Help with planning a 3-4 day Jungle experience
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Feb 22, 2012 11:16 AM Last Post By: whitewolf
Feb 8, 2012 8:09 PM
Help with planning a 3-4 day Jungle experienceHey Guys,
We have a 8 day trip to Panama starting in 2 weeks. We have booked a sailing trip in the Kuna Yala for the first 4 days and will have 3-4 days remaining after returning to Panama City. We are considering renting a car and driving up to the Boquete area vs. staying around Panama City and spending a few days at Jungleland on Lake Gatun. The 7 hour drive to Boquete is a bit of a turn off, but I hear good things about Boquete. We are looking for the quintessential jungle experience. Maybe a hostel in Boquete vs. Lost and Found Lodge. We are active 30 somethings that enjoy hiking, kayaking, and anything else that is eco adventure based and would appreciate a bit of culture and good wildlife interactions. I think Boquete is the best, fit, but cant decide if it is worth all the driving time when we only have 4 days to get there and back. Can anyone comment on how good the experience is at Jungle Land or give me a few leads on similar alternatives that are closer to Panama City than Boquete? We are trying to live on the cheap, so info on cheap lodging would be appreciated. Also, any advice on where to rent a car would be appreciated. We will likely just rent at one of the airports, but if it is significantly cheaper to go somewhere else, we would consider it. Thanks for taking the time to read this,
Feb 8, 2012 8:12 PM
Feb 9, 2012 1:08 PM
Feb 10, 2012 12:15 AM
3Since it sounds like you're flexible on your final 4 days, you might want to consider Santa Fe in place
of Boquete since it is closer to Panama City. Santa Fe ( pop. 3,000) is similar to Boquete (pop 5,000)
but is relatively undiscovered. It has primary and secondary rainforest, rivers a 20-minute walk outside of town and waterfalls. Today, Boquete is a bit overrun by North American retirees who live here. As a
result, prices are higher. Santa Fe also has coffee farms you can visit.
If time is at a premium, you might just want to go to rainforest outside of Panama City such as Soberania
National Park or Gamboa- home of the famed Gamboa Rainforest Resort. Check out gamboaecotours.com for a place to stay that's less expensive. The $1 bus from Panama City to Gamboa
will save you the expense of a car rental- and so you can splash out on your accomodations.
By the way- I'd recommend the Casco Viejo section of Panama City to stay in-- the original "Old Compound" which the Spanish built after 1671. It's so historic, it's now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Feb 10, 2012 10:35 AM
Feb 10, 2012 11:34 AM
5For Santa Fe, try www.panamamountainhouse.com. Horseback riding is with Cesar Miranda.
In Casco Viejo try Magnolia Inn- it may be pricey. Also the venerable Casa Antigua- great setting
although they no longer knock themselves out service-wise. El Valle: mid-range is the Don Pepe
and Residencial El Valle; a bit of luxury at www.goldenfroginn.com.
For car rentals, I just shop prices on expedia or orbitz, then go directly to the car rental companies
website to reserve. Be sure to get all the insurance you need and document every nick and scratch
on the paperwork before driving off with the car. Have a great time!
Feb 10, 2012 11:37 AM
6I was worried that Boquete would be overdeveloped, Sante Fe seems more our style and it is closer. Are the wildlife viewing opportunities similar in Santa Fe when compared to the Boquete or Gamboa area? Does Santa Fe have a couple of decent resturants and a good market? We dont need anything high end.
I have heard that part of Casco Viejo area is closed for rennovations, can anyone confirm this and if so, is it a major rennovation that would interrupt our stay in the area?
Herbl: We are doing a trip with Debbie and Breeze on the Blue Sky through panama travel unlimited. I plan on writing up a trip report when I get back to let everyone know how it went.
Can anyone comment on the Boca Chica area? For some reason I want to put my toes in both the Pacific and Atlantic/Carribean on the same trip
Feb 10, 2012 4:04 PM
7Santa Fe is a great option and one of my favourite places in Panama. It´s very local and basic and don´t go expecting decent restaurants. Most of them close early and serve basic local food, although there have been a couple of new options and they even have pizza there now! La Quia is a beautiful hostel and has amazing views. I´d be staying there for sure. It´s easy to find and if you go by bus then the driver may even take you to the front door.
Boquete is good as well, but different for sure. It´s much more touristy up there and theres more options in terms of everything. To get away form it all I´d be heading to Santa Fe though.
Have a great time in San Blas as well, and let us know how it goes.
Feb 10, 2012 5:31 PM
Feb 22, 2012 11:16 AM
9I had some amazing conversations with Kat from Sacred Earth Travel. Her website is http://www.sacredearth-travel.com/central_america_info/panama/panamatours.php and she was full of great information for jungle treks.
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