Jim and I had to to go to Panama City no later than March 21 to finalize our permanent Visa, so we planned a quick trip…just four nights…Feb 19 through the 23rd.
At the last minute, our close friends, Bruce and Lin Clark, were able to go with us. We packed more fun into those five days and four nights!
We flew red eye out of Las Vegas, direct to Panama City, arriving about 10 am. We collected our luggage, breezed through Customs (with our temporary Panamanian ID’s) and met our driver out front. Luis Arces is a very knowledgeable tour guide whom we met through a referral from our Panama attorney. Luis took such good care of us during our visit in September, that we contacted him again.
He took us to our hotel…Trump Tower, right on the ocean. Here’s some photos:
The next day, Luis picked Jim and me up at the Trump Tower at 6:30 a.m. in order to have us at Immigration by 7:30 a.m. to meet our attorney. More lines, more waiting and finally…we received our PERMANENT visas. The next step is to get a Panamanian driver’s license and ID card.
Here’s more photos of the Trump Tower, and our room.
We headed to the Causeway for drinks and dinner, and then back to the hotel for an early night. We did manage to partake of some apple pie…hmmmm.
Luis picked us up at 10 am for a trip to the rain forest, just outside of Panama City in Gamboa. What a wonderful place this is! There’s a hotel right in the middle of it all…I hope to stay there at least one night in the very near future. The restaurant balcony overlooks Lake Gatun, in the middle of the Panama Canal.
We visited a sloth sanctuary and butterfly retreat.
And of course a highlight of any visit to Panama is the Panama Canal. This trip was no different…
We went to the Sun Casino adjacent to the Trump Tower a couple of nights while we were there and were sorely disappointed. The 66th Floor restaurant with the awesome views of the bay was closed except for private parties, and when we took the elevator back down to the ground floor, the doors shut on Jim’s arm, causing a pretty significant scrape with lots of blood, swelling and pain. The staff at the casino didn’t respond well…brought him a roll of paper towels from the Men’s room, so he could stop the bleeding. The staff of the hotel were the polar opposite – very concerned and even sent a paramedic to the room to tend to the wound.
We ended up spending Thursday lounging around the pool all day, and eating at an Italian restaurant on the water that evening.
Friday was check out day, and flight home. Since our flight didn’t depart until 6:30 p.m or so, Luis picked us up at 11 am and took us to the ruins of Panama Viejo. We toured the grounds and visited a really nice museum.
Then we headed to Casco Antigua for the best mojitos in the world. They are truly wonderful drinks, concocted by the experts at Casablanca…the stir stick is a piece of sugar cane.
The trip, although really fast, was jam packed full of fun and reinforced our love of the country and the people of Panama!