PANAMA & NICARAGUA

Panama & Nicaragua at a glance

Panama

A country of huge opposites, with new surprises every day that even the most experienced traveler will appreciate. Panama is the southernmost country of Central America, bounded with Costa Rica. Also, the seven different indigenous tribes unmistakable put their stamp on the Panamanian culture. The various indigenous communities, the African- American community on the Caribbean Coast and the unmistakable influence of the North American culture through the history of the Panama Canal, provide a diverse cultural mix. In Panama you can stand among the skyscrapers of Panama City, while a few hours travel away you can find yourself in the dense jungle where indigenous communities still live in the traditional way!

Nicaragua

Land of Lakes and Volcanoes that offers nature, culture and especially history. Nicaragua is the largest country of Central America and shares borders with Honduras (in the North) and Costa Rica (in the South). It houses two big lakes: Lake Managua and Lake Nicaragua. Lake Nicaragua is the biggest lake of Central America and has the only fresh-water sharks in the world! The geography of Nicaragua consists of large coastal plains rising to central interior mountains where many volcanoes can be found. Here you can retrace the steps of conquistadors and pirates in the colonial cities and find modern day treasures in the form of golden sunsets, silver beaches, and skilled local handicrafts

What not to miss in

Panama & Nicaragua

Panama City

Panama City has much to offer. It is a city with interesting museums, great restaurants, entertainment options, history and modernism, a summer climate and friendly people. Panama City was founded by Spanish settlers in 1519 and since 1903 it is the capital of Panama.

Panama – Bocas del Toro

Bocas del Toro is an island group located on the Caribbean coast of Panama. Here you will find crystal clear waters with beautiful coral reefs, dolphins, palm trees, mangroves and friendly inhabitants. Bocas del Toro still has an authentic atmosphere, while lots of activities can be done with the Caribbean Sea in the main role. You can go snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, kayaking, catamaran trips, and dolphin watching or visit the many tropical beaches around.

Panama – Boquete

Boquete is located in a steep-walled, green, and flower-filled valley on the flank of the Barú Volcano and at the shore of the Caldera River. It is known for its beautiful mountain scenery, cool temperatures and exotic cloud forest, where the famous Resplendant Quetzal bird can be spotted.

Nicaragua – Granada

Granada, also referred to as the ´colonial jewel´, was founded in 1524 and is believed to be the second oldest city established in mainland Latin America by the Spanish conquest. Granada is characterized by bright-colored Spanish-colonial architecture, with a wonderful atmosphere, restaurants and a beautiful boulevard looking out over lake Nicaragua

Nicaragua – Ometepe

The idyllic Island of Ometepe with its two volcanoes, Concepción and Maderas, offer stunning views when approaching Ometepe by boat from the mainland over the fresh water Lake Nicaragua. This island has served as home to indigenous tribes and cultures for many centuries, of which the many pre-Columbian petroglyphs are silent witnesses

Nicaragua – Leon

León is a land of volcanoes, hot weather and interesting buildings. Here, visitors will find the ruins of one of the first Spanish colonial cities that were built in the continent. The elegant city of León preserves its attractive historical center and colonial buildings.

What you need

TO KNOW

Nicaragua market
Panama and Nicaragua, just like Costa Rica, are safe and peaceful places, but as when traveling anywhere, practicing common-sense is the best way to avoid petty crime and stay safe. Remember to lock your car, keep your luggage in sight and wear a money belt or cross-shoulder bag to avoid theft.

 

 

 

As you will not only be spending time in colonial and cosmopolitan cities but also exploring natural wonders, visitors should always maintain a healthy respect for nature. Pay attention to warning signs and safety advice from your guides or locals, do not stray off of marked trails in national parks and be especially careful when swimming, taking note of any warnings and watching where locals swim.

Furthermore, since Panama and Nicaragua are a lot more warm and humid as Costa Rica, we would like to especially advise you to be careful with the sun and protect with sunblock and hat, drink plenty of purified water and prevent mosquito bites by wearing long sleeved shirts and pants and apply a good repellent on top of them..

Panama cruise ship
Panama can be mostly characterized by a warm and humid tropical climate. The country lies below the hurricane boundary: thus does not suffer from severe hurricanes, more than a tropical depression, particularly in the province of Bocas del Toro.

Nicaragua has a tropical climate, although it is a lot drier than Costa Rica and Panama. Therefore during the dry season there is virtually no rain and trees and plants start to dry out and it is warm and even hot. Once the rains come around June, everything starts growing again. When it rains, it usually just rains for a short period of time and these are often spectacular, tropical downpours. In the Caribbean part of Nicaragua it rains more than in the west.

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Bocas playa estrella 
We ourselves have families and young children and we travel with them all the time, but you do need to plan carefully. The sometimes long distances and transit times between places, the warm and even hot climates, the high altitudes and subsequent risk of altitude sickness, and the possibility of getting an upset stomach and extra care for hygiene, all need to be taken into consideration. However, we’re great at offering assistance as we’ve done it ourselves before.
Bocas getting around 
Panama and Nicaragua are countries that are quite large in size compared to Costa Rica. However, with less geographical diversity that makes it a little easier to travel around. Travelling around is usually done by transfer service either private or seat-in, as well as with domestic flights, since most journeys take between two and ten hours. Exploring the countries by car is of course also possible. Only if doing so, it should be taken into account that a rent a car can’t cross borders and that several destinations in Panama and Nicaragua can only be reached over water. All Encounter adventures therefore come with the option of transfer and/or domestic flights. If you choose to drive you´ll have a choice of two four-wheel drives with GPS and full-cover insurance.

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