Why are there almost no Boutique Luxury Hotels & Resorts in Panama?

BungalowWhen you do a search for “Luxury Hotels and Resorts in Costa Rica”, there is a long list of boutique hotels that a visitor can choose from along the Pacific coast. Among them Arenas del Mar in Manuel Antonio, Kura in Uvita, Latitude 10 in Santa Teresa and the Harmony Hotel in Nosara is just a small list of them in Costa Rica. But in Panama, the list is very short. Why is that?

Panama’s economy has been very focused on the Panama Canal, the Banking Sector and Real Estate development in and around Panama City. And the few hotels and lodges on the beach are either large all-inclusive hotels that have a connection to the Panama Business Hotels or small two to three-star hotels, resorts and lodges scattered along the coast. The fact is that tourism and especially sustainable and boutique tourism has not been on the agenda of the Panamanian government as there were ‘bigger fish to fry’ for them in other sectors. But this is changing as more investors look for new places to grow their collection of quality luxury and self-sustaining lodges.

Island hopOn the one hand, this was great news when Cayuga collection decided to develop Isla Palenque as a Boutique Luxury Island Resort near David, Panama in an area referred to as Boca Chica. Almost no competition. But on the other hand, it became a problem as there are only very few places in Panama that our visitors could combine with a stay at Isla Palenque. So we found that a lot of guests actually combine this new option with a visit to Boquete, Panama. The area of Boquete is a bit more mature with tourism and offers some nice options to combine with Isla Palenque. Clients would fly to Panama City and likely overnight at a nice hotel in the old city called Casco Antiguo or some great luxury options in the modern city. Then fly to David Panama – either via the domestic airport in Albrook or out of the international airport. You need to count on at least 6 nights 3 at each location – Boca Chica and Boquete. You can experience the Pacific Ocean and the Cloud forest. Depending on the time of year –whales are seen in and around Boca Chica and in Boquete, a birders paradise, the resplendent quetzal.Isla Palenque Amenities Private Beach Dining -low res 2

And in case they decide to stay only in Panama, we recommend them to visit El Otro Lado in Portobello on the Caribbean Coast and stay in the Casco Antiguo of Panama City at La Concordia.

If you were wondering on “How to get to book Isla Palenque?” or any Panama travel, reach out to Lori Snow of Condor Tours & Travel, Inc. Lori was born in Panama and grew up in Panama City. Her knowledge of Panama is extensive and she is often called upon to do lectures on Panama and the Canal. She was educated in the Canal Zone but grew up on the streets of Panama City and speaks Spanish like a true “Panamanian”. Her company has been selling tourism to Panama and all of Latin America since 1991. Although their offices are US based, they operate an office in Panama to handle all incoming travelers and can custom create a package that meets all your travel expectations while in Panama.

Antarctica – Visit This Land Of Extremes

At the bottom of the world there is a mysterious land of eternal winter. The vast windswept continent of Antarctica was not even known to the outside world until the late 1700’s, and the interior was not explored until the early 1900’s. A land of endless glaciers and towering icy peaks, in some places the ice cap reaches a depth of nearly three miles. Antarctica is essentially a desert continent, and most of the interior receives less than 50 mm of precipitation a year, all of it in the form of snow. All of Antarctica remains below freezing year-round with the exception of the northern part of the Antarctic Peninsula. So remote and isolated is this frozen realm that it has been used as a proving ground for possible space missions.

Ruslan Eliseev_1415_IMGP2395.jpg

What sort of person would want to visit and explore such a hostile place? Only an intrepid adventurer. There are opportunities if you are bold enough and willing to step outside your comfort zone. You can be one of the brave cadres of explorers to visit the hidden continent. Sound appealing? If so, an Antarctic adventure tour might be just the thing for you!

There are a variety of trips and excursions you can take to this polar realm. They range from sea voyages on luxury ships from which you can comfortably watch the seabirds, penguins and other wildlife to expeditions into the remote interior. Some trips will use the ship as a sort of “base camp” from which you can land on the coast or even camp overnight. Remarkably, a census of polar life conducted in 2010 revealed that there are 235 species of marine life found in both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, having somehow bridged the 12,000-mile distance in between. Blue whales, orcas, and giant squids can also be found in the rich fisheries near the Antarctic coast.

Ruslan Eliseev_1415_DSC_74101.jpg

In a land where the sun never sets, and the ice is miles deep, the austere beauty of the Antarctic summer is an experience of a lifetime. Underneath the ice, there are known to be a number of vast, subglacial lakes, some of which have been sealed away from the surface for millions of years. Who knows what secrets might lie in these stygian depths?

Tours depart from the southern port cities of Chile or Argentina and cross the tempestuous Southern Ocean. The newer tours have you fly to King George Island where you miss the rough Drake Crossing but get to experience Antarctica. Even in summer (northern winter), the weather will be cold, so you will want to dress accordingly. Depending on the trip you book, your accommodations will range from luxurious to spartan. As you approach Antarctica with the icy spray in your face, you will see the rugged shores and towering ice cliffs in the distance. What wonders lie in store? Book your trip today and find out! Visit Condor Tours & Travel as we offer a variety of packages to experience this destination.

Jordi Plana_0506_255.jpg

Condor Tours & Travel has four Antarctica packages for you to choose from; ranging from a 6 day / 5 night trip to the extensive 16 day / 15 night excursion. Starting your journey in either Chile or Argentina. You are met by the Antarctica21 team of experts who will take you through the Beagle Channel and to legendary Cape Horn. Cross the mythical waters of the Drake Passage and spend a day in one of the most spectacular places on earth – Antarctica.

Our most extensive package starts in Punta Arenas, Chile from which you will fly to King George Island in the South Shetland chain. You will be given an opportunity to explore the island before embarking on your trip aboard the expedition vessel, Zodiac. Leaving King George Island, you sail along the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, an area of spectacular ice filled fjords and vast icebergs. You will explore several spots in the Gerlache Strait that offer the best possible overview of the varied Antarctic environment. Weather permitting, you will visit Elephant Island where the crew of Shackleton’s ship, Endurance, found refuge while he and five handpicked men traveled on to South Georgia.

From Elephant Island you will journey on to South Georgia Island. South Georgia is a diverse landscape of majestic mountains, huge glaciers, grassy uplands and deep fjords. You will visit the former whaling outpost of Grytviken where you may pay your respects before the simple grave of Ernest Shackleton. At St. Andrew’s Bay you will be amazed by the sight of over 150,000 king penguins. Nearby Cooper Island is the nesting home of thousands of black-browed albatrosses and a large colony of macaroni penguins. Once your time in South Georgia is done, you will sail back to South America along the Beagle Channel and admire the rugged beauty of Tierra del Fuego and Navarino Island as you make your way to the Argentine port of Ushuaia to begin your trip home.

Ruslan Eliseev_1415_DSC_9895.jpg

Antarctica awaits those brave enough to make the trip. But plan ahead as there is limited space and it sells out quickly. 2019 is already sold out and there are only a few spots left for 2020. Contact Condor Tours & Travel today to get started on your adventure to the South Pole! You will make enough memories to last a lifetime!