Panama Rules!

I thought I’d recap a few of the things I’ve learned over the past week. I’ll call them My Rules of Panama.

  1. Do not go to Panama City without hotel reservations. For some reason, there are way too few rooms to go around, even though P.C. is a big, modern city with an incredible amount of residential high-rise construction going on. High end hotels or low end hostels were the same story.
  2. Negotiate with your taxi driver ahead of time. No meters can mean widely different fares.
  3. Do not get to your regional airport flight late. I went from P.C. to Bocas by regional airline (Aeroperlas), and the flight left 25 minutes early. That’s a first.
  4. Do not go to the Caribbean coast without rain gear. Even outside of the rainy season, it can rain very often.
  5. Sand flies can be murder on the Caribbean coast. Bring repellent and wear long pants and shoes at night or you’ll be itching for days.
  6. Bring a very up to date guidebook if you want to know prices ahead of time: prices on everything have at least doubled in the last 3-5 years. That’s even more amazing considering their currency is pegged 1-to-1 to the U.S. dollar and you can pay everywhere in USD.
  7. Bring earplugs if pounding music at 4am will trouble your sleep. It’s everywhere.

I’ve really enjoyed my time in this beautiful country. I’ve walked a rainforest in the city, seen toucans and dozens of parrots right in Panama City, gone wreck diving in crystal Caribbean waters, been face-to-face with huge toadfish, pipefish, and barracuda, seen the history-changing Canal, and polished off a few Atlases, Balboas, and Panamas (i.e., beer), and I’d lived to scratch about it. Thanks, Panama.