Inspiration Abroad | Panama
If you’re thinking about visiting Central America, absolutely consider Panama! The people, food and architecture represent an incredible mix of cultures, as well as a continuous contrast between modernity and history. I remember looking at ruins from the 1500s and then a few minutes later staring at a building that could be in Dubai. Casco Viejo, the historical district, has some beautiful colonial-style architecture.
One of the major highlights of being in Panama City was visiting Reprosa, a quaint factory that preserves and replicates Panamanian artifacts and ocean-inspired jewelry. It felt less like a factory (once you made it in from the industrial park) and more like a small community of artisans working in unison.
We took an inexpensive tour in English and this was the first time that I’ve had a chance to see how jewelry is made- from creating a mold to landing in the shop. It was amazing to see each step upclose. I left with a gorgeous silver orchid necklace, designed after Panama’s national flower.
We took in the hustle and bustle of Panama City for a few days before hopping on a short flight to Bocas Del Toro on the Caribbean coast.
To visit Cayos Zapatillos is to experience a truly remote island and one that could easily take a page in a tropical paradise calendar. The two islands are part of Isla Bastimentos National Marine Park located in the Bocas Del Toro archipelago. There are several water taxis that will take you there from Bocas Town. It was easy to book a tour with Jampan- it was the first time in days that I could speak English and didn’t need to rely on my high school Spanish!
The boat took us to Zapatilla and we were able to freely roam the island for a couple of hours. This meant walking the perimeter of the island on the beach, because the interior of the island is incredibly thick with palms, sea grapes and other tropical plants.
What an amazing beach! Fine white sand, warm blue water, and a backdrop of gray clouds- the calm before a humid tropical storm. There were just a few people from our boat who we could easily escape from by walking a minute or two. Pure paradise and the kind of beach that everyone must experience in a lifetime. Like any good adventure abroad, parts of our trip were certainly hectic and logistically challenging, but there isn’t a spa in the world that could be as relaxing and rejuvenating as that afternoon on a Panamanian beach! JessicaSome lifelines during my trip: Frommer’s Panama, Trip Advisor