By: Tara Cannon of Pint Size Pilot Family Travel Blog
Children: Two kids aged 6 and 9
Family Adventure: A Panama Jungle Adventure
Panama With Kids: Why Go
Our trip to Panama happened a little bit by accident. Costa Rica was our original destination, but we couldnʼt manage to find flights with our frequent flyer points. My husband suggested neighboring Panama as an alternative, and it most certainly fit the bill.
What I was looking for in this holiday was some type of jungle experience for my family. I wanted us to see monkeys, toucans, and sloths in their natural habitat, rather than behind bars in a zoo. I had waited for this type of adventure until my children were both in grade school, since many of the places we wanted to visit would be easier with children old enough to understand that you donʼt try to pick up the beautiful red tree frog.
Panama With Kids: Where to go
Although we enjoyed all of our Panama adventure, we were especially fond of Bocas del Toro, Gatun Lake near Panama City and the San Blas Islands.
In Bocas del Toro, we stayed in a treehouse at La Loma Jungle Lodge and Chocolate Farm, and spent our days seeing how many species we could identify from their guide book.
On the next stage of our adventure we stayed at a floating barge on Lake Gatun, near the Panama Canal. JungleLand is one part attraction and one part unique hotel stay.
Although the appearance of wildlife is a little scripted (the monkeys show up for the peanuts), we very much enjoyed our stay (especially after the day trippers returned to Panama City for the night.).
The Best Part
The best part of out trip was the three nights we spent on a sail boat visiting the islands of the Guna Yala (or the San Blas Islands as they are also referred to). Not only did the experience allow us to spend our afternoons sailing between near deserted islands, but we were also able to learn about the fascinating history of the indigenous Guna tribe and admire their the beautiful handicrafts.
Three Things You Should Definitely Do
1. There are plenty of wildlife experiences to be had in Panama. Do not leave the country without spending some time in the jungle.
2. A boating day trip in Bocas del Toro’s protected marine park is a must to see pods of dolphins and to enjoy some wonderful snorkelling.
3. Even if you don’t get as far as the San Blas Islands to learn about the Guna tribe, there are a number of other indigenous groups around Panama that will welcome visitors to their villages. They are well worth a day trip.
Read more about Panama, and travel with kids in general, on Tara Cannon’s excellent website and blog: Pint Size Pilot.
Family Guide to Panama
To view all our blog posts and videos in the Panama with Kids series see our Family Guide to Panama.