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Panamanian Perfection

By: J5Travel

· Travel,Luxury

I returned from our Top Producer's trip on Monday and as with nearly all my travels, I listened, learned, and loved the whole experience.
Despite a slightly dodgy tummy for a couple of days, nothing could quell my appreciation of this new country to me. It's very hard to sum up in just a few words, but Panama is akin to Costa Rica. Adventure abounds, and Panama City is a mini NYC with many skyscrapers, but a colonial district right there that abounds in charm. The rest of the country is a cultural gem, and then our final destination of Islas Secas was absolutely the most exclusive and beautiful property that I have had the pleasure of staying at.

Here's the Panama Top 5.

Top 5 - Panama

1. Casco Viejo, Panama City
Casco Viejo is the Old Quarter of Panama City, completed and settled in 1673.The area is at a complete tangent to the towering skyscrapers and throbbing financial hub that much of the city consists of and is incredibly photogenic and charming.

Highlights include the Metropolitan Cathedral and The Plazas, four main squares that reflect Spanish colonial architecture at its best. 

2. Panama Canal (above and below)
I really had no idea you could actually take a boat ride on the Panama Canal to combine gawping at some huge ships along with an intimate view of the local ecosystem's nature, including views of numerous bird species, monkeys, bats, and crocodiles. Our 2-hour boat tour combined both admirably, so we learned the amazing history and stories behind the Panama Canal as well as enjoying a mini water safari.

3. The Emberá (above, photo courtesy of The Opulent Explorer)
The Emberá are one of 7 indigenous peoples remaining in Panama. Deep in the rainforest and only accessible by water, it is possible to visit a village that upholds their centuries old traditions of building and being self sufficient. Our hosts were extremely proud to describe and show off their culture. With a school on site and clearly delineated family tasks this was a fascinating insight and lesson on how cultural roots and traditions are so important to preserve.

4. Islas Secas - the resort (above and below)
Islas Secas is a unique private island resort that delivers ultraluxe experiences with the accommodations, personal service, cuisine, spa, and all activities. I was floored by Hacienda AltaGracia the week before in southern Costa Rica, but equally so here. Set on a 14-island archipelago in the Gulf of Chiriquí on the Pacific coast of Panama, it is located 33 nautical miles from the town of Punta Tierra, Chorcha and comprises of just 11 ‘Casitas’ sleeping up to a maximum of 22 guests.

5. Islas Secas - activities
Islas Secas is the most All-Inclusive resort you will ever visit. All food, beverages, on site activities and even a spa treatment are part of the pricing. There are well over 20 daily activities that are available and that is more than the maximum number of guests on this private island! Even diving and sea fishing are included and equipment is absolute top of the line for everything. You know the skipper of your boat is really good, if a rookie like me can haul in a decent sized Jackfish (above) and yes I didn't realize you hold your catch rather than cuddle it.
The incredible bird watching tour yielded my photo of the hummingbird (below).

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