We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Vacation Plan

Fresno, California
Level Contributor
2,193 posts
94 reviews
Save Topic
Vacation Plan

So far this is what I have planned for us: son (15), wife (46), friend (82) and myself (50). I would appreciate any thoughts as this is our first time to Panama.

3/22 Fri, land at 3:00 p.m., get rental car from Thrifty and drive to RIU Plaza for our first night. Only plan for the night is to find a taxi to take us to a local restaurant.

3/23 Sat, take cab to Miraflores Visitors Center around 9:00 a.m. then drive rental car to condo on Coronado Beach.

3/24 Sun, drive to El Valle de Anton for shopping and tour area.

3/25 Mon, drive to Lake Gaton and go Peacock Bass fishing with Dennis Melton.

3/26 Tue, try to relax for once.

3/27 Wed, drive to Gamboa for Panama Canal Eco Boat Tour (www.panamatours.com.pa).

3/28 Thur, try to relax a second time.

3/29 Fri, last chance to relax.

3/30 Sat, back to airport and home.

My only other thought is to go to the fishing village and try to find a local to take me out fishing. I'm used to fishing in pangas and will have some equipment with me. Also, is there any surf fishing in this area?

LN
Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
5,784 posts
75 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Vacation Plan

Seems like alot of driving if your base is Coronado.

Perhaps stay nearer the city as most of your expeditions are nearer there than Coronado. Then after doing all your activities near PC, come stay in Coronado and do El Valle when there.

Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
16,345 posts
27 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Vacation Plan

Gamboa is north of the city. Where on Lake Gatun is your fishing - is that north of the city, too ? As LN says, certainly makes more sense to tag those on to your stay in Panama City.

On the Saturday, are planning to leave your car at the hotel, get a taxi to Miraflores, then back to the hotel ? That seems excessive doubling back.

Your first night - what sort of restaurant do you want. There are some good places to eat only a few blocks from your hotel.

Edited: 4:51 pm, October 29, 2012
Fresno, California
Level Contributor
2,193 posts
94 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Vacation Plan

On Lake Gatun, I'm fishing out of Arenosa. From what I can tell, it is no closer to Panama City than Coronado. Wanted to do that earlier in the trip so that we can have a few meals from the fish http://pesca-arenosa.weebly.com/. It really looks like a fun trip. I'm not too worried about driving outside of the city. I'm taking a cab to the locks and back for a couple of reasons: 1. It's just easier to have someone else find the way, 2. I do not want all our bags in a rental car and then park it somewhere.

I should have been more specific when I asked my questions. Is 9:00 a good time to hit Miraflores? Is there any other sites not on my list that you would recommend that we can do with an 82 year old? For our first night I was looking for a authentic local restaurant that would be serving food to locals and not so many tourists.

Thank you for your help.

Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
16,345 posts
27 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Vacation Plan

Another poster got to Miraflores around that sort of time and said it was quiet. Someone else said that it is impossible to predict.

Was there a strong reason to choose the Riu Plaza ?

Edited: 12:45 pm, October 30, 2012
Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
16,345 posts
27 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Vacation Plan

I was tempted to suggest that your "authentic local restaurant that would be serving food to locals and not so many tourists" would be a hot dog stand or the McDonalds ! If it is good, the tourists will find it !

Fresno, California
Level Contributor
2,193 posts
94 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Vacation Plan

I saw those posts about Miraflores but a sample of 1 does not create a pattern so we will just give it a shot in the morning. I did a lot of research here before I asked my questions. I kept hearing not to drive in Panama City so that is the main reason why I was planning to take a cab to Miraflores. With no street signs I could see myself getting lost, driving around in circles and just getting pissed when we are suppose to be having fun.

Good point about McDonalds. Years ago when our friends from Cabo (before it had any chains) came to visit, the first place I took them was In-n-Out Burger. The second place I took them was a local BBQ restaurant because I thought that was American. So I guess I'm looking for some Panamanian food if such a thing exists. If not we do Italian, Chinese, Mexican and Seafood. A hot dog stand could work but not McDonalds. Guess I'm just used to Mexico where most people are scared to go more than a block off the beach.

I booked the RIU due to reviews on Tripadvisor, their breakfast and I was able to book executive rooms that are on the upper floors with the best views.

Thanks again

Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
741 posts
39 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Vacation Plan

That poster was me. I was told early was good and also late in the day. We tried early and got caught with no ships. Oh well. You take your chance! As well, there was a VERY long line to buy tickets. Plan for that!

Atlanta, Georgia...
Destination Expert
for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
Level Contributor
4,922 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Vacation Plan

Craig, I don't think it makes any sense to rent a car and pay to let it sit at your hotel for a day and a half. Why not pick up the rental car at Albrook BEFORE you go to Miraflores? You can check out of your hotel, take a taxi to Albrook with all your luggage, rent the car, drive to Miraflores and leave your luggage in the trunk of the car. Albrook is very close to Miraflores, and Miraflores is very close to either Bridge of the Americas or the Centennial bridge.

I disagree that Panama City is closer to where you're going to be fishing on Lake Gatun. You're better off driving there from Coronado. The city is much closer to Gamboa, though.

As for typical Panamanian food ... in the city, El Trapiche is good -- and cheap, too. I'd also recommend Tinajas for dinner and a show. The show is Panamanian folk music and dancing -- very entertaining.

Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
16,345 posts
27 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Vacation Plan

I know many recommend not driving in Panama City, but really it is all relative. I learned to drive in London, and don't find Panama City any worse.

Another possibility, though - as you said you did not want to leave all your luggage in a car at Miraflores - I assume you plan to leave your bags in the hotel, if taht si possible. How about, after you have been to Miraflores, get a taxi to Albrook or back to near your hotel, and hire your car there ? (I don't know what the car hire places are like in town, though.)

Fresno, California
Level Contributor
2,193 posts
94 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Vacation Plan

Thank you all for the tips. I will plan to get to Miraflores a little early if I can get the wife and boy up. Dinner at El Trapiche sounds like a winner.