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Panama City

May 6, 2017

Last week I took a very last minute, spur-of-the-moment trip down to Panama for a few days. I had some Alaska Airlines miles I wanted to use so that I could cancel the credit card associated with them (because of it’s $75 annual fee). And once you cancel the card you lose the miles, so I needed to travel soon.

Bridge of the America, spanning the entrance to the Panama Canal and linking the north and south American land masses.

Bridge of the America, spanning the entrance to the Panama Canal and linking the north and south American land masses.

Due to my crazy and unpredictable schedule over these last few weeks, I hadn’t been able to book any trips to use these miles. But when it appeared that I would suddenly have a week free, I jumped at the chance to squeeze in a trip. A quick Alaska Airlines search revealed that I could actually still get last minute international flights for the 30,000 miles that I had! You can’t go far internationally round trip for 30,000, but you can get Caribbean, Central America, and (northern) South America flights for that amount. And there were still flights for the next day! My first choice was Panama City, with flights also open for Quito, Ecuador and Bogota, Colombia. Since I want to wait until I have the funds and time to also see the Galapagos when in Ecuador, that option was out. And I’m not brave enough to do Colombia on my own as a white, female, non-Spanish speaker, so that left Panama City, which was my first choice anyway. (The upside to the other two options would be that I’d finally get my 6th continent. But that will have to wait.) So I looked through the flight options, and while not ideal, they were doable. Thanks to my amazing dad agreeing to take me to the airport at 4 am, I quickly booked a 7 am flight for the next morning (by far my most spontaneous trip to date). Then I did some quick research, booked a hostel, called our missionaries for some advice (to put my mom at ease – she doesn’t like my solo travel), and started packing.

View of Panama City from Ancon Hill

View of Panama City from Ancon Hill

For trips of a week or less, I have started doing my best to take only carry-on luggage and I’m so thankful that I did on this trip! Thanks to long delays in Dallas, all of us with connections missed our flights when we landed in Miami. It was annoying to miss one of my days in Panama, and to have to pay for a hotel, but at least I had all my stuff with me. I was rebooked on a 10:45 am flight for the next day and thankfully that one got off with no problems.

Panama City's awesome Revolution Tower

Panama City’s awesome Revolution Tower

My short trip, made even shorter by the missed connection, ended up with me being in Panama City for only 3 full days and 2 half days. I certainly would have loved more time down there, and debated changing my flight after I got down there, but I’m thankful for the time I did have, at least. And now I know for next time how to better do Panama City!

This bird reminds me of a platypus

This bird reminds me of a platypus

Sunset and city views from the Causeway

Sunset and city views from the Causeway

Flower from a Cannonball tree. They have a very strong, unique fragrance.

Flower from a Cannonball tree. They have a very strong, unique fragrance.

Panama City's Old Town, Casco Viejo, is so colorful and fun.

Panama City’s Old Town, Casco Viejo, is so colorful and fun.

The Harpy eagle is the largest in the Americas and one of the largest in the world. And they can turn their heads completely around, just like an owl.

The Harpy eagle is the largest in the Americas and one of the largest in the world. And they can turn their heads completely around, just like an owl.

View of the financial district from the Causeway across the Panama Bay

View of the financial district from the Causeway across the Panama Bay

Dusk on the Causeway

Dusk on the Causeway

I love red-headed woodpeckers =)

I love red-headed woodpeckers =)

There are so many fun finds in Casco Viejo.

There are so many fun finds in Casco Viejo.

I'm not sitting in an infinity pool for this one, but it looks like it. =)

I’m not sitting in an infinity pool for this one, but it looks like it. =)

Two ships crossing the Panama Canal. The Canal is way cooler than I thought it would be.

Two ships crossing the Panama Canal. The Canal is way cooler than I thought it would be.

Crossing the Canal

Crossing the Canal

Mangoes enough for everyone!

Mangoes enough for everyone!

I just love this sign's depiction of Panamanians =)

I just love this sign’s depiction of Panamanians =)

Colorful doors are so much fun!

Colorful doors are so much fun!

Casco Viejo is truly beautiful

Casco Viejo is truly beautiful

Playing tourist. =) (Actually I saw lots of locals taking pictures here as well).

Playing tourist. =) (Actually I saw lots of locals taking pictures here as well).

I highly recommend a visit to Panama. The Canal and museum/visitors’ center alone definitely make it worth a visit. Plus there is a lot of unique flora and fauna to be found in Panama.

Green and Black Poison Dart frog. I saw dozens of these up there. They are so pretty! But my lens kept fogging up because of the humidity so it was hard to get pictures of them.

Green and Black Poison Dart frog. I saw dozens of these up there. They are so pretty! But my lens kept fogging up because of the humidity so it was hard to get pictures of them.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 10, 2017 11:42 am

    Great pix of Panama. Amazing wildlife shots too

  2. May 15, 2017 5:17 pm

    Why did you have to pay for your hotel in Miami? Shouldn’t the airline have paid for it if it was their fault you missed your connecting flight?

    • May 17, 2017 11:45 am

      Well, they blamed it on the wind that shut down all but one of the Dallas runways. =(

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