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Advise needed....Mid January 2 week trip

Winnipeg Manitoba
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Advise needed....Mid January 2 week trip

I am planning our vacation for January 2015. We are a couple in our young 50's and have usually tried different places in Mexico...usually the Pacific side, which we loved. We don't usually stay in AI's, but would consider staying in an AI in a place unfamiliar to us. We were thinking of trying Costa Rica or Panama for a change. We like to relax on the beach, but we can't do that all day long, so we like to walk around or maybe check out the area to keep ourselves a little more active. But we are not zip line people or major hikers. Nor do we want to drive ourselves. Taking the bus or taxi in Mexico was how we got around there. It's a little overwhelming trying to decide where to go. From what I can see, Panama looks a little less expensive than Costa Rica. Any other considerations or suggestions on where or how to start?

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1. Re: Advise needed....Mid January 2 week trip

Panama is generally less expensive than CR (which is the most expensive country in CA) and less like a trip to DisneyLand than CR (way more developed for tourism).

Public transport is quite good in Panama.

Best beaches are on the Carib side (like Red Frog Beach near Bocas...spectacular).

Winnipeg Manitoba
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2. Re: Advise needed....Mid January 2 week trip

any suggestions for places to stay? we don't usually go for AI's. prefer breakfast included or a kitchenette. on or close to the beach. within walking distance to shops and restaurants.

Central America
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3. Re: Advise needed....Mid January 2 week trip

Not so much from me. I'm usually on my boat, but plenty others who will have lodging suggestions.

Edited: 19 August 2014, 01:49
Atlanta, Georgia...
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for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
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4. Re: Advise needed....Mid January 2 week trip

Panama is one of those places where you can get "almost" of everything you want, but not quite. That's very true with what you're looking for in places to stay. In Bocas del Toro, (Red Frog Beach), you can be on or close to the beach and you can have a kitchenette in a villa, but you'll only have one or two restaurants in walking distance and no stores. Or, you can be in Bocas Town and have your choices of restaurants and stores, but you'll have to take a taxi or a water taxi to the beaches.

On the Pacific side, you can be on or near the beach at Coronado or San Carlos (check VRBO for rental condos and houses), but you won't be within walking distance of restaurants and stores. You'll have to get the cell numbers of local taxi drivers, too. (Most taxi drivers carry business cards.)

Within Panama City, you can have lots of restaurants and stores, but no beach. Taxis are readily available (except when it rains). Currently, my wife and my favorite hotel is Torres de Alba, which is very centrally located with a number of restaurants and a supermarket within walking distance. The rooms are suites that come with full size kitchens and laundry.

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Bocas Town
Isla Colon, Panama
pennsylvania
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5. Re: Advise needed....Mid January 2 week trip

In Panama City, if you stay in Casco Viejo, you can walk to sites and restaurants. You would need to cab to airports and canal.

If you check out vacation by owner rental options you should be able to find condo on the beach rentals. The descriptions are pretty good about what is accessible near by.

All inclusives might be a bit busy that time of year, so you may want to investigate this form for more options.

If you want people and parties, all inclusives on beach, , Bocas town, Bocas del toro, Panama City calle Uruguay and casino hotels

If you want quite a chill, Casco Viejo in Panama City, private rental in San Carlos or Gorgona, go up to Boca Chica area, playa la Barqueta

Enjoy

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Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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6. Re: Advise needed....Mid January 2 week trip

There are no AI as most people know them in Bocas. There are a few small eco lodge type places with all inclusive options but no resorts at all.

Panama City, Panama
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7. Re: Advise needed....Mid January 2 week trip

Check Buenaventura on the Pacific Side is the only quiet place that is not all inclusive. In side this place you have option to stay at JW Marriott or rent some villas or apartments under vrbo or similar. January is nice weather just sunny and windy plus turquoise blue ocean waters.

Atlanta, Georgia...
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8. Re: Advise needed....Mid January 2 week trip

"Torquoise blue ocean waters" in the Pacific? You make it sound as if the water is clear, like on the Caribbean side. It's not. The Pacific along the beaches in that area is very murky. Much chillier than the Caribbean, as well.

In Panama City, Casco Viejo does offer proximity to shops and restaurants. So does the El Cangrejo district. Casco is much noisier, and in the evening, you'll pay more for a taxi. Being on a peninsula surrounded by some not-very-safe neighborhoods, it's not as accessible to the rest of the city as El Cangrejo. Don't get me wrong -- it's a great place to see and walk around. I just don't want to stay there.

I wouldn't recommend Gorgona, either. It's next to Coronado, but it's harder to get transportation there, far fewer restaurants and stores and much farther to walk to them. And, if you don't speak Spanish, you'll have a tough time there.

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Panama City, Panama
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9. Re: Advise needed....Mid January 2 week trip

I never say clear William.. I know that you are expert in the Caribbean of Colon Panama, but let me explain. When the raining season on the Pacific Ocean stop (after November), the rivers change to be very clean and turquoise too! yes turquoise! So normally, the water of the pacific ocean during the mid to high tide is beautiful and blue turquoise, not clear! Because we don’t have coral reef close the coast, if not sandy beaches where normally the sand is dark. However closer islands on the Panama Pacific side like Otoque, Bona, Farallon and Isla Iguana in Pedasi have beautiful turquoise blue and CLEAR waters from December to March, with easy visit by boat. So for sure WinManitoba you will be enjoy your Panama vacations with beautiful weather on the Pacific. Take care with the Caribbean in January nonstop storms and rain!

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Colon
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chitre
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10. Re: Advise needed....Mid January 2 week trip

A big fiesta in Ocu La Fiesta de San Sebasian,in the interior of Panama. THis is the bastion of old Spanish colonial Panama. THe real Panama!

Its off the Gringo trail

Also,in Las Tablas,The Mil Polleras parade and competition. THe national dress of Panama will be on displayed and paraded proudly! The dates vary every in JAnaury.

Security is very tight,cause most dresses are laden with real gold and jewelry