Passionate and knowledgeable about Panama, travel specialists at Vapues Travel, a REMOTE Community member, offer us a careful look at some of the country’s charming secrets.
One of the great joys of travel is finding those special places which take you off the tourist’s beaten path, giving you a vacation experience that feels truly unique and authentic. At Vapues Travel, we know Panama like an old friend and have picked out a selection of great accommodations, restaurants and curated experiences in some more unusual locations, so you can deliver your clients a tailored travel plan that will stand out from the rest and live on in their memory.
Isla Bastimentos, a diving Paradise in Bocas del Toro
Just a short journey from Bocas del Toro’s main town, Isla Bastimentos is wild, beautiful, and undoubtedly one of the highlights of the archipelago. Around the coast you’ll encounter palm-fringed beaches where sea turtle nest, and mangrove forests full of wildlife and protected coral reefs provide amazing snorkeling and diving opportunities. This island is home to the indigenous Ngobe-Buglé tribe, as well as some stunning lodges where your clients can relax and enjoy a peaceful island vacation.
Tranquilo Bay is one of our favorites, a small-scale, family friendly eco-adventure lodge: the perfect base from which to explore the nature of Isla Bastimentos. The secluded cabins are made from local materials and provide all the comforts, with hot showers, air-conditioning and private porches where you can relax. Delicious meals are included throughout, and you can take part in a whole host of activities both on land and in the water. The surrounding tropical forests are home to a huge variety of animals and birds, including hummingbirds, herons, Red-lored Parrots, capuchin monkeys, sloths, and iguanas, to name just a few. You can climb the lodge’s own observation tower for a unique perspective on your spectacular surroundings.
Casco Antiguo, the old city’s heart
Panama’s iconic capital city and commercial center is like nowhere else in Central America, where big business and giant skyscrapers meet picturesque colonial streets and a mix of cultures formed by centuries of immigration and trade. Our tailored itineraries usually include the vibrant UNESCO-listed Old Town – Casco Viejo – where many of the best bars, restaurants and hotels are found.
American Trade Hotel is one of our favorite boutique luxury hotels in Panama City, providing colonial elegance with plenty of modern comfort. Located in the heart of Casco Viejo, you’ll find a huge array of cafes and bars dotted along the narrow streets surrounding this historic building. On top of that, the hotel hosts one of the city’s best restaurants, a rooftop swimming pool, and panoramic views of the city. We are very excited about two brand-new properties in the contemporary luxury segment, that are set to open in Q2 of 2022: Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo, and Hotel La Compañia, operated by Hyatt – The Unbound Collection.
In the heart of Casco Antiguo, you find one of our favorite restaurants: Fonda Lo Que Hay. The menu changes regularly to spotlight local produce but a signature dish of toasted yuca with tuna carpaccio and onion ceviche is always on offer, for good reason. On a tailored culinary walking tour through the cultural and historical district you can enjoy a refreshing “raspado” from a local street vendor as you see some to the city’s most famous sites and architecture, sample Pedro Mandinga’s delicious rum, brew a cup of Geisha Coffee, and try a very Panamanian snack – fried plantains with pulled pork or a fresh mango ceviche. Casco Antiguo is gaining momentum, and we are eager to show your clients some of the hidden gems.