What the Press Says about Panama
FORBES: Why Your Next Trip Should Be To PanamaPoised at the junction of North and South America, Panama possesses a laundry list of new attractions, hotspots and luxury hotels that are making it an up and coming travel destination--with the catalyst undoubtedly being the $5.25 billion Panama Canal expansion that's underway and scheduled for completion in 2014. The aim is to allow a greater volume and size of ships to pass through the historic, 50-mile long waterway. The result? Panama City is transforming into an energetic, modern metropolis, with investors preparing for moneyed visitors by upping its luxury quotient.
Donald Trump got in early on Panama's growing popularity, opening Trump Ocean Club International Hotel & Tower in summer 2011, making it the first international venture for Trump Hotel Collection (and the tallest building in Latin America). The hotel is uniquely shaped like a tall ship's sail, and rooms have floor-to-ceiling views of Panama City and the Pacific Ocean. Panamanian touches such as wood-carved headboards grace the 369 guest rooms, and luxe services abound, including wardrobe storage assistance (so frequent visitors don't have to lug baggage back and forth) and a complimentary catamaran to Trump's private Beach Club (an island with white sand beaches, a pool, cabanas, watersports and beach chair service). But it's the 1,830-square-foot pool deck that really caught our attention--it has a gorgeous infinity-edge pool, alfresco seating at the poolside bar and restaurant and expansive ocean views.
Waldorf Astoria's The Panamera, the brand's first in Latin America, is scheduled to open in June in Panama City's fashionable Calle Uruguay neighborhood. Located less than 15 minutes from Marcos A. Gelabert International Airport and within walking distance of the massive Cinta Costera (the city's version of Central Park), the luxury hotel will have a 2,500-square-foot spa, 130 guest rooms and an outdoor swimming pool. There will be a variety of restaurants, from the handcrafted sushi at Ginger Sushi Bar and Lounge to contemporary French-American at Brasserie Brillo. The Bungalo Terrace and Pool Bar will be the spot for poolside libations, and The Cristal Bar will serve as an elegant space for cocktails and mingling in the lobby.
There's much more to do than lounge poolside in Panama. The once dilapidated but charmingly historic neighborhood of Casco Viejo has undergone a sophisticated makeover in recent years. While you can still spot the colonial-era architecture prevalent throughout its streets, the area now houses some of the city's best restaurants, bars, galleries and hotels. DiVino Enoteca is a swanky wine bar, with loads of varietals to choose from (watch for the classic, black-and-white movies playing silently in the background). At tapas restaurant Manolo Caracol, there is no menu--once seated, you'll be given a variety of small plates with Spanish influences, such as Andalusian gazpacho with cucumber sorbet and spicy tuna sashimi.
The Frank Gehry-designed BioMuseo is set to open in early 2013, and will focus on the country's fascinating biodiversity and the importance of the isthmus--the narrow strip of land that makes Panama and its revenue-generating canal. And though the museum isn't officially open yet, you can join the list of VIPs (Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Jane Goodall) and stop by the site for a sneak peek. - Caroline Patek, 2012
On the cover of Islands Magazine, June 2005: "Hot time in Panama -- 15 untouched islands and the most beautiful woman
Panama-one of the "Top Ten Winter Destination."
"Panama one of the top five Caribbean destinations."
"Paradise Off the Coast of Panama-Overshadowed by eco-tourism
heavyweights Costa Rica Belize to the north, Bocas del Toro is starting
to emerge as newest star in the eco-tourism pantheon. Guidebooks and promoters
tout the islands as "the Galapagos of the 21st Century."
Hundreds of species of fish, parrots, toucans, monkeys and sloths live on the islands,
which include a 20-year-old national marine park to protect manatees and sea turtles.
"Panama has long been called the crossroad of the world. Now the country itself is at a
With its natural beauty less of a secret each day, Panama is gaining recognition as more
than just that country with the canal, and is poised to become one of the darlings of the
It's being touted among travelers in Central America as the next Costa Rica only cheaper
and less crowded .
"My first trip to Panama was in 1979. I quickly developed a tremendous affection for this
tiny country. I had never been to a place as birdy as Panama. It was so lush, so tropical,
and yet because of the extensive American presence, good roads, safe food and water and
proximity to the US, it felt like home."
"Panama has somehow evaded the tourist's radar screen despite having much more to offer than other popular Central
Some of the most finest diving, snorkeling, birding, most accessible rainforest in the world
and scores of picturesque islands with hardly a human on them."
" Known mostly for its Canal, Panama is, in fact, an undiscovered tourist paradise."
"Boquete, Panama ranked as the fourth best place in the world to establish a second home -
a rating based on safety, beauty, infrastructure, weather, health care and low cost of living."
"The safest and most stable country in Central or South America with some of the world´s
most beautiful mountain, beachfront and island property.
The country also has the number-one retiree incentive program in the world."
"Two ecologies in Panama ranked among the top 25 ecologies in the world:
Canopy Tower and Al Natural."
"Panama offers some of the richest and most accessible rainforest and wildlife in all of the
Americas. Jaguars, sloths, marmosets and four types of monkeys roam the Canal Zone, along with blizzard of exotic birds and
As the land bridge between North and South America, Panama is home to wildlife species from both continents and has more bird
species than all of the North America. Repeatedly,
The Pipeline Road alongside the canal sets the world record for the Christmas Audubon bird count, recording more species in
24-hour period than anywhere - last count 954 species. Best of all, these natural riches are only a 45'minute drive from the
"Panama's latest attraction is the Gamboa Rainforest Resort, a stunning $30 million hotel on the banks of the Chagres
River that offers eco-tourism with 24 hours room service, a very 21first century mix of self-indulgence with nature-friendly touch.
In the heart of what was once the Panama Canal Zone, where the River Chagres flows into Lake Gatun , this 110-room hotel
provided both total luxury and total quite.
The main building has gigantic three-story windows that look over and exotic landscape that could be out of Africa, with a
savanna like park set against a river bounded by tropical forests. Besides a marina with its waterfront restaurant and its own
spa, that justifies its eco-status. They include a sunrise birding tour, a evening wildlife boat tour, a ride on an aerial
tram that provides a treetop view of the rain forest, a hike up a trail used by the conquistadors, sports fishing on Lake
Gatun and Kayaking on the Chagres."
On Coiba Island National Marine Park:
"The Largest island in Central America, 85% of Coiba is virgin tropical forest in the Americas. About 80% of the 1,053 square
mile park is oceanic, filled with whales and rare tropical fish. Coiba is perhaps best known among conservationists for
Panama¨¨s last cluster of scarlet macaws, its bottle-nosed dolphins and the brown and white Coiba spine tail bird, the only
bird of its kind in the world…The Spanish government has invested about $5 million to help uncover Coiba¨¨s biodiversity
since 1997 and has a team of scientists working on the island…thus far just 20% of Coiba¨¨s plant life has been identified."
On the mountain town of Boquete: "Far from the monotony of the historic canal, this endearing and little-known town in the
cool, lush Panamanian highlands boasts a wild bounty of colorful flora, fauna and scenery. A contributor to the San Francisco
Chronicle, my hometown newspaper, wrote about a Panamanian Shangri-La in the cool highlands of Chiriqui where there were
rushing trout-filled streams, a lush mountain rainforest, abundant orange groves and coffee plantations, and a picture
postcard town chockablock with flower gardens. This idyllic place, the writer went on to say, was know only to the well-to-do
of Panama…we too had become smitten with the place."
"It's the Panama David Lee Roth forgot to tell you about-jungle outposts, cities of sagging grandeur,
Caribbean pleasure ports. Panama is incredibly diverse geographically and has some of the friendliest people I've ever
Known mostly for its canal, Panama is, in fact, an undiscovered tourist paradise.
"Panama has a cosmopolitan capital city, incredible rainforest and some of the finest snorkeling, birding and
deep-sea fishing in the world. A proud prosperous nation that honors its seven Indian tribes and its rich Spanish legacy
and embraces visitors so enthusiastically that it's difficult to leave without feeling that you're in on a secret that the
rest of the traveling world will one day uncover."
Panama has the "highest rating for tourist safety."
More than 10,000 varieties of plants and more than 1,000 species of birds explain why the
Smithsonian's single permanent Tropical Research Center is located here.
Declared the Ruins of Panama La Vieja, the Fortifications on the Caribbean side, Darien National Park, La Amistad
National Park and the Historic District of Panama, with the Salon Bolivar as World Heritage Sites.
Panama has first world infrastructure of roads, business services, medical care and telecommunications"”
Panama has many tourist attractions, including fine beaches, coral reefs, rich biodiversity and the Canal.”
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