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Monday, September 01 2014 @ 02:36 PM EDT

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Daytripping: Portobello

Travel & Tourism Another of the most popular destinations for day trippers is Portobello. Portobello is located on the Caribbean coast, about 20 miles northeast of Colón, about halfway in between the Panama Canal and the San Blas Archipielago. Driving from Panama City, you can reach Portobello in about one and a half hours, and although the road is not perfect, it's an easy drive for almost any car. Portobello is situated in a splendid harbor which was discovered and named by Christopher Columbus when, in 1502, his vessels sought shelter in the "beautiful port" from a great storm. The town was founded in 1597 and was given the name of San Felipe de Portobelo in honor of King Phillip II of Spain.
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Daytripping: El Valle

Travel & Tourism El Valle is a favorite day-trip destination for tourists visiting Panama City. You can reach El Valle (the valley) from any major hotel in about an hour and a half to two hours, depending on traffic and the driver. El Valle is a small community that rests in the crater of an extinct volcano, and just the drive (first up the side of the volcano, then down into the crater) is visually stunning. The weather is cooler than at sea level, there are always gentle and cooling breezes, and there's a lot to see and do. Here's a collection of articles about visiting El Valle, and there are other articles on Panama Guide you can access by clicking on this link;

http://www.panama-guide.com/search.php?query=el+valle&type=all&mode=search
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Tourist Travel Piece - Annabelle Garay

Travel & Tourism PANAMA CITY, Panama - Known for its famed waterway, Panama's capital boasts more than just a spot to watch the ships cross through the engineering marvel. Visitors can chose between a swim in the Pacific or the Caribbean, hear tales of pirates looting the city's original site, find bargain shopping, sample tropical fruits and try their luck at the horse races in Panama City. Outdoors: Head to the Amador Causeway and snap photos of Panama's downtown or the Bridge of the Americas, where traffic crosses over while ships cruise through the canal. Once part of the off-limits Canal Zone guarded by the U.S. military, the Causeway has become a favorite of locals and tourists. The thin strip surrounded by the ocean houses duty free shops, restaurants, hotels and dance clubs. Construction signs and sites make it evident that there's more on the way. Kiosks sell hammocks, guayaberas, hats and molas, brightly-colored fabrics with elaborate, hand-sewn designs of the Kuna Indian tribe.
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Welcome to Panama! Tourist Season Gets Underway

Travel & Tourism 1,583 Tourists from the Cruise Ship Royal Princess disembarked yesterday at the Fort Amador Resort and Marina on Flamingo Island to take a tour of Panama City. They went to Casco Viejo, the ruins of Old Panama, the Miraflores Locks, and restaurants in Panama City. This is a sure sign that tourist season has started. As of September 2005 Panama had already received more than 719,282 visitors, representing a 6.5 percent increase over the same period last year. And, Panama hopes to receive more than one million tourists in 2005 for the first time in the countries history. Tourists spent more than 565 million dollars in the country last year.
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Another Travel Piece (USA Today)

Travel & Tourism PANAMA CITY — Known for its famed waterway, Panama's capital boasts more than just a spot to watch the ships cross through the engineering marvel. Casco Viejo: Panama City's old colonial neighborhood features narrow streets and pastel-colored buildings. Visitors can chose between a swim in the Pacific or the Caribbean, hear tales of pirates looting the city's original site, find bargain shopping, sample tropical fruits and try their luck at the horse races in Panama City.

http://www.usatoday.com/travel/destinations/2005-11-22-discovering-panama_x.htm
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The Famous "Pinkerton Safety Rating" for Panama

Travel & Tourism If you're searching through the internet looking for information about Panama, you'll probably find these words (or something like them): “Panama is a safe location and was given the highest ranking (along with the United States) for tourist safety from the Pinkerton Intelligence Agency--a global leader in security consulting and investigations, now part of Sweden-based Securitas Group.” For the record - I contacted Pinkerton and asked them about this frequenty used statement. It's simply not correct.
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Spirit of the Isthmus: By SILVANA PATERNOSTRO

Travel & TourismI think Panama will never be Costa Rica, although Panama clearly surpasses it in natural beauty. Costa Rica is an unambiguous magnet for ecotourists; Panama is too hard to categorize. It's a laboratory for scientists; a private Xanadu for the jet set; a moneymaker to real estate developers; and, yes, a money hider. Panama would like to become a place where people go to forget about their lives and see birds. But that is all pretense. As I stand on the corner of Avenida España and Calle Argentina, an ugly intersection far from the charm of the Casco Viejo and the beauty of Coiba, I realize Panama is uncontrollable; it is a place that serves as a thoroughfare. Panama has a canal mentality - it lets anyone and anything move through it, as long as they pay. While some visit Panama for the birds, and many more will, many still go for the paradox.

http://travel2.nytimes.com/2005/11/20/travel/tmagazine/20T-PANAMA.html?pagewanted=1
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The Perfect Panama - By Kat Edwards

Travel & TourismI spent a week in Panama in March. I used Lonely Planet as my guidebook, as it was the only one available at the time. It is an excellent guide to an excellent adventure. The first night I spent in Casco Viejo, in Panama City, eating at an "Expensive" French restaurant. Though my 4-course dinner only cost about $30, it was an extravagant purchase in such Panama, where the normal dinner will cost you less then $2.00. On the second day I rented a car and drove to El Valle. Though you can take the buses, or Diablo Rojas (red Devils) to El Valle for about $2.00, renting a car allowed me to stop along the inter American for amazing, and authentic Panamaminian cuisine, and to take pictures of the mountains, and explore little towns along the Inter-American.
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Panama Tourism Increases

Travel & Tourism Panama, Nov 17 (Prensa Latina) The number of visitors to Panama increased 6.5 percent between January and September, encouraging news for the national ministry of the tourist industry. According to Panamanian Institute of Tourism (IPAT), headed by singer-songwriter Ruben Blades, visitors reached 719,282 people by September, the highest significant increase in the year until now, 26 (%) greater than in 2004. The Republic General Control Office informed that visitors spent 565 million dollars. Panama could achieve a million tourists this year from cruise travelers and if there is better attention to visitors at Tocumen Airport, where most travelers arrive.
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Want to visit Panama? Enter the Miami Metrozoo Rainforest Contest

Travel & Tourism MIAMI -- We'd like to tell you about an exciting opportunity for South Florida middle school students. NBC 6 and the Miami Metrozoo are having an essay contest. One lucky Grand Prize winner will receive a trip to the Republic of Panama, to visit the magnificent rainforests and much more. This is an essay contest for all public middle school students in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties. The subject of the essay is "Why I dream of going to a rainforest." The essay should be a maximum of 500 words and must be received by Ron Magill at Miami Metrozoo, by Dec. 1, 2005.
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