It's Traveling Tuesday!
Updated: Aug 22, 2022
Today I want to delve into one of my travel adventures...Panama!
A little while back I decided to escape to Panama with my mother as a Mother's Day gift. We had never visited previously but it was appropriate for the holiday since her mother was born there. It was a wonderful trip and I intend to return to explore more places. I will lend a little insight into my trip planning.
Flight and Accommodations
I took advantage of a package hotel + flight deal from a major airline. I saved a bit of money by connecting to the main flight from a smaller nearby airport. The package also included a shuttle ride to the all inclusive resort. I cannot express how much this streamlined the process of arriving and settling into our short term stay accommodations. The trip was a short 4 day excursion. Due to the length of stay I did not anticipate having enough time to know the local area to take the chance on not having meals readily available. The convenience of having meals available reduce the stress of worrying about the added cost of restaurants. However, I would pleasantly find out that the cost of food was very reasonable therefore we still had the opportunity to visit a few local restaurants.
We passed thru the modern downtown area on our first night into town. Our resort was located on the outskirts of the city. The hotel included in the vacation package was Dreams Playa Bonita which had a wonderful laid back atmosphere. The balcony to our hotel room overlooked the main resort grounds with a view to the beach. The entryway was directly opposite the rainforest on the hills surrounding the resort which let us see beautiful tropical birds in the mornings when we exited our room to explore. The hotel stay included meals at one of several restaurants on the premises and room service. Upon check-in we were greeted by staff whom provided brief information on possible numerous resort organized excursions.
While I would have loved to join the resort groups on the rainforest excursions, my mother was not feeling as adventurous, so we opted to set out on our own. (The trip was her Mother's Day gift after all!)
I took a few pictures just before the sun rose on our first full day in Panama. This start of the day was misty and overcast initially but that quickly gave way to full sun.
So I am definitely anything other than a photographer, so I cannot fully capture the beauty and peace of the area. I spent the first hour of the morning on the balcony of our room sipping tea and listening to the birds sing. In the far distance you could see the ships that were entering the harbor to approach the Panama Canal. The canal was not visible from the hotel.
Old Town Exploration
On our second day we explored the Old City Panama which is a must see with its beautiful architecture and delicious food. We hired a wonderful cab driver who remained our method of transport through the remainder of our stay in Panama. It was a hot day, and we started out on foot near the beautiful historic Casco Viejo Metropolitan Cathedral.
The buildings surrounding the square makes you feel like you've been transported back in time. It was a peaceful atmosphere to just stroll along and take in.
As we walked further we passed municipal buildings and made our way to the water where you could look out from old town and see the skyscrapers of the newer Panama City.
We made sure to make note of several locations to stop throughout our walking tour because it was very hot that day. Along the way we brought several handmade souvenirs from local craftsman while in the area including 2 beautiful paintings from a local artist.
When we were not being taken in by the beautiful architecture, we would stop to appreciate the beautiful murals hidden on random walls surrounded by beautiful flora.
We stopped for a drink at a quaint bar with swing seats to relax. And enjoyed lunch at a local restaurant for Panamanian cuisine called Diablicos which had traditional dancers at who perform periodically throughout the day.
I had the opportunity to buy beautiful paintings in the square and visit multiple historical buildings. The only limitation to the day was the heat. It was the hottest day of our entire stay. We took a road tour of other areas of Panama City and stopped to explore before we returned to the resort to relax.
The Panama Canal
We chose to head out to the Panama Canal on our second to last day. The canal held special significance because my mother's grandfather worked on its construction (we were able to find his name in the archives at museum located onsite at the canal). The canal truly is a marvel of engineering and it was fun to see a ship pass from the Atlantic side of the canal towards the Pacific ocean through the locks.
On our final day we discovered the wonder of shopping in Panama. The prices were great, likely due to the presence of all the international trade through the canal. We ended up having to buy a suitcase to bring back all the items that we purchased.
In the end I am left with fond memories of our visit and the desire to return. When I do return to Panama I will make sure to stay longer so that I have enough time to travel to the beautiful islands located off shore and also take a cruise from one side of the canal to the other. This trip was definitely worth the dime.