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Old 22-08-2010, 15:11   #1
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Question Need Info on Panama

I'm heading south from Fernandina Beach Florida at the end of October, 2010, for Panama because I've talked to so many cruisers that have been down there and really loved the place. If anyone has some information on marina prices, best anchorages, places to avoid, how much to enter the country in a boat, and so forth please feel free to send me a reply. I'd also like to hear the bad points. So far everyone I've talked with has given me glowing reports... Is there nothing to complain about in Panama? Thanks Knick

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Old 22-08-2010, 15:26   #2
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Knick, that's a lot to cover. First, get the Bauhaus Cruising Guide, which has the best charts and information. Do not rely on electronic charts for in-close stuff. Stop at Providencia, an island of Colombia, on the way down--beautiful place and friendly, and will give you a taste of what visiting Cartagena and Colombia will be like if you should head east from Panama. Bocas del Toro is a favorite cruiser hangout in the west of Panama, but it didn't do too much for us. It is a good base from which to explore inland the mountains of Panama, which are spectacular. There is a reasonable marina there that is safe and would be a good place to base. Colon is a dangerous city and the only place to go there is Shelter Bay Marina. It is comfy, safe, and secure, but not really worth a visit unless you are going through the canal or you want to stock up on groceries at big supermarkets. You can get just about anything in Colon, so it is also a stop if you need boat parts or repairs. Just be sure to ask and heed all the warnings about how to stay safe. The nearby Rio Chagres is worth a visit to see the wild jungle. The best of Panama begins east of Colon, and starts with Portobello, and its old fort, working east from there to the San Blas where the Kuna live. The San Blas is definitely the highlight of the region and one of the unique cruising areas in the world. Many of the Kuna live about the same as they did before Columbus arrived over here: thatched huts, spear fishing from dugouts, islands with no real connection to the outside world. They know of the outside world, and many islands are somewhat westernized, but they are clinging to their old ways quite strongly. If it were me, I would bypass the rest of Panama and head straight to Porvenir where you can check into Kuna Yala. Eventually, take a trip east to Cartagena and plan on being pleasantly surprised by Colombia.

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Old 22-08-2010, 15:29   #3
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Colon, Panama Dinghy Dock

The thread linked to has some information. Also if you look down at the bottom of this page you will find other threads dealing with Panama. There has been lots of discussion on Panama that a few searches should pull up.
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Old 23-08-2010, 09:25   #4
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Second the info about the San Blas ... it is a matriarchal society, so its a unique venture into a culture where women openly run things ....
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Old 23-08-2010, 09:41   #5
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Originally Posted by UWOA View Post
Second the info about the San Blas ... it is a matriarchal society, so its a unique venture into a culture where women openly run things ....
Yeah. The molas are cool too - native indigenous textiles that are made from multiple layers of different colored cloth, with designs made by cutting through to the desired color.

I have some we bought back in the late 1960's, all hand stitched (around the cut-outs). Very nice. Progress marches on, however and most these days are machine stitched, which is good for the Kuna (the native people of the San Blas) since they can make many more for sale....
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Old 19-10-2010, 04:22   #6
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Old 19-10-2010, 05:56   #7
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Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Knick.

A “custom” search of the CF, for < Panama >, returns
Panama - Google Search

See also Noonsite's country report on Panama ➥

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