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Panama Travel

Updated: Oct 20, 2023




As the Colombian chapter of my journey drew to a close, the rhythm of adventure played on. En route back to the Caribbean, I decided to quench my wanderlust by charting a course through as many nations as possible. Nestled right in the crossroads was the enchanting country of Panama.


Panama, a slender thread of land connecting North and South America, boasts of a medley of contrasts. Home to the world-famous Panama Canal – a marvel of modern engineering – it stands as a testament to mankind’s ambition to conquer nature. But Panama is not just about this man-made wonder. Its azure Pacific and Caribbean coastlines stretch endlessly, dotted with idyllic islands and pristine beaches. The metropolitan pulse of Panama City contrasts sharply with the serene, untouched indigenous territories and lush rainforests teeming with life. Here, cultures blend, histories intertwine, and the melodies of Spanish, Afro-Caribbean, and Indigenous influences create a unique tapestry that begs to be explored.



Known for its biodiversity, rich culture, and the seamless blend of the old and new, Panama is a land where one can sail through turquoise waters in the morning and trek through emerald jungles by dusk. It's not just a pit-stop, but a destination teeming with stories waiting to be told.



January 16 dawned with the promise of a new adventure. As my feet touched Panamanian soil, an eager anticipation bubbled within. Panama, with its tapestry of stories, awaited, and I was on a tight schedule to weave my own narrative into its rich backdrop.


Having always believed in the depth of personal experiences over the breadth of generalized tours, I turned to Expedia. Amidst an array of options, there was a private day tour that perfectly catered to my stringent timeline. Sure, there were more budget-friendly tours with set schedules, but my heart was set on this flexible journey. I was willing to pay the premium for a more personalized experience. After all, moments of genuine discovery can't always be tagged with a price.


However, no adventure is without its unexpected turns. At the airport’s immigration desk, I was informed about an entry prerequisite I had missed - the necessity of a booked accommodation. Thinking on my feet, I quickly reserved a room in the nearest airport hotel. Crisis averted, I strode out to be greeted by the smiling face of my tour guide, awaiting in his vehicle.


Contrary to popular belief, us Filipinos do require a visa to enter Panama. However, a multiple-entry visa for the US or Canada is the golden ticket in. Armed with this, Panama's gates swung open for me, and the adventure truly began.




The tour's commencement painted a captivating city silhouette as our vehicle cruised the streets. Skyscrapers punctuated the horizon, symbols of Panama City's modern aspirations. As we moved, the city unraveled its intriguing layers, revealing tales of its rich past.


Did you know Panama was once a fragment of Colombia? Or that English, amidst the echoes of Spanish, can be heard weaving through conversations here? And perhaps the most surprising of all: Panama’s currency dances in tandem with the US dollar, maintaining an impressive one-to-one ratio. Each revelation added depth to my understanding of this multifaceted nation.


But it was the Panama Canal Visitor's Center that truly stole the show. There, a 3D documentary transported us back in time, showcasing the Herculean efforts that birthed the iconic canal. To then see a ship navigate through those very locks brought history to life right before my eyes. I learned of ambitious plans, where the country envisions an even grander canal, aiming to embrace the ever-evolving ships of our changing world.




The Panama Canal, an engineering marvel spanning approximately 50 miles across the Isthmus of Panama, connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, serving as a pivotal conduit for international maritime trade. Inaugurated in 1914, its construction was a Herculean feat, overcoming both geographical and health challenges. The canal not only drastically reduces the voyage time around South America but also stands as a testament to human ingenuity, shaping global trade routes and solidifying Panama's importance in world commerce and navigation.


From this marvel of engineering, our journey took a nostalgic turn towards the Spanish colonial town of Miraflores. Cobbled streets, ancient facades, and tales whispered through the walls made for a mesmerizing walk.


Panama, as I discovered, is a harmonious blend of old and new, a city constantly evolving yet rooted deeply in its history. For more of the tour details, click here.


More photos from the tour






Panama unfurled before me as a poetic dance between eras – where modern skyscrapers and ancient cobbled lanes intertwine seamlessly. This city, a nexus of change and tradition, resonated deeply with my architectural spirit. In its vast landscapes and intricate details, I found both inspiration and reflection.


With Panama checked off my wanderlust list and the awe of its engineering prowess still fresh in my mind, the day's adventures gave way to the gentle embrace of the night. Nestled in a modest nook close to the airport, I let the events of the day - and the entire month - wash over me. Solo journeys, especially ones as enriching as my South American sojourn, carry a unique rhythm. They're a blend of self-discovery, exhilaration, and, at times, profound introspection.


As dawn would mark my return to the Caribbean, the Panama chapter came to its poignant conclusion. Yet, the architect in me knew that every end is but the foundation of a new beginning. The lessons learned and experiences gained from this journey would undoubtedly shape my future blueprints, both in design and in life.








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I'm Archsael, i am an architect and a passionate traveler who finds joy in exploring the world's wonders. This site is a tapestry of my adventures, offering unique insights and inspirations from my journeys.

 

I'm excited to share these experiences with you, providing guidance and inspiration for your future travels.

 

Join me in exploring the globe's beauty, one journey at a time."

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