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For 12 days at the end of November, I was fortunate enough to be able to vacation in Panama with my husband’s family. Eight of us flew into Panama City, where we met up with my husband’s sister and husband, who have lived in Panama for the past year.

We stayed the first three nights in the outskirts of Panama City at a bed and breakfast. We had to be flexible with planned activities because of a hurricane and torrential downpours for most of the trip, but that didn’t stop us from having some pretty fantastic experiences. While in Panama City, we visited the Gamboa Rainforest Resort, where we were lucky enough to take a VIP tour of the Gamboa Rainforest Sanctuary – a fantastic place where dedicated people rehabilitate and work to educate the public of the critical state so many of the native wildlife are facing. As a huge animal lover, this was the highlight of the trip for me. We got to see sloths, armadillo, jaguars, tortoise and lesser capybara (a smaller version of the capybara). I loved having the opportunity to be so close to these amazing animals, and am so grateful that there are people working tirelessly to help them survive.



We also toured the Panama Canal, which is truly a remarkable sight to see. Unfortunately, we did not see any large ships pass through while we were there, but it was still a fascinating tour.

On day four we piled into a large 12-passenger van, plus a smaller SUV, and made the drive to San Felix/Las Lajas, where we would spend our remaining time. Six of us were in a beautiful and comfortable rented house, and two stayed at the beach with my sister-in-law. Fortunately, we did get a few nice beach days in. The water was as warm as bath water, and the waves were really fun for body surfing and boogie boarding. We also had a great time walking the beach looking for pink and purple sea shells and sand dollars.




Because of the long drive from Panama City, we decided to fly back, to catch our return flight back home, the evening prior from a town close by called David. We did a bit of sight-seeing, ate lunch and had ice cream in David, then went to turn in our van and check into our flight. While sitting at the gate, waiting to board, it was announced that the flight had been cancelled due to weather. Panic set in! It was almost 8:00pm, we were now six hours from Panama City, there were no vehicles we could rent, and no more flights out that night. The earliest flight the next day would get us in an hour after our flight back to the U.S. left.

We called for some taxis to rush us over to the bus station, as there was a 10:00pm motor coach leaving that was scheduled to arrive in Panama City at 4:00am. By some miracle, we got the last eight seats on the double decker bus! Unfortunately, we were on the upper level, in the back, and it turns out, I have motion sickness! It was not the most pleasant experience, but it was an adventure!


We went straight to the airport to check in for our morning flight back home. At the time it really was not fun at all, but now I can look back and laugh and know that we have a really great story to tell.

Panama is really a beautiful country. It is green, lush and tropical. The food is amazing – super flavorful and delicious! There are things that were sad about it as well, like the trash that is just thrown everywhere, and the homeless dogs and cats that wander the streets. It is good to know that there are many beach side business owners who are working to change the mindset about the trash, and trying to get areas cleaned up and valued, as it should be. I do look forward to returning again someday in the future.

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