Topic Wiki

List of TR's:
Denverite
saw50st8
dvol
dvol Pictures
zow
CGR

Kosher Food/ Restaurants:
Places to Eat:
Aroma Café
Darna Dairy/Bakery
Kava
Jeffrey’s Bakery
Pita Pan
Pita Plus
Lula by Darna
Metsuyan
Hilel Sports Bar and Grill
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
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
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 cgr on September 12, 2019, 02:39:34 PM »

Author Topic: Panama Master Thread  (Read 61798 times)

Offline Denverite

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #360 on: February 06, 2019, 12:11:44 AM »
What can I see in 8.5? What wud u suggest is the minimum ?

With 8.5 hrs you could see the Mira Flores Locks like other suggested, do a tour of Monkey Island and get to ride on the canal and should fit it one meal too  :)

Online mliebs1457

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #361 on: February 06, 2019, 12:19:04 AM »
With 8.5 hrs you could see the Mira Flores Locks like other suggested, do a tour of Monkey Island and get to ride on the canal and should fit it one meal too  :)
Awesome thanx. Shame I cant be there for longer but I'd love to make the most of my stop

Offline davidrotts63

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #362 on: February 06, 2019, 04:15:06 AM »
With 8.5 hrs you could see the Mira Flores Locks like other suggested, do a tour of Monkey Island and get to ride on the canal and should fit it one meal too  :)
Monkey island is a decent drive from from the airport, 1.5-2 hours IINM. That would leave 3-4 hours minimum for driving, and an hour plus for the tour. So that's 4.5 hours if you are risky just for the monkey island.
I assume 8.5 hour is from touchdown to takeoff, which it obviously takes time to get out between bags and customs, and you need to arrive early as well.
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Offline travellove

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #363 on: February 07, 2019, 09:33:36 PM »
Thanks to everyone for all the help here.

Just wanted to give a quick recap of what I did with some comments

Took Uber from airport and back to airport. Uber in Panama City is super super cheap. No need to rent a car or use anything else. I paid a total of $74.76 for fifteen trips. 

I stayed in Sortis. I made my decision based on the posts here. I didn’t have a chance to analyze the map beforehand because I was very short in time. It is a very nice hotel, but I am not sure why this is being promoted instead of the hotels that are by the water. Had I seen the map before I would’ve chosen one by the water. There are some restaurants close to Sortis but there are also restaurants close the Trump hotel and others. (I wasn’t there for shabes. Could be shabes is a deferent story)

Day 1
1st breakfast we ate at Kava. Kava isn’t inside Sortis anymore. It’s about 2 blocks away. Food was great.

We did Monkey Island tour with Sorhay. She is not the cheapest, but she is a GREAT guide and we very much enjoyed our time with her.

Dinner was from Pita Plus. We were tired from flight so we ordered in. By the time food came it was cold so I cant really comment on the food.

Day 2
We had scheduled a cave tour with My friend Mario because Sorhay wasn’t available. The night before they sent an e-mail saying that it was canceled because they only had us 2 and needed 6. I thought is was a disgrace to let me know the night before and by e-mail. What if I didn’t check my e-mail?

We went to pool in the morning. Then to Jefferys for breakfast. Food was great. Then we went to hike Ancon Hill. Didn’t see much wildlife. Then we went to the Miraflores locks. Was very interesting. Then we went to the Multiplaza shopping mall. Dinner we ate at Aria. We really liked this place.

Day 3
San Blas Islands we booked through Sorhay. Had an amazing day. Dinner was at Lula. We liked the food, but we liked Aria better.

Day 4
Anton Valley with Sorhay. We went hiking the sleeping indian. Then we did the square Tree trail. We did the hot spring with the mud. We also did horseback riding. We stopped somewhere to see sunset. Dinner we ate at Aroma Café. The food was fine.

Day 5
Breakfast by Darna. Food was good. We then walked Cosco Viejo, the Amador Causeway and Cinta Costera. We then made a short stop at Kava, and it was time to go home.

Thanks again for all your help.

Offline ludmila

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #364 on: February 08, 2019, 01:22:51 AM »
Thanks to everyone for all the help here.

Just wanted to give a quick recap of what I did with some comments

Took Uber from airport and back to airport. Uber in Panama City is super super cheap. No need to rent a car or use anything else. I paid a total of $74.76 for fifteen trips. 

I stayed in Sortis. I made my decision based on the posts here. I didn’t have a chance to analyze the map beforehand because I was very short in time. It is a very nice hotel, but I am not sure why this is being promoted instead of the hotels that are by the water. Had I seen the map before I would’ve chosen one by the water. There are some restaurants close to Sortis but there are also restaurants close the Trump hotel and others. (I wasn’t there for shabes. Could be shabes is a deferent story)

Day 1
1st breakfast we ate at Kava. Kava isn’t inside Sortis anymore. It’s about 2 blocks away. Food was great.

We did Monkey Island tour with Sorhay. She is not the cheapest, but she is a GREAT guide and we very much enjoyed our time with her.

Dinner was from Pita Plus. We were tired from flight so we ordered in. By the time food came it was cold so I cant really comment on the food.

Day 2
We had scheduled a cave tour with My friend Mario because Sorhay wasn’t available. The night before they sent an e-mail saying that it was canceled because they only had us 2 and needed 6. I thought is was a disgrace to let me know the night before and by e-mail. What if I didn’t check my e-mail?

We went to pool in the morning. Then to Jefferys for breakfast. Food was great. Then we went to hike Ancon Hill. Didn’t see much wildlife. Then we went to the Miraflores locks. Was very interesting. Then we went to the Multiplaza shopping mall. Dinner we ate at Aria. We really liked this place.

Day 3
San Blas Islands we booked through Sorhay. Had an amazing day. Dinner was at Lula. We liked the food, but we liked Aria better.

Day 4
Anton Valley with Sorhay. We went hiking the sleeping indian. Then we did the square Tree trail. We did the hot spring with the mud. We also did horseback riding. We stopped somewhere to see sunset. Dinner we ate at Aroma Café. The food was fine.

Day 5
Breakfast by Darna. Food was good. We then walked Cosco Viejo, the Amador Causeway and Cinta Costera. We then made a short stop at Kava, and it was time to go home.

Thanks again for all your help.
Thanks for sharing.
I was the Best,still the Best, and will always be the Best.
Pele Good,Maradona Better, George Best.

Offline davidrotts63

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #365 on: February 08, 2019, 02:30:55 AM »


Thanks.
The water isn't that much of an excitement there, and IINM none of the points hotels are on the water
(Quit) pulling out the flowers, and watering the weeds. -Peter Lynch

Offline E R K

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #366 on: February 08, 2019, 07:32:10 AM »
Thanks.
The water isn't that much of an excitement there, and IINM none of the points hotels are on the water

JW Marriott (former Trunp) overlooks water but it’s not a beach - just scenic.

Offline travellove

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #367 on: February 08, 2019, 09:54:28 AM »
Thanks.
The water isn't that much of an excitement there, and IINM none of the points hotels are on the water

But it's still nicer to have a water view than a city view when you open the window curtains in the morning. 

Offline davidrotts63

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #368 on: February 08, 2019, 09:55:33 AM »
But it's still nicer to have a water view than a city view when you open the window curtains in the morning.
I thought me city view was absolutely amazing. (One room was a lot nice than the other as they were opposite sides.)
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Offline travellove

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #369 on: February 08, 2019, 09:58:13 AM »
I thought me city view was absolutely amazing. (One room was a lot nice than the other as they were opposite sides.)

I guess everyone enjoys something else or could be i had a room that didn't have such great city views as some others, but I would still prefer water. Living in NYC I dont get so impressed by tall buildings. 

Offline E R K

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #370 on: February 13, 2019, 09:44:11 PM »
Reply to yyzzrh -

Your inbox is full so I added the information you requested in the wiki above.

Offline dvol

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #371 on: February 14, 2019, 01:38:33 PM »
I have plenty of pictures and will post if anyone is interested, but I just came back from 3 days in Panama and will post my trip report here:

I had booked a bulk fare with Priceline departing Saturday night on UA and returning Wednesday morning for $489 p/p. When I checked in online Motzei Shabbos I was offered an upgrade to business for $189 per person which I took. At the end of the day it was a complete waste since it was probably the most uncomfortable 5 hours of my life, and I got nothing from the stewardess besides half a glass of water. I had also had the bulkhead seats booked and while I got the same offer for an upgrade on the return I didn't take and had pretty much the exact same experience sitting in the bulkhead seats in coach as I did in business.

While the flight was uncomfortable it was uneventful and we landed in PTY at about 5AM which is just about when the airport opens and all the shops were still closed. We called an Uber from the pickup area which is in the car rental section and the guy standing in front of us got into one of the parked cars there and that was our ride.

You'd have to be crazy to rent a car in Panama, the driving and parking is even worse than Brooklyn and the Uber rates are a joke. I believe the fare from the airport to our hotel was about $7. In general the majority of our Uber rides ranged from $2-$7.

We had a room booked at the W Panama, however it hadn't occurred to me that they would be completely sold out the previous night, so although we had a room booked with a member that has Lifetime Platinum status we were told they have no rooms to give us at the moment (about 5:40AM). We had booked a regular room and had been upgraded to a "fantastic suite" and while we offered to take a regular room and switch later on we were told that not a single room was available. After asking the manager several times I had just about given up and we were going to look at different properties near us to see where we could get a room when I asked if he could check any of the other SPG properties around us if they could give us a room, at least for a few hours and we'd be happy to pay for the night. While he was checking he told me that their first guest had just checked out and if we waited 30 minutes they would clean it for us. While it was a regular room he'd be happy to switch us to the fantastic suite later on in the day and that's what we did. By the time we got to the room was a little after 7AM and we went right to sleep until about 11AM.

A little about the hotel: It's fairly new, under a year old and very modern with the same hip vibe I've experienced in most W hotels I've stayed in. While even the regular room was very spacious and comfortable the only reason I wouldn't stay in this hotel again is because of its location. It's in the financial district and about a 20 minute walk/5 minute car ride to Paitilla which is the Jewish neighborhood where most (if not all) of the kosher restaurants are located. The area was extremely quiet and we barely saw anyone in the hotel, even the pool rarely had more than 1-2 people in it. However, the service was great and we did love the rooms.

When we woke up we got dressed and took a 20 minute walk to Kava to have lunch. Like I said, I have pictures I can post if anyone would like to see but we had some sushi which was very good, their Thai salad was incredible, but the pasta was definitely of the boxed variety and pretty blah.

I had booked the 4 hour Monkey Island tour with My Friend Mario for 2PM ($90 p/p for a private tour - cash only) so after lunch we headed back to our hotel where we had arranged to be picked up. I forgot our guide's name but he was very friendly, talkative and he brought along an "expert on animals" to help guide us on our tour. We had to drive about 45 minutes to the Gamboa marina where we boarded a small boat that drove us on the Chagres River for about a half hour until we reached the Monkey Islands. We thoroughly enjoyed this tour and had a great time having the monkeys come eat straight out of our hands. We didn't get to see any crocs which apparently disappoints most people but was perfectly fine with us.

After the tour we headed back to our hotel and headed to dinner. We ate at Aria and were extremely impressed with the decor, the food, all of it. We didn't get to at the end, but we had planned on going back at least once more - all the more reason to visit again. After dinner we walked to the Sortis which was a block away to check out the casino but we were so tired we left without playing, but the hotel was busier than the W and looked really nice as well, would definitely check it out if I were to go again as the location cannot be beat.

I had booked a tour to the Embera Village with Sorhay from The Real Panama Tours (https://www.therealpanamatours.com/) for the next day with an 8AM pickup. I cannot say enough good things about her, as many people have said here before. She was friendly, accomodating and a great guide. The drive to the rainforest was about an hour and 15 minutes and we were met there by our Embera guide- Saul. We took about a 5 minute boat ride to the village where we were met by some of the tribe. Sorhay seemed to know everyone there, from adult to baby and they all love her. We had about 6-7 kids trailing us at all times and the entire day was fascinating. While they are not as authentic as they once were (when we arrived we saw one of the tribe trying to catch reception on their cell phone) and they speak fluent Spanish and many go to the city to buy supplies, it's still fascinating to see how they live. We walked around the village with Sorhay giving us lots of information and then took a break for lunch - fried tilapia and plantains (we had brought along lunch). We had also brought along tons of fruits that we had stopped to buy on the way up and the tribal kids showed us the best way to eat passionfruit - by dipping pineapple slices into it. After lunch we took the canoe to the waterfall - many of the kids begged to tag along and 5 of them joined us (according to Sorhay its a rare treat for them and their parents took some convincing). Because the water in the river had already started to lower we had to hike about 20 minutes to the waterfall which was a fun challenge. We spent about 30 minutes there in the refreshing water and then headed back.

By the time we got back to the hotel was pretty late and we got changed for dinner and headed out. We went to Lula by Darne and while the place was also very nice and the food was good, it wasn't as impressive as Aria. I'm not sure if it's always like that, but for some reason every place seemed mostly empty and made us wonder how these places stay afloat.

On Tuesday we didn't have much of a plan, so we woke up late and went to get a massage at the Bristol hotel which was right next door to our hotel (W didn't have availability). While the service was very good they had no facilities to speak of. After that we headed to lunch at La Spezia where we had some apps and the pizza. While very tasty it had TOO MUCH cheese - not a sentence I ever thought I would say.

After that we went to the Milaflores Locks of the Panama Canal which we were told to go to either before 9AM or after 2PM. We arrived at about 2:45 and went to see the 40 minutes Imax movie that's narrated by Morgan Freeman and plays every hour on the hour. While interesting it can definitely be missed. After that we bought tickets for the museum, another 20 minute movie shown in there and the Locks to see the boats being lowered in the Canal. Definitely a can't miss and we spent a few hours there, until about 5:30.

After that we took an Uber to the Amador Causeway. However, what should have been a 23 minute ride turned into an hour and 10 minutes because of the ridiculous stand-still traffic we encountered. After all that our Uber bill was only $7 but we felt so bad we left a $5 tip. It was pretty much dark by the time we arrived so we didn't end up renting a bike like we had planned, just walked around for a few minutes.

For our last night's dinner we really wanted to go to Aria again but we noticed another meat place called Moma and decided to give it a try - it's a lounge/restaurant and they had a nice big outdoor seating area with lots of people smoking hookah and a big screen showing the football game. While all the other places had been pretty empty, Moma was full and had a young, hip vibe with one very large family having a birthday party there complete with clown and everything. We ate outdoors and the food was really good, and their drinks were as well, definitely would go back there.

Our flight the next morning was at 9:30Am so we left our hotel at about 7:30 and while traffic in the reverse direction was a complete standstill we made it to the airport in about 20 minutes. We used our Priority Pass to get into the incredibly crowded, very unimpressive lounge by Copa Club and that concluded our trip.

I always intend to write out short succint trip reports but usually end up with long megillahs and this time it seems was no exception :).

Happy to post pictures if anyone would like to see anything.

Offline davidrotts63

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #372 on: February 14, 2019, 01:49:29 PM »
Glad you got the Aria>Lula part right ;)
Would love to see some pics!
(Quit) pulling out the flowers, and watering the weeds. -Peter Lynch

Offline ludmila

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #373 on: February 14, 2019, 02:04:30 PM »
Thanks @dvol , pictures please :)
I was the Best,still the Best, and will always be the Best.
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Offline yyzzrh

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #374 on: February 15, 2019, 09:59:34 AM »
Reply to yyzzrh -

Your inbox is full so I added the information you requested in the wiki above.

Thanks. Just noticed