Panama has gotten on board with the sport of skateboarding. An attraction for the ramps and rails, board designs, speed, degrees of difficulty, and tricks are shared alike by Panamanian citizens and tourists who seek out a thrill on the various skate circuits.
They often share their skating knowledge and styles with those at varying levels, whether amateurs or pros.
Colorful skateboards swerving through the streets and avenues are most common during the summer season. One of the major events in Central America that brings together many youth is Culture on Wheels, which has been held on more than one occasion in the Figali Convention Center.
Panama invites you to spend some recreational time outdoors on its various skate courses.
Coastal Strip 3 Skatepark: designed by the renowned group California Skatepark and open to the public.
Skatepark Chorrera: built by the previous government administration to be accessible to the general public and featuring multiple sections.
Skatepark Punta Chame: a private park within Nitro City resort that offers all of the hotel's facilities and services, as well as chance to enjoy the sun, sand, and other sports.
Full Drop Santiago: located indoors inside Hotel Plaza, where you can spend the night or take a break and make use of the hotel's facilities.
Within Panama City, the most common areas to go skateboarding are Vía España, Costa del Este, Plaza Edison, and Casco Antiguo, also known as the Old Town.
What to bring:
Photos: California Skatepark, José Quintero, Karen Aplin, Tomas Chang
The airline Tica Air might begin flying from San José, Costa Rica to Miami, USA in early 2015, commented Eduardo Stagg, one of the company's top shareholders.
General Omar Torrijos Herrera National Park is located in El Cope, in the north of Coclé Province. Its highest point is Cerro Peña Blanca, at an altitude of 1,314 meters above sea level.
The alpine rainforest has a pleasant Caribbean climate. The main rivers of San Juan, Belén, Grande, and Nombre de Dios drain towards the Pacific Ocean.
This great park is habitat to a variety of mammals, such as the ocelot, jaguar, and white-tailed deer, and the abundance of vegetation set a backdrop for beautiful panoramic views.
El Tiffe Waterfall Hiking Trail
Type of trail: Loop
Time needed: 4-6 hours (one way) to reach El Tiffe, and 5-7 hours (round trip). It is advisable to camp in the Caño Sucio village and make the return trip the next day.
Distance: 11.8 km (7.3 miles) until El Tiffe, 23.6 km (14.6 miles) round trip
Elevation climb/descent: 1132 m (3,713 ft.)
Maximum elevation: 905 m ( 2,969 ft.)
Attractions: Scenery, forest, village, river, waterfall, wildlife
Activities: Trekking, spotting wildlife, camping, swimming in Río Blanco
Use: High (shared use)
Level of difficulty: Difficult
Hikers must be in good physical shape and have a sufficient skill level. The route may go through areas that are in poor condition, with no marked trail, or on very steep terrain.
Remember to bring: water bottle, running shoes or hiking boots (don't hike in flip-flops), warm-weather clothing, a rainjacket (during the rainy season), insect repellent, sufficient food, hat, sunscreen, and a camping tent or hammock to spend the night.
More information: www.caminandopanama.org
Sarigua National Park, located in the province of Herrera between the Santa María and Parita rivers, has suffered from a high rate of deforestation ever since the 20th century and become a vast plain.
Rain, wind, and tides have further contributed to the erosion, turning it into the driest area of the country and creating the illusion of a desert.
Sarigua serves as a center for anthropological study, housing archaeological remains that date over 11,000 years old, the oldest found on the isthmus of Panama, as well as a village dating 5,000 to 1,500 years old.
Cerro Hoya National Park is perched at an altitude of 1,559 meters above the Pacific Coast in the southwestern area of the Azuero Peninsula.
The park geology consists of ancient volcanic rocks and is where the headwaters of such important rivers as Tonosí and Guánico begin their descent to the coast, forming along the way waterfalls and water holes. The borders of this protected area, which has varying climatic conditions, extend from the shores of Ventana River to Restingue Island.
The tropical forest, made up of mahogany, oak, and ceiba trees, also serves as a bird sanctuary for species like the iconic Scarlet Macaw.
Barú Volcano National Park covers 14,322.5 hectares in the province of Chiriqui. At the summit of this volcano, where you can view two oceans at the same time, temperatures sink to 10° C, while they are around 20° C on the volcano's slopes.
The evidence that Barú Volcano was at one time active is visible in trails of lava winding between the ridges of the Talamanca Cordillera. This site is also the source of the Caldera River, whose waters flow into those of the Chiriquí, David, Platanal, and other rivers.
The rain forest has an exquisite climate, vegetation, and wildlife, and it is a delight to observe such a spectacle that only nature can provide.
This volcano and its rainforest ecosystem are habitat to animals like black guan, puma, deer, porcupine, and bats.
Barú Volcano Trail –Western Route
-Type of trail: Loop
-Distance: 16.5 miles roundtrip
-Time needed: at least 9-11 hours
-Elevation climb: 1,578 meters (5,177 feet)
-Maximum elevation: 3,478 meters above sea level (11,410 ft)
-Attractions: Cloud forest, landscapes, flora and fauna
-Activities: Trekking, camping, bird watching
Level of Difficulty: Difficult. Hikers must be in good physical shape and have a sufficient skill level. The path could be dangerous in some places and must be traversed with caution. The route may go through areas that are in poor condition, with no marked trail, or on very steep terrain.
-This trail must be respected. Prepare yourself well and you will have an excellent time hiking!
-Go with an experienced guide, because the trail is not marked and visitors have gotten lost.
-Even if you have hiked the path before, we recommend that you hire a guide. Do not go alone. The forks in the trail may have changed and could lead astray even those who have climbed it previously.
Suggested packing list:
For more information: www.caminandopanama.org
Type of trail: Loop
Distance: 6.6 km one way (8.8 km and 2.2 km to access Alto Chiquero), 18 km roundtrip
Time needed: 5-6 hours (10-12 hours round trip)
Elevation climb/descent: 686 m. (2,250 ft)
Maximum elevation: 2,505 m (8,218 ft)
Attractions: Cloud forest, scenery, plants and animals, rivers
Activities: Trekking, camping, bird watching
Level of difficulty: Moderate
Some stretches of the trail are easy, whereas others require more physical exertion. The trail may have long sections on uneven ground (river crossings, thick vegetation, boulders, very slippery soil) or short sections on paved ground but with a steep slope.
Go with a local experienced guide. This way you won't get lost and you'll be supporting the local economy.
Don't forget to pack:
-For trails like this we recommend that you wear hiking boots. Be sure to break them in BEFORE you begin the hike to avoid getting uncomfortable blisters.
-You may find trash along the trail, usually plastic water bottles, empty food tins, and energy drink cans. Make an effort to keep the trail clean and follow the Leave No Trace principle of packing out what you packing in.
-Specific recommendations from ANAM for visitors to Barú Volcano National Park: www.anam.gob.pa
More information: www.caminandopanama.org
Friendship International Park encompasses 207,000 hectares of nature along the Central Cordillera of the provinces of Chiriquí and Bocas del Toro. The high altitude of the mountainous, originally volcanic, area affords incredible views.
Recognized and protected by UNESCO, this park contains large trees like almonds and ceiba that stand aside various trails, inviting hikers to be immersed in the biodiversity and explore its virtues. This park also safeguards the watersheds of the Teribe and Changuinola rivers, sources of hydroelectric power for Panama City.
Friendship International Park has over 100 species of mammals, 9 species of amphibians, 3 types of snakes, and around 400 species of birds, including the Harpy Eagle and the captivating and brilliantly colored Resplendent Quetzal.
As of this past Sunday, July 6, Iberia is offering daily direct flights from Madrid to Panama. This represents a 40% increase in aircraft capacity (600 additional seats), bringing the Spanish airline's total availability up to 2,000 people per week.
The centenary of the Panama Canal has become one of the most transcendental moments in the history of this Central American country and the world at large. The 2014 anniversary celebration is slated for August 15, the historic day when the ship S.S. Ancón crossed the Canal for the first time, and it will take place a hundred years after the construction of this extraordinary work of engineering that has made it one of the main shipping lanes in the world.