The Best Coffee in Panama?

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If you’re anything like me, the day doesn’t start until you’ve had your first coffee. The first scent of delicious aroma, the warmth of the steaming cup in your hands and the jolt of caffeine as the first sip goes down aren’t so much a daily habit as a sacred ritual.

Unfortunately, not all coffee is created equal and it can sometimes be a challenge to find a cup of Joe that meets your exacting standards when you’re a thousand miles from home.  Sure, it’s easy to find something that’s called coffee just about anywhere, but all too often what you get falls far short of the standard. And it’s not just the coffee but the atmosphere you have to Read more

Panama Canal Economics

The Panama Canal celebrated its hundredth year in business last month and what was once considered one of the Engineering Seven Wonders of the Modern World is now under question as to its future.


Panamax is a term used to designate the maximum size ship that will fit in the Panama Canal. But in the economic mindset of “bigger is better,” larger ships are being constructed that will hold more shipping containers to transfer goods faster. More, bigger, faster. The time has come to max out the Panamax limit, and this will be accomplished with the new channel currently under construction and scheduled for completion in 2016. Not only with the new channel accommodate larger ships, but having two Read more

Bocas del Toro Province

The Bocas del Toro Province in the northwest of Panama is a lovely bay dotted with islands covered with sandy beaches. The city of Bocas del Toro is at the southern end of Colón Island, which is just a short flight from either Panama City or San José, perfect for a weekend getaway.

Once on Colón Island, water taxis are available to take you to other islands. There are a total of nine major islands and hundreds of small islets to explore.

Isla Bastimentos National Marine Park, or Parque Nacional Marino Isla Bastimentos, is just southeast of the city of Bocas del Toro, and provides protection for the natural habitat of many plants and animals. The National Marine Park extends Read more

Traditional Art – Panama City

What’s so unique about Carpio Arte? Everything. Each piece is handmade according to the traditions of their Wounaan ancestors. Their specialties include hand woven baskets and masks, and carvings from vegetable ivory and Cocobolo wood.

Cocobolo is a dark reddish colored hardwood with a lovely unique grain pattern running through each piece. Thus even two similar carvings will have their own unique design. The wood itself is oily, lending a highly-polished glassy look to the finished artwork. The subjects of their craft are usually inspired by the natural world. You will find flowers, birds and animals that simply beg you to take them home. The Wounaan tribes have been hand carving Cocobolo for generations, each one teaching the next. The Read more

Panama City Nightlife

Looking for something hot to do tonight in Panama City? Well, maybe not actually tonight, a Monday night, but maybe Monday night, especially if you’re a gringo or gringa living in Panama City. Are you on vacation? Retired? If so, Monday night is the same as any other night, and that means it’s a night to have fun. If you’re working in Panama City, maybe it was one of those Mondays and you just need to get out and forget it’s Monday. Either way, there’s plenty to do, see and experience any night of the week.

The National Theater of Panama is more than a hundred years old, but has been renovated in the past ten years and provides a Read more

Pesky Mosquitoes – Mosquito-Borne Diseases

If you are concerned about mosquito-borne diseases while in Panama, keep in mind this isn’t the 1930’s, or even the 1950’s. To be infected from a mosquito isn’t as easy as it was back then. First of all, you must be bitten by the same mosquito that previously bit a person infected with a transmittable disease such as malaria or dengue fever. With the high quality of health care in Panama, it is rare to find a person currently infected with these diseases.

Mosquito-Borne Diseases

If by remote chance that pesky mosquito does happen to find someone carrying such a disease, and the mosquito then becomes a carrier, its range of potential harm is limited in two ways. First, the Read more

Sunburn – How bad is it?

When we were kids everybody got sunburn at one time or another. Noxema was a popular remedy, rub it on your shoulders and back, put on a soft white t-shirt and hope it wouldn’t blister and peel too badly. Even if we didn’t burn, we were proud to show off our tan lines as souvenirs from a day of fun.

But that was in the days before reports of a thinning ozone layer and increased reports of skin cancer, sometimes deadly. And here, closer to the equator, no matter how light or dark your skin is, you’ll want to take extra precautions to protect it.

Start with a hat, brim wide enough to protect your face and the back of Read more

TEFL or CELTA Certification?

Getting started teaching English abroad can be quite overwhelming, especially in the very beginning. If you are new to teaching English as a second language, you have likely spent some time reading about the different certifications. And now you’re wondering, ‘TEFL or CELTA certification – which do I need’ Or you may be thinking, ‘Do I really need to be certified at all?’

The short answer is no. You don’t need to get any form of certification, but it is most definitely recommended. In almost any country, you will be able to find schools that will hire a native English speaker whether they are certified or not. I spent many years teaching in one Latino country sans certification, and Read more

Maritime Week Panama 2014 – May 19-23

Maritime Week Panama 2014

Maritime Week Americas 2014 will be held in Panama, one of the greatest maritime centres in the world and right at the heart of some of the most exciting changes impacting the global shipping, port and bunkering industries today.

The week-long series of key maritime week Panama 2014 events will include:

THE MUST-ATTEND THREE-DAY CONFERENCE MWA Conference 2014  FOUR KEY ONE-DAY COURSES An Introduction to LNG Bunkering An Introduction to Shipping IBIA Basic Bunker Course (English) IBIA Basic Bunker Course (Spanish) TWO IMPORTANT HALF-DAY SEMINARS Managing Bunker Claims Bunker Risk Management ONE THREE-DAY MARITIME SERVICES EXHIBITION Exhibition THREE SPECTACULAR EVENINGS OF NETWORKING Networking

 As well as exclusive field trips and a spectacular variety of networking activities Read more

Subways? What the hell is going on in Panama?

The first section of Panama's subway line opened just 2 weeks ago, but plans are already well underway for a second line. The initial project, which cost about $2 billion, is a 13.7 kilometer line, the first of its kind in Central America. The proposed second metro line would run 23 kilometers and have 17 stations, according to Roberto Roy, the executive secretary of the subway. While Line 1 covers the massive population of San Miguelito, the following addition will extend service to Panama's most populated residential districts. The next section will encompass Tocumen, while future proposals may encompass Arraijan and La Chorrera.