After a punctual and efficient flight from Sao Paulo we experienced an excellent reception by PROMTUR directly at the aircraft door. They even took us to the migrations and customs: Perfect, absolutely perfect!
The Check-in was fast and the ladies at the front desk were very professional, attentive, friendly, helpful, and always greeted us whenever we were coming and going. The hotel rooms are very clean, modern, spacious, and comfortable. It is a four-star category and the apartments are large with two american styled queen-size beds. There was a small refrigerator with two bottles of water and space to store a few of your own cans/snacks. The bathroom in my room had a large walk-in shower with awesome water pressure and a little shelf for your shampoo and soap.
Check in at the hotel with a great rooftop bar with fantastic views made for our first LCC photo stops!
The amazing views of downtown which features some extraordinary examples of architectural design kicked this tour off.
We finished the first day with a declicious cocktail - beds are calling! Take a nap and get ready for a tour of its own tomorrow!
On we went to the JW Marriott hotel - a wonderful property that leaves nothing to be desired with other five-star star hotels in the world. Excellent for business, conventions, and leisure.
When entering from the street, you have to take an elevator up to the hotel lobby, which is located on another level. Our host guide was very friendly and courteous; the hotel pools provide great views of the ocean. The gym at the hotel is open 24 hours and fully equipped with free weights and plenty of machines, that can rival many ordinary gyms. It is a beautiful hotel with nice and big rooms. Still great for business travels, which invites you to work.
After the Inspection was done, the breakfast was accompanied by a presentation of Promtur Panama and a typical dance show.
Later on, we went to the Amador Causeway and stopped there for an hour to enjoy the view and take photos. It was pretty enjoyable to visit these points. You really can have a nice view of the city and the place has many restaurants and bars. Everything is newly constructed. A beautiful causeway leads to Panama City's old town of Casco Viejo. It was built by using the excavated rock during the construction of the canal.
My top tip: Restaurant Sabroso!!! We stopped in here for lunch near the causeway. We sat out on the upper patio, which gave a beautiful view over the ocean with a nice atmosphere and decor. The food was tasty and they have many items on the menu. The staff was very attentive to our inquiries. We took a lot of pictures for an example of the Indians 'Diablos Rojos' and besides the typical Panama Busses.
The dinner was in “Tomillo”, a rustical but elegant restaurant with a unique charcoal and wood grill.
We left very early for the Tocumen Airport to fly with Copa Airlines to the city of David, a fast and punctual flight.
We had a beautiful morning at Finca Ceriana, where we learned all about the area around Volcán. We then had a wonderful walk through a coffee plantation, where we saw how coffee beans were collected. It felt like heaven: Listening to the birds accompanied by the views of the surrounding mountains - this must be paradise. This was a good introduction to the Panama Highlands. In a small Sugar Cane Mill, we made "the role of the ox" and grounded the cane in order to produce the sweet and tasty "guarapo", which is the juice that is extracted from the cane. The highlight of our visit was our lunch at the small restaurant Café & Deli, which is practically in the middle of nowhere. The food was all homemade - a true culinary art. A must see and must stop on your Panama Itinerary!
After lunch, we continued to the Bambito Hotel By Farandas which is located in a stunning area with beuaatiful flowers, gardens, and water features surrounding the hotel. In this area hotel options are very limited, so despite the renovation that might be needed on some ends here, the staff was extremely helpful and the place very charming.
After breakfast, we went to the horse farm “Haras Cerro Punta”, where they explained all the details of the art of horse breeding to us! During the tour, we saw mares with their little foals, horses, and winners of various Derby competitions all around the world! To finish, we were allowed to ride Centurión, the most beautiful white horse of them all! It was excellent!
We continued our journey to the Finca DRACULA! Here you learn all about cultivation and breeding, and of course, the famous Dracula orchid is bred there. After that, we enjoyed the extensive tropical gardens with a cafe on-site, where we had simple but good-quality food for lunch. The visit to the Finca was beautiful and informative. It was a self-guided tour with QR codes for each area, where you can easily spen 2 hours exploring, learning, and eating.
In the afternoon we went to dinner at Casa Grande Bambito, a charming peaceful place surrounded by nature that inspires your senses. All in all: delicious food and wine at the excellent restaurant with the neighbouring river to end the day.
Today was adventure day - as we reached Tree Trek Eco Adventure Park. After the breakfast, we traveled by bus to the city of Boquete and the Tree Trek Tourist Center. They do have two adventure products there - zip lining and the hanging bridges tour.
The hanging bridges tour is my top recommendation - amazing views are promised. Watch out for certain trees and plants and discover so many details here. Some call it a moderate hike but - except for the bridges - it is all either up or down steps. So I would call this tour "physically challenging", also due to lack of breath with the given altitude. But all was worth it: We had a great day and couldn't have thought of a better experience.
Zip lining was the other great experience. The Guides were very experienced and none of our brave attendees felt nervous, only excited. What a wonderful morning!
There were many things to do at Tree Trek Eco Adventure Park: the bridges, the zip lines, the coffee experience and the Rum experience were only 4 separate activities that took place on the same day. One of the tour guides made a variety of coffees with 12 different samples and explained the differences in flavor as we tested a little of each. Rum activity was similar to this, where we tried different types of this beverage. All these activities are highly recommended!
Our next destination was the Hotel Valle Escondido. This resort is stunning, peaceful and surrounded by absolute natural beauty. Yoga by the river is one of the highlights offered there. It´s a really a 5 Star resort and the rooms were very spacious, clean and comfortable. The hotel is impeccable, classic and elegant. I don’t have any words to describe how beautiful this place is, which is located in this amazing town in the mountains. The staff at the hotel is very friendly and helpful at all times, especially at our early breakfast in the next morning. It´s a pity that we didn’t have more time to stay here.
All the members of the group enjoyed the stay. The rooms were very welcoming with superb amenities and the place was indeed a paradise. I loved to walk very early in the morning watching different colorful birds and the clean creek that runs along the property is amazing. There are also a lot of different unique trees. This is a place to stay for several days without having to go out at all. Plus it is a real luxury hotel for FIT´s or groups. It is maybe one of the best in Boquete and Central Panamá.
The whole afternoon was spent at the Hotel Los Molinos, where our first Eurowings Discover Workshop was held and continued with a cocktail and party and dance music.
After an early breakfast, we departed for the airport with the destination of Panama City. From there, our bus took us to the Hotel Playa Bonita: The hotel has a lot of potential in general. It’s a beautiful property with great pools and a nice beach and it was clean and very well maintained. The ocean view was beautiful, the rooms were modern with two american style beds. The gym was amazing and really large. The location is great because it’s far enough from downtown to feel like you’re still on a getaway.
I liked this property a lot, and even through it is no longer brand new it is well maintained. The location is fabulous and the service is great. The breakfast buffet was wonderful and packed with lots of choices. The staff was wonderful and very helpful, too. It was the best hotel in this famtrip.
Our lunch was at the neighboring property at Dreams Playa Bonita. There was a workshop with the local vendors after lunch, which was a highlight of the trip. It was an excellent event with excellent professional providers. This is what I expect from a FAM trip; Local hidden gems AND the connection to suppliers who can zrun these gems into packages we can sell. Thanks to Promtur for these excellent business connections created!
After breakfast our long day began on the way to the Embera Quera Indidenous Village.
Located only 2 hours from Panama City, our bus took us to a motorized boat 40 minutes down the river to the Indians Village - a takeback in time: a super welcoming tribe with friendly amazing people. As traveller you can support them by buying some of those art and crafts as this tribe can only survive on tourism (they are located in a natural reserve so are prohibited by law to cultivate lands or hunt). It was fascinating to learn about the Embera people and their way of life. They danced for us and made us a traditional lunch.
Our fluently English-speaking tour guide had tremendous knowledge and was an extremely helpful person. And most important: He was not bugging us with excessive information and stories – he was always straight to the point. We were so happy that we continued visiting Gamboa and the Channel in Miraflores with him all day.
We arrived in Gamboa and you felt like you were in the middle of the Congo. At the resort we had lunch amidst the tropical jungle which offered fresh natural salads and a nice view of the river. The best part of this resort was its location, which can’t be beaten if you're there to experience nature. It is very close to wonderful hiking trails and the sloth sanctuary.
As we continued our three sightseeings day, we went to Miraflores Gatun.
It was cool to see the inner workings of the world’s most used canal system. Watching ships rise and fall in the locks was almost surreal. I do recommend every tourist visiting Panama to take the time to visit this incredible experience.
Lastly our farewell party could not be in a better place, which was at a rooftop bar/restaurant in the Old City called La Azotea, which even means “The Rooftop” in Spanish. I was blown away when I saw the view of the Panama skyline! Surrounded by beautiful old buildings, we enjoyed a fabulous meal. We soaked all of the atomsphere and views in, which were accompanied by music. The warm breezes made this a perfect evening, which deserves a full 10 out of 10.
Before we all returned to our home countries, we went to visit the Casco Viejo or Old City. It is a fascinating neighborhood, which has churches, plazas, interesting architecture, ruins, dilapidated buildings, hotels, stores, museums, restaurants to offer. Our group spent more than half a day wandering through these narrow but interesting and diverse streets. From there we headed back to the airport and into our homes again.
All in all we spent amazing 8 days in an amazing group of lovely LCC colleagues all sharing the same spirit, leaving Panama with suitcases packed with memories of a lifetime.
Thank you Panama, Thank you LCC, and Live for more
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Indulge in plenty of lovely pctures we took on this journey in our Online Picture Gallery.