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panama trip

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Red Deer, Canada
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panama trip

this is our first trip to panama. We are landing in early Feb. we only have 10 days. we paln to fly to bocas then back to p city drive to pedasi and drive, locks to portabello then drive to evalle and beachside. with a couple days city tours and shopping. city shop will cab..

My questions are.. is there a problem renting a car in city and doing these drives?

which air line is best for flights?

has anyone stayed at Playa tortuga in Bocas?

has anyone stayed at Country Inn & Suites Panama Canal hotel?

any other suggestions will be appreciated very much.. thANX

Atlanta
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for Jaco, Bocas Town
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1. Re: panama trip

I have not stayed at Playa Tortuga, but I often bike or kayak over to the resort and have refreshments. I have met many people that have stayed there as well. It is outside of town, an easy bike ride during the day and a quick taxi ride into town and an easy boat taxi ride to most places. The grounds are nice and the service good. Everyone I know that stays there has been happy. The only thing I notice when I am there is that it is REALLY quiet, but I haven't been there in Feb. They have a lot of servieces and amenities that most of the places in Bocas Del Toro don't offer. It def has more of a resort type feel and looses some of its Bocas charm because of this, but many people are looking for a resort type place.

I believe Aeroperlas is going to start flying out of PTY, if they haven't already. Depending on what you are doing you may want to fly out of Allbrook going to Bocas but return to PTY. I don't think it matters if you use Aeroperlas or Air Panama, just go with schedule and price. You book one ways, so you don't have to use the same airlines for both legs.

Atlanta, Georgia...
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for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
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2. Re: panama trip

My wife and I have stayed twice at Country Inn and Suites Amador (Canal). It's very good for the price. Service is excellent, it's easy to get cabs, clean rooms and nice views of the ships passing under Puente de las Americas. It's going to be a taxi ride to anything downtown, like the better restaurants, clubs and shopping. But, you are much, much closer to Albrook Mall, Albrook (Gelebert) Airport, Amador and Miraflores.

TGI Fridays is on the premisis -- it sucks. Next door is the famous (or infamous) Balboa Yacht Club. The service is horrible, the food is mediocre, but it's a great place to go have a beer.

It's best to use taxis in the city. Don't attempt to drive untess you've been there before and you know exactly where you're going and how to get there. And, never attempt it with your spouse in the car. Instead, rent the car at Albrook when you're ready to go to Portobelo or Pedasi/El Valle. Actually, you'd have very little trouble driving to Portobelo for the day and driving back to Country Inn and Suites to spend the night before going to Pedasi and El Valle.

Be sure to read the other posts about renting cars and inspecting them thoroughly before accepting the car.

Red Deer, Canada
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73 posts
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3. Re: panama trip

Thank you very much..Is there a better hotel for downtown..and where is the best shopping??

Atlanta, Georgia...
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for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
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4. Re: panama trip

I guess it depends on what you're looking for by "better." My wife and I think Country Inn and Suites is a great value. It's on par with Marriott and the other chains and much less costly. There are a number of great hotels in the city, but you'll certainly pay for them. We have stayed at the Intercontinental Miramar, which has very nice rooms, marble baths and a great view of the bay. The restaurant has one of the best breakfast and lunch buffets in the city, but the rooftop bar is pretty shabby. And, it's about twice the cost of the Country Inn and Suites.

For shopping, the Albrook Mall is closer to Country Inn and Suites than the downtown hotels. If you're interested in local Indian craftwork, like molas, tagua and cocobolo carvings, the best places are also very close to Country Inn and Suites -- the old YMCA in Balboa and the Artisan's market on Avenida Balboa. But, I've found the best molas (in Panama City) on the street at Via Veneto, across from Manolo's cafe. If you're going to Portobelo, you'll find very good molas there between the Custom's House and the church of the Black Christ.

When buying crafts, the price is just a starting point to negotiate, especially if you're buying more than one mola or carving. Although, the Kuna are not as negotiable on the price of one mola as they once were. They've learned that most gringos say, "Okay" and hand over the money.

Red Deer, Canada
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73 posts
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5. Re: panama trip

I am trying to book flights??? I cannot seem to find out if I can fly from bocas to pedasi? and who do I contact to book flight segments?? on my computer it shows air panama and albrook airport but I cannot actually book a flight?? I know Im missing something to make this click....help..

also any hotels info in Pedasi would be appreciated.. thanx

Red Deer, Canada
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73 posts
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6. Re: panama trip

Heres another thought?

can we fly from bocas into David rent a car in David and drive to Pedasi and then onto Panama city...How long a drive from david to pedasi and any problems with leaving car at different drop off??

thanx..

Isla de Margarita
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7. Re: panama trip

The drive from David to Pedasí takes the best part of the day due to road construcion and heavy traffic from the Panamerican Hiway to Chitre and onward.

Another thing-take the Chitre bypass as not to drive through the city.

You should be able to rent a car in David for drop off in PTY but it will most likely cost you a fair amount.

Atlanta
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for Jaco, Bocas Town
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8. Re: panama trip

Last I knew they had stopped the flights from Bocas to David. It may have started, or will start again soon. Have you looked at Aeroperlas for flights? You can book on line with them.

Red Deer, Canada
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73 posts
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9. Re: panama trip

the more I look into Pedasi themore I want to go there.... Any suggestions on a hotel?? Sounds like there is lots to do..?? How long a drive from Panama to Pedasi?? some say 4 hour some say 12 ?? big difference ey Thanxagain for all the help...

Isla de Margarita
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10. Re: panama trip

When we drove it was from Almirante to Pedasí.

We left Almirante (the port for going to Bocas) at about 9 a.m. and arrived at Pedasí around 3p.m. This was with a lunch stop near Chitre.

What we did was, after a two night stay Panama City, renting our SUV from Payless downtown we drove to el Valle and being easter week there where no decent lodgings available so we looked around some and continued on to Chirquí province and Boca Brava Hotel on the island of same name. Where we had a great time. After four days we went on to Almirante where we left the rental car at a parking lot and took the boat to Bocas del Toro and continued on to Bastisimientos where we stayed only one night due to the oppresive heat and humidity. Next morning we went back to Bocas town and drove to Pedasí.

The drive over the mountains from Almirante to David was spectacular!!!!!!!!!!