Thursday, March 12, 2015

Unique trip from the City ?





We had the opportunity to visit, inspect and travel on this beautiful all-wood design sailboat which can accommodate up to 30 persons, the boat has 4 private cabins, all equipped with private bathroom and shower and air conditioning. It also has a large salon and a sun deck. Quality & Security are in all crew members mindset.
 
We have experienced the Partial Panama-Canal transit which was an amazing and spectacular experience even being local and living in Panama! The partial crossing of the canal on this “lady” is a unique experience. Pictures don’t do it justice.  
 
They also offer the following tours:
 
Day tour to Taboga Island: Upon arrival at the beach on Taboga Island, they will anchor and you can enjoy snorkeling, kayaking, swimming and jumping off the boat.  Taboga Island is an amazing place with a varied history.
 
Evening tour: A typical evening charter will depart the marina and sail around the spectacular Bay of Panama.  From their magical viewpoint you will be able to see the lights and skyline of our vibrant city – but this viewpoint is like no other in Panama!
 
Overnight tour to Las Perlas or others: This tour only allow 8 passengers, the perfect trip for couples, family or good friends.
 
Do not hesitate to contact us  secretsofpanama@gmail.com with your wish list and we will contact the Captain for a quotation



Thursday, February 19, 2015

Fishing in Panama Canal and sightseeing ?


We love spending our Sunday's with our friend Luis fishing in the Panama-Canal, this is a very different way to visit the canal... All our friends who have been with us just loved this experience close to the city. It is amazing to be on the canal in a small fishing boat at 20 meters from a huge ship! You will also enjoy the wildlife, see some monkeys, birds, etc and enjoy fishing Peacock Bass or Oscar.

Afterwards you will take a break in a fresh water secret pool and cascade before to have a lunch and a ceviche with your own freshly caught fish on a small island. Our friend only provide tours during week-ends and you need to book in advance as he works outside the city.

The trip start from 6am from your hotel until 2-3pm or before if you wish to be back earlier.

Total price includes transport from your hotel to the dock, the boat, and captain, fuel, fishing gears, baits, lunch, coolers with ice  and water. USD 250.00 for 1-3 persons and USD 380 for 3-4 persons (bigger boat). Beers and Soda for sales on the boat!

Feel free to contact us Secretsofpanama@gmail.com.





 





Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Where To Stay in San Blas (Guna Yala) ? Private cabins, dorms or tent


There are many "Cabanas" in San Blas, but we recommend you one Island Isla Del Diablo which is owned by our Kuna friend. It is in front of Isla del Perro (Dog Island). It is a great place for snorkeling, as there is a nice reef and a shipwreck. The island is situated at 45 minutes from the San Blas dock.

They offer also free snorkeling gear and free hop on / hop off islands Tours. Tours are also offered to the deserted Cayos Holandeses, prices to be confirmed. This place is amazing specially if you want to mingle with the Kunas and experience a bit about their culture. It is one of the few islands with afternoon departure to Panama-City most of the others islands bring back tourists to the port around 9am.

2015 Prices: USD 180.00/persons (morning check-out) in Private cabins, minimum 2 people (4x4 transport from the city round trip, taxes, boat to the islands round trip, the night with breakfast, lunch and dinner, free snorkeling gear and day tour. 

Or USD 200.00/persons (afternoon check-out), you must leave your room in the morning but can stay until 3pm on the islands. The extra USD 20.00 includes a lunch.

Extra night costs USD 50.00/persons
 
Dorms USD 165.00/persons the night (morning check-out) and includes the same as for the private cabins.

Or USD 185/persons (afternoon check-out), you must leave your room in the morning but can stay until 3pm on the islands. The extra USD 20.00 includes a lunch.

Extra night costs USD 40.00/persons

Camping (tent &airbed provided) USD 160.00 /persons the night and includes the same as for the private cabins. 

Or USD 180/persons (afternoon check-out), you must leave your room in the morning but can stay until 3pm on the islands. The extra USD 20.00 includes a lunch.

Extra night costs USD 35.00/persons

Day tour also available for USD 135.00/persons

Do not worry, our Kuna friends coordinate very well your pick-up at the dock with our friends from the 4x4 carriers. You might be waiting around 30 minutes at the San Blas dock to have all the logistics ready. Take a rain coat with you and/or but your belongings such as camera, mobile phone in a dry place as it can be raining or the sea can be a little rough.

Feel free to contact us: Secretsofpanama@gmail.com



















Où se loger à San Blas (Guna Yala)? Cabanes privatives, dortoirs ou tente

Il ya beaucoup de "Cabanas" à San Blas, mais nous vous recommandons l'Isla del Diablo qui est détenue par notre ami Kuna. L'Isla del Diablo est en face de Isla del Perro (Dog Island). Cette une île idéale pour la plongée, car il ya un joli récif et une petite épave avec plein de joli poisson surtout le matin afin l'arrivée des touristes sur Isla del Perro.

L'île est située à 45 minutes du port de Carti. Nos amis offrent également des équipements de plongée (masque-tuba) et un tours gratuit d'environ 3 heures dans les îles alentours. Des tours payant sont également offerts aux Cayos désertes "Cayos Holandeses", prix à négocier sur place suivant le nombre de personnes.

Prix: 180 USD/personnes (cabane privative, min 2 personnes) - Check-Out le matin, transport 4x4 Panama-City et retour, taxes, bateau aller-retour, nuit en cabane privative, petit déjeuner, déjeuner et dîner, tuba, masque et tours compris dans le prix.

Ou 200 USD/personnes pour check-out l'apres midi vers 15heures avec dejeuner

Le tout a payer au chauffeur. Nuit supplémentaire 50 USD/personnes à payer sur place.

Dortoirs 165.00 USD/personnes - Check Out le matin
Ou 185 USD/personnes pour check-out l'apres midi vers 15heures avec dejeuner


Le tout a payer au chauffeur. Nuit supplémentaire 40 USD/personnes à payer sur place.

Camping (avec tentes et airbed fournies) 160 USD
Ou 180 USD/personnes pour check-out l'apres midi vers 15heures avec dejeuner

Le tout a payer au chauffeur. Nuit supplémentaire 35 USD/personnes à payer sur place. 

135.00 USD/personnes pour le 'day trip' aller-retour le meme jour.

Ne vous inquiétez pas, nos amis Kuna coordonnent très bien votre arrivée/départ avec nos amis du transport terrestre et soyez flexible!

N'hésitez pas à nous contacter: Secretsofpanama@gmail.com

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

SAN BLAS - Isla del Diablo with our friends - VIDEO!

Our friend Pascal who visited us in January posted our San Blas trip on Youtube. This is the island we highly recommend to travellers. Secretsofpanama@gmail.com 

Monday, February 16, 2015

A quoi ressemblent les "cabanas" de San Blas ?

Nous avons profité de notre séjour en Septembre 2014 sur Isla del Diablo pour prendre des photos des cabanas étant donné que beaucoup d'entre vous nous demandent à quoi s'attendre?

Encore une fois, toutes les cabines sont rustiques dans les San Blas et vous devez vous montrer flexible ! Ci-dessus, dans notre article en anglais, vous trouverez les photos des cabanes prisent de l'intérieur et depuis l'extérieur ainsi que les toilettes et douches depuis l'extérieur.

Saluations! Secretsofpanama@gmail.com 

How look the cabanas in San Blas ?



We took the opportunity during our September 2014 trip in Isla del Diablo to take picture of the cabins as many of you are asking us about what to expect ?

Again, all cabins are very basics in San Blas and you must be flexible!. Herewith the picture of the cabanas inside/outside and the bathrooms.

Cheers! Secretsofpanama@gmail.com 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

How to get to San Blas (Guna Yala)


You have 3 options! Plane, boat and by Car:

 1) By car, we do not recommend you to go there with a rental car as you will have to pay more taxes (5 dollars to enter into Guna Yala + USD 5 the night) and your car will stay overnights at your own expense but we have posted a map on how to get there with your own transportation.

The road to San Blas through the densely forested jungle highlands of Panama is operated by licensed 4×4 transporters.  Our friends are the pionners of the road to San Blas since decades, they leave Panama City daily between 5am and 5.30am or at noon. The drive is approx 2.5-3hrs, depending on road and weather conditions.

The 4×4 transporters can hold up to 7 passengers, it can be a little squeeze. It is recommended to take only small bag with you for your stay and leave your main luggage at your hotel (if possible). For they way back, they will pick you up at the port between 9am and 10am or in the afternoon around 4pm. They are always in touch with our Kuna friends to coordinate your arrival, don't worry, just be patient sometimes.

Both way: USD 60 Kuna Yala entry taxes: USD 20 (as from Jan1st 2015),Kuna Yala Port taxes: USD 2.00 If you do not want to share the taxi with 7 people and would like more space, they also offer private charter for USD 400.00 (both ways) Feel free to contact us: Secretsofpanama@gmail.com

 2)By plane, you better take the plane if you want to go to the south of the San Blas Islands. Check Airpanama.

 3)By boat, (transport and sailing boat) are passing through the San Blas Islands. You can take them from Colon (Panama) or Cartagena (Colombia). There also some "lanchas" going from Miramar (Panama) to San Blas. As we have not experienced it and listen more bad stories than good stories, we cannot recommend you this mode of transportation. Secretsofpanama@gmail.com 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Recommendation about an exclusive mountain place ? Yes, we do and love it! Altos del Maria 1.5 hours from the city




We have decided to publish our secret place, Altos del Maria.

Altos del Maria is a private residential community between 500 and 1000 meters above sea level and just 1.5 hours from Panama City and 30 minutes from the beach.

For us, staying in Altos del Maria over our weekends is an escape, fresh air, beautiful natures, trails, canopy towers, lakes, it is like living in a national park and better than any others mountain places we have visited so far (El Valle, Boquete, Cerro Punta). They have done great job in creating easy access to over 10 nature trails (including one along the river) over 1.6 miles in length, more than 12 look-out points where you can see the Caribbean and the Pacific Oceans, 3 bird watching towers and an artificial lake has been built at 900 meters above sea level with more than 20,000 fish stocked to attract eagles and other species of birds. Statistically, over 30% of the 944 species of birds in the country have been spotted in Altos del Maria. For this reason, a large handful of serious bird watchers have made of Altos del Maria their permanent home. But still... travelers can get there (you will need to rent a car) and we can recommend you some cabins through our expat friends living there. The night costs between 65 - 150 dollars for a small house or cabins (for 1 to 4 people) + 25 dollars cleaning fee for your stay. We usually spend two night there and sometimes we also take the opportunity to go to the beach and return to sleep in the mountains. There is as well a private paved road which goes to El Valle to enjoy the Sunday's market.

We definitely highly recommend Altos del Maria. Please contact us for any booking with our friends living there. Herewith some pictures of Altos and small houses for rent. By the way, the featuring houses are for sale as well! secretsofpanama@gmail.com






Monday, August 18, 2014

Sailing from San Blas islands to Colombia - be aware!

We often receive request from our followers about sailing from San Blas to Colombia. Unfortunately, we cannot provide any good companies but can update you on the following: We have met lots of travellers in Panama, San Blas and have been reading lots of stories as well.

We have received more negative inputs (space, seasickness, bad service, expensive, security) than positive comments. Make sure you choose the right sailing boat! or fly to Colombia with Copa airlines or air panama (new route to Medellin) for less than usd 500 which will be even cheaper than the sailing trip.

We suggest you to better visit San Blas by road transportation, stay 3 days on the islands and fly to Colombia! Be aware the some sailing boats are operating in Comarca Kuna Yala without any permit and the Panamanian government is notoriously absent with regards to these sailing vessels that regularly and routinely ferry travellers from the San Blas islands to Colombia. Secretsofpanama@gmail.com 

Monday, August 11, 2014

How much costs a taxi in Panama-City ?

For a tourist, taking a cab in Panama-City can be very irritating. No taxi meter are available and not all taxi are honest! So you better know approximatively what you should pay for a ride and agree on the price before to jump in.

You will into link herewith attached the official rates by area and a map that we suggest you to print and show to your taxi driver if needed. http://www.transito.gob.pa/tablas-tarifa-de-taxis. As a basic rule, if you stay in the same area, you should not pay more than 1.20usd per person and the second person should pay less.

Obvioulsy, if you reserve a taxi or take a cab in front of a shopping mall you will pay more. *If you are looking for a taxi driver to drive you through the city and or outside, please let me know, was can always arrange something with some professional driver that we trust. Secretsofpanama@gmail.com 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Isla Iguana in Pedasi - beach, snorkelling, whales watching and fishing with our friend Eytbar



Pedasi is a town nested on the tip of La Peninsula de Azuero (Azueros peninsula) and is approximately 30 minutes from Playa Venao (surfing spot). You can visit the beautiful Isla Iguana (natural park) from Pedasi (20 minutes boat ride). It costs 120 dollars (max 4 persons) with lunch, fruit, cooler and ice for your beverages. 10 dollars each additional persons.

Whales watching is also available (sept-oct) and it will cost you 150 dollars (incl. Isla Iguana). There is an ANAM (national park) fee of 10usd/pers to be paid on the islands. Fishing trip around the area from 6am to 2pm can be organized as well.

All are very reasonable prices and with a very cool guide. On our september trips, we could observe green turtles, small sharks and tuna while snorkelling and could watch whales and even caught a giant grouper fish.

Please contact us to coordinate your trip with Eytbar. Secretsofpanama@gmail.com