Summer is coming to a close and although the days of cooler weather and warmer drinks are approaching, I can’t help but think back on the amazing memories I made these last few months. Vacations and summer have always gone hand-in-hand and this year was no exception. Whether I was flying home to Arizona for the 4th of July, jetting off to the Aruba Marriott Resort for Diamond PR‘s 10th anniversary, or taking road trips to Santa Barbara- there hasn’t been a dull moment, especially when I got the chance to visit a friend in Panama.
When my college friend Edgar suggested I visit him in his native land of Panama City- I immediately jumped at the chance. After all, there is no better way to explore a new place than with a local. I had always heard that Panama is a beautiful country with rich history and warm beaches just waiting to be explored but I didn’t realize how deeply I would fall in love with the charm and colorful landscape.
Over the course of my five-day Panamanian adventure I covered quite a few bases- the famous Panama Canal, indulging in multiple culinary experiences, walks through Casco Viejo, and visiting the neighboring San Blas Islands. Here is a glimpse at some of my favorite moments:
Panamanians know how to eat. From the moment I arrived, I was greeted with a bounty of delicacies. Tostones, fried fish, sandwiches layered with meats and cheeses that put our American sammies to shame and so much fresh seafood I’m surprised I didn’t sprout gills. I have to give a special shoutout to Cafe Unido and El Mercadito Biologico for making my mornings unforgettable with the best chai and matcha lattes. I even went to a beautiful tasting dinner at Donde Jose, an upscale fusion eatery located in Casco Viejo that only seats 16 people and where owner and Chef Jose brings out some unexpected flavor combinations. My favorites were the homemade bone broth and the Panamanian version of BBQ chicken.
If you had told me that I would be attending a wedding in Panama I would have hoped it would be my own…kidding. But on day 2 of my travels, I was instructed that we would be “tagging along” to the quaint nuptials of a family-friend’s wedding. After a day spent dress, shoe and accessory shopping (shoutout to Alquila Couture) we made our way to the lavish 1,000 person affair (which rivaled the scenes of My Super Sweet 16) and it did not disappoint. From acrobatic dancers swinging from the ceiling, a dessert bar that still has me dreaming, and musical performances courtesy of Fonseca that lasted well in to the wee hours of the morning, it was hands down the wedding of the century.
We ended our trip with a visit to the San Blas Islands. This secluded gem is about three hours outside of Panama City and while the ride is not for the faint of heart (bring lots of dramamine) the arrival is well worth it. These tiny cluster of archipelagos are home to indigenous people and boast aqua blue water and sun so bright it is blinding. Our tour guides took us to three different islands where we got to play sand volleyball, eat freshly cut coconuts, and enjoyed the catch of the day with a side of cervezas. Visitors who are looking to spend more than a day on the islands can actually stay the night in “survivor-style” straw huts that are within earshot of the calming waters and panoramic views.
AZ native, former New Yorker, and current LA resident who is on a mission to find the best foods and cutest pups around town. Priscilla’s favorite activities include reading, traveling, and anything involving a four-legged friend. She enjoys meeting new people and prefers her glass to be half full. Fun fact: she used do Irish step-dancing.