My recent trip to Panama is one of the best destinations I have ever been to. The warm weather allowed me to get away from the cold Canadian weather. The flight from Toronto was supposed to take 5½ hours but landing was delayed by 30 minutes because of weather and heavy traffic at the Tocumen Intl. Airport in Panama City.
After getting the car rental, the 1st accommodation was located about an hour and a half via the Americana highway. As a side note, the price for gas is around 70 cents USD per litre. One must be very careful driving in this country because often, there are no stop signs or traffic lights. It’s a bit dangerous if you’re not careful.
The name of the town was Coronado and the condo we rented was situated in the Golf Tower. Situated on the west coast within a nice bay, the Pacific is quite calm in that area. Coronado Golf is a gated community within a gated community. There are security gates and security guards at 2 different entrances.
A nice golf course is available for owners of the condominiums as well as tennis courts and swimming pools. The beach is a 25 minutes walk away or 5 minutes by car. One thing that I noticed is that some of the roads are quite rough. The government of Panama doesn’t seem to invest much in local infrastructures so the roads are sometimes sketchy.
The beach extends for miles and the sand color is salt and pepper. The darker sand is volcanic sand. This sand can be very hot under the sun so wearing flip-flops or beach shoes is a good idea. The tide cycles are timed every 16 hours or so. The difference between low and high tide can be as high as 16 feet (a little under 5 meters).
Good restaurants are hard to find but we managed to find 2 that were nice. One was called Picasso and is located directly in the Coronado Golf resort. Good food, good service and reasonable prices. There are a couple of shopping malls in town and supermarkets are open 24/7. There is no night life in that town. Most of the people living here are retired so it’s very quiet.
Although November is considered rain season in Panama, we only had short showers, mostly in the afternoon. Swimming in this ocean is really nice. I enjoyed it more than when I traveled to Varadero, Cuba.
The last day of the trip took place in Panama City, Panama’s capital. We entered the city through what I would call a ghetto. The outer rim of the city is a bit dirty but it improves as you get closer to the downtown area. After checking in at the hotel, we walked downtown for a while. The number of banks in that city is incredible, enough to coin it “La ciudad de los bancos” or “The city of banks”. The smell of diesel fuel was very strong due to heavy traffic at rush hour. However, the downtown area is filled with nice restaurants and cafés where you can get good meals at very reasonable prices. I have not seen one single homeless person while in Panama. Labor is quite cheap so everyone can get a job quite easily.
Panama is definitely a good destination. It is after all the richest country in Latin America. I will be going back at some point in time. There is a lot more I want to explore.