When we returned from Panama I was feeling lazy so only posted Panama in pictures. I figured I should write down the details of our trip to Panama (almost 3 months later!) Basically, the reason we chose Panama is because it’s one of the few places that is a direct flight from Kingston… so why not?? We traveled with our good friends who have a young daughter 11 months older than Allie. They speak Spanish which was a great help!
We flew into Panama City arriving in the evening. We went the route of renting a car to drive ourselves around which turned out to be great! We weren’t really sure what to expect as far as traffic and road conditions. Here in Jamaica the roads are narrow, not in good condition with potholes everywhere. We were pleasantly surprised with great, wide open highways! They even had reflectors on the lane dividers!!
For the first part of the trip we stayed in a Marriott attached to the multiplaza mall. It was great for us to be right next to the mall to go grab food, ice cream, or just kill time. There is a grocery store in the mall which was awesomely convenient for us. There is no such thing as a mall in Kingston so even just to walk about an air conditioned mall was fun for me! Also, there were multiple ice cream options which is a must-have for any vacation.
Our first night we just grabbed fast food and planned out our days in Panama City. The girls’ nap schedules didn’t jive very well together so it was a little difficult to coordinate what to do. Whenever we sat down for meals there was always one girl happy and one girl grouchy because we just couldn’t accommodate all naps without sitting inside all day. I think we need more practice traveling with a baby. I found it difficult to do things while sticking to Allie’s schedule. 2 naps a day is really restricting!
Our first full day in Panama started off with a walk along the Cinta Costera. We loved the Cinta Costera because GREEN SPACE! Something that is lacking Kingston. The Cinta Costera is nice area along the waterfront with lots of grass, people, playgrounds, statues. It was so hot so we didn’t last long but had a nice walk and enjoyed some cold raspados.
That afternoon we went to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. It was a neat place but quite small. The girls enjoyed watching the turtles and looking at the fish tanks.
The next day we headed to see the Panama Canal. They had a watch a short film about the history and construction of the Panama and the canal. We were there just in time to see a big boats come through the locks. The facility there has 4 floors all with large balconies to watch the ships. There is a whole system of pulleys, and small boats, and rail tracks, it was really interesting. There is also a nice museum and visitors center where we spent a lot of time.
Our friends were able to do a little bit more about Panama City while we stayed in the hotel while Allie napped. We missed out on walking through Casco Viejo, the old town portion of the city, and walking through the metropolitan national park.
The rest of our days were spent at the JW Marriott about 2 hours outside of Panama City. The drive was easy! It was a beautiful beachfront hotel with numerous pools, a playground for the kids, and delicious sushi. Between it being low season and the fact that we were there on weekdays we basically had the place to ourselves. We spent time at the pools and out on the beach. One morning our friends drove to a village where they breed the rare Panamanian golden frog. We really enjoyed our stay there and would recommend it!
After a few days at the beach it was time to head home. We drove back into Panama City and flew back to Kingston from there.
Panama City has never really been on my radar of places I would want to vacation but we had such a great time!
Next up for our travels – Scott and I are going on a cruise in Feb. and then in May we will be having our home leave.