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Virgins to Panama!

Little Rock...
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Virgins to Panama!

My husband and I will be in Panama for about 2 weeks in September. We have been to Mexico, Costa Rica, and Honduras. Any suggestions on a itinerary would be awesome. Husband is a huge scuba diver. I like a beach, beer and a book. Novice hikers. We like laid back and less hustle and bustle. Any advice would be welcomed.

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Atlanta, Georgia...
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for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
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1. Re: Virgins to Panama!

My wife and I just returned from 11 days in Panama. Our two most favorite things to do in country are dive and hike in the jungle.

For diving - Bocas del Toro. Unless you're desperate to dive, don't mind paying highly overpriced rates for fair to mediocre diving and good to poor DMs and service, avoid Portobelo. Bocas is not world class diving. It's shallow (which is not a bad thing), and the viz is usually 20' to 40'. When it has been raining, there is a lot of sediment in the water. Bocas Water Sports is still the best I've dove with in Bocas. In spite of it's ads, Bruga is far more focused on surfing and forget Starfleet -- PADI de-certified them. BWS's rates are excellent -- $65 for a two-tank dive, gear included. If you're doing multiple dives with them, they discount it to $55. They will do two in the morning, two in the afternoon and you can also do a night dive with them.

The reefs used to be as good as anything I saw (except the wall) in Roatan. That has changed. There are fewer fish -- including lionfish, and the coral isn't nearly as vibrant and plentiful as I saw previously. But, it's still good diving.

The other option for diving is Coiba. And, that is world class diving. But, that means a week on the live-aboard Yemani, or driving a day to and from Santa Catalina.

For hiking, I highly recommend El Valle de Anton. It's just under two hours from the city, up in the mountains. There are a number of trails around the area. My favorite is Sendero el Convento which has recently been renamed Sendero Gaital for the peak it goes near. It's an easy 1.7 mile loop with a spectacular vista over El Valle and all the way to the Pacific. Turn around and you can see the mountains leading to the Caribbean side. Lots of beautiful wildflowers, too.

Edited: 01 May 2012, 03:09
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pennsylvania
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2. Re: Virgins to Panama!

To chill, check out www.santacatalinabeaches.com. Not sure about the diving conditions in Sept. But email dive shops. I know the whales are plentiful in september in this area.. Cheers

Little Rock...
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3. Re: Virgins to Panama!

Thanks for the advice. Seeing the whales would be amazing. We are trying to decide between Panama and Nicaragua . Hummmmm what to do???

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CDY
Medellin, Colombia
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for Panama City
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4. Re: Virgins to Panama!

Not sure how the diving is in Nicaragua - it certainly won't be any better than Panama.

Not too much good to say about Managua - Panama City much much more interesting. Nicaragua can be cheaper but then it is a lot poorer.

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Sarasota, FL
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5. Re: Virgins to Panama!

I haven't been to Panama, but have been to Nica. We're going to Panama in June for 2 weeks.

Nica is cheap and good surf, the country is very poor and not very pretty. The water is also not very clear.

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Atlanta, Georgia...
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6. Re: Virgins to Panama!

I have not been there, but there have been good reviews on Scubaboard for Corn and Little Corn Islands off Nicaragua. You might check that source.

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7. Re: Virgins to Panama!

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