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Panama, Roatan, or other suggestions

Boise, Idaho
8 posts
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Panama, Roatan, or other suggestions

My fiancé and I are getting married in late September and want to find a place to travel for our honeymoon that fits both our wants. Right now I am seeing a lot of great things regarding panama. We are on a budget (about $5000 or slightly more if we can save up more) and don't need the fanciest things, but we would like suggestions and ideas on where might fit us the best. He wants beautiful beach and awesome snorkeling and/or scuba diving. Basically anything to do with water and marine life. I love those things also but definitely also want the jungle. I love being active and hiking mountains and seeing wildlife such as sloths, parrots, monkeys, the works! also dolphin interaction, ziplining, horseback riding, and atvs would be great. I considered panama because flights were more affordable, it has beautiful water, beaches, and jungle, and seems relatively safe. Roatan seemed nice, but I am not sure about the jungle part. it looked mostly like flat jungle. It also seemed to be more expensive unless flying to the mainland first. If panama seems the best please state why, but if there are other countries then please post them and the pros and cons. Remember the budget! Can't afford places like Fiji. And I would like to avoid places that are all resort sky scrapers and theme parks and no true nature or awesome hiking.

Brooklyn, New York
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for Sarapiqui
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1. Re: Panama, Roatan, or other suggestions

You could do jungle on the mainland and then Roatan. The Pico Bonito area has a couple of lovely options--we loved The Lodge at Pico Bonito, which often offers discounts that time of year. From there not far to the Roatan ferry.

Panama has jungle galore, and Bocas del Toro offers jungle plus beach. But, snorkeling/marine life not going to measure up to Honduras.

Have you looked at Belize or the Maya Riviera in a Mexico? Those would both seem to have everything you're looking for.

Boise, Idaho
8 posts
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2. Re: Panama, Roatan, or other suggestions

I went to Belize with my mom about 3 years ago and it was great, but i want a little different experience. I saw the mountains of Boquet, Panama and heard the snorkeling and diving is better than Costa Rica (that was my original idea). Is it still amazing? Or just so so? To fly to Roatan is really expensive....?

Brooklyn, New York
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for Sarapiqui
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5,341 posts
131 reviews
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3. Re: Panama, Roatan, or other suggestions

We saw the mountains in a less touristy part (Cerro Punta) and it was flat out gorgeous--spent two nights in a cabin up in the cloud forest of La Amistad all by ourselves--romantic but not everyone's idea of honeymoon. (Los Quetzales) Outstanding wildlife, though we didn't see any monkeys up there since the elevation was too high.

If you want monkeys and birds, the area around the canal zone is great for that.

If I had to pick a place in Panama that ticked off all your boxes, it would be Bocas del Toro.

If you did mainland and then took the ferry to Roatan, you could fly into either San Pedro Sula or La Ceiba in Honduras.

Boise, Idaho
8 posts
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4. Re: Panama, Roatan, or other suggestions

Ok both those suggestions sound good. how about places like Nicaragua? or other places in the Caribbean? And is Honduras safe? I have heard it is not. Every country has unsafe aspects, but some are less safe than others. Also, what about splitting the time in half by traveling to Boquet and then to the Pearl Islands? or would that be pricey?

Brooklyn, New York
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for Sarapiqui
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131 reviews
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5. Re: Panama, Roatan, or other suggestions

Haven't been to Nicaragua.

Caribbean islands will typically be very good for snorkeling, but not nearly as good for jungle/wildlife.

One thing to keep in mind re: Boquete and also Pearl islands is that internal transportation costs can add up pretty quickly. For Boquete or anywhere else in Chiriqui, you'd be looking at: taxi to Albrook airport, flight from Albrook to David, taxi from David to Boquete, and then taxi from Boquete to David, flight to Albrook taxi to ____.

Honduras is safe if you use common sense--don't go bar-hopping in San Pedro Sula etc. We never felt unsafe there.

Have you looked at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort?

Boise, Idaho
8 posts
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6. Re: Panama, Roatan, or other suggestions

as far as the taxi goes, I was thinking of just the bus. Plus Gamboa Rainforest Resort is out of my price range.

Brooklyn, New York
Destination Expert
for Sarapiqui
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5,341 posts
131 reviews
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7. Re: Panama, Roatan, or other suggestions

how many nights are you staying? Our budget this past February (high season) was under $5K and we had no trouble staying under that with 4 nights at the Gamboa Resort.

Are you talking about the bus from David=>Boquete?

I would still say that your best bet is probably Bocas del Toro, maybe with Boquete thrown in--you could fly to David, bus to Boquete, then bus to Bocas, then fly back to Panama City.

Boise, Idaho
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8. Re: Panama, Roatan, or other suggestions

We would fly into Panama City and then take a bus to Bouquet and then to Bocas del Toro. Or visa versa. Does anyone suggest Chiquiri or Boquet more?

Boise, Idaho
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9. Re: Panama, Roatan, or other suggestions

Is Roatan extremely crowded?

Brooklyn, New York
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10. Re: Panama, Roatan, or other suggestions

Boquete is a lot closer to Bocas than Cerro Punta and Volcan which are on the other side of the mountain.