You Know what I regret? I regret history lessons in school. They never teach you the good stuff. History as a child would have been so much better if we could have just teleported to wherever they were teaching us about. In high school I remember learning about President Jimmy Carter and the US treaty for the Panama Canal but that lesson pales in comparison to the story that the Panamanians share. The version I learned was boring and nowhere near the equivalent of taking a boat tour by the natives of Panama.
Those history lessons never said anything about all the beautiful beaches, the delectable food, the spicy music, the three hour drive to Colon and the low cost of living. Panama is not just a country, it’s a lifestyle you can sink your teeth into. Panama will always be at the top of my visiting list, I hope you,ll add it to yours.
Where to rest your spirit: Ordinarily, I go the local route. I love to explore the local Airbnbs to live like the natives live, however, after meeting some friends for drinks at the W hotel (“W”- stands for WINNING, for me) I had to change course. The rooms are super spacious, colorful, social media worthy, make sure you get a room with the tub in the suite, you’ll want to have an entire self-care moment. There are gorgeous panoramic views, a lounge full of activities with a rooftop pool you won’t want to leave. The hotel is centrally located near the mall and has plenty of shops. Just don’t get in any over-spending trouble and blame it on me. This is definitely a place to rest your spirit.
Where to Feed your soul: Panama has an electric skyline. The scenery, cobblestone sidewalks really comes to life as the sun begins to set. Casco Viejo is where you want to be. It’s all about the rich history and culture of Panama. Since food is culture, you will fein for this culture. Panama is definitely one of my favorite places to eat in the world. Start your tastebuds off right with LazoTea, then there’s Capital Bistro which is all about the skyline directly over the water. Wear clothing with a loose waistband or flowing dress as you continue your food journey to Numen, Tantalo or Inedito with a live DJ. Definitely make a stop at Azahar. It’s another beautiful experience with ambiance and great food. Remember you’re on the Panama Canal take advantage of the fishermen and their fresh catches of the day. Journey to Tobago Island (yes, Trinidad doesn’t have the only Tobago) The food vendors around the beach will give you life! I really appreciate how a country like Panama doesn’t undermine its amazing flavors for the sake of western tourists. Every morsel of every bite will stick to your ribs. Thank me later!
Where to make memories: You really should embrace the natural beauty of Panama. The rooftop bars and restaurants are certainly where the memories begin but the beaches and canal tours is where you wish the memories would never end. Tobago Island or should I say Island of the Flowers is a great place to sunbathe and frolic in the waters. You’ll definitely have to book yourself for the jungle tours. I used Barefoot Panama. They are a very reliable company. They pick you up form most hotels and they really understand the rich history of Panama. Like I said, it’s nothing your teacher ever taught you. They make history fun and engaging. Better yet, they turn history into a party. You’ll visit Monkey Island, Indian village and Lake Gutan. The Guna Yala tour includes some amazing beaches and starfish pools and lunch is included. Like I said, they really take care of you. Their tours have something for everyone. Speaking of something for everyone, make sure you and your friends/family do the catamaran boat ride. Me and my friends had an absolute blast. The perfect picture moment sailing as the wind blows through your hair, way better than a Beyonce fan. The boat rests out in the Pacific ocean as you take some playtime to eat or snorkel and play with the water floaties. The sun sets as you make your way back to the dock and you’re at peace with a celebratory grin on your face. There is so much more to Panama, it is one of the most recognized expat locations for Americans and I certainly get why. Now it’s your turn to explore! Vamos a Panama!