Through the Panama Canal – The Washington Blade

Author: , June 23rd, 2018

Panama Canal - pixabay

Most of us have some things on a bucket list we want to do during our lifetime. One of mine was to travel through the Panama Canal. Fascination with, and dreaming about going through the canal began for me in elementary school when I saw a film on the building of the canal.

Last week, the dream became a reality in a spectacular way on Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship Bliss. This spectacular ship only came out of dry-dock for sea tests a few months ago. It is the largest passenger ship to ever traverse the canal. I am on the Bliss for a cruise from Miami to Los Angeles. The Bliss is an amazing 19-deck ship with everything from a go-cart race track to an upgraded spa with ice room. It has eight specialty restaurants and the Observation Lounge, the most beautiful room I have ever seen on a ship. It was designed for Alaska cruising to allow passengers a 180-degree view while relaxing in total luxury. On our cruise it is the nightly meeting place for the LGBTQ+ happy hour or as NCL still lists it on its daily newsletter “Friends of Dorothy.”

Our fifth day at sea was Panama Canal Day. I was up at dawn and out on my balcony. There was a real feeling of excitement. The ship began to come to life at 5 a.m. and by 6 the sun was trying to break through the clouds as we passed Gatum Dam and headed into the lake where there were a least a dozen other ships, most looked like oil tankers, waiting to traverse the canal. The Amsterdam, a ship that had been by our side in Cartagena the day before was just ahead of us. She is a much smaller ship and was going through the old canal while we were headed to the new one.

By Peter Rosenstein – Full Story at The Washington Blade

Panama Gay Travel Resources

Panamanian Food You Need to Try

Author: , February 9th, 2018

Panamanian Food - The Nomadic Boys

The Panamanian Cuisine has strong influences from Africa, Spain and its indigenous Native American population. There is a lot of similarity and overlap with some of our favourite famous foods of Colombia as well as several unique dishes we had never heard of before.

These are our 5 favourite Panamanian dishes we tried and loved during our big Latin American trip.

Sancocho de gallina Panameño: the national dish

Sancocho is a delicious, light chicken soup with potatoes, corn on the cob, culantro herb, yuca and plantains. Other ingredients often used include corn on the cob (mazorca), ñampi (a tropical root vegetable), hot sauce, chopped onions, garlic and oregano.

The traditional recipe of sancocho is from the Azuero region, but other regions have their own variations. For example, in the town of La Chorrera, it is referred to as ancocho chorrerano and is only made with free range chicken, onions, garlic, chili peppers, oregano and ñame. Whereas in the Chiriquí Province, it is called sancocho chiricano and it is made with squash, giving it a yellowish colour.

Due to the varied ingredients used to make a sancocho, it is often used as a metaphor for Panama’s racial diversity, showing that each different ingredient has just an important and equal role to play in the preparation of this very yummy dish. As such it is considered the national dish of Panama.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at The Nomadic Boys

Panama Gay Travel Resources

Five Interesting Facts About Panama – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , January 26th, 2018

Stefan - Balboa Beer - Five Interesting Facts About Panama - Nomadic Boys

We visited Panama as part of our big trip around Latin America, celebrating Stefan’s birthday at the gorgeous Bocas del Toro.

Panama is the most southern of the Central Latin American group of countries, sitting just above Colombia. Interestingly, it is the only place in the world where you can see the sun rise on the Pacific and set on the Atlantic. Also, the famous canal generates one-third of the country’s entire economy (as does the massive US expat population living there!) We’ve put together our 5 favourite interesting facts about Panama you need to know to give you a flavour for this fascinating tropical Central American country.

The Panama canal
The Panama Canal is an engineering marvel. It was initially built by the French in the late 1800s and then completed by the Americans until formally opened on 15 August 1914.

The Canal is a 50 miles (80km) waterway connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Vessels take around 8-10 hours to cross it. It has 3 locks, each with 2 lanes. The easiest to visit is the Mira Flores lock in Panama City, which has also been turned into a visitor center.

At the Mira Flores visitor center you can see the canal live in action: ship comes in, pays the toll, waits, water drains out to lower ship to sea level, canal doors open and ship continues on its way.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at The Nomadic Boys

Panama Gay Travel Resources

 

Bocas del Toro: Safe for Gay Couples? – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , January 11th, 2018

Bocas del Toro - Nomadic Boys

Two gay boys hanging out on Bluff beach with no one around, except a few friendly Golden Retrievers, the palm trees and the gorgeous backdrop of the Caribbean.

We celebrated Stefan’s birthday in Bocas del Toro in Panama, an area with a wide mix of people who do not care about your sexuality. We found it to be very relaxed, with an incredibly tolerant and friendly vibe. Many LGBTQ expats have even chosen Bocas as a place to live or set up a new business, so there’s a handful of gay owned places here to check out.

We absolutely loved our holiday at Bluff Beach and definitely recommend it to other LGBTQ travellers looking for a private and very romantic slice of Caribbean paradise.

Where is Bocas del Toro?

Bocas del Toro province is in northeast Panama on the Caribbean coast and next to the border with Costa Rica. It includes a chain of 9 islands, each with its own unique charm and character. Temperatures here rarely drop below 20 degrees (68 Fahrenheit), and when it rains, it’s just a quick tropical burst of showers before it quickly clears.

Bocas is the main town and transport hub into the region, located on Colon Island. You can reach it via daily flights to/from Panama City (45 mins) or overland by bus from Panama City to Almirante (around 11 hrs), followed by a boat from Almirante (30 mins).

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Panama Gay Travel Resources

Gay Panama City – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , January 2nd, 2018

gay Panama City - Nomadic Boys

Panama City is often nicknamed The Dubai of Latin America because of its immense economic growth in recent years and impressive dense skyline. But unlike Dubai, this mighty Latin American metropolis has a far more welcoming gay life, in a country where although culturally conservative, is pushing towards civil union equality for gay couples.

Most will associate Panama City with the famous canal, which is a reason alone to visit. The city is also the gateway to some gorgeous tropical beaches within Panama, like San Blas and further afield – Bocas del Toro.

We stayed in Panama City for a week and found it to be a lot of fun, full of things to do, plenty of trendy bars, but most importantly, we left with a thirst to return. This is our gay guide to Panama City following our experience here during our big Latin America trip.

Gay Panama City

Panama a very conservative Catholic country, with a strong influence from Opus Dei. As such, the gay scene in the country is pretty underground in quite dodgy neighbourhoods, with places frequently closing down/changing. When we visited, there were no gay bars and only one official gay club (see below) in Panama City.

Warning: when going out to a gay club in Panama City, doormen are very strict and will only admit you if you have your original ID, preferably your passport. Most LGBTQ locals we met preferred to have private parties, or attend one of the the monthly gay rooftop parties hosted at venues like the Hard Rock Hotel.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at The Nomadic Boys

Gay Panama City Travel Resources

Ecocircuitos Tours – Panama Lesbian Owned Tour Company

Author: , October 5th, 2017

Ecocircuitos ToursEcoCircuitos Tours is the only lesbian owned and operated full service tour operator in Panama, catering to the LGBT community. In 1999 we began our travel services, offering unique travel options throughout Panama with extension options in Central America. By combining unforgettable outdoor adventures, cultural exchanges and leisure travel experiences, EcoCircuitos designs unforgettable vacations for its clients that have minimal negative impact on the environment and local cultures.

“We combine quality service, outdoor adventure and expert advice, with extraordinary trips highlighting the authenticity of Panama. My country offers a delightful combination of amazing history, diverse cultures, close biodiversity, stunning national parks and modern cosmopolitan living, ” states Annie Young, EcoCircuitos Panama founder/owner.

Ecocircuitos ToursEcoCircuitos invites you to discover Panama, stroll along the streets of Casco Antiguo, Panama City’s historical district and taste local cuisine in a restaurant tucked away in a historical building or take a walk on Panama City’s newly build boardwalk known as the Cinta Costera to admire the amazing skyline. Visit picturesque local destinations, untouched white beaches and local communities to truly understand why Panama draws travelers from around the world. This unique destination has something for everyone.

Our travel experts will tailor adventures for your discovery of this amazing country.

See the Ecocircuitos Tours Expanded Listing and Tours on Purple Roofs Here

Panama Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Panama: Ideal Destination for Discerning Travelers – EcoCircuitos

Author: , September 22nd, 2017

Panama

Located at the heart of the Americas, Panama City is the most cosmopolitan of the Central American capitals; overflowing with trendy new clubs, cool boutique hotels and gay friendly neighborhoods and attractions. As a long established hub for international business, trade and transportation the City has developed into a modern, busy metropolis attracting visitors from around the world.

LGBT travelers may find Panama City more gay friendly than other Central American countries; many of the main destinations throughout the country are friendly to all visitors and will make LGBT families and travelers feel at home.

PanamaPanama is a safe, stable and friendly country of almost four million inhabitants and 75.517 square kilometers. It is among the most biologically diverse countries on the planet and features a variety of unique ecosystems. With a total of over 2,500 km of coastline on two oceans, 15 national Parks and seven distinct indigenous cultures there is much to explore. Five UNESCO World Heritage sites wait to be discovered.

This short guide will direct you to the best spots in town but keep in mind that nightlife in Panama does not really start after midnight. Have Fun!!

WHAT TO DO IN PANAMA CITY

PanamaPanama City is a cosmopolitan city, a delightful combination of the historic and modern. It is also one of the safest cities in Latin America. There are three Cities: the historical ruins of the 16th Century city named Panama Viejo, the 17th Century Spanish Colonial Casco Antiguo area of the city and the modern skyscraper city with the business district.

Day tour of Panama City – Visit the three cities in one day: the ruins of the 16th century original city, walk the Casco Antiguo colonial city and admire the modern city. Walk the Casco Viejo – Old Quarters at night for bar hoping and amazing gastronomy. There are several roof top bars that will offer an amazing view of the City. Our suggestion: Tantalo, Barlovento, Casa Casco and Casa Jaguar.

The Panama Canal – City tour includes a trip to the Panama Canal. A must-do is a visit to the Visitors Center at Miraflores Locks. And if you want an unforgetable experience, go dining to Atlantic and Pacific Co. Overlooking the Miraflores locks.

The Panama Canal Transits – Only on special schedule, this is a great option for those that interested in the complete history of the Panama Canal and experience crossing the locks in a mini cruise. This is a great adventure with friends.

PanamaAmador Causeway and Biodiversity Museum – A visit to the Amador Causeway is also a good option to admire the spectacular views of the Panama City’s skyline and the Panama Canal. You can bike or walk the area or just enjoy a Panama bear at the restaurants in the Marina. A must to see is the Biodiversity Museum, an architectonic jewel design by Frank Gerhy.

Panama Canal Railway trans-isthmus – Ride the historic Panama Canal Railway, the original transcontinental railway inaugurated in 1855. In special observation cars, the trip takes you across the scenic Isthmus from Panama City on the Pacific, to Colon on the Atlantic Side.

PanamaThe Rainforst Discovery Center in Soberania National Park – The Discovery Center in the Panama Canal Rainforest is open every day from 6.00AM to 4.00PM Climb this 100-foot Observation Tower for a breathtaking view above the forest canopy and hike the trails around the center. You will learn about sustainable practices in this fantastic place. Ideal for couples and families. Our guides are naturalist that will amaze you with great interpretation of the neotropical forest.

Portobello: A picturesque bayside town of with the ruins of Spanish forts and a restored Spanish Colonial treasure house. In Spanish colonial times the Portobello Treasure House was the center for trans-shipment of all the Peruvian gold and treasure taken from Latin America to Spain. Spanish galleons came and went constantly and many fairs were held. That easy heyday ended with the arrival of English pirates like Sir Francis Drake who repeatedly looted Portobellos treasures and brought about its eventual demise. The Portobelo Ruins are a pillar of Spanish colonial times, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

PanamaFort San Lorenzo: A well preserved fort ruin perched high on a stunning promontory above the Chagres River as it meets the sea. Sir Henry Morgan attacked the fort and made away with booty in 1666. It is essential to go with a tour operator since to date this unusual site has no signs or tourist info of any kind.

Embera Cultural Encounters, Chagres National Park – An unforgettable encounter with a living Indian culture in Panama’s rain forest. Panama is the only place in the world where you can have this experience in a day trip from a major metropolitan city.

PanamaThe tour begins less than 2 hours from Panama City, where you’ll take a motorized canoe up a scenic rainforest river, the only means of transport in the jungle, to an authentic Embera Indian village on river bank deep inside the rainforest. The village consists mostly of the rough wood and palm homes on stilts typical of the jungle Indians. Embera indians will perform a tribal dance offer authentic body paintings, exquisite handicrafts, share a typical meal and explain their way of life, traditions and beliefs.

Handicrafts and shopping – Beautiful boutiques and amazing brands in Casco Antiguo. Try el Valle Sunday Market, the Artisan’s Market and don´t miss the city’s shopping malls, ideals for those looking for brands. Check Multiplaza a high end shopping mall.

Optional day tours from Panama City: kayaking, biking tours, arts tours, sailing tours in San Blas, Beach Escapes to Bocas del Toro and the Gulf of Chiriqui, Azuero and the highlands. For more information click on our website: www.ecocircuitos.com

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Featured Gay Accommodations: Rio Encantado, Caldera, Panama

Author: , January 29th, 2015

rio-encantado5

Periodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay.

Best Nature Resort & Weather in Chiriqui: A 100 acre Nature Resort on both sides of the Caldera River located 15 min. from Boquete and out of the strong wind and misty rain that is a constant in the Boquete mountains. We have 4 fully furnished private cottages, a 30 x 60 ft pool, fully furnished Rancho on the river and next to the pool.

See the Rio Encantado Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Featured Gay Friendly Accommodations: Canal Inn, Panama City, Panama

Author: , July 14th, 2014

Canal Inn - Panama City

Periodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay.

Wonderful B&B, Very Friendly, Very Quiet: Canal Inn, our peaceful bed and breakfast guesthouse welcomes everyone. This beautiful inn is centrally located and has a lot of privacy and connected to both roads: to the north (Gamboa – Colon) and to the west (Azuero – Chiriqui – Costa Rica). It has very comfortable rooms.

See the Canal Inn Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals in Panama

Featured Gay Friendly Accommodations: Island Plantation, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Author: , May 15th, 2014

Island Plantation - Bocas del Toro, PanamaPeriodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay.

Intimate Beach Hotel on Amazing Bluff Beach: Our intimate beach resort is currently being developed on 23 acres right in front of gorgeous Bluff Beach on the main island of the Bocas archipelago. Island Plantation currently has ready for you four comfortable and tastefully appointed guest rooms.

See the Island Plantation Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals in Panama