019, 11:06:28 PM »
We did Pearl Island on Sunday and San Blas today. Both very different experiences.

Pearl Islands has beautiful fish and good snorkeling but water was colder at first. It’s not whale watching season now. Lots of private beaches if you go with a tour guide- We used Ilene based on @Denverite’s TR. Ilene was very informative and took our cues as to what interests us. Water was beautiful. Cost was $250 for up to 5 people on Ilene’s boat (we were only 2) + $78/pp ferry ride reduced from $98/pp because we booked with Ilene.

San Blas has gorgeous water. Water was warmer then Pearl. We did a group tour through Sorhay which was $155/pp and she took care of every detail down to the  $.25 for the bathroom when you first come in. (Other bathrooms are free!) we went as a group to 3 different islands so it’s not private. The ride there was very windy and had lots of potholes but the driver had obviously driven these roads before. Since it was a group, Sorhay was not there and no one spoke Emglish except another tourist so she translated.

Personally I can’t see doing more than a day trip in either place. I love swimming and snorkeling but I think I would be bored.

Offline travellove

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #327 on: January 23, 2019, 08:48:24 AM »
Thanks for the live trip report. If you had to chose 1 over the other, which one would you choose?

Offline travellove

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #328 on: January 23, 2019, 11:57:30 PM »
Silly question. Does Panama use same electricity as US or you need an adapter like in Europe? 

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #329 on: January 24, 2019, 12:17:12 AM »
Silly question. Does Panama use same electricity as US or you need an adapter like in Europe?

Same electricity and currency is American dollars

Thanks for the live trip report. If you had to chose 1 over the other, which one would you choose?

I keep trying to write an answer to your question and I keep going back and forth. I’m not sure what you’re into. If you want beautiful snorkeling then Pearl Islands. But the beaches at San Blas were gorgeous. Both trips are long. If someone gets carsick then the trip to San Blas is not for you. If money is an issue then I would skip both and use Sorhay for Embrera village (which we did today). We did the kosher version and it was spectacular. She is very detailed oriented and takes great care of her clients. And the trip includes a waterfall which Denverite wrote about. It was a spectacular day.