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last minute trip, leaving this saturday

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Collingwood, Canada
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last minute trip, leaving this saturday

We are taking a last minute trip this saturday to Panama. Can anyone offer suggestions as to where to go? we would probably spend the first night in panama city and then off to...? somewhere not too far, we are interested in Beach, jungle etc..

Panama City
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1. Re: last minute trip, leaving this saturday

Hi,

Can you be a bit more specific with your budget?

There are many things to in PC and the Canal area.

There are city tours or if you have the budget, native English speaking guided helicopter tours of the entire Canal.

Outside PC, you might want to consider one of the all inclusive resorts near Playa Blanco or if you prefer a cooler climate, El Valle. Or stay in El Valle and travel to the beach. Simply stunningly beautiful areas to see.

A little more input from you will help those of use who live and work here to give you better guidance.

LN
Panama City, Panama
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2. Re: last minute trip, leaving this saturday

How about staying at Las Sirenas (click on my profile to read my review) in SAnta Clara beach area. Then you could day trip to El Valle. Both locations are not very far (1-1/2 hours from the city).

Isla Bastimentos
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3. Re: last minute trip, leaving this saturday

Hey NKids, in 1/2 the time it takes to get to Playa Blanca or El Valle, you could fly to Bocas del Toro, the premier tourist destination for Beaches,Jungles,great restaurants and nite life in Panama. The plane leaves every morning at 6:30 am, your there before 7;30 and get ready for the time of your life.

Panama City
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4. Re: last minute trip, leaving this saturday

While I agree that Bocas is a great spot, the original post said, "somewhere not too far, we are interested in Beach, jungle etc.."

That sort of negates Bocas in my opinion. You also have to tack on the waiting time at the airport of at least 30 to 45 minutes so your timing is a bit generous when traveling by the local airlines.

Isla Bastimentos
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5. Re: last minute trip, leaving this saturday

Hey NorthKids, I usta live in Wasaga Beach so you can trust another Canuck.Renting a car and driving in and out of PC is a nightmare at best, and quite expensive. Trusting the bus systems and getting Taxis in the outlying areas can be just as tenuous, probably worse. To use either and get to the nicer beaches and Jungle areas will take several hours at best. You can take a ten minute taxi to the regional Airport by 6:00 am, be in Bocas del Toro, home of the Premier Beaches and Jungle habitat of all Panama by 7:30 and in a nice hotel, costing anywhere from $6 to $500 in 1/2 an hour or less after landing. How easy is that?

Panama City
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6. Re: last minute trip, leaving this saturday

I have driven out to the Azuero many times. While I would never ever recommend someone drive it at night, it is doable by someone who drives defensively. One hour and thirty to forty-five minutes and that's not driving fast.

If they get the car in Albrook, it's easy. Driving in Panama City is not for the timid or scared to drive person. It does have a rhyme and reason though.

One caveat -- if you are a timid driver, then I would suggest having someone else do it. If you have driven in other countries, such as Italy, you won't feel that uncomfortable.

Panama has some of the best driving roads I have ever driven on. Well worth the effort.

Panama City, Panama
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7. Re: last minute trip, leaving this saturday

I would agree with "LN's" suggestion of Santa Clara and Las Sirenas [ http://www.lasirenas.com/index.htm ] . Great beach and it would be a much better base to operate from. Lots to see and do in Panama - guessing you also might want to do some of the usual tourist stuff - Canal, Casco Viejo, Rainforest Discovery Center [ http://www.pipelineroad.org/ ] - Embera Village Tour [ http://www.emberavillagetours.com/ ] - Panama Railroad [ www.panarail.com/en/passenger/index.html ] - or one of the Smithsonian facilities [ www.stri.org/english/visit_us/barro_colorado/ ] Zip Line [ http://panamabirding.com/adventure/ ] - just to highlight a few.

Bocas if you want more of a Caribbean island experience, just don't expect getting there to be hassle free - you're dealing with an airline and this is Panama. Remember, also - NONE of the above activities are doable with Bocas as your base.

Have fun, regardless of where you go, Panama is great!

Steve www.panamanotes.com

Edited: 21 May 2010, 03:30
LN
Panama City, Panama
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8. Re: last minute trip, leaving this saturday

Thanks hns and Steve, great info there. The last thing I would want to do as an arrival from the long trip from CAnada to Panama is have to go to another airport and wait and fly somewhere (anywhere) else. There is much to see and do with a Panama City or Santa Clara base. Santa Clara's beaches are very beautiful, you can walk a long way on them; and El Valle a short drive from there for the jungle experience and such a nice feel of the little village and the wonderful Sunday market is just the ticket, in my book.

9. Re: last minute trip, leaving this saturday

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