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Holiday, Vacation & Tour

 

Panama: Outstanding Eco-Tourism

There are few places in the world where the eco-tourist can view the ecological wonders that result from the melding of two large continents and the molding of the land by the world’s two biggest oceans. There’s only one such place — Panama. It is no surprise that the respected Forbes Magazine cited Panama as the best eco-tourism destination for 2007.

Panama is the narrow isthmus that connects the Americas. That is easy enough to remember, but people tend to forget that Pa...

There are few places in the world where the eco-tourist can view the ecological wonders that result from the melding of two large continents and the molding of the land by the world’s two biggest oceans. There’s only one such place — Panama. It is no surprise that the respected Forbes Magazine cited Panama as the best eco-tourism destination for 2007.

Panama is the narrow isthmus that connects the Americas. That is easy enough to remember, but people tend to forget that Panama is also that fragile strip of land that separates the Pacific Ocean from the Atlantic Ocean (by way of the Caribbean Sea).

Nature and Wildlife

Off the waters of Panama, you can watch whales cavorting along the Golfo de Chiriqui, or snorkel among the colorful coral reefs on either ocean. Small as it is, there are over 1,500 islands in Panama, each with its own stretch of white-sand beaches. You have the chance to watch four species of sea turtle nesting on the country’s beaches and wetlands. Panama’s marine and aquatic life is so rich that they have evoked comparisons with the Galapagos Islands further south.

There are many national parks that you can visit for every ecological habitat you’d like to see. The mountains along the spine of Panama have their beguiling charms. You can hike through cloud-covered forests or swim in chilly mountain streams. If you feel adventurous enough, you can trek up Volcan Baru, the highest peak in Panama, and get a really unique experience: seeing, at the same time, the two largest oceans and the two largest continents at your feet.

Its jungles are among the least explored areas in the world. They offer a visual treat for the eco-tourist. In the country’s 500 rivers and 22,000 square kilometers of rain forest, there are 940 bird species and 125 animal species unique to Panama. If you’re lucky, you may get to see some of them.

What Else to Do

Panama offers you the colonial ruins and fortifications that once defended old Panama, Spain’s capital in the New World. You can check out the many fortresses along the Caribbean coast. Find time to attend the colorful festivals in the towns, where the Spanish legacy continues.

Dinner and a night on the town will make a good beginning or ending to your trip in the wilds. There are fine restaurants in Panama City to tickle every palate, quiet cafes overlooking the bay and the city, and nightclubs to while the night away.

Best Time to Go

It really depends on your plans. The peak tourist season corresponds with the dry season on the Pacific side, which is between mid-December and mid-April. The weather is mostly sunny in Panama City and places south of the Continental Divide during these months. On the Caribbean side to the north, the rains come all year-round. There is relatively less rain February to March and September to October.

If you want some serious hiking, trekking in the national parks, or taking in the beaches, the dry season between December and January may be the best time. But remember, that hotel prices and airfares will be higher during this period.

Planning Your Trip

Because of the ecological diversity in Panama, one gets tempted to spontaneous adventures. But it is good to make plans before you go to maximize your eco-tourism thrills. Some destinations are very popular and you will need reservations. Bocas de Toros is the country’s top destination. You need to reserve flights early if you wish to go to the islands of Comarca de Kuna Yala. There is only one carrier that flies to the archipelago.

A visit to remote Parque Nacional Darien would give you the best views of Nature in the tropics, but you will also need to book lodgings way in advance. The same arrangements are necessary for a visit to the Smithsonian Institution’s Tropical Research Institute on the Isla Barro Colorado.

Panama is an eclectic city that can accommodate any budget. There are many budget accommodations and inexpensive eating places. There are also five-star lodges with seascape views and charming B&B hideaways.

 

Panama Canal: A Cruise Over Oceans

The might of the Panama Canal locks, fails to eclipse the beauty of the different sights. After an effort for 400 years to build the Panama Canal, it has served its purpose as a viable trade route and a promising tourist route for cruises.

During a typical cruise, you will not only be marveled with the engineering effort that brought out the Canal. Tourists also find its natural beauty very relaxing. The nature’s stock in the Caribbean, Panama, and Central America is so ri...

The might of the Panama Canal locks, fails to eclipse the beauty of the different sights. After an effort for 400 years to build the Panama Canal, it has served its purpose as a viable trade route and a promising tourist route for cruises.

During a typical cruise, you will not only be marveled with the engineering effort that brought out the Canal. Tourists also find its natural beauty very relaxing. The nature’s stock in the Caribbean, Panama, and Central America is so rich that it is a great sight for Eco-tourism activities. The region’s unique ecologic diversity is seen at the different range of flora and fauna. Tourists can easily see the beauty of such places as cruise ships travel straight through the forest.

The major destinations of these cruises can be found mostly in Central America and the Caribbean. First in the list is Acapulco in Mexico. Different cruise ships that go through the Panama Canal find itself in Acapulco because of its golden beaches and sunsets, different shopping varieties, the historic town square, and the best cliff diving spots in the world.

Another destination is Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. The Panama Canal cruise lines goes to Cabo San Lucas to marvel at the numerous nature and water activities there from diving, kayaking, and sports fishing. From Florida, you can pass through the Panama Canal and see the other side of the world to an aquatic wonderland.

Many regard San Juan in Puerto Rico as the most rewarding destination today. After the display of the Panama Canal’s engineering marvels, a run straight to Puerto Rico will reveal an old Spanish city with rich and classical architecture.

One of the most popular cruise lines is the fleet known as the Princess Fleet. The coral princess is a cheap cruise that goes from the Southwest United States to as far as Alaska. The Coral Princess includes the fine dine-in restaurants, European Casinos and Chic Bars.

The Island Princess is a ship that goes to the most splendid ports in the world. The Island Princess goes to different Island docks so that the tourists can absorb the beauty of these islands. This luxury cruise ship can travel as far as Hawaii and Tahiti.

Finally, the intimate Pacific Princess is a cruise that goes straight to Asia. Tourists in this ship can look at different sights in the Pacific Islands after enjoying themselves to the view of the Panama Canal. View different kinds of sunset’s day in and day out with these cruises.

 

The Dolphin Lodge San Blas Islands, Panama

Dolphin Island Lodge is located on Uaguitupo Island, a private Island directly across from the indigenous Kuna island community of Achutupo. Known locally as the Uaguinega Ecoresort, the name derives from the Kuna language, where Uagui means dolphin and Nega means house. Together, therefore, it means “The House of the Dolphin.” During certain times of the year you can catch a sight of dolphins, and with some you luck you might be able to admire them.

It is a 45 minute fli...

Dolphin Island Lodge, San Blas Islands, Panama

Dolphin Island Lodge is located on Uaguitupo Island, a private Island directly across from the indigenous Kuna island community of Achutupo. Known locally as the Uaguinega Ecoresort, the name derives from the Kuna language, where Uagui means dolphin and Nega means house. Together, therefore, it means “The House of the Dolphin.” During certain times of the year you can catch a sight of dolphins, and with some you luck you might be able to admire them.

It is a 45 minute flight from Panama City to Achutupu airport, which is hardly Heathrow, with only a tiny landing strip with a wooden hut!!

You are them met by by your Kuna guide, who will take you on a short trip in a motorised dugout canoe to the lodge itself. If you don’t like small boats, and don’t fancy the idea of a dugout, this trip is all of three minutes!!!

It doesn’t take long to feel you are miles away from civilisation.

When you hear the words eco resort, it may be a put off, because our only previous experience had involved worms, and I won’t tell you what they did, but if you go prepared mentally then what you will find is a Robinson Cruso castaway style, quite basic but very comfortable, Holiday, Vacation & Tour.

Check out photographs at http://www.worldwideHoliday, Vacation & Tourspots.com/articles/17/1/San-Blas-Islands-Dolphin-Island-Lodge/Page1.html

The Lodge has 11 cabins, which are pretty basic, and have electricity from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. after which an emergency lamp is provided.

The 3 junior suites are a great deal more comfortable and more suited for those of us who have outgrown our enthusiastic eco-warrior youth, and now like some home comforts!! They are equipped with solar panels to provide electrical energy through the night. The island not being very large is almost all given over to the resort, apart from a few staff huts.

It is all very attractive with a mix of palm trees, grass, and the cabins, which are right on the edge of the sea. In fact the sea is so close you almost feel it!! You can sit on the deck in a hammock and totally relax to the sounds of the sea.

Each hut is equipped with a proper flushing toilet, and a semi open air shower area, but it is cold only as there no hot water here. Cold showers don’t seem so bad with a hot sun. You won’t find any air conditioning either although there is electricity for lighting,so keeping the doors open at night is a ‘must do’ but if there is no breeze, then it could become unbearable.

There is also an open air dining area right next to the sea, where all the delicious meals are taken. There is tons of fresh fruit, and all the gorgeous seafood is freshly caught, in fact you can see the Kuna fishermen arriving with their daily catch.

There is a small shop run by local Kuna women, where you can buy local handicrafts, and if you cannot bear to be completely separated from your emails, then there are internet facilities.

Other things you might wish to do is to visit a larger Kuna village a three minute boat ride away, or visit a nearby deserted island with a beautiful white sand beach.

The whole thing is almost like a scene from South pacific except it is in the Caribbean, but it is like turning back the clock to a time where ultra modern full facility hotels were still a nightmare, sorry a dream!!

Go see it now and experience it whilst you can.

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