Panama highlights

This item appears on page 31 of the November 2009 issue.

On a custom tour our family took to Panama in June-July ’09 (Oct. ’09, pg. 32), we stayed on SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND at the Dolphin Bay Hideaway (phone +011 [507] 6417 7351 or [507] 6772 9917,, a small, private B&B in Bocas del Toro.

Three-toed sloth near Bocas del Toro, Panama. Photo by Noam Hantman (age 11)

We highly recommend it. The owners, Erika and José, went out of their way to ensure that we had a great time. We ate most of our dinners there; Erika is a great cook (ask for the lobster!).

On our way to and from everything else we did, we saw dolphins playing. They got within just a few feet of our boat.

In Bocas del Toro I recommend the following tours:

• Green Acres Chocolate Farm — this was an easy walk through a cocoa plantation led by the plantation owner, an American expat.

• La Gruta bat cave — the cave was only a small part of this tour. We spent the bulk of our time slowly going down a small river and viewing the wildlife. We saw several sloths.

• Zapatilla Major — this island has a beautiful beach with an opportunity for snorkeling and a nice nature trail. The place was deserted; we had the whole island to ourselves.

I’d skip the tour of the Salt Creek Indigenous Village. It was simply a short walk through the forest led by one of the village members, who spoke no English. Virtually no information about the culture was provided.


Danville, NH