Panamainfo’s Blog

Trip Advisor: Panama City One of the Top 10 Restaurant Destinations in Latin America

Panama Named in the Top 10 Food & Wine Destinations

Panama City is finally getting the recognition it deserves for its many fine restaurants and amazing seafood.

Panama named in the Top 10 Food & Wine destinations It has been  named in the Top 10 Destinations for Food & Wine in Central and South America by Trip Advisor. As the largest community of tourism and travel information in the world, Trip Advisor has a wide range of views from the worlds most experienced travellers. In this sense, they were able to do a profound study and name Panama as a top destination for Food and Wine. Trip Advisor emphasized the seafood Panama as one of the great treats. They labeled seafood plates as “magnificent”, noting that the Chefs in Panama have the peculiar capacity of serving seafood dishes from the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean while still preserving amazing freshness. Additionally, Trip Advisor highlights the Panamanian “ceviche” as a delicatessen seldom seen in other regions or countries. With exquisite taste of fresh sea bass, “Corvina Ceviche” is one of the most delicious seafood dishes. This is a small plate of fish seasoned with lime juice and spices, like no other.

The stew locally called “Sancocho” is also featured in Trip Advisor. This is described as a chicken stew made ​​from cassava and yams. They mention the Sancocho to be another incredible mouth watering dish.

The following is how Trip Advisor describes Panama:

“This multicultural city full of contrasts, with almost 1.3 million people, offers much more than the obligatory visit to the Canal. The slums are crowded with glittering towers. The old city is a maze of picturesque churches, plazas and palaces. 25 km from the city center are the National Sovereignty Park, the perfect place for hiking and birdwatching. To enjoy superb views over the canal, take a taxi or bus to Miraflores Visitor Center and do not miss naval traffic.”

Newsweek: “Canopy Tower is one of the Premier Ecotourism Experiences in the World”

Canopy Tower Triumphs Again and Again

Puts Panama on the Map for Nature and Birding

You and Your Family Should Go

Congratulations to Canopy Tower and Raul Arias de Para. His amazing Canopy Tower has won more accolades than any other Panama tourism destination.

It doesn’t stop. Among other articles, Canopy Tower was recently featured in Newsweek magazine which has the largest circulation of any news magazine in the US.

Raul is now promoting nature experience tours.

If you and your family haven’t  yet  been to Canopy Tower, I recommend it.  It’s  the best nature experience in Panama and according to the international press, one of the best in the world.  It’s also close- less than an hour from Panama City. Nancy

Recent Press About Canopy Tower

Going to the Birds

Newsweek November 2010

Today, a stay at the Canopy Tower is one of the premier ecotourism experiences in the world

Canopy Tower can be described only as a place where everyone falls in love with birds

You emerge through a hatch onto the observation deck, a dazzling 360-degree open-air walkway around the dome that provides a panoramic view of the rainforest canopy. Birder, bird watcher, nonbirder—on that deck it doesn’t matter, because the birds are all there, right in front of you at eye level. It is impossible not to be drawn in. My mom and I saw scores of avian species, but also howler monkeys, sloths, tamarins, all kinds of bats and butterflies—as well as freight ships making their way through the Panama Canal—without taking more than a few steps one way or another.

Los Angeles Times

One of the top 14 hotels in the world

The scene: Nirvana for birders and jungle junkies in the forest at Soberania National Park.

New York Times: October, 2009

Open the window of your room and probably less than 40 feet away are hundreds of bird species. “It’s incredible that you have such wilderness so close to the city

Some bird-watchers were saying that here, in a matter of days, they had seen as many species as they had in many other countries on many different occasions combined. The diversity is amazing.”

The Fodors 2010 Choice Award

Red Frog Rainforest Resort-Bocas del Toro’s Newest Tourism Attraction

I just returned from a visit to the Red Frog Rainforest Resort, the former Red Frog Beach Club on Bastimientos Island in Bocas del Toro. The change of name is appropriate. This is the same amazing place with  3 miles of white sand beaches and 1600 acres of pristine rainforest jungle, but with a whole new  focus.  Red Frog is now focused on  becoming a major Bocas tourism destination. To start, they”re building a two kilometer Jungle Canopy Zipline which will be up and running  in August. Very exciting news for Bocas-these same ziplines are major tourism attractions in Costa Rica and Boquete Panama- and  is sure to be a big hit in Bocas.

Red Frog beach is arguably the most beautiful beach in Panama. To make Red Frog beach an even  more attractive destination for day trippers, they have also built an attractive restaurant featuring burgers and barbequed chicken and a bar for sodas and drinks  at the far end of the  beach.

Good news for all, the “resort community” plans have changed drastically- only a fraction of the homes and condos in the original plan will be built.  Red Frog is adjacent to and part of Bastimientos National Park which is a World Heritage Site for its extraordinary nature. The residential “foot print”  will be minimal.  Instead, Red Frog is developing itself  as a nature preserve with nature attractions and activities.

Red Frog has 10 luxury villas for rent. These villas are probably the finest I have seen anywhere in Panama.  Many of them have ocean views and pools. They are perfect for romancing couples, surfers and families.

Bocas Bount is another new attraction-a beach/surfing hostel . You can get a bed here for just $13 a day. Several beaches near Red Frog  are excellent for surfing.  If you just want to sunbath on the most beautiful beach in Bocas and hike thru rainforest- this is the best place to stay for those on a budget.

A marina which is now Bocas most successful marina is operating and a  spa is under construction.

I met several of the new Red Frog team who live at Red Frog- they are young, visionary,  idealistic and very talented folks . They are determined to make Red Frog Rainforest Resort an oasis of protected nature and world-class tourism attraction.  With that location and that team, I am very optimistic about the future of Red Frog.

Canopy Lodge, Panama’s #1 Ecolodge Celebrates 10 Years: Congrats to Raul Arias de Para!

Congrats to Canopy Tower proprietor Raul Arias de Para for putting Panama on the map for ecotourism and world-class birding. Selected again and again as one of the top ecolodges in the world, and praised in the New York Times, National Geographic, the Wall Street Journal and Travel and Leisure,  Canopy Tower is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary.

Canopy Tower has to be the easiest-to-get-to top ecolodge-   just over an hour by car from Panama’s international airport. If you love nature, I highly recommend a stay. Even if you’re a local- Canopy Tower will transform the way you think about the attractions of Panama.

Below are Raul’s own words about his groundbreaking work for the last 10 years.

It is often said that time flies. Indeed, it does! We are close to the end of 2009 and my memory goes back to those days in January of 1999, more than ten years ago, when the first guests arrived at the Canopy Tower. I remember the thrill of seeing the visitors walk up to the Observation Deck for the first time to observe the virgin rainforests of Soberanía National Park, extending for miles in every direction around the Tower. “WOW! Incredible! Amazing!” were the first sounds and words visitors exclaimed. They still do. Nothing has changed in this regard. I remember the immense satisfaction, pride and gratitude I felt when pictures of the Canopy Tower appeared in the National Geographic Magazine (April 2000) and on the front page of the Wall Street Journal (January 11, 2000), including a “dot” picture of me with my red Tilley hat—the only Panamanian, other than the infamous General Noriega, to have received such a distinction! My wife, Denise, was at the Paris airport that day waiting for a flight to Panama, and you can imagine her surprise when she picked up the newspaper and saw my picture on the front page!

I also remember the curious combination of exhaustion and exhilaration I felt after the first birders, a VENT group led by Dr. Robert S. Ridgely, departed the Canopy Tower on January 20, 1999, after a hugely successful 7-night tour. I had done everything for that group, from going to the airport and helping in the kitchen, to carrying a scope on the outings, checking the towels in the bathrooms, having breakfast, lunch and dinner with the guests and answering the increasing number of emails coming through that wonderful invention, the internet. I had slept on the living room couch that entire week, as the Tower only had seven bedrooms at the time and all were occupied. Thus, I was the last to retire and the first to be up in the kitchen helping with breakfast. Then, I went immediately up to the Observation Deck, identifying birds with the guests and listening to the “dawn chorus.” When the group finally departed, I fell in bed with a bad cold and slept for 2 0 hours straight—this time in my own bed!

It has been a wonderful decade, in many more ways than one! The Canopy Tower has become an icon in the birding world, a “mecca for bird enthusiasts” (New York Times, April 21, 2002). It is now the core of an ecotourism organization, comprising two very different experiences at two unique eco-lodges (The Canopy Tower and The Canopy Lodge, with a tree-top adventure adjacent)—both employing 47 Panamanians. Additionally, a third lodge is in the dream stage! The wonderful birding at these locales has drawn many thousands of birders to Panama, providing much-needed job opportunities to other ventures. And, most importantly, it has given me the time and resources to invest in conservation causes throughout Panama. In short, it has been a rousing success, thanks to the Almighty God who directs all our actions, to our staff of loyal and dedicated employees and to you, our friends and customers who have chosen the Canopy Tower for your birding vacation.

Come to Panama. We will all be on the lookout for you.

All the best,

Contact Raul:

P.S. The birds are all over the place!

Panamonte Inn and Spa in Boquete- A Travelers Delight

The historical Panamonte Inn is Boquete’s original hotel and a travelers delight with several major attractions including the best restaurant in town, gorgeous rooms, a stunning garden setting and a warm welcoming lounge. The hotels architecture is traditional country style a la Panama making for a truly authentic experience. All garden terrace rooms have recently been fully renovated in English country style . There is also a luxurious Honeymoon suite including a jacuzzi and fireplace.

All the Inn is arranged around a perfectly lovely large colorful country garden that will beckon you to take some sun and smell the flowers.

In a few months, 8 handsome brand new suites will be available each with its private garden patio in stone on the beautiful garden grounds.

Panamonte’s Lounge is by far the favorite Boquete night spot- beautifully designed it opens to the garden and has a large handsome fireplace and furnishings. You can now dine on the lounge patio. Great place to read a book, sip some wine, dine or be more social.

The spa offers a very wide variety of treatments by a very able staff.

The restaurant with a menu by Panama’s most famous chef, Charlie is the best restaurant in town and has long been a favorite for many. If you haven’t been by recently, make a visit because Charlie has a new 2009 menu. If this is your first time, we recommend their most famous dish- trout with almonds made with delectable fresh local trout . The house ceviche is a great appetizer and the Decadent Chocolate cake satafires the most discriminating chocolate lover including me.

In short, you haven’t been to Boquete unless you have been to the Panamonte and there are many reasons to go.

Greenhouse- The Favorite Place for a “Green” Dining Experience

One of my favorite restaurant eateries is Greenhouse Café/Lounge conveniently located both in the Calle Uruguay restaurant district and in El Cangrejo. Greenhouse is one of the favorite places for Panama’s young professionals for both dining and for its Lounge Happy Hour.

Greenhouse specializes in delicious comfort food, cool music, a green ambience and cozy eating areas. No matter how many times I’ve been there I always find something new to like- it’s that eclectic. Think everything from homerun burgers and fries to elegant grilled salmon in a white wine or pistachio sauce. The menu also features falafels, pasta, chicken quesadillas, and as its name suggests, a delicious variety of beautiful and delightful green salads. They even have good old Panamanian sancocho (a traditional soup made from free range chicken), and it is some of the best sancocho in town. (Rivaled only by that of Meson del Prado). I just love this place.

For a first trip, I recommend the Peruvian ceviche for an appetizer and the Greenhouse Corvina, corvina with a delectable shrimp sauce. Their french fries available with the main dishes have a light batter- I can’t get enough of them.

Greenhouse has two locations in Panama City- one on Calle Uruguay (you will spot it right away as it’s the only locale with a tree growing through it right in the middle) and one on Via Argentina. Both are popular for lunch and dinner and also are very popular to enjoy some early drinks before going out to hit the clubs.

See you at Greenhouse!

Jennifer Hanna

Rainforest Designs- Cameos Made in Panama and Praised Internationally

One of my very favorite choices for a really special jewelry gift are the cameos of Rainforest Design. The stunning pieces which can be a necklace, pennant or pin are each totally with a exotic tropical flor or fauna design. I get more comments on this jewelry than anything I own.

Rainforest Design, a Panamanian company is gaining international praise for the quality, beauty and design of its cameo jewelry. Adding to their authenticity, these Panamanian treasures are carved by the Woonan Indians of Panama’s rainforest, the famous craftsman of figurines of tagua and cocabolo.

Owner Roslyn Zelenca recently showed me the latest edition of the world cameo guide, Cameos Old and New. Her Rainforest Design cameos merited praise and two pages in this prestigious guide. Rainforest Design Cameos also received an Award for Artistic Excellence from Panama’s Ministry of Commerce.

Rainforest Design Cameos can be found in the gift shop of the Panama Marriott, the Duty Free shop on Amador Causeway and at Canopy Tower. Check out their website at