Surviving A Riptide

Riptides account for the majority of ocean drownings, though a simple understanding of how these currents behave can save your life. Rip currents are formed when excess water brought to shore by waves returns to the sea in a rapidly moving depression in the ocean floor. They are comprised of three parts the feeder current, the neck and the head. The feeder current consists of rapidly moving water that parallels the shore, but isn't always visible from the beach. When this water reaches a...

Punta Burica

This lush peninsula jutting into the Pacific is a lovely spot for absorbing the beauty of both the rainforest and the coastline. Hill Mono Feliz ( 595 0388 mono_feliz hotmail .com cabin 1st night every night thereafter per person US 20 15, campsite per person per day US 5 ) offers visitors a chance to enjoy this untouched natural beauty. Wildlife is a key feature here, and the Mono Feliz (happy monkey) certainly has its share of its namesake. Facilities include three stand-alone cabins -two in...

Bosque Protector Palo Seco

Located 29km south of Chiriqui Grande on the road to David (also called 'Fortuna Rd' because the road passes by Lago Fortuna reservoir), the Bosque Protector Palo Seco (BPPS Panamanians foreigners US 1 3) is a lush cloud forest, covering more than 160,000 hectares. It's set high in the Talamanca range and the wildlife here includes monkeys, sloths, armadillos and butterflies. The birdlife includes ashy-throated bush-tanagers, and this is the only place you will find them. An ANAM station lies...

The Red Frog Beach Club

In October of 2006, Lonely Planet author Scott Doggett published an open letter in the Bocas Breeze calling attention to the Red Frog Beach Club (RFBC), a massive residential development project that is well underway on Isla Bastimentos. According to the developers, the RFBC will consist of luxury villas, condos and three marinas, and will provide resort amenities including a clubhouse, swimming pools, restaurants and an 18-hole golf course. Although the development project is outside the...

Budget

Motel-Restaurante Ni a Delia ( 983 6110 Av Central s d tr q US 12 15 20 25 ) The town's cheapest accommodation has benefited from a recent renovation, though it's still a bare-bones motel beneath the fresh coat of paint. With that said, the six spartan rooms at the Ni a Delia are perfectly acceptable if you don't need much more than a bed and bathroom. If you're on a budget, stop by the attached restaurant for all of your favorite Panamanian staples. Residencial El Valle ( 983 6536...

Las Delicias

Set in a hilly area of lush rainforest, the small indigenous community of Las Delicias lies along the Sixaola River, 20km from the Costa Rican border crossing at Guabito. These local residents have recently shifted their source of income from harvesting and logging to preservation and ecotourism - visiting them is one way you can make a very positive contribution to the environment. Among the attractions here are waterfalls, abundant wildlife and impressive lookout points over the Sixaola River...

Ghosts Of An Invasion

About 1km past the Playa Santa Clara turnoff, you'll notice an open area where a wide, paved path stretches straight out from both sides of the Interamericana. This was once a key runway used by Noriega's forces, and it has some interesting history. (Please note that although there are weeds growing from small cracks in the runway, the runway is occasionally used for private charter flights. As one unsuspecting reader found out, it's not advisable to actually walk down it.) During the days of...

Local Voices The Guys From Mondo Taitg On Sustainable Travel

David Harmatz, Daniel Saxe & Daniel Smetana Travel is intrinsically linked to the timeless search for self-discovery - we all harbor a common hope that we might return from each adventure wiser than when we left. Unfortunately, sometimes we get so caught up in our own personal exploration that we overlook the environment around us. However, we all have the capacity to travel sustainably and it's not too difficult to leave a place better than we found it. The basic idea of sustainable travel...

Trinidad Spa Lodge

HIU'IIM Trinidad Spa amp Lodge 983 8900 www .posadaecologica.com in Spanish d US 79-99 is an incredible find that's well worth the time it takes to get there - it's reachable by paved road and located in Chiguiri Arriba, 29km to the northeast of Penonom . The lodge sits atop a summit with sweeping views of green valleys and imposing peaks intermittently shrouded by clouds, looking not so much like a slice of Central America but rather the famous karst formations outside Guilin, China. The main...

Parque Internacional La Amistad Wekso

The 407,000-hectare Parque Internacional La Amistad was established jointly in 1988 by Panama and Costa Rica - hence its name, La Amistad Friendship . In 1990 La Amistad was declared a Unesco World Heritage site and later became part of the greater Mesoa-merican Biological corridor. In Panama, the park covers portions of Chiriqu and Bocas del Toro Provinces, contains seven of the 12 classified life zones, and serves as a refuge for a great number of endangered flora and fauna. La Amistad is...

Local Lore Indios Conejos

The Naso have a rich oral tradition that is rife with lore and mythology, though none of their tales are nearly as evocative as those of the indios conejos rabbit Indians . According to the Naso, these fierce warriors live deep in the jungle, are completely nocturnal, possess super-human attributes and are deadly with a bow and arrow. Physical descriptions vary, but some of the more alluring accounts describe them as being pale white with stripes on their backs and dwarfish in size, like giant...

Isla Solarte

Isla Solarte Cayo Nancy is distinguished by Hospital Point, which is named after the United Fruit Company hospital that was built here in 1900. The hospital was established to isolate victims of yellow fever and malaria -at the time, it was not yet known that these diseases were transmitted by mosquitoes. Although the hospital complex eventually included 16 buildings, it was abandoned after two decades of operation following the blight that killed all of United Fruit's banana trees. Today, most...

Finca La Suiza

If you travel along the paved road that crosses the Cordillera Central from the Interamericana to Chiriqui Grande, providing access to Bocas del Toro, you will pass a wonderful accommodation option that boasts some incredible hiking opportunities. Located high in the Talamanca range about 41km from the Interamericana is Finca La Suiza 615 3774, 774 4030 in David afinis chiriqui .com s d with private bathroom US 31 40 h closed Jun, Sep amp Oct , a highly recommended place to stay that features...

Parque Nacional Omar Torrijos La Rica

Simply put, Parque Nacional Omar Torrijos or simply El Cop is one of Panama's hidden gems, though difficult access and relative obscurity have kept the tourist crowds away. The park encompasses some of the most beautiful forests in Panama, with montane forest on the Pacific side of the Continental Divide and humid tropical forest on the Caribbean side. El Cop is also home to the full complement of Panama's wildlife, including such rare bird species as the golden-olive woodpecker, red-fronted...

In Town Budget

HI Mondo Taitu fax 757 9425 Av H dm s d US 7 8 16 This legendary backpacker joint is reason enough to cancel your travel plans and post up in Bocas for weeks on end. Owned and managed by three fun-loving Americans, Mondo is a wacky treehouselike building that is locally famous for its wild events. On Tuesdays and Fridays, the bar at Mondo hosts a variety of festivities ranging from 'Sake Bomb' parties to '80s Night,' though you can kick back here any time with a beer in one hand and a hookah...