Scheduled Date: Friday 24th June, 2016
Exploring Panama from Saturday 18th to 24th June 2016
A tour of Panama offers the perfect mixture of everything, which includes adventure, nature, and culture. Panama located in Central America latitude 8.7515° N, and Longitude 79.8772° W. bordered by Costa Rica and Columbia. The Caribbean Sea is on its northern coast, and the Pacific Ocean is on its southwestern coastline.
In Panama City, the major point of interest to visitors is the Panama Canal built 1903-1914 and renowned for its historical and engineering importance. On Monday 26th June 2016 there is a ceremonial opening of the new and larger passageway of the Canal. Head of States from various countries invited to this historic occasion. Another place of significant interest is Casa Viejo (Old Panama 1671) a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 filled with colonial Spanish Architecture. A place to get a birds-eye view of the city is to trek Ancon Hill 654 feet, it is the highest point that overlooks the Capital. Further north and an hour away from the city is the Free Zone situated in the town of Colon where tourist can purchase duty-free goods. The residents of Colon are the descendants of the canal workers who were mainly Caribbean people that came from the islands in search of work.
The place in Panama to enjoy nature to the fullest and experience adventure is in the town of Boquete located on the western side and two hours from Costa Rica.
In Boquete, one has the option to explore the various hiking trails, waterfalls, hot springs and canyons. A favorite hike is the Quetzal Trail and Cloud Forest where one can see the colourful and picturesque quetzal bird. The highest peak in Panama is Volcan Baru 3,474 metres (11,398 ft) high. The expedition to the summit will take 5-6 hours, and the distance to get there is 13.5km. The exploration rated strenuous and reaching the peak one may experience symptoms of altitude sickness. At the top on a clear day, it is possible to see the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean. In Boquete, there is also the option to do some real adventure sports which include white water river rafting, zip lining or canopying, rock climbing, rappelling or do a tour to a coffee plantation.
Island Hikers discover the true magnificence of Panama and its many treasures from 18th to 24th June 2016. For more details contact Mario 749-2956 or visit islandhikers.com.
Caribbean Labour and Panama Canal brief history
The history of the Panama Canal flies back almost to the earliest explorers of the Americas. It started as a hope for a waterway through Panama. The narrow land bridge between North and South America houses the Panama Canal. The 80 kilometers waterway connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Against the ruthless force of nature, French Pioneers started construction of the canal on January 1, 1881, though digging at Culebra did not begin until January 22, 1881. A huge labor force was assembled; in 1888, this numbered about 40,000 men, nine-tenths of these being afro- Caribbean workers from the West Indies, many of them came from Trinidad and Tobago. The total death toll between 1881 and 1889 was estimated at over 22,000. The most serious problem of all, however, was tropical disease, particularly malaria and yellow fever.
The manual labor portion of the workforce consisted mostly of cheap immigrant labor. The Americans decided to recruit primarily from the British and French West Indies. These workers would end up doing a majority of the manual labor on the Canal. The thousands of descendants of these Caribbean workers still live in Panama in a rundown and dilapidated town named Colon. The town of Colon is not an attractive place to visit and tourist who go to the nearby Free Zone bypass the town. It is unknown how many of the workers returned to their countries but the citizens of Colon look more West Indian than Panamanian.
During the American Construction Era alone more than 75,000 men and women worked on the project in total; According to hospital records, 5,609 workers died from disease and accidents. The Canal Zone originally had minimal facilities for entertainment and relaxation for the canal workers, except the saloons; as a result, the men drank heavily largely because there was nothing else to do, and drunkenness was a great problem.
The project of building the locks began with the first concrete laid at Gatun, on August 24, 1909. The Pacific-side locks were finished first and the height of the locks equivalent to an 8 -story building .The waterways use a system of 3 locks complexes, each one with 2 lanes, which operate as water elevators that raise ships from sea level to the level of Gatun Lake at 26 metres above sea level.
The Panama Canal’s income has increased from US$769 million in 2000, the first year under Panamanian control, to US$1.4 billion in 2006, according to Panama Canal Authority figures.
Traffic through the canal went up from 230 million tons in 2000 to nearly 300 million tons in 2006. The average transit time through the canal is averaging about 8-10 hours;
Island Hikers visit the Panama and the Canal from19TH to 24th June 2016.
Panama Itinerary official ( please print for yourself)
CM 315 18th JUN POS-Panama 617Am 825Am
CM 314 24th JUN Panama-POS 714Pm 1125Pm
Panama City Day 1 &2
Day 1 Sat18th : 4.00am Airport checkin in POS.
Arrive 8.25 am go to hotel Terra Nova in Panama City. Check-in by 10.00pm and have breakfast.
Leave hotel 11.00 am visit Casco Viejo (Old Panama) & Amador Causeway. Trek up Ancon Hill to view City. Optional visit mall and go for dinner at sea front.
Day 2 Sun19th: 6.30 -7.30am Breakfast
Checkout 8.00am (a long day ahead) visit Panama Canal (Mira Flores Lock), President Palace and optional mall.
Evening Bus Ride Depart by 5pm to Boquete 7 hours long.
In Boquete 4 days . Breakfast 6.30-7.30am Depart everyday by 8.00am.
Day 3 Mon 20th : morning ziplining. Mini canyon, Hot springs,
Day 4 Tuesday 21st
12am Optional midnights hike to Volcan Baru 11398 feet or 3474 metres.
8.am visit lost waterfalls and 1pm Joguata Waterfall
Day 5 Wednesday 22nd visit Bocas Del Torro . take boat to visit isla bastimentos National Marine Park.
Day 6 Thursday 23rd
Check out 8.00am white water River rafting and cheap shopping at Costa Rican Border. Return to Panama City 9 hours.
Day 7 Friday 24th check out 8.ooam optional visit Local Shopping mall or Panama Free Zone
Please note lots to do and changes can apply based on group preferences and weather conditions.
Phone: (868) 749-2956,
email :islandhikers @gmail.com
Marcia 490-2421,Michael 719-3368,
Jamal 761-1889,Robin 681-1389,
Camille 620-314, Michelle 726-5195,
,Petronilla 342-1072, Pooran 764-2041
Dennis 678-2768, Adrian 349-9316,
Bob 685-5355, Pedro 346-3460
Ian 682-6177, Danny 372-7798