I'm going to Panama.

My mom is in the process of moving from Northern California to Panama City, Panama, for her own reasons, which I’m not too clear on myself and don’t feel like going into here. Anyway, she’s also hiring me to do some design work for her, so this coming Saturday I’ll be leaving on a two-week working vacation in Panama. Hopefully I’ll have some time between the design work and helping Mom settle in to see the city. If there are any Dopers who could recommend things to do, I’d appreciate it!

Wow. Cool trip. I’ve never been there, but I’ve seen stuff on TV. My friend is doing a cruise there this year. Don’t forget your mosquito repellant.

A man, a plan, some design work. Panama.

No, wait, that doesn’t quite work … :wink:

You’re right. It should be, "A woman, a plan . . . " :wink:

My darling Marcie wants to retire in Panama; someplace up in the mountains. I have mixed feelings about it but if Marcie really wants to go, then I’ll go with her.

You’re going to Panamowa?!?!? :confused:


You need to look up Colibri and tell him that you’ve come all the way to Panama to see rock doves.

I have been to Panama… and like most Central American countries … there are many great things to do and see on a short vacation.

1 Cruise the Canal - there are so many different tours to take…pick one and go. It is a MUST see. Find a smaller tour boat (100 - 150 feet) with an experienced guide. I will look up the name of the one I took when I get home tonight if you like. The guide had worked on the canal for 30+ years and does the tour stuff in his retirement. It is NOT pricey.

  1. Lake Gatun - in the center of Panama is the natural lake, which increased in size when the canal was built. Breathtaking scenery. If you have a rental car… bring a CAMERA. You can also find ecology tours and Kayak tours if you are into that.

  2. Panama City - can be just another Central American city… but look for the Colonial section - special attention to Cathedral Plaza and the French Plaza. The mix of Spanish and French architeture is great.

  3. There is a Railroad tour train from Gatun to Cristobal, and another Atlantic to Pacific… I haven’t done them, but I hear it is nice.

  4. There are excellent guided tours thru sections of the rainforest. Again, if you are into photography… the opportunities here are awesome.

Have a GREAT TIME!!!

Kalhoun, thanks for the reminder. I hadn’t considered the insect population. Sal Ammoniac, thanks, I knew there was some Doper-or-other who lives in Panama, but I couldn’t remember who. Gringo_Miami, I don’t know whether I’ll have the time or opportunity to get out of Panama City, but I definitely want to see the Canal. Please do pass along the name of the tour you took. Thanks!

Gringo_Miami, I don’t know whether I’ll have the time or opportunity to get out of Panama City, but I definitely want to see the Canal. Please do pass along the name of the tour you took. Thanks!

It was the MV Fantasia Del Mar… a great boat with a great crew. Let me know how it goes!

Are you really going to Panama, or are you trying to tell us that your crazy aunts have just offed another poor sod with their homemade elderberry wine?

You haven’t seen anyone hanging about lately who looks suspiciously like Boris Karloff, have you?

I just finished reading Elizabeth Royte’s The Tapir’s Morning Bath, the story of her time on Barrio Colorado Island , in the middle of Gatun Lake. It really sounded like a remarkable place, not only for it’s flora and fauna, but also for the humans who live there and their really curious (pun intended) activies.

um, uh, that would be activities

I don’t know if anyone’s interested, but I’ve been uploading photos from my trip as I take them, and you can see them here. The first several aren’t that interesting, but futher on are pictures from the old city, the Canal tour Mom and I took, Portobelo, and the Summit Zoo.

:eek: :eek: :eek:



I was wondering how you were getting along. Where else have you been?

I lived on Barro Colorado for 2 years in the late 1970s when I was doing my thesis there. I was one of the original “Tropical Derelicts” of the island, a tradition Royte mentions. Years later I was scientific supervisor of the island for awhile. Royte did a good job - she gets the peculiar society of the place right.


I’ve looked through the photos, and think I can clear some things up.

When it became clear that the Spanish would destroy the Incas, the Incan priests worked a powerful ritual. They fashioned a reliquary, and placed the regalia of the king within it. Then, calling on their gods, the priests transformed the Inca, hiding them in plain sight. Only a handful of priests and nobles kept their human shape. But under the skin, they too were changed. These are the custodians of the Incan legacy. They wait for the time when they can transform their people into men, rise up and destroy the invaders. The custodians do not bear human children. They produce eggs. These eggs must left somewhere warm, and with food for the hatchling. If the new custodian is strong, and the gods will it, it will survive.

Black Jesus? The reliquary, made in a shape the Spanish would protect.

Dead Gator? Having a huge egg shoved down your throat does tend to prevent breathing. The rotting corpse will provide both warmth and food.

The huge ant hills? They are the mighty Incan nation. The world thinks them gone. But, in truth, they are more numerous than ever.

BTW- Could you get some pictures of bats? I’m very fond of bats and Panama has a plethora of bat species. Central America is the only place to find the two species of vampire bat.

I am no longer an Old Panama Hand. I went back for some personal excitment a couple of years ago and will never return. Still, I guess I can help a little.

The Canal has a new (and very nice) visitor center at the Miraflores Locks. Nice grandstand and museum. A good place to start.

For knick-knacks go to any Gran Morrison department store. They all have a nice selection of soapstone and stuff. Panaphoto is the local high-end electronics shop. I was looking for a new iPod at the time and shopped in Saudi Arabia, Europe, the US and Panama. Panama had the best price.

There is a nice new resort run by some French company out at Empire. Nice place, they have jeep tours of ‘the jungle.’

The new Centenial Bridge is neato too.

Otherwise, I will have to let people who still live there reply.

Link to the book blondebear mentioned (which I just added to my wishlist…