Author Topic: Panama TR- a Hidden Family Gem (w/AWESOME restaurants)!  (Read 47753 times)

Offline mercaz1

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Re: Panama TR- a Hidden Family Gem (w/AWESOME restaurants)!
« Reply #20 on: April 20, 2017, 08:54:34 AM »
Is there Zika in Panama?

Offline Emkay

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Re: Panama TR- a Hidden Family Gem (w/AWESOME restaurants)!
« Reply #21 on: April 20, 2017, 10:39:17 AM »
Is there Zika in Panama?
According to who?
CDC claims there is.

Offline CZ60

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Re: Panama TR- a Hidden Family Gem (w/AWESOME restaurants)!
« Reply #22 on: April 20, 2017, 11:20:47 AM »
According to who?
CDC claims there is.

They say Level 2 - enhanced precautions.

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/alert/zika-virus-panama

Offline Denverite

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Re: Panama TR- a Hidden Family Gem (w/AWESOME restaurants)!
« Reply #23 on: April 25, 2017, 07:19:19 PM »
If you look at the particular areas where it is prevalent it is in the jungle where some indigenous tribes live.

Offline Denverite

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Re: Panama TR- a Hidden Family Gem (w/AWESOME restaurants)!
« Reply #24 on: April 25, 2017, 07:28:37 PM »
Alright I took a long break writing this report so I'm trying to start again and here are some pics of our second day.  We did a city tour and then ate at an awesome kosher restaurant.

We started off at the fish market that my kids thought was really cool.  The boats are literally coming in bringing in their fresh catch daily.


Then we went to the Smithsonian (yep like the one in DC) research institute where we got to see up close tons of fish, frogs, and animals.  There was also a great lookout into the bay.  You can check out their website here:  http://www.stri.si.edu/ I thought it was perfect for my kids but would never have heard about it if our tour guide hadn't suggested it.





Looks like a big coconut but yup that is a sloth!  :P


Offline Denverite

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Re: Panama TR- a Hidden Family Gem (w/AWESOME restaurants)!
« Reply #25 on: April 25, 2017, 07:40:51 PM »
My family isn't really into shopping but there were tons of cool markets and stalls in the city.  Even an outdoor section with just with barbers doing $3 haricuts (I tried to convince my sons to get haircuts where it was so cheap but they said no)!  ;D





These are the public city buses (old US school buses) that the locals call Diablo Rojos (Red Devils) because they drive so crazy.  My one son really wanted a picture with himself with one so she go out and asked him to wait a minute and the driver let my son pose with a picture with him.  Everyone we met there was super friendly (probably because the country isn't overrun with tourists).





This is a picture snapped from our balcony that afternoon and those islands in the distance that are reached by the causeway are where we were at the Smithsonian Institute earlier in the day.





Here is another of the same view just a little later at sunset:




And here is the skyline off to the right...the Hilton really had spectacular views:







Offline Denverite

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Re: Panama TR- a Hidden Family Gem (w/AWESOME restaurants)!
« Reply #26 on: April 25, 2017, 07:58:08 PM »
For dinner we went to an AWESOME dairy restaurant called Kava.  It is INSIDE the Sortis Hotel which is part of Marriott and you can use your cert there...for those of you guys sitting on Marriott certs, it is only a category 4 or 5 and I think would be a great use of your cert (forgive me for repeating myself because I also wrote this and posted some pics on the Panama Master thread but I did want to also include it here).




I got some kind of specialty sushi and it was insanely good!




Pizza was great too...




I don't have more restaurant pictures to post because my family is in all of them but I can't say enough good things about the place.  The ambience was awesome and they also had great soup, amazing pastas and out of this world crepes for dessert.  It was a great day that ended with awesome food!  It would be cool to stay in the attached hotel and just walk down to the restaurant.  Ok, coming soon, the next installment which was our day trip to the jungle, a hike to a private waterfall for some swimming and then a boat ride to an indigenous Indian village...to be continued!

Offline chuchem

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Re: Panama TR- a Hidden Family Gem (w/AWESOME restaurants)!
« Reply #27 on: April 27, 2017, 05:55:05 AM »
Wanna go next feb with my kids, so please hurry with your TR
 :-)

Offline Denverite

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Re: Panama TR- a Hidden Family Gem (w/AWESOME restaurants)!
« Reply #28 on: April 27, 2017, 11:48:32 PM »
Wanna go next feb with my kids, so please hurry with your TR
 :-)

Working on it...lol!

Offline Denverite

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Re: Panama TR- a Hidden Family Gem (w/AWESOME restaurants)!
« Reply #29 on: April 28, 2017, 09:27:57 AM »
To start soon - https://www.copaair.com/en/web/gs/new-route-panama-denver in December.

Just saw this post and yes we are so excited! We're planning to go back next summer so will make it a lot less of a shlep. They tried this daily last year and it stopped after a few months, hopefully this 4xweek will work better!

Offline maxmiles

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Re: Panama TR- a Hidden Family Gem (w/AWESOME restaurants)!
« Reply #30 on: April 28, 2017, 01:15:53 PM »
Great TR so far! Ddi you go to LULU? That was my favorite place, pricey but good

Offline Denverite

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Re: Panama TR- a Hidden Family Gem (w/AWESOME restaurants)!
« Reply #31 on: April 28, 2017, 01:24:51 PM »
Lula Darna? It was on my list but we never got there. The website looked awesome.

Offline Aaaron

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Re: Panama TR- a Hidden Family Gem (w/AWESOME restaurants)!
« Reply #32 on: April 28, 2017, 02:11:49 PM »
Great TR so far! Ddi you go to LULU? That was my favorite place, pricey but good

+1.  Great food!

Offline maxmiles

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Re: Panama TR- a Hidden Family Gem (w/AWESOME restaurants)!
« Reply #33 on: April 28, 2017, 04:55:46 PM »
Lula Darna? It was on my list but we never got there. The website looked awesome.
Yep...BH Next year!

Offline Denverite

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Re: Panama TR- a Hidden Family Gem (w/AWESOME restaurants)!
« Reply #34 on: May 09, 2017, 12:06:55 PM »

Offline Denverite

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Re: Panama TR- a Hidden Family Gem (w/AWESOME restaurants)!
« Reply #35 on: May 09, 2017, 12:25:05 PM »
Okay getting started on our Tuesday of Adventure in Panama.

I got up before my kids so I went to enjoy a quiet coffee and empanada ALONE at the Coffee Bean about a block from the Hilton (may not seem like a huge deal to you but that is a huge luxury for me on a family vacation)!  ;D




About 9AM our tour guide picked us up in our private van for our approx 1hr drive to the Chargres river.  Since she knew would could eat fresh fruit (and not other food she provided) she always made sure to have tons for us.  Instead of getting it herself that day, we made a stop in a little town along the way in an open air market and she let the kids pick what they wanted even though she paid (I'll give detailed info later on the tour guide and company but she was a guide par excellance and I feel she helped to make our trip truly special with these little touches).



We continued on our way and in about half hour of a very easy ride (not bad roads at all) we arrived within the National Park and emptied at the bank of the river.  I got concerned when I saw a couple of huge tour buses also arriving but our guide explained that they only bother to go to the first Indian Village and head back (usually to their cruise ships) and we would be riding our boat significantly past there to take a little hike to see a water fall and our own private "swimming pool" within the river.  The canoes were super cool dugouts from one tree trunk, made by the Indian guides.  The one modern accommodation was that it did have a little motor so my kids didn't have to row.  :P



You can see from the picture you are entering the heart of a rainforest and you have the chance to see cool birds and animals along with way.  Shockingly, we encountered literally zero mosquitos, I guess because we came in the dry season, and the weather was perfect and not to hot at all.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2017, 01:07:22 PM by Denverite »

Offline yuneeq

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Re: Panama TR- a Hidden Family Gem (w/AWESOME restaurants)!
« Reply #36 on: May 09, 2017, 12:26:25 PM »
Did you spot any monkeys?

Offline Denverite

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Re: Panama TR- a Hidden Family Gem (w/AWESOME restaurants)!
« Reply #37 on: May 09, 2017, 12:47:19 PM »
After the maybe 45 minute, very pleasant boatride, we got out to a little path.  Our hike was shorter than other people's (our friends had gone a month before and had to hike a bit farther because the river was down) because the river was high and she knew some of my family members are extremely lazy.  8)  After a few minutes we arrived at this beautiful waterfall.  Because the Hilton's pool was so cold my kid's said that swimming in the river was actually warmer, plus after walking in the heat it was just so refreshing and didn't seem to cold at all.  DH didn't want to swim so that was great because he snapped some great pics.



I actually brought my daughter's floaties and was glad I did because the pool was quite deep and also you have a current from the waterfall.  Our tour guide was again so awesome and helped me to bring my daughter up to the rocks under the waterfall so we could get some pictures.  My boys were having too much fun playing and couldn't be bothered to come pose for a picture!  ::)



Don't usually post face pictures but figured this one is far enough away. ;)




Without starting a whole halachic argument here, just a word to the wise about privacy and swimming here.  We swam uninterrupted for about half an hour all by ourselves.  It's my own personal issue but in a different life ages ago, I used to be a lifeguard and really love to swim and dive and covering my hair in the water is just very difficult for me (the frum suit doesn't bother me at all in comparison...lol).  Since I forgot to bring a swim cap, our tour guide was a woman and we were all alone, I was considering taking off my hat so I could really dive down, play with my kids and enjoy myself.  Literally as I'm contemplating this, a tour guide walks up the trail with 3 or 4 people! 

They just were there to see the waterfall and not swim (According to our guide, she is one of the only ones that tells people to come in swim clothes).  So bottom line, if you are makpid on not doing mixed swimming this is an awesome place to go and have fun, even if someone does happen to come they most likely won't swim and will leave after snapping pics for a minute or two.  It IS very isolated and hard to get to but NOT private so I personally would want to make sure I was dressed tzniusly at all times (again, just my personal preference not giving advice).

« Last Edit: May 09, 2017, 01:08:48 PM by Denverite »

Offline Denverite

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Re: Panama TR- a Hidden Family Gem (w/AWESOME restaurants)!
« Reply #38 on: May 09, 2017, 12:48:18 PM »
Did you spot any monkeys?

Not on this day but saw TONS of them a couple of days later (I'm slowly but surely trying to get through this TR...lol).

Offline Denverite

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Re: Panama TR- a Hidden Family Gem (w/AWESOME restaurants)!
« Reply #39 on: May 09, 2017, 01:36:33 PM »
After the swim, we hiked back to the boat and rode back along the Chargres river to an Embrera Indian Village.  Since it is deeper into the river area, the big tour buses don't go there and only people on private tours like us, were there.

The entrance to the village from the river and the pictures do include the local people in their native dress. The women of the village all come out to welcome visitors and the kids are visibly excited to have people come.  They don't even have electricity there and the kids all know my tourguide and she brings them treats and toys so they especially got excited to see her!









It was really sweet how the children wanted to show us everything and how excited my children were (especially my youngest daughter) to run around and play with them.  Because they subsist mostly off of fish from the river, local fruit and vegetables and some subsistence farming, our guide brought them a treat of raisin bread and sliced cheese and they were so excited to get it.  They all waited and shared nicely and you can see their palpable joy and excitement!  My daughter really wanted to be in the middle of everything but was still a little shy.  :)










« Last Edit: May 09, 2017, 01:40:26 PM by Denverite »