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Solo Female with questions

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Fort McMurray...
posts: 72
reviews: 9
Solo Female with questions

I am a solo female traveler taking off on short notice to the Royal Decameron in Farallon, Panama from Dec 18 to Jan 1. I am reading everything I can find on Panama but would like someone to address me directly if possible with some general advice. My background is I am mid-forties, well traveled in the Caribbean, Mexico and Hawaii, and have rented cars and mopeds in smaller places like Isla Mujeres, Mexico and Guardalavaca, Cuba. I am at the resort for the first week, but independent the second week - which is what I really love. Also I can manage a little Spanish for getting around. So my main concerns are these:

1. Am I safe as a solo female to be driving to some of the common tourist areas around the country of Panama by myself? 2. How hard will it be to find accommodation such as a B and B or small hotel without a reservation?

3. How difficult is the driving there - are the roads well marked with signs for getting around - I prefer to avoid large city driving but like the country?

4. Which areas are relatively close to Farallon that I can reasonably expect to cover in one week ? A 3 or 4 hour drive is not a big deal to me - just the safety factor.

Thanks for any advice anyone is able to give!

Olympia, Washington
posts: 321
reviews: 118
1. Re: Solo Female with questions

If you are driving at least get a GPS. Panama is notorious for no signs or directions that are unique (like turn left at the pink house then travel over the bridge and if you pass the green house you've gone too far). We have no street signs here for example. Panama works for us because I drive and my husband - who is a map guy - is our navigator. There is only one main road in Panama - the Inter American highway. The roads aren't so bad, it's the bad drivers you need to watch for. Why they drive like bats out of hell I'll never understand.

Safe? Some areas yes. Some not so much. Ask the locals at the B&B's where you are staying. You will need reservations for this time of year. A lot of places will be full now because of it being summer here and all the kids will be out of school soon. Lots of vacations happening now.

Madrid, Spain
posts: 4,501
reviews: 11
2. Re: Solo Female with questions

Re places to go - how about El Valle de Anton ?

Do you want to spend any time in Panama City itself ?

You could also go north of Panama City towards Lake Gatun and the Caribbean coast - Portobelo.

Fort McMurray...
posts: 72
reviews: 9
3. Re: Solo Female with questions

Thanks for the info so far. What is the driving time from the Royal Decameron Resort to El Valle? And how hard will it be to jump in a taxi for that trip on Dec 25th? Any idea of the cost of that trip? I am trying to decide between renting a car or using taxis/buses.

Edited: 3:15 am, December 08, 2012
Panama City, Panama
posts: 1
4. Re: Solo Female with questions

I suggest return to Panama City and use taxis to explore the local historic sites.

The El Cangrejo area is tourist friendly and there are several good hotels available.

My reco., don't drive in Panama City

Olympia, Washington
posts: 321
reviews: 118
5. Re: Solo Female with questions

I second that motion. I wouldn't drive in PC either if I had the choice. We always use a shuttle driver to get around town or taxi's when we are there.

Not sure how many taxi's will be working on Christmas Day. Or if they will charge more because it is a special day. Have your hotel or B&B negotiate a price for you. At least it can't hurt to try.

Panama City, Panama
posts: 5,790
reviews: 80
6. Re: Solo Female with questions

You do not want to be driving back and forth to the sites in Panama City area. I suggest you stay in the city to do those sites there on your "free week:". Go around in the city by cab. Cabs are relatively cheap.

REnt a car to do your Decameron stay. (Glad you know some Spanish as the majority of the guests staying there then will be Canadians and travelers from Latin America.)

You have picked a very popular time to visit Panama.

To reach El Valle from Decameron it will be about 45 min. I would say. Lots of curves on the road. Go early as there may be rain there in the afernoons.

Also you can visit Coronado area from Decameron - go to one of the three 24-hour big grocery store and visiit the stores in the malls there.

Also you can go west from Decameron until you reach Penonome - a small city in the interior. Go off the highway when you get there to find the busy street where the locals shop. See vendors and See amazing sales of cheap, but very cute shoes and clothes (if you are not a bigger size) made for the small Panamanian people.

Go Early in the AM to Penonome.........because it is in the interior and very HOT by late morning and many of the stores are NOT air condi.

Search both Cities on here and look at "things to do on each".

That is about all to visit from Decameron. Decameron is really way out in the country.

Safety - dont drive at night - danger from livestock on the dark highway and locals like to walk in the middle of the highway.....It is dark by 6:30 PM here in Panama.

Happy travels.

Edited: 11:36 am, December 09, 2012
7. Re: Solo Female with questions

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