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Surfers

Being located in a remote area has amazing benefits like uncrowded beaches, friendly uncrowded surf breaks, authentic cultural experiences, nature, and peace and quiet away from "it all."

Getting here isn't easy and once you've arrived, you'll want to have everything you need to enjoy your time with us so we have curated a list of helpful travel tips, packing lists, and emergency preparedness information to help prepare you for an incredible holiday with us in Morrillo. 
Of course, we are always here to assist you in any way we can to prepare you for an incredible experience in this magical place. Please contact us with any questions you may have. 

We hope to see you soon!
Cari and Ryan Mackey
Owners and Hosts 

  • What You Should Know Prior To Your Travel:
    Here are Some Helpful Tips To Get You Prepared and Packed For Your Trip: Travel Times to Consider - Check-In time is between 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM. For your safety and that of our team, we do not permit check-in after dark. Travel time from Panama City is approximately 6 hours which includes time to fuel up and get a snack. Check-out is by 11:00 AM. Panama City Traffic - No-one likes sitting in traffic so here is a bit of helpful advice to avoid it. The peak traffic hours for the city are Mon - Fri 4:00 AM - 9:00 AM and again 3:00 PM - 7:00 PM. Traffic lanes are shut down going in/out of the city during these hours so we typically recommend departing the city for Morrillo at 9:00 AM or even 10:00 AM to avoid sitting in traffic. It's the same for your departure from Morrillo going back to the city. It's best to leave before 9:00 AM to avoid getting stuck in traffic going back in the city during the afternoon rush hour. Fueling Stations - There are two new Terpel stations within 30 min. of our resort that reliably have fuel, and accept credit cards. Single Use Plastic Avoidance - We spend every day cleaning our beach so it's safe for turtles and more enjoyable for you! 99.99999% of what we find is single use plastic. Please avoid bringing this plastic here and remember your reusable water bottle. The water is safe to drink everywhere in Panama except the islands. Passport Requirements - BE SURE YOUR PASSPORT IS TRAVEL READY! Every Country has different International exit/entry documentation requirements. Make sure you know before you go (or book). Here are some links to travel requirements from a few countries: USA Travel Requirements Canada Germany (I just found this online and its in german so, I hope its the right information) EU Document Check Page orEU Nationals If you have any other country information to share with us, please do. Travel Insurance - we get a lot of questions about travel insurance. World Nomads offer travel insurance, click here to get a quote.​ Packing and Luggage Best Practices - It can be pretty devastating when the airlines loses your luggage or even worse - damages your surfboard. It's pretty rare but just in case, here are some helpful tips to help in this situation: Lay out all the items in your luggage and take a photo for inventory just in case it gets lost for good by the airlines. This will speed up the reimbursement process by the airlines just in case. Take a photo of your surf boards and the serial #'s on the boards. Keep track of your baggage tags and also take a picture of them just in case they get lost or damaged. Make sure your luggage has your contact information on an exterior luggage tag that's easy to read and also attach one inside the bag in case the tag on the outside gets lost, ripped off, etc. Make your luggage look different from all the others out there. Most people have black roller luggage and can mistakenly take the wrong one, using a personal identifier that is obvious will help alleviate this problem. Think bedazzler Stickers Colorful tags Paint something cool with a stencil Tracking device that be used with an app on your phone (remember you will need to ensure you have data to use your phone while traveling) luggage belt/strap Colored/patterned duct tape Make sure you know how much luggage is included free of charge with the purchase of your ticket and also the weight limitations so you don't have to pack / unpack when you get to the ticket counter. Again, take a photo of your luggage and its contents in case you need to send it to the airlines to make it easier for them to find it in the event it gets lost. Laundry / Linens Etc. - We don't offer a daily maid service for the rooms. However, when you need anything throughout your stay like fresh linens, towels, amenities, please simply let us know. Beach Towels are available for your use. Please try to reuse them to avoid wasteful laundry and power use. We do offer laundry service for $7 per load. Simply let us know, we will provide you with a basket to fill and then will return it to you freshly laundered and folded. Our laundry soap is homemade, and organic to avoid VOC's that are harmful to the environment and ourselves. Cell Phone - contact your home country service provider about your international plan coverage. WhatsApp is the main method of communication here. Service is spotty in our area but it is available at the resort in certain areas if needed. The service provider in our area is CLARO. Language - Spanish is the most widely spoken language. In the city many people speak english but in the interior very few speak any other language than spanish. A phrasebook or phone translator is very helpful. Money - the USD is the currency used here also referred to as Balboas. Paper money is all in USD but some coins will be in Balboas. We accept credit cards (Visa & MC) at our resort with the cc present and there is a 4% tax with every charge. The closest ATM is 45min from us in a town called Mariato. It does not always have cash in it, so we recommend using the machine during banking hours to verify prior to your transaction that the machine does in fact have cash. Alert your credit card company and bank about your upcoming international travel to ensure your credit card and ATM cards are not frozen for suspected fraudulent activity. We accept Visa and MC at our resort. During your stay with us you will not need cash for anything at our resort. At the end of your stay, your check-out bill will be presented to you for your review which will include any charges incurred during your stay in addition to gratuities and 1% For The Planet suggested donation. Bring cash in small denominations for making simple purchases at little convenience stores and paying taxis. We do offer alternative methods of payment in addition to cash and credit card: Chase Zelle Quickpay use email: cari@morrillobeachresort.com PayPal: cari@morrillobeachresort.com Chase Bank Account direct deposit (please ask for information) Banistmo Online Deposit (please ask for information) If you have any other payment options you prefer, please let us know and we will do our best to make that happen. Gratuities - When dining in small local restaurants called "fondas," it is not customary to leave a tip. When dining in sit down restaurants with table service, a 10 - 15 % tip is customary. At our resort, we suggest a tip based on the restaurant, adventures, and resort services which gets split equally among all our employees. This is included at check-out for your consideration. This is the only time that gratuities are expected in Panama, not on taxis etc. If you book a shuttle through us, we recommend $3/ea for airport to city hotel, and $10/ea for city hotel to MBER each way. Remember to follow the local customs to avoid people expecting handouts from foreigners. There is commonly something called the "gringo-tax" which is when Panamanians are giving foreigners a higher price than the locals. This not only makes that person look greedy but it personally hurts to be prejudiced and has a negative impact on tourism. Knowledge is power, pay what you should and nothing more. 1% For The Planet - We are proud partners with this environmental focused organization. We include a suggested donation on our guests check-out bills. This funding goes directly to our local Sea Turtle Conservation Group as well as providing care for injured wildlife that we take in for treatment from time to time. It is an optional contribution for guest donation consideration. Water - the water is safe to drink throughout the country except for remote islands. At our resort we have a purification system. Please bring your reusable water bottles to avoid plastic wastefulness. People- Friendliness: Panamanians are literally the happiest people on the planet. Treat them with respect, and a smile, and you will be amazed by their generosity, kindness, and openness. Bugs and Animals - We have mosquitoes here but they aren't very bad at all. As in any tropical country at dawn/dusk we have tiny biting flies that pack a punch! In our restaurant, we use fans that sufficiently keep them away but we recommend long sleeves and pants to protect yourself the best. If you want to use bug repellant, we recommend All Terrain Herbal Armor. Pure lavender essential oil works well and smells great too. DEET is never recommended and certainly not necessary here. Some people seem to get a lot of bites and some don't get any. If you are the type that bugs love, just cover up and you'll be fine. Benadryl Itch Stopping Cream works well for irritating bites or for a more natural option, tea tree oil works great and smells good too. There are lots of varieties of bugs here but with basic travel sense of shaking your shoes, covering your skin, and looking before touching you will avoid any problems. Our rooms have A/C but also screen doors and fans if you want to go without A/C so no need for bug nets which we don't have a way to hang anyways. We are very strict about protecting the wildlife here. There is a troop of Critically Endangered Howler Monkeys that peacefully live among us. It is required that nobody interacts with them in any way. No communicating, feeding, bothering in any way. This way, they will stay here in one of the few areas that still has the trees they depend on for survival. If humans bother them, they are forced to leave and they have nowhere to go as all the surrounding jungles have been destroyed. Any animal you are uncomfortable with, we will kindly educate you about and then help relocate when necessary. Keep your toilet shut or you may find a cute little thirsty frog there. Don't worry, he's harmless. Vehicle Rentals - The rental car system is very poorly organized from a quality customer service experience. No matter what you reserved online ahead of time, they will at least double the cost and likely not have the vehicle you rented. It's a very stressful moment after just having traveled so far and being tired. It's best to do as much homework ahead of time and use a company that you have used before and trust. If you believe you have insurance through your credit card company or home country insurance carrier, verify ahead of time. Bring a printed copy of your policy. It is very rare the rental companies will accept outside policies and their coverage is very expensive; usually double the rental price or more. It is best to call ahead and get everything in writing to present to the rental counter in Panama. Renting a 4x4 will allow you more freedom to explore off the main roads and so you can park at our hotel. Sometimes you need it just for the main roads. However, if you don't get 4x4 (it has to say 4x4 on the back of the vehicle or it is not 4x4 and the rental car companies will lie straight to your face about this), just make sure we are in contact via WhatsApp so you can send us a message when you get to the top of the hill where there are several 4x4 only signs and we will happily come pick you and your luggage up. If you get pulled over for speeding while driving please see the "Driving Instructions To Morrillo Beach Eco Resort" section. WIFI / Internet - We have Starlink WiFi available for our guests in the common area of the hotel: 25 - 100 Mbps downstream, 5-10Mbps upstream. This speed will vary depending on how many users are online and is also affected by clouds and storms but is quite reliable. Another option is to get a CLARO SIM card for your cell phone at the airport or at a CLARO store to use your phone as a hot spot for your computer. It is quite economical and you don't have to share with others. Telephone - Call your phone company to turn on your international data and ask about purchasing a SIM card at your destination. We use CLARO service here. Remember to download WhatsApp which is the main form of communication here. With access to internet you can easily use this to make calls and send messages. Skype is another great way to communicate internationally. Sync your phone at home prior to your international departure in case your phone gets broken, stolen, or lost. Email yourself your important contacts in case you lose your phone so you can get in touch with people at home in case of an emergency. (hint: make sure you know the passwords to get into your email from another computer) Out of Office Email Notification - Remember to set this to alert your coworkers you are not available. This is out of respect for your holiday time, people don't want to bother you, and then they won't be offended when you don't return their email like you usually do! Electricity / Outlets / Power - The outlets in Panama are all standard 110 V and the frequency is 60 HZ. You can use your electric appliances in Panama, if the standard voltage in your country is between 110-127 V (as in the US, Canada and most South American countries. The power does go "out" on occasion which is why it is important to have a headlamp with you and also portable chargers for your cell phone. Travel Insurance Is Highly Recommended - Even the most experienced and well planned travelers can encounter complications during their travels. Life is unpredictable and with so much out of our control when traveling or even prior to travels, these unforeseen events can and do happen. Travel Insurance offers many different levels of coverage including flights and hotel reservations to equipment damage and medical coverage. This not only helps protect yourself when accidents happen, it also gives you great peace of mind so you can focus on having fun and enjoying the world around you.
  • What Airport To Fly Into:
    Most people fly into Panama City - Tocumen International Airport Code: PTY​ Be sure to read every detail of the confirmation email you received from your airline company. This will make your travel a LOT less stressful, make you look like you know what you're doing, and avoid major delays in your travel day especially if you don't speak the language. Immigration: When you arrive, you will need this address for Immigration: Morrillo Beach Eco Resort - Veraguas (Province) - Morrillo (Town) - Mariato (District) In the airport: You will go through the first immigration line where you give the officer the address above. Then you get shuffled into baggage claim where you will find your origin city on the carousel TV's. Grab your luggage and then head to your next step. Once you have your luggage: You will likely have to go through an additional maze to get through a final customs/immigration officer checkpoint. They will screen your arriving luggage and any carryon items as well. Then, exit the main doors for your arrival into your adventurous life in Panama! Some people fly into David, Panama Airport Code: DAV. David is the second largest city in Panama. This is about the same driving distance as Panama City is however, it's not as nice of a city as Panama. This airport is convenient for travelers coming/going from other Central American countries especially Costa Rica because it's very close to the border. I have never flown in/out of this airport so I don't have much information for you, sorry! We work with a small charter airline that can fly you all over Panama. This is a great way to save time and a totally adventurous way to see the country from the sky! Please ask us for a quote and we will take care of the res.
  • Public Transportation To Get To Morrillo Beach Eco Resort:
    CHARTER PLANE OR HELICOPTER: If you're short on time and are up for a fun adventure, we work with a charter company that has several different size planes and helicopters who fly all over Panama. This is a great way to see this beautiful country from the air, save time, and it's reasonably priced too. Please let us know if you're interested and we can get you a quote. SHUTTLE:By far the easiest way to go. We can pick you up from the airport and whisk you away to the resort directly or, to your city hotel for the night depending on your plans. The pick up location in Terminal #1: is in front of the baggage storage area. When you leave customs, turn right and you will see the meeting point (photo below)where the driver will be holding our logo sign. The pick up location in Terminal #2 where Copa Airlines typically lands will be after the exit gate where the drivers and taxis are you will find our driver with our logo sign. It is an open area but it should be pretty clear once you come out of the exit gate to look for our driver. Advanced reservation required.* ​​ *Prices vary on depending on group size, time, etc. so let us know and we will get you a quote​ TAXI:After leaving the immigration area, turn left out the main doors and you will see this taxi stand: and drivers waiting to offer you a ride. The taxi to city center can be anywhere from $12 - $25 depending on day or night, and how much luggage and people you have. Never pay more than $25 and don't let the driver rip you off. Carry small bills to keep it simple. You can establish the price up front and they are negotiable...so see how low you can go! Remember to also have the UBER app downloaded on your phone as a backup in case a taxi does not show up for your scheduled ride to the airport or somwhere important. UBER:​ This service is available at the airport as well as throughout the city and works the same as it does in the USA. You schedule an UBER using your app and they will give you directions on where to meet them. The cost is usually about $12 - $15 to city center. METRO: The Metro System is a safe, easy, and very inexpensive way to travel to some areas of the city. There are only two lines so although there isn't a lot of helpful signage, it's still relatively simple to navigate the system. There is an airport connection with a kiosk to purchase a travel card. BUS: The bus from the city to the interior is really easy however, from the airport to the city center is a bit trickier however, if you have the adventurous spirit and want to save on cash. Once you exit the airport, you head to the right following the sidewalk that goes behind the small fast food restaurant and back by the employee parking and police offices. Continue following the sidewalk for about 5 min. out to a really busy road where you will see a bus stop. BUT, don't stop there; that bus stop is going the wrong way. You actually have to cross through the roundabout on the sidewalk (very dangerous here and drivers don't honor the pedestrian rules). So look across the busy road and you will see another covered bus stop area. You will need to know which bus to get on which is indicated on the front of the windshield. If you are taking the bus all the way to our area, look for the bus that says ALBROOK on the front of it. You may have to wait a while OR, ask someone waiting there which bus to take. This is not for the faint of heart, it is hard to do, and not many people speak english. We can certainly offer you guidance on this so please let us know ahead of time. There are 3 different busses: Mi Bus: The city bus system is really clean and safe albeit a bit tricky to figure out routes. It works well with Google Maps too for times, routes, etc. I believe. You will need to get a Rapipass Card that also works for the Metro. This bus only circulates within the city limits. Diablo Rojos: For the more adventurous travelers, these busses are fun to experience and very inexpensive. They only circulate within the city and nearby outlying towns, not all the way to Morrillo. Albrook Main Terminal Busses for the Interior: This is the bus you will look for to take from Albrook to the interior. They come in all different colors but are essentially this size and shape and you will want to make sure the window says SANTIAGO/PANAMA. The fare is $9 from Albrook Main Terminal to Santiago. When you get to the main terminal in Albrook which is opposite the mall, look for the sign that says Santiago (below). At the various windows, the different drivers will try to get you on their bus because they are trying to fill their bus so it can take off. BUT, it's best to get on the one that says SANTIAGO/PANAMA on it. The ride is about 4 hours to Santiago depending on how many stops they make. A full bus is a good sign it will be faster as the drivers are trying to get as many fares as possible. Notes about the bus: Its usually nice and clean and always really cold so remember the sweater you packed away. There will be rest stops for a bathroom break and terrible food. Bring snacks along. It's safe to leave your luggage below but if you have a surfboard below, be sure to get out and take care of it to prevent damages. Never leave your stuff unattended above the seats. Never leave the bus for long at a relief stop or you may be left behind. It's safe and the people are really nice so be nice to them too and don't worry. In Santiago there are two terminals, the Main terminal (this is the one you want, see image below) and the David terminal. At the terminal you will find a taxi line out front. Look for a 4x4 so you can make it all the way to the hotel. You can also transfer to a smaller bus for Mariato. Go into the terminal and find the smaller bus stations looking for the sign that says Mariato. The bus windshield will say Mariato/Santiago on it (see photo below). I can try to help arrange a taxi but only if you are in contact via WhatsApp.
  • Driving Instructions To Morrillo Beach Eco Resort:
    Driving Instructions from Bridge of the Americas to Morrillo Beach Eco Resort: ​ Driving from Panama City is not as hard as so many people make it sound. It takes 5 hours from Panama City to arrive to our resort. If you enjoy the adventurous side of travel, have driven in other countries and are familiar with using Google Maps or Waze, you should arrive here without much trouble. There a lot of smart travel rules to follow when driving in other countries but here are a few words of advice that you might find useful: Travel Times to Consider - Check-In time is between 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM. For your safety and that of our team, we do not permit check-in after dark. Travel time from Panama City is approximately 6 hours which includes time to fuel up and get a snack. Check-out is by 11:00 AM. Panama City Traffic - No-one likes sitting in traffic so here is a bit of helpful advice to avoid it. The peak traffic hours for the city are Mon - Fri 4:00 AM - 9:00 AM and again 3:00 PM - 7:00 PM. Traffic lanes are shut down going in/out of the city during these hours so we typically recommend departing the city for Morrillo at 9:00 AM or even 10:00 AM to avoid sitting in traffic. It's the same for your departure from Morrillo going back to the city. It's best to leave before 9:00 AM to avoid getting stuck in traffic going back in the city during the afternoon rush hour. Avoid driving at night Avoid driving during PTY rush hours: 6am-9:30am and 3pm-6pm Download your map prior to arrival and departure so you know your app will work while you are driving in addition, to have a real paper map as a backup in case your phone fails you. Here is our location on google maps: Morrillo Beach Eco Resort Google location 4WD is always recommended if you wish to get off any of the main roads and explore. The roads tend to be steep and unmaintained. So, we definitely recommend exploring this beautiful country but keep in mind you will definitely need 4WD to do that. Ensure you have the proper documentation in case of a police checkpoint. The cops here do not require a "reasonable cause" to pull you over or ask for identification so always have it on you and readily accessible: valid drivers license​ (foreign license is only valid for 90 days from the date of your entrance stamp). passport with immigration stamp (everyone in the vehicle should have this quickly accessible). Tourist visas are valid for 180 days so ensure you get a stamp at immigration as this is frequently verified at checkpoints. valid proof of insurance with current year and expiration date listed valid vehicle registration always know where your spare tire, jack, and tools for changing a tire. know how to call emergency services in case of an accident keep us aware of your progress so we know when to expect you and when to worry or send the authorities to search for you in case of an emergency. It's always good to send us a text via WhatsApp only: (507) 6017-0965 when: you leave PTY​ you leave the Panamerican Hwy you leave Mariato It's a good idea to verify with your home country if there is an embassy located here for you to call on in case of an emergency and also to verify your ability to drive in Panama. Speeding Tickets - The speed limits vary everywhere and are not very well marked. If you use Waze or Google Maps, they may be able to help you know what the speed limit is along your route. However, the speed limits are very slow through the different towns and it's hard to drive that slow so you can expect to see a lot of police along the way to take advantage of those "speed traps" to issue a speeding ticket. Waze is particularly helpful to warn you of an officer monitoring for speeding. If you get pulled over, which is a police officer standing below a shady tree waving you over, pull over right away. Get your passport and drivers license ready as well as your rental car agreement. Most of the time, the officer will issue a speeding ticket varying between $25-$45. Our best advice in this situation is to accept the ticket with a smile and move on. If the officer is trying to speak to you in Spanish and telling you the ticket is expensive and difficult to pay, it's a TOTAL LIE. They are trying to get a cash bribe. We HIGHLY recommend not paying a bribe to an officer. Not only is it illegal, it perpetuates this corrupt system. This is improving a lot but corruption on the police force still exists and unfortunately, they target foreigners who don't know any better or are easily intimidated. Speeding tickets can be paid online through your rental car company. Simply present the ticket to them when you return the vehicle and they will take care of it. If you own your own vehicle, they can be paid online easily or paid in person at the transit authority offices. There are several great places to eat along the way so let us know if you want any recommendations. Any further questions, please email us any time: info@morrillobeachresort.com Use Waze or Google maps to navigate through the country. You will need to ensure you have connectivity. Good gas stations with clean bathrooms are Terpel and Va y Ven. There are 2 Terpel gas stations within 30 min of our resort that reliably have fuel. Finally, the last 100m to our hotel is very steep. It is not required to have 4WD to arrive here. If you only have 2WD you can leave your vehicle at the top of the hill and we can come get you and your luggage, no problem. Please do not drive down the hill unless you are sure your vehicle has 4x4. Driving Route From The Bridge of The Americas to Morrillo Beach Eco Resort: When driving from the Eastern side of the Azuero Peninsula like Cambutal or Pedasí, Google Maps will try to send you through the middle of the peninsula which is not a recommended route.
  • Travel Insurance:
    We get a lot of questions about travel insurance. We highly recommend World Nomads travel insurance, click here or you can fill out the form on the right to get a quote.
  • Health, Wellness, and Safety:"
    People often ask us about vaccines and immunizations prior to travel: Here is a link to the CDC for recommended immunizations and shots: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/panama These precautionary measures are totally up to the individual. It is very rare to get sick here from these diseases but of course, there is always some risk. Water: The water is safe to drink everywhere except islands. So enjoy the water and cold ice in your cocktails! To avoid unnecessary plastic waste, please remember to bring your water bottle to fill up. Sun & Skin Protection: Skin protection is something to be very aware of and diligent about. A sun burn, contact burn from a poisonous plant, and biting bugs are easily controlled by wearing long pants and shirts. Even though being on the beach it's nice to be in a bikini or swim shorts, a bad sun burn is a great way to ruin a vacation day. Being so close to the equator, the UV ratings are almost always in the Red Zone and when walking through the jungle on a hike, there's a lot that can irritate the skin. We HIGHLY recommend the clothing made by Waterlust. They are high quality, made by amazing people, and work better than anything we have ever tried for surfing, swimming, and even hiking! PLUS, 20% of your purchase goes towards funding our local Turtle Conservation Group using this link: waterlust.com/MORRILLO Emergency Medical Treatment: If you have a medical emergency while staying with us: We have access to emergency flight for life helicopters for service in this remote area of the country but there are only 3 helicopters for the whole country so availability is not a guarantee. There is an ambulance that can transport patients to Santiago (2 hours) or Panama City (5 hours). We recommend going to straight to the Hospital in Panama City for the best care possible. Hospital Punta Pacifica is a large, modern hospital with good quality care. If you cannot make it all the way to Panama City, Clínica Hospital Jesús Nazareño is the best place in Santiago to get immediate care. There are very basic local clinics for basic situations like stitches and well, that's about all. Their hours are very strange and their quality of care is basic at best. Ryan and Cari were both EMT's in the USA as ski patrollers for years in the mountains so we have a lot of practice with emergency situations in remote, hard to access areas. We have a pretty good amount of first aid supplies on the property. The best thing you can do is plan ahead and prepare as best you can. Bring as many medications as you may need in case of an accident or a health emergency. We don't have access to any prescriptions here and they are difficult to get as well as slow so it's best to bring your own. Consult your primary care physician prior to your travels so they can advise you on what to take with you and write the prescriptions you need while here. It's a great idea to connect with them in advance in case you need a consultation while traveling.
  • Emergency Contact Information:
    Emergency Contact Details: * This is important for every person in your party to have with them. In Spanish as well if needed. Beforeyou go: Contact and register with your embassy to notify them of your travel:​ US Citizens - https://step.state.gov/step/ Canadians - https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration Travel Insurance. Here is a recommendation but you may want to research others: World Nomads ​ Write down all your personal contact #'s and make sure each person has those details as well. Panama City (area code 507):​ Panama City Emergency System is 911 National Police 104 Fire 103 Tourist Police 511-9260 Civil Defense 512-6190 or 316-3200 Crime Victim Assistance 262-1973 or 512-2222 National Tourism Authority Hotline: 178 24 Hour AeroNaval 998-2494 ​ In our Resort Area (area code 507): Emergency 103 Fire Department 103 or 998-4444 Police direct 999-8663 Clinic in Mariato 999-8409 Naval or National Air Service 520-6200 (Santiago) or 998-2494 (24hr)
  • Important Travel Safety Tips:
    Important Travel Safety Tips: Panamanians are incredibly kind, nice, and helpful people. That said, bad people are everywhere in this world so, when traveling somewhere new, there are some basic travel rules to follow to keep yourself and your family safe. Here are some helpful tips to consider: Avoid traveling at night Understand and avoid the dangerous parts of the city or wherever you are staying. ​​ avoid the casino areas at night, there is always trouble in those types of places ask your hotel concierge, a trusty local for help with this information, or hire a guide or a driver to keep you safe (we can help you with this). Keep your eyes on your personal belongings, keep them close to you, and well secured (zippers, pockets). Secure it to your body and in an obvious way so nobody will even think of grabbing it. Self defense basics are good to know and even carry mace or an emergency whistle, etc. to protect you from people, or animals, you never know! Sometimes if you are out on a run, local dogs might give chase and a whistle or mace will likely scare them off. Know where you are going, read reviews, and research so you know how to get there and what to expect. Share your itinerary with friends and family and check-in with them regularly so they don't worry! Keep it discreet on social media as it can lead people to you that you may not want. Be aware of your surroundings and always know where you are in reference to where you are staying so you, andeveryone you are with, know how to get back there safely. For kids; write it down for them or have your hotel write it for them in Spanish and English. Be discreet: know what the common dress is where you will be and try to blend in so you don't become a target or stand out. Use the do not disturb sign on your hotel room so it appears as though you are in the room. Portable door jammers are small and easy to travel with for added security. For transportation, use UBER or our shuttle services for accountability and track-ability. Know what things cost and carry small bills to make it easy. Carry small bills to make transactions easy and quick especially for cabs and crafts. Know what things should cost to avoid getting hustled and in an awkward position. Make copies of your passport and also email them to you and your family/friends who have your itinerary so you can access them if needed. Email yourself the phone #'s (NOT the card #'s) of all your credit card companies so you can call them in case of an emergency, lost/stolen card. Also, notify them and your bank of your travel. Pack a travel first aid kit in a waterproof pouch. Think of what else you personally need to add to it for things like allergies, etc. Be aware of the environment and avoid too much exposure ie: rain, sun, cold. Bring your resuable water bottle to fill and stay hydrated. The water is safe to drink everywhere except islands. In Panama it is mostly crimes of opportunity, if you are aware, look aware, stay out of the city ghettos, and you keep your items close to you, it is not likely you will experience any troubles. That said, don't be too guarded and miss out on meeting interesting people and the culture but trust your instincts.
  • Packing List
    Packing List One of the many great things about Panama is the warm climate, and the warm water. The sun is always strong here with UV ratings regularly high to extreme so sun protection is something to constantly be aware of to avoid a painful burn. Long sleeves and pants are always recommended for sun and bug protection. We want your experience here to be amazing so we have created this list to help you be as prepared as possible: **Please Remember your reusable water bottle to avoid plastic waste** Personal Health Personal Prescriptions (insulin, inhaler, epi-pen, antihistamine, decongestant, pain reliever, mild laxative, mild sleep aid, etc.) Hand Sanitizer for each traveler in small pocket sizes (keep it in your pockets) and refill bottle Double layer mask – 2 per person (required in health institutions like hospitals) Digital thermometer Disposable gloves Travelers diarrhea antibiotic Glasses and contacts Condoms Ear Plugs Antifungal cream Medical alert bracelet or necklace if used Rash guard and tights for sun protection when surfing or snorkeling Clothing Lightweight long sleeve shirt and pants for sun and bug protection We recommend this company: Outdoor Research. We recommend this company for water sports including fishing and boat tours: Waterlust and if you use this link, 20% of your purchase will be donated to our local Turtle Conservation Group. Shorts and short sleeve shirts (both quick dry and soft cotton) Bathing suits - Waterlust are amazing! Rash guard and tights for sun protection when surfing or snorkeling Waterlust When in the city, it is casual but customary for Men to wear long pants, collared shirts, and shoes rather than sandals. Women typically wear skirts, dresses, and blouses. Jeans are OK too. Not everyone follows these rules but you might find that you are more socially comfortable if you follow the custom. Public transportation ie; busses, can be really cold so a light sweater is recommended The more obvious: underwear, socks, t-shirts, Women find a sarong is really useful Gear Sunscreen, lotion, lip balm, aloe gel (for sunburn), our recommended sunscreen for the face while surfing Bug repellant. Our favorite that we find works well is All - Terrain deet-free repellant. Camera extra battery if necessary Bring a USB with a good amount of storage if you want us to share adventure photos with you. A waterproof bag for your phone and/or camera and valuables for use while hiking, on the beach, or on a boat. Small backpack for use when going on day excursions. A hydration pack for carrying water is really useful. Headlamp & batteries (maybe an extra as well because we often lose power here) Rain Gear is a good idea when out fishing or hiking at higher altitudes otherwise, its best just to wear quick-drying clothes and dry out when the rain stops because it is warm when it rains here. Travel umbrella for rain and sun protection Hat full brim hat for sun protection especially for being on the boat or a ball cap at least Sun protection for the neck if out hiking or on a boat all day Good books for reading Toothbrush, dental floss, toothpaste, Hair brush, hair ties Sunglasses and an extra pair Spanish Phrasebook to help communicate Reusable water bottle to avoid plastic waste High Quality Binoculars Passport and Drivers License Guidebooks for what you enjoy looking at and for children to learn: birds, mammals, butterflies etc. Collapsible fishing pole to take advantage of the great fishing in the estuary and also the rocks along the shore Kids really like to wear goggles when swimming in the estuary and the surf Travel first-aid kit is always nice to have with bandages, tape, Benadryl, antiseptic, painkillers, gauze, sterile dressings, tweezers, scissors, thermometer, antihistamines, sunburn treatment, insect repellant, insect bite treatment, medications for pre-existing conditions, condoms, rubber gloves, anti-diarrhea meds, indigestion/nausea meds like Pepto-Bismol, allergy medications, hydrocortisone cream, temporary suture kit, etc. Footwear Sandals: flip flops for ease but if you want to go for a walk in sandals, it is recommended to wear a Chaco or Keen type sandal for better support and comfort Shoes: running/tennis shoes work well here and can be used on waterfall hikes if you don’t have good solid sandals like a Chaco or Keen Shoes or nice sandals for the city If the unfortunate happens and the airlines loses your luggage it can be devastating to your trip. However, with some helpful tips and a little more effort on your part you can make the recovery faster and/or get reimbursed more easily by the airlines in case it never gets recovere. Here are some ideas to help you: Packing and Luggage Best Practices - It can be pretty devastating when the airlines loses your luggage or even worse - damages your surfboard. It's pretty rare but just in case, here are some helpful tips to help in this situation: Lay out all the items in your luggage and take a photo for inventory just in case it gets lost for good by the airlines. This will speed up the reimbursement process by the airlines just in case. Take a photo of your surf boards and the serial #'s on the boards. Keep track of your baggage tags and also take a picture of them just in case they get lost or damaged. Make sure your luggage has your contact information on an exterior luggage tag that's easy to read and also attach one inside the bag in case the tag on the outside gets lost, ripped off, etc. Make your luggage look different from all the others out there. Most people have black roller luggage and can mistakenly take the wrong one, using a personal identifier that is obvious will help alleviate this problem. Think bedazzler Stickers Colorful tags Paint something cool with a stencil Tracking device that be used with an app on your phone (remember you will need to ensure you have data to use your phone while traveling) luggage belt/strap Colored/patterned duct tape Make sure you know how much luggage is included free of charge with the purchase of your ticket and also the weight limitations so you don't have to pack / unpack when you get to the ticket counter. Again, take a photo of your luggage and its contents in case you need to send it to the airlines to make it easier for them to find it in the event it gets lost. Finally, a great attitude to experience a new country, a new culture, new food, and some great adventure! We are SUPER excited to see and meet you and if you have any questions or concerns at all, please let us know. We want you to have an amazing trip! Always at your service, Cari and Ryan Owners
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