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Is Panama's Top Hostel in the Jungle?
Tuesday, September 30, 2014 How to travel Panama -- Backpackers philosophy

I moved the Panama Hostel Video Blog HERE




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Saturday, March 22, 2014

An Open Letter to Bill Gates: Why you are wrong and how Candy Crush Will Save the World

Like many, I have woken up and made sure that there were no rats in my Farmville crop before I thought about taking out the garbage in my own house.  I own a hostel and recently caught the handyman sitting in a dark shack where we keep our garbage, his face lit up by glowing virtual candy when he too, should have been taking out the garbage.  This can’t be a good thing.  Or can it?  In fact, candy crush can save the world.  Oh and Bill Gates, you are totally wrong.

I live in Panama, and although I have adapted well and generally do not overestimate potential dangers, I recently had a scare.  I’ve been gaining a couple of pounds but vow to lose it so I promised I will not buy clothes a size larger.  There was some irritation just below my navel and thought it was a mole irritated by my belt and bulging waistline.  A few days passed but the irritation did not so I decided to contemplate my spot.  It’s an ingrown hair I thought because of the little hair protruding from below the spot.  Wait, no, those aren’t hairs.  Those are legs.  Fricken legs!



Turns out this little critter attached to me and I panicked and ripped it out.  I had been warned as a kid about fatal diseases ticks can carry and thought they must be worse in the tropics.  I had a problem.  Perhaps that problem was paranoia but it was a problem nonetheless.

I went to the two local private hospitals in the small Panamanian city that has become home and I spoke with the doctors.  (In Spanish.  There’s an app for that, thank you Duolingo.com)  I tried to find a dermatologist but there were none. Thought about the university to find a biologist.  That wouldn’t work

So I took out my smart phone and took a photo.  I became a photographer.  Then I did a reverse image search on Google and came up with a shortlist of potential species and searched again with Google images.  I became an entomologist. Found the species and then got on WebMD.  I became a doctor.  I discovered the tick was a female Cayenne tick and they can carry the fatal Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.  So then I searched Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Panama.  I became a researcher.  A doctor had published a rare case of the disease ten years ago and remarked on how it was rare because there had not been a reported case since the 60’s.  The disease was rare here.  I ceased to be a hypochondriac. 

(To write this article I typed bug specialist into Google to learn to spell entomologist.)
None of these tools, my smart phone camera, WebMD, Google were around years ago.  I can now problem solve on my own.  Cramming information into our brains is useless.  All the doctors I talked to in the hospital couldn’t tell me anything except that the dermatologist is on vacation.  My ex girlfriend, now a doctor, did her homework on WebMD.

What a waste of time it is to memorize something now at the tip of our fingers.  We need to become problem solvers not trivia experts.  

Experiments in Education

In the United States The Minerva Project is experimenting with this at the university level.  It’s a new university being set up by former Snapfish founder Ben Nelson. “Students who need introductory classes such as Economics 101 will be encouraged to find free online lectures. Anything that can be delivered in a lecture, we don't think it's particularly moral of us to charge money for," he said.
In developing countries some educators are catching on that student-led learning and collaboration problem solving yield better results.  In a violent poverty stricken village in Mexico, Sergio Juárez Correa introduced “the logic of the digital age to the classroom.  Access to a world of infinite information has changed how we communicate, process information, and think. Innovation, creativity, and independent thinking are increasingly crucial to the global economy.”  Schools are now forming in the virtual cloud and the physical classroom nothing more than one room with a caretaker.  On the computer a problem is presented and the students self organize around it and take charge of solving it.  I dare you to read how Sergio led one of the most underprivileged girls in Mexico rise to the top of the math ranks in Mexico without shedding a tear. Read the Wired article HERE.

Bill You Are Wrong and Google is Right

Two thirds of the planet’s population have limited access to the internet and Google plans to change that with the crazy idea of WiFi balloons.  Bill, you said, “When you're dying of malaria, I suppose you'll look up and see that balloon, and I'm not sure how it'll help you.”  I’ll tell you Bill.  The lure of the internet will… what’s the word?  Squish?  No, crush, crush malaria.  Candy Crush will crush malaria.  

The French canal workers in my adopted country of Panama failed at problem solving.  They tried to build a sea level canal before the Americans succeeded.  Part of the reason the Americans triumphed was they solved the problem of malaria with knowledge.  They discovered that malaria was contracted by mosquito bites and refitted all their camps with screens.  Knowledge is power.
And to tell you the truth Bill, with all due respect, kids without malaria would much rather play Candy Crush than eradicate malaria.  What use are all these balloons in villages without electricity?  You do not know the power and allure those little virtual candies hold and the lengths people will go to charge their phones to get at them.  Maybe they will use the smokeless stoves being developed by THIS COMPANY raising money on Kickstarter, that charge cell phones.  Maybe they will download plans to build a windmill or they’ll burn calories on stationary bike that charges their phone.  I don’t know how but they will find a way to get at those little candies.

A great man (his name slips my memory) once said, “I believe if you show people the problems, and you show them the solutions, they will act.” I believe if you show people the problems, and you show them the tools to solve the problems, they will solve them on their own.  And in the process they will educate themselves.  Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world and now it is hiding just beneath a game of Candy Crush. (And more people will read this letter to you because it will climb high in Google rankings because of the number of times it contains the words candy and crush.)

The handyman I caught playing Candy Crush has now dropped it.  Sometimes I catch him on Duolingo, a colorful free app with a cute bird that masquerades as a game but is also a tool to learn any language in the world.  He gets a $25 bonus with each level he achieves.  The handyman is now a manager and runs tours at my hostel.  The more English he learns, the better his tours are and the more I charge.  I don’t mind that he is playing on his cell phone.

In one day, trying to solve my tick bite paranoia I was a Spanish student, photographer, entomologist doctor and researcher.  But the proudest thing I have become is a teacher.  One third of the world covered by the internet is not enough.  Candy Crush and Google will change that.  So Bill, take that and stick it in your Windows 8.  (Seriously dude, put a cool game there, maybe people will think about using it.)

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Monday, February 17, 2014 Things to do in Panma

My favorite things to do in Panama


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Things to do in Panama



Below are all the details you need about the locations featured in the video below.

Top things to do in The Republic of Panama

San Blas

As shown in the video there are several ways to experience San Blas.  1) Rustic hostel like bungalows/camping 2) As part of an adventure tour with a charter cruise of the islands and 3) As part of sailing adventure on a boat to Colombia.

For all of these options your best bet is to stop by Luna’s Castle and/or Hostel Mamallena, even if you are not a backpacker.  The reason being is, whichever San Blas island you chose, or whatever boat to Colombia you pick, your experience will depend on who is going to share your island or boat.  These two hostels in Panama City are the top places for booking so even if you are not staying there you will want to drop by.  Hostel Mamallena has its own tour agency,  Panama Travel Unlimited and is a reputable company.  I lifted the following from their website and it has the most accurate information about San Blas as you can find:

The San Blas islands, or Kuna Yala, comprise of 365(one for everyday of the year they say) islands located along the Caribbean coats of Panama.  Granted semi independence in 1925, the Kuna Yala is run by an elected Congresso.  Some 40 islands are inhabited and run by a chief who is a representative to the Congresso.  The Kunas have managed to fiercely retain their culture for over 500 years, despite repression by first the colonial Spanish and then Panamanian governments.  Life in the islands is still very traditional, many live as their families have done for generations.  The Kunas guard their San Blas islands by only allowing Kunas to own property within their areas.  Foreign, or Panamanian , owned businesses are not allowed.  Only some communities have running water and cooking is still often done over open fires.  Most people still sleep in hammocks in communal areas inside their huts.  The women still wear brightly coloured clothing, wide skirts and multi-coloured beaded bracelets wrapped the whole length of their lower legs and arms.  It`s not uncommon to see Kuna women dressed like this in all parts of Panama.

Camping
Franklin’s: Well known over the last few years by the hostel and backpacking crowd in Panama, Franklins has become one of the places we send backpackers to the most and rarely get complaints. They have a number of cabins and a beach on their half off the island. The island is small but split into 2, although it is hard to distinguish any divide and it seems to be no problem to wander around the islands fringes in the shallow surf. They charge $26.00 per person per night for dorms with 3-5 sharing or $60 for private rooms for two, this includes three simple meals a day, snacks and water you have to either bring it or buy over there. You can organize tours to other islands from $3-$10 per person, just ask Franklin. The boat to and from the island is $10 each way. The island is generally one of the cleanest. There is some very good snorkelling in and around the shore. With plenty of Star fish, Sting rays and more….
Robinson’s: One of the original places in San Blas for backpackers and the hostel crowd, although the location is different to the old Robinsons as they moved to a larger island near the original. This island is larger than Franklins but still relatively small. There are three to four groups of Cabanas and about six Kuna families living on the island. They charge $20.00 per person per night for dorms, or $50 for private cabins for two, including three meals a day, snacks and water you have to either bring it or buy over there, there is a tour to the local Community included in your stay, and others can be organised for a cost. The boat to and from the island is $10 each way. This island was, and still is, popular with backpackers but Robinson seems to have very bad phone reception so don’t be surprised if we have trouble trying to contact him.
Ina’s: Ina is the Nephew of Robinson, although at times you wouldn’t think it….., it boasts the usual shacks with sand floors. It is located just up the beach from Robinsons. Some cabins are shared, some are private. They cost $22pp for dorms and $50 for private rooms for 2 people, including the usual three meals a day, snacks and water you have to either bring it or buy over there.  Ina can arrange many tours to Islands like Dog or Estrella so just ask him and arrange a price when you are there. The boat to and from the island is $10 each way. This island is more built up than Franklins but is much bigger and has decent beaches. At the moment Ina is one of our top picks as the reviews coming back about the family and the food have been very positive, but things in San Blas are never consistent and this could change at any time. 
Eulogio’s Place: One of the original homestays on one of the main Carti Islands. They’ve recently built an upstairs part to their house which has good airflow, but is still very basic. This is the best way to experience Kuna culture if that is what you prefer instead of lazing on a beach, but do not expect to be there alone, it’s like a hostel. He charges $30 per person per night, and includes the usual three basic meals per day. The main town has a number of small stores where you can buy snacks, drinks and so on. Food is basic and toilets are placed over the sea. Includes daily tours to the local beach islands where you can spend the day swimming, snorkelling and lazing on the beach. Some of these islands have nothing but a local family, a couple of cabins and palm trees. In the afternoon you’ll return to Carti for the night. Eulogio and his brother Germain are great guys but just watch that they don’t try to overcharge you! They are pretty well known for it
Eulogio also arranges accommodations on the stunning Hook Island for $45 per person per night in simple private cabins for two with decent toilets and bucket showers. Hook Island is one of the more untouched islands, very clean and great snorkelling, you will often see fisherman pulling in a catch on the reef around the island. It is less developed and very quiet compared to the other islands and recommended for couples mainly.
Charter Boats and Boats to Colombia

Recently the Kuna Indians banned foreigners without permits from operating in the San Blas islands.  Ship captains change and information is updated continuously.  For that reason you should contact Panama Travel Unlimited and it wouldn’t hurt to drop by or email Luna’s Castle to ask the names of boat captains… then google the hell out of them.  Then ask, at both locations, if they have booked people.  Sometimes captains wait for a full boat and the passengers that are waiting are hanging out at one of these hostels in Panama City.  Drop by and try to meet them to see if you can spend five days on a small boat with them.

The Lost and Found

My favorite hostel and top hostel from The Lonely Planet and Tripadvisor.  Not so much a hostel as a location in itself where you can do a lot of the tours you can do in Boquete but at a fraction of the price.  Their coffee tour is much more authentic and less touristy than ones you will find in Boquete.  It can be used as a base in lieu of Boquete to explore the Caldera hot springs and the Gualaca river canyons and for much cheaper.  It is nicely situated as well, breaking up the long trip from Panama City to Bocas.  There is also nothing like the free treasure hunt that makes hiking and animal watching an adventure even for those who don’t like hiking.  Have a look at their top ten video on their website. (It’s stung together with mostly footage from me.)

Coiba

Often referred to as “Panama’s Galapagos”, Parque Nacional Coiba was established by the Panamanian government in 1991 which protected both Isla Coiba and its surrounding waters as a national park. The legislation also allowed for the penal colony on Isla Coiba to continue operating since its presence was considered a deterrent from development. The penal colony has since closed and the park was expanded in 2004. July of 2005, Coiba was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A Biological Research Station has been constructed and the park now charges an entrance fee to visitors to help fund park protection and maintenance. ANAM, the Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente or National Authority of the Environment, helps monitor and protect the area.


Bocas

Bocas is hardly off the beaten path so I have few secrets to share.  There’s no end to information on Bocas if you google it.  It is filled with backpacker hot spots and cheap hostels and there are a lot of things to do in Bocas.  The spots you see in the video are Mondu Taitu hostel and Aqua Lounge, both in the top five places to party.  A great spot to learn to surf without being self conscious of gawkers is Chica Surf Adventures.  But there’s a catch.. women only.
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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Great new video showing how to climb Volcan Baru... one of my favorite things to do in Panama.  Definately top of my list of things to do in Boquete.


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Wednesday, April 14, 2010 The Little Fish and the Dam

What did the little fish say when he banged his head against the wall? “Dam!”
For the past four years I have been that little fish.
At the urging of Panama’s tourism authority (ATP) and the former provincial director of Panama’s environmental authority (ANAM) my business partner and I built The Lost and Found, a hike in only jungle hostel ten kilometers from a massive hydroelectric dam built by Hydro Quebec. Some call the dam Panama’s second architectural wonder. A feature in a Panamanian paper described the dam as having enormous turbines housed in soccer field sized chambers deep underground. Tunnels large enough to park a chain of jetliners burrow through mountains to new water sources. Or so they say. The papers were not permitted to photograph for security reasons.
This same paper says you can arrange tours so I have made repeated trips to their offices in the nearest city, David. But the maple leaf flags from my home country on the executives SUV’s were not as welcoming as the executives themselves. There were never any tours available when I asked. But this was not the rejection that nearly bankrupted me.
My builder, responsible for obtaining all our permits, assured me that he had everything he needed to build. Then our builder quit with the project unfinished, the provincial director of ANAM that urged us to build was fired, our environmental impact assessment was rejected, ANAM fined us and we were told our project was shut.
“Damn Dam”
It turned out the director of the Fortuna dam wrote a letter of objection to what is essentially the minister of the environment, the director of ANAM. We visited her -- she smiled politely, told us she loved the eco-friendliness of the project but that we first needed to convince the Canadian director of the dam.
“Bullshit” said the then director of Panama’s tourism authority, Ruben Blades. The government of Panama is the only authority that accepts or rejects environmental impact statements he told us. He was willing to go to bat for us but (in his words) we had better not be dicking him around. So before we asked for his help we decided to do another, much more thorough ($$$), environmental impact assessment.
For the new study I decided to visit the same environmental engineer that the dam used for their projects. I told him that I thought maybe the dam was worried about the impact we might have on the environment. My plan was to hire him to first make recommendations to limit our impact and then to do our study that we would submit both to ANAM and the dam. He thought it was a great idea but first he wanted to meet with the director of the dam (a friend of his) then he would take our project. A week later the meeting in his office was much more formal. He would not take our project. He said the director of the dam was furious with us but would not say why. He advised us to give up.
We chose another environmental engineer from a list of recommended engineers on the ANAM website. We decided if our second study was rejected we would take Ruben Blades offer of help.
Before Ruben Blades was the minister of the environment he was a famous salsa singer and actor. After his offer for help I began to check out his movies and noticed a trend… early exits. Whereas Arnie lasts the entire first Predator movie, Ruben dies fast in Predator 2. Like his films, by the time we would need a favor from Ruben he had already exited politics. (Arnie is still the Gubenator)
Our second environmental study sat collecting dust through national elections in which Dr. Blades government was replaced. Then our second study was rejected again supposedly because our environmental engineer had not turned in requested adjustments to our study within the fifteen days allowed. Apparently they can take over a year and half to make decisions but when they ask for amendments and adjustments we have to comply within 15 days. But, it turns out, our adjustments were turned in on time and we had proof. How did they loose our paper work? Why was our study sitting there without decisions being made?
We pulled that rejection out of the fire.
“Damn Damn Dam!”
I began to feel like the little fish constantly banging my head against a brick dam.
The dam company is powerful. It generates something between thirty and forty percent of Panama’s electricity. Forty Eight percent of the dam is actually owned by the Panamanian government. They make multiple millions of dollars a year. This did not encourage me.
The Lost and Found sits on an old coffee and citrus farm – an island of titled land inside the Fortuna Forest Reserve. “Titled” is the key word. The process of titling land is remarkably efficient and transparent for a Central American country. A legal surveyor maps the land, neighbors sign off and it is all logged and publicized on the internet along with land values before and after the sale. Our land was titled in the sixties before the creation of the Fortuna Forest Reserve. The vast majority of others in the reserve do not have the same rights as we do.
I wrote an email to the director of the dam asking him if he would like to work together toward the mutual goals of protecting the environment and educating the community. He wrote back saying that everyone in the reserve were considered tolerated squatters with little rights. He asked us to leave. He clearly ignored the fact that we held titled land. The only reason he gave for his objection – he did not want to set a precedent of development. But with one of the rare pieces of titled land in the reserve, this is not logical.
Makes me wonder that when Hydro Quebec proposed the building of the dam if the displaced people knew they would be one day considered “tolerated squatters”. Locals tell me that the dam company itself wrote the law that created the reserve.
The friends I have made in the local community are frustrated by a dam they see as taking a lot and giving little. Before the dam was created every business owner received a brown, wooden sign with yellow print from the dam’s PR team. This is the same color, font and style as signs in national parks so it was not surprising that locals were excited that they now lived in a park. And the businesses that received these new signs did well. Initially they were full with the workers that built the dam. Then they were empty. And now the donated signs are rotting on the side of the road in front of closed restaurants.
It seems to be a pattern outlined in a tell-all by John Perkins titled “Confessions of an Economic Hitman”. The book tells story after story of multinationals that exaggerate economic benefits and bribe governments to build a project with most of the expertise foreign and the capitol flowing out of the developing nation.
Two things changed the currents for us: the new president of the republic and the local community.
President Ricardo Martinelli was elected with around sixty percent of the popular vote. He was serious about closing down projects negligent with their taxes. At a project site where tax dodgers were dropping boulders into the Bay of Panama to make more land for a marina he erected a big fence and put up a sign, “Property of the Government of Panama”. Panama needed the money, he announced at a press conference, for better schools and improved health care. His popularity now hovers around the nineties.
He also got serious with the hydro dams. The contracts signed by previous administrations, he said, were biased towards the dams and whose profits were being paid for by Panamanians paying too much for electricity. He couldn’t revisit the contracts but he could tax the dams before they sold power to the grid, either by water usage or per kilowatt of power they generated. Now Panamanians power bills are lower. At least we know the current president and ANAM is not in the pocket of the dams.
I don’t know if the dams were involved in bribery. I cannot pretend to understand the inner workings of the higher echelons of the Panamanian government. But I have seen how locals have responded to the Fortuna dam. Shortly after the election of Ricardo Martinelli I was invited by a local coffee farmer to what I understood from my limited Spanish to be a coffee judging competition in a local village. When I arrived I was surprised to see hundreds of people. I was there at the invitation of the organic coffee farmer who wanted to show the villagers that even if the big Panamanian coffee producers don’t pay more for organic coffee, tourists will. The event slowly turned into a show of support for a town that despite being in the reserve and not far from electricity lines taking power to Costa Rica, they were still without electricity. Seemed I was not the only fish in the reservoir.
When our first environmental impact assessment was rejected after objection from the Fortuna dam I moved to the city to work on our budget overruns. My business partner opened low key mostly for events with the Peace Corps – anything just to feed himself while we waited for approval of our second study. He was at the one roadside restaurant in town and shared organic fruit wine made by the organic farmer, Don Cune. Cune is a character, part drinking buddy and wise grandfather, part crazy inventor. Everyone really does call him crazy and his farm is commonly referred to as Finca de los Locos. He is crazy, first for not using pesticides when he hasn’t yet found a market for his (amazing) organic coffee and second, for all the strange inventions to trap insects around his farm.
A school of fish swimming against the stream banging heads against the dam
Don Cune has become the perfect example of the perfect strategic alliance. Cune does not have title to his farm like The Lost and Found does. He has no sons. His grandson he hopes will continue farming. If he does not, according to laws of land possession for squatters, whoever uses the land owns it. But Cune is also worried his grandson will not continue the legacy of organic farming. The tours Cune runs with The Lost and Found are what make his farm viable. He hopes his granddaughter will continue the tours and his progeny work together long after he passes. His granddaughter has not missed a single English lesson run by our volunteers.
Pronat, a government organization facilitating the titling of land sent representatives to the provinces to encourage locals to consider titling. But when they came to the Fortuna Forest Reserve the agenda was different. It seemed the entire community turned up to learn how they could get titled like The Lost and Found. The community was disappointed to learn they would never get title. In an emotional moment for me, Don Cune stood up and asked that The Lost and Found not be harassed. With our title we were the ones the community looked to to bring tourism.
At present we have three full time workers. I like to note that this is three times as many full time local positions as the dam provides. This is easy for us to say when they have hired only one local person full time. We teach English to our employees that earn more from tours and as we grow, we hire more. I sometimes give rides to locals and just the other day a stranger told me how he makes extra money when Cune uses his horses for our horseback riding tours. Maybe we can get the ball rolling. Cune can make his farm profitable through tourism and more farmers will go organic.
Maybe some of the empty coffee shops will fill again with tourists like they did once with dam workers. Success is the ultimate revenge it is said. If it is the little fish from Canada instead the dam that brings tourism it will be the ultimate way to flip the bird to the multinationals that once asked us to leave.
It may be frustrating to be a little fish banging against a hard wall. But as a foreigner, invited into a school of fish, that learn to swim, jump and eventually cross the wall is a great feeling. The greatest rewards come with the greatest challenges.
On Thursday May 8th, 2010, I went to the offices of ANAM in David and signed the resolution accepting our second environmental impact assessment.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009 Beginnings

























































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Friday, November 21, 2008

We now have a New Website:
http://www.lostandfoundlodge.com/
Or Call Andrew at: 6-581-9223
.
Panama Tours Start at $490! Coming the first week in March!
Scroll down for details.

We have a new blog and the archives have been moved there. Check out:

http://www.backpackpanama.blogspot.com/

Panama’s only fully functional eco-lodge inside the cloud forest.
● Hours of hiking trails through the protected primary rainforest of Fortuna.
● Hot showers, private rooms and dorms.

● One of Panama’s best birding and backpacking spots.



● Fresh free orange juice and coffee from the resort citrus grove and organic coffee farm.


● Monkey’s, sloths, kinkajous, honey bears, blue morpho butterflies and much more frequent the observations platforms overlooking Volcan Baru and stunning mountain vistas.



● Rainy day protection with hundred’s of free books and movies, dozens of games, karaoke and foosball.


● Be a beach bum and explore secluded beaches and kayak through turquoise waters.



● Take off-road excursions to hot springs and petroglyphs.



● Swim through hidden canyons and secret waterfalls on accessible day trips.



● Tour a certified organic farm on horseback with wine and coffee tasting.



● Experience the jungle at night on a guided night safari with uv lights and night vision technology.

● Complete Panama packages available with a bilingual Panamanian guide that will show you a Panama no guide book can reveal.

● Your guide will teach Spanish and Salsa then lead you to the Panama’s hippest spots to practice them both.


● Come with us to San Blas!


Kune’s organic farm tour and horseback excursionHiking Scale: Easy

● From The Lost and Found travel by 4 x 4 to the region’s only organic farm.
● Tour the farm and learn how one local family is proudly bucking the trend by going it alone with the region’s only certified organic farm.
● Sit down with Kune and his family to have a genuine Panamanian farm to table lunch made with local organic ingredients. See how the Panamanian specialty, Sancocho, is made with free range chicken.
● After lunch Kune will be happy to share the stories, secrets and challenges of organic production in Panama and be even more eager to share a glass or wine or cup of coffee with you… and remember to take some home with you for free!
● Continue on horseback through the Chiriqui highlands with views of Volcan Baru and valleys all the way down the Pacific.
● Price: $95

Waterfalls, Canyons and Panama’s Second Architectural WonderHiking Scale: Easy to Moderate

● See inside and out of Panama’s largest working hydro project in the Fortuna Forest Reserve. A massive array of tunnels, some large enough to hold several jumbo jets, channel water from all over the reserve to feed the dam. No cameras are allowed inside the tunnels for security purposes.
● Journey off the backpacker trail to a secluded little restaurant and fuel up.
● Hike through the hidden canyon then swim to a spectacular cascading waterfall.
● Price: $45

Caldera Pertroglyphs and Hot springs Hiking Scale: Easy

● See the mysterious pre-Columbian carvings on centuries old volcanic rock
● 4 x 4 access only across the suspension bridge of the Caldera river
● Warm up in one of the several pools of bubbling sulfur water then cool off with a dip in the river.
● Enjoy a wine and cheese picnic.
● The perfect tour to include on a pick up or drop off in Boquete!
● Price: $35

Night Safari – Hiking Scale: Moderate to Difficult (High tolerance for all things wild)

● Journey deep into the jungle of Panama with naturalist and local native guide to see the jungle when it truly comes alive.

●After sun set venture out with high powered flashlights and digital cameras to hunt for rare snakes, tarantulas and elusive wild cats.
● Settle back in the dark with UV light and night vision technology to let the jungle come to you. ● 2 – 3 hour night hikes also available on request.
● Price: $ 145 (Maximum 4 people)

Secluded Beach ExplorationHiking Scale: Moderate

● Travel down to the Gulf of Chiriqui for an overnight kayak adventure
● Explore secret beaches, snorkel through the coral searching for turtles and humpbacks.
● Cook hotdogs and smores by the campfire.
● Set up a tent or sleep under the stars on your very own beach.
● Price: $155

The Complete Panama Package!

● All packages include a bilingual Panamanian guide. She is more than your host and interpreter; she is your Spanish with insider secrets into the best restaurants, nightspots and cultural experiences.
● All travelers receive a cell phone for use during the entire length of stay with your guide’s number to call 24/7.
● Although there are planned activities there is ample time to explore the city on your own.

Tour Prices

Total 28 day Panama Package: $2490
Each leg separately: $999

28 day Freedom Tour: $1290
Each (8 day) leg separately: $490

Add $25 per day for private room upgrade.

Trip Style
Backpacker Adventure

Physical Demands
Ability to swim for kayak and river expeditions.
Must be in physical condition for moderate mountain hikes with a pack.

Group Size
Average: 6
Maximum: 10

Tour Leader
Your leader is a bilingual Panamanian
Also your Spanish teacher!
You will be given a cell phone to contact her 24/7

Transport
Local buses and boats
Company 4x4 for off-road adventures

Total Panama Package Itinerary In Brief

Leg 1 – 8 days
Panama City (Indian villages and caves, canal tour)
Isla Iguana (Whale watching and beach exploration)
The Lost and Found (Organic coffee tour, horseback adventure)
David (BBQ pool party)

Leg 2 – 8 days
La Amistad National Park (Quetzal Trail)
Boquete (Gardens, Animal Sanctuaries, Hot Springs)
Caldera (Hot springs and petroglyphs)
Las Lajas (Surfing and beach party)

Leg 3- 8 days
Bocas Del Toro (Beaches, snorkeling and Caribbean fiestas)
The Lost and Found (Waterfalls and night safari)
Panama City (Colonial Quarter, Salsa and dance hotspots)
San Blas (Indigenous culture, white sand and seafood feasts)

Flexibility:

The trip runs consecutively back to back so you can begin at any leg of the tour.

Start at leg 3 (if you come from Costa Rica) continue with leg 1 in Panama City and finish where you started in Bocas with leg 2. Any combination works!

Lots of free days in Panama City, Boquete, and Bocas Del Toro for volcano treks, zip line canopy tours, surfing and scuba diving add ons.

Freedom Tour

The freedom tour follows the same route and includes all transportation and accommodation. It includes the overnight camping trip to Isla Iguana but all other activities are not included. You have the freedom to add activities. The complete price list of day trips and activities can be found on www.lostandfoundlodge.com as well as Frequently Asked Questions.

Meals Included
Many meals are covered for day trips and in locations where food options are limited.
Where there are unique and interesting restaurants to discover, meals are not included.
See trip itinerary in details to see what days meals are covered.

Meal Budget
Allow $150 to $200 per leg for meals not included. For additional details see Tour FAQs.

Other expenses
Food and your international flight are the two highest expenses you are responsible for but there other expenses you should be aware of. Days in Bocas, Boquete and Panama City mostly free days however your tour guide will invite you out to dinner and to some of the local hotspots. During your free time in Bocas and Boquete there are lots of great tour option from Volcano expeditions to zip line tours. How much extra you need depends on how many add ons you would like.

Accommodation
Dorms with private room upgrades in Panama’s best hostels
Mamallena’s
Bambu Hostel
Hostel Refugio
The Lost and Found
The Gran Kahuna
Dim’s Hostel

Itinerary In Detail

Leg 1

Day 1
Where: Panama City
Accommodation: Mamallena’s
Meals: Not included
Details: Your guide will meet you at the hostel; give you a cell phone with her number and your first Spanish lesson. In the evening the group will have an informational dinner to get to know each other then your guide will take you on a city walking tour with great night views of the bay and city skyline. The tour has a couple of quick pub stops and ends in the city’s nightlife center. Or you can follow your guide back to the hostel if you want an early start the next day.

Day 2
Where: Panama City
Accommodation: Mamallena’s
Meals: Not included
Details: The morning starts with Spanish lessons. The afternoon is free but your guide will offer a tour of Casco Viejo and the Miraflores locks on the Panama Canal. In the evening she will head out to the Causeway for dinner with amazing views of the skyline and luxury yachts.

Day 3
Where: Panama City
Accommodation: Mamallena’s
Meals: Lunch included
Details: Today you will travel back in time in a dugout canoe up the Chagres River to visit an Embera village where the food (fresh fish!) dress, customs and culture is as it was when Columbus landed. Be prepared for body painting and to explore caves and waterfalls.

Day 4
Where: Pedasi
Accommodation: Dim’s Hostel
Meals: Not included
Details: We travel overland along the Pan American highway to Santiago. Your bus trip is a great time to take advantage of free Spanish lessons. Then we head down to the charming coastal town of Pedasi on the Azuero Peninsula.

Day 5
Where: Isla Iguana
Accommodation: Camping
Meals: Dinner Included
Details: Today we head out to Isla Iguana. Keep a lookout for the humpback whales that frequent the area on your boat ride out. We’ll camp on the island, and snorkel with the turtles. We’ll most likely have the entire island with two white sand beaches to ourselves and of course numerous colonies of iguanas.

Day 6
Where: The Fortuna Forest Reserve
Accommodation: The Lost and Found Eco Lodge
Meals: Lunch included
Details: From The Lost and Found we travel by 4 x 4 to the region’s only organic farm. We’ll tour the farm and learn how one local family is proudly bucking the trend by going it alone with the region’s only certified organic farm. We’ll sit down with Kune and his family to have a genuine Panamanian farm to table lunch made with local organic ingredients and see how the Panamanian specialty, Sancocho, is made with free range chicken. After lunch Kune will share the stories, secrets and challenges of organic production in Panama and be even more eager to share a glass or his homemade wine or cup of his own organic coffee with you. After we will continue on horseback through the Chiriqui highlands with views of Volcan Baru and valleys all the way down the Pacific.

Day 7
Where: The Fortuna Forest Reserve
Accommodation: The Lost and Found Eco Lodge
Meals: Not included
Details: A day of relaxing or hiking. There are several hikes inside the reserve for birding and animal watching. Hike to rivers or through waterfalls and canyons accessed through Finca La Suiza.

Day 8
Where: David
Accommodation: Bambu Hostel
Meals: BBQ dinner included
Details: We head to Panama’s second largest city to Bambu hostel for a BBQ pool party.

Leg 2

Day 9
Where: Parque Nacional De La Amistad to Boquete
Accommodation: Hostel Refugio
Details: We drive up into the national park for unique trails that wind through the nesting areas of the elusive Quetzal. The trail to Boquete is long but is a net loss in elevation meaning there is more downhill than uphill. We drop you off up at the trail entrance and your guide takes you around Volcan Baru and the truck with your bags meets you on the other side.

Day 10
Where: Boquete
Accommodation: Hostal Refugio
Meals: Not included
Details: Your guide will take you on a walking tour of the town, showing you the best gardens, restaurants and the perfect place to sit by the fire in the evening with wine, strawberries and cream. Included in the tour is a stop at Paradise Gardens to visit animals rescued and cared for before being reintroduced into the wilds.

Day 11
Where: Boquete
Accommodation: Hostal Refugio
Meals: Not included
Details: A free day with plenty of add ons to choose from. Hike to the summit of Volcan Baru, see how the big coffee plantations operate, go white water rafting or take a zip-line canopy tour.

Day 12
Where: Caldera River
Accommodation: Fortuna Forest Reserve
Meals: Wine and Cheese included
Details: Today we’ll take a 4x4 across the suspension bridge over the Caldera River. You’ll see the mysterious pre-Columbian carvings on century’s old volcanic rock. Warm up in one of the several pools of bubbling sulfur water then cool off with a dip in the river.

Day 13
Where: Las Lajas Beach
Accommodation: Hostel de la Abuela
Meals: Not included
Details: We head to the beach on the Pacific. At the beach front hostel you can use our board if the surf’s up, catch some rays and sit by the fire on the beach in the evening.

Day 14
Where: Fortuna Forest Reserve
Accommodation: The Lost and Found Eco Lodge
Meals: Not included
Details: You’ll see inside and out of Panama’s largest working hydro project in the Fortuna Forest Reserve. A massive array of tunnels, some large enough to hold several jumbo jets, channel water from all over the reserve to feed the dam. No cameras are allowed inside the tunnels for security purposes. We’ll journey off the backpacker trail to a secluded little restaurant and fuel up then hike through the hidden canyon then swim to a spectacular cascading waterfall.

Day 15
Where: Caribbean Coast
Accommodation: Gran Kahuna
Meals: Not included
Details: We drive along the Caribbean this time on our way to Bocas Del Toro. We stop for lunch and kayaking at La Escapada. In the evening your guide will give a short tour of Bocas Town and end at The Wreck Deck Bar for dancing and drinks. The sunken ship illuminated around the square dock attracts all kinds of fish and open for swimming at all hours.

Day 16
Where: Bocas Del Toro
Accommodation: Gran Kahuna
Meals: Not included
Details: All days in Bocas are free but you can follow your guide out to Crawl Cay for lunch and snorkeling. After she’ll help you search for the elusive red frog and soak in the sun at Red Frog Beach.

Leg 3

Day 17
Where: Bocas Del Toro
Accommodation: Gran Kahuna
Meals: Not included
Details: A free day with lots of add ons from biking to surfing and scuba diving.

Day 18
Where: The Fortuna Forest Reserve
Accommodation: The Lost and Found Eco Lodge
Meals: Not included
Details: We’ll take the last boat out to the mainland and back to The Lost and Found. In the evening we’ll have a campfire sing along weather permitting and a night safari.

Day 19
Where: Gulf of Chiriqui
Accommodation: Bambu hostel
Meals: Not included
Details: Today we island hop and search for dolphins and humpback whales.

Day 20
Where: Panama City
Accommodation: Mamallena’s
Meals: Not included
Details: We travel along the Pan American highway back to Panama. In Panama we head out to The Causeway to dine and watch the luxury yachts drift past.

Day 21
Where: San Blas
Accommodation: Cuna Family
Meals: Included
Details: The most beautiful untouched islands in the Caribbean. We will stay with an Indigenous family and become a part of island life that has been unchanged for decades.

Day 22
Where: San Blas
Accommodation: Cuna Family
Meals: Included
Details: Snorkeling and just enjoying life on a hammock are highlights.

Day 23
Where: Panama City
Accommodation: Mamallena’s
Meals: Not included
Details: City treasure hunt, trip to Ancon for spectacular views of the city where secret World War II bunkers are and Mis Pueblitos with artisans selling their handicrafts and replicas of village architecture.

Day 24
Where: Panama City
Accommodation: Mamallena’s
Meals: Not included
Details: End of trip dinner and party – It will be hard to say goodbye.


Our Goal

Lost and Found Adventure Tours was started by two seasoned backpackers when they recognized that regular backpacker guides like The Lonely Planet and Moon Handbooks couldn’t cover all there is to see and do in Panama. And many adventure tour companies that operate in Central America, like GAP, offer budget tours but tend to stick to the backpacker circuit anyway. We know hostel life is a blast. But sticking to the hostel trail, especially in Panama, will mean missing so much that is off the beaten track. But this needs organization, often a 4x4 and money. That’s where we come in.

Backpackers want to learn something new, experience the local culture and make friends.

Too often a language gap separates the traveler from experiencing the local culture. We cover this gap with free daily Spanish lessons – and Salsa lessons to boot, then your tour guide, a local herself, will take you to where you can use both.

Backpackers want adventure. But here too is a wide gap between high adventure and affordability. Hiking mountain trails, kayaking to deserted islands or venturing deep into the jungle at night all qualify as adventure but this usually breaks the backpacker’s bank. Lost and Found tours can offer all these activities and more because we own our own eco lodge in the cloud forest of the Fortuna Forest Reserve, set in coffee and citrus groves perfectly equidistant from the Pacific and Caribbean.

Lost and Found Adventure Tours Panama – Bridging the gap of the Americas has never been so fun!


Directions and Pick ups

To get here, you can take the bus, drive or get picked up...

Lost and Found EcoLodge is located within the Fortuna Cloud Forest. It is on the highway that links the Chiriqui and Bocas Del Toro provinces (near km marker 42).

When taking the bus...

From David...approximately $2.50 or $3.00
Take the Changuinola (Bocas Del Toro) bus from the main terminal. It is best to board the bus with your bad with you – then it is easier for the driver to just drop you off and not have to dig for your bag. After about 1 hour on the bus you come to a yellow toll booth that your bus passes through. This toll booth is in a very small community called, Valle De La Mina. 3 minutes later on your right hand side (near km marker 42), you will see 3 big yellow rocks and a yellow sign that says, “You Have Found The Lost Paradise.” Hike up behind the sign for 10 or 15 minutes and you are there! See You Soon! If you want help carrying up your bags, send one person up and we will come help you. Remember to tip your helper. Arrive in daylight or remember your flashlight.

From Almirante or Changuinola... $5 to $8
Take the bus heading towards David. After about 2.5 or 3 hours you will come to a big lake/dam, called Fortuna. 10 or so minutes past the lake (keep focused, pops up quickly because there are NO landmarks after the dam) you will see the 3 big yellow rocks and the yellow sign that says, “You Have Found The Lost Paradise” on your left side (near km marker 42).” Hike up behind the sign for 10 or 15 minutes and you are there! See You Soon! If you want help carrying up your bags, send one person up and we will come help you. Remember to tip your helper. Arrive in daylight or remember your flashlight.

By car...

Use the above directions. You can park at the neighbors house for $2/night (for security) or just off the road for free.

By our pickup...

We can pick you up and sight see along the way. Each price is for the car (max 4 people). Here are our fees.

From David... $30
From Boquete... $50
From Almirante... $70
From Changuinola $80

Other places can be negotiated. Drop off prices are equivalent.

The Lost and Found Specialty! Pickup with tour... $70/person

We offer this special tour/pickup that is based on a two person minimum.
Here is what it includes.

From David...
Pickup, a stop at the river canyon for a swim (weather permitting), stop for photos of the vistas (Volcan Baru, Pacific Ocean, Table Mountain, etc.)
3 nights accommodation (private cabin if available, or dorm room).
Guided cloud forest hike to lookouts and jungle rivers.

From Boquete...
Pickup, a stop at the river canyon for a swim (weather permitting) or hotsprings and petroglyphs, stop for photos of the vistas (Volcan Baru, Pacific Ocean, Table Mountain, etc.) 3 nights accommodation (private cabin if available, or dorm room).
Guided cloud forest hike to lookouts and jungle rivers.

From Almirante...
Pickup, a stop at the secret waterfall hike, stop for photos of the vistas (Volcan Baru, Pacific Ocean, Table Mountain, etc.) 3 nights accommodation (private cabin if available, or dorm room). Guided cloud forest hike to lookouts and jungle rivers


Lost and Found Adventure Tours Panama – Bridging the gap of the Americas has never been so fun!

Frequently Asked Questions For Lodge Stay...

Do you have a restaurant?

Yes, we serve food. Also, we sell ingredients if you want to cook yourself.

Do you have a communal kitchen for guest use?

Yes, we have a very well stocked kitchen you can use if our cook is not using it, and if the cook is engaged in meal prep. then we have a simple kitchen for guests.
*limited fridge space for guest storage. But we do provide food storage boxes that keep nocturnal animals out of your food.

Do you sell alcohol and cigarettes?

Yes.

Do you allow camping?

We have jungle camping tours. However, we do not allow guests to pitch a tent without prior consent.

Do buses come by regularly?

Buses pass the property approximately every 30 minutes.

If it is raining, what can I do?

We designed our place with rainy season in mind. You can still watch the wildlife come to the platforms from a sheltered area. You can read books in our library, watch one of our 350 movies, play games, sing karaoke, have a party, play darts or foosball, etc...

Are there lots of mosquitoes?

Generally speaking there are more mosquitoes in the rainy season (May to mid November). The rooms are pretty mosquito free throughout the year. Malaria is non existent in this area of the country.

How hard is the hike up?

The hike up takes the average person in good shape about 10 to 15 mins. If you think you need help to hike up to the lodge then pre-arrange help or send someone up without the bags to fetch help.

Should I bring anything special?

It can get cool at night due to the elevation. So, a sweatshirt for example could help. Insect repellant in the rainy season. Binoculars for birdwatching. Hiking boots for trekking.

What wildlife am I likely to see?

This is one of Panama’s premier birding locals. Quetzals and other gems are in the park. We guarantee if you are looking you will see some wildlife. Nocturnal animals come around frequently. Monkeys, sloths, deer, armadillo, coatis, agoutis, etc are not uncommon. Jaguars and pumas are around, but footprints of these magnificent cats are more common than the actual sightings.

What do you grow on your organic farm?

At the moment we grow and process organic coffee. We have an organic citrus orchard, as well. We are growing some vegetables for consumption.

Lost and Found Adventure Tours Panama – Bridging the gap of the Americas has never been so fun!

Volunteers

Thanks for Considering Volunteering/Contributing at the lodge or within the local community.

We welcome people skilled, hard working or simply enthusiastic to volunteer and help us & the community.

You can help us give back to the community through work on local organic farms and community development projects. You can also volunteer at The Lost and Found with the possibility of becoming a strategic partner developing our business.
All volunteers first come to The Lost and Found as regular paying guests for a couple of nights, relax and enjoy themselves. During the first three days the volunteers also learn more about the work exchange opportunities and the community. They pay the regular $12 for a dorm bed and the third night is free. They are free to use the kitchen for free and bring their own food.


After three days volunteers get to move into the fully outfitted house. Cost is $3.50/day to live in the Lost and Found Volunteer’s house.


Lost and Found Volunteer Projects


After you have settled into the volunteer house you have a few options:


1) Management Assistant: If you like meeting new people and want to extend your trip through Panama by a couple of weeks this is the option for you. We need people to meet guests, give a quick tour and help out in the kitchen and some light cleaning. Other responsibilities can include working in the coffee farm (machete work, pruning, picking, etc) and feeding and playing with Rocky, our kinkajou (honey bear).


2) Two week Project Leadership: If you have special skills you’d like to put to use there are several projects at The Lost and Found that need leadership. Help us become greener by developing a water catchment system or extending our recycling program through a composting system. We have 11 hectares of organic coffee, citrus trees and great potential for anyone with a green thumb.


3) Strategic Partnership: Help us drive our business forward. Can you teach Spanish to backpackers? Yoga? Massage? Are you a chef? Or maybe you’re interested in leading bike or kayak tours? The Lost and Found has lots of room to grow and you can be a part of new profit sharing ventures.

4) Community Volunteer/Microloan Project: This is your opportunity to really make a difference and help the people of Valle De Mina. This friendly community within walking distance of The Lost and Found has great potential but underemployment and poverty is holding it back. You can help support entrepreneurs committed to eco-friendly, responsible tourism. You contribution of $200 a week will cover your room and board either at The Lost and Found or with a family in the community. Part of your financial contribution will be to finance a microloan for the expansion of a local small business. The Lost and Found aims to further support the microloan project by becoming one of the principle customers. For example, the owner of a local organic farm could run more efficiently with a horse. Your contribution to the microloan project will assist in buying this horse and The Lost and Found will further contribute by renting this horse for our horseback tours. This is a great opportunity to learn new skills, practice Spanish and really see the long lasting contribution you are making.

Benefits...
-free transport to David on all trips in
-free use of trails
-pay only gas money when wanting to join a tour
-free use of trails
-practice Spanish with the locals
-use The Lost and Found as a home base for travel excursions...no charge for storing your things

Please do not...
-do drugs around premises.
-drink alcohol with the Panamanian staff
-prevent other local staff from doing their work
-watch movies when a guest might want to watch a movie

Food situation...
-you are free to use the kitchen and buy your food at the supermarket or buy from us at regular prices
-there is limited fridge space so please use the fridge in the volunteer house


Lost and Found EcoLodge and Community Development Volunteer Program Survey

Please answer the following questions and email your responses to: thepanpro@yahoo.com

Don’t rewrite the questions, just submit the answers.

1. Write a short paragraph telling us about you: where you are from and why you would like to come to Panama.

2. Indicate which of the 4 programs you would like participate in and which responsibilities you are most interested in.

3. Let us know some of the things you are definitely not interested in.

4. Let us know when you are coming. Are you coming to Panama on vacation or coming specifically to volunteer?

Frequently Asked Questions for Volunteers at the Eco-lodge...

What is the sleeping arrangement?

Volunteers are provided a dorm bed.

Is there a minimum stay?

One week is the minimum stay.

Is there internet at the lodge?

Not yet, but we are planning on getting it.

Do I need to bring a sleeping bag?

No, we supply blankets and a pillow.

When is the busy season?

December to August

How many volunteers do you take at one time?

Maximum of 2.

If I bought my food at the lodge, how much would I spend each day?

Depends what you buy, but you can live on $6 per day...or you can bring your own food for cheaper.

What is the name of the closest big town?

David is one hr. away. Boquete is 2 hrs. away. Almirante is 2.5 hrs. away.

What activities can I do when my work is done?

Go hiking, swimming, birdwatching, watch movies, read, play games, foosball, walk to the small town...

Are there mosquitoes or malaria?

No malaria. During the rainy season there are some mosquitoes, during the dry season there are not too many.

Tours Frequently Asked Questions

Why are Lost and Found Adventure Tours so cheap?


Two reasons:


1) We own most of the places that you will be staying and we operate the majority of the tours. That means a much lower overhead for us. The tours such as the Zip Line Canopy Tour or River Rafting tour are add-ons in which we waive commissions other companies take and pass the savings along to our customers so our you receive discounts other travelers do not.


2) We are seasoned backpackers that know you want to spend your money on daring adventure, learning something new and experiencing culture and do not want to waste your money on CNN in a hotel room. We stay in friendly dorms or private rooms in hostels to meet other travelers and compare adventures.


How many hours of Spanish classes will I have?


You will have a minimum of one hour a day of class with your teach and unlimited hours of practice and homework. Your teacher is your tour guide. No other company offers this.


Do your tours include international airfare?


No. We leave that up to you to find the best price from the destination you are at. You can begin the tour from either Bocas Del Toro (possibly arriving from Costa Rica) or Panama City. We will suggest a flight to see if we can beat your best price.


Can I arrive with a one-way ticket?


No and Yes. Most time they do not demand proof of onward travel but it is best to be prepared. But there are options if you are continuing on to Central or South America. You can buy a refundable ticket and cancel your return or you can buy a one way ticket and a bus ticket that shows onward travel.


How can I buy a bus ticket that shows onward travel?


After you make a down payment for your tour we can purchase one for you and mail it back. This service can save you a lot of money and hassle.


How many people will be in my tour group?


Our groups are small – between 4 and 10. We encourage members to share Facebook profiles (optional) so you can generate a discussion about your trips, share information and help shape the itinerary.


How difficult are the adventures?


This is an adventure tour. You should be moderately healthy as one of the key resorts is inside the cloud forest. Instead of sleeping in town and taking a tour bus to the cloud forest, you hike up. This is not luxury travel… there is a night safari (optional) and the objective is to FIND the wildlife which includes the snakes and bizarre rainforest insects. However keep in mind you need no special abilities (the kayak trip is beginner level) and each place you go has hot showers, clean sheets, and great food.

I want to upgrade to a private room with my significant other… will we be both be charged for the upgrade?


No. You will split the added costs of the upgrade… you save by sharing.


What if I arrive early?


We can book rooms for you but you will need to pay the regular rates… usually around $30 for a private room and $11 for a dorm.


Where will we be staying?


Mamallena hostel -- http://www.mamallena.com/
The Lost and Found – http://www.lostandfoundlodge.com/
Bambu Hostel David -- http://www.bambuhostel.com/
Hostel Refugio Del Rio -- http://www.refugiodelrio.com/Boquete.html
Gran Kahuna Bocas -- http://www.grankahunabocas.com/


Can I join a tour late or leave it early?


Yes. There are three legs to the journey. The first leg is ten days and ends in David where you can take a short flight or bus to Panama City. Leg two ends in Bocas where there are flights and buses as well. Leg three ends after 24 days back in Panama City. You can join at any stage in the leg as well. Start at Leg 3 three in Bocas, for example, if you come from Costa Rica and the tour there as well.


What form of transportation do we use?


For long trips our guide will take you through the steps of the local transportation network. Many of our kayak and hiking trips will take you literally off the beaten track so we have our own 4x4 for that.


What if I want a domestic flight?


Most of our guests enjoy watching the scenery drift past and feel a stronger sense of connection to Panama when they use local transport. The longest trip is almost 7 hours. So you can upgrade to an air ticket for $80 one way for this stretch. We will arrange all these details.


What should I pack?


Pack light.


First and foremost you need a backpack… this is a backpacking adventure and there are a couple of hikes you will need to make with your gear. You should have great hiking boots that will get wet. Take a good raincoat and sweater… you should have these in a day pack not only for your overnight night safari in the cloud forest but for the buses as well… the air conditioner works all too well. Foot powder is a good friend to have as are flip flops for the shower. Some people swear by earplugs. A padlock will be good to have for peace of mind for your bag. Bring a towel – if you find yours bulky try one of those micro towels they sell at specialty camping stores.


How difficult are getting travel visas?


You should check the visa requirements for your country but the vast majority of visitors just buy a $5 tourist card when they enter.


What vaccinations are recommended?


We will not be traveling to any areas affected malaria. There was a short period of time when travelers from South America were required to have yellow fever vaccinations but that has been waved. We will inform you if it is reinstituted.


Is tipping included and if not, how much should I budget?


Tipping is not included but is recommended for tour guides and places that provide the service you would be used to at home. But most Panamanians do not tip (and do not receive good service either!)


Lost and Found Adventure Tours Panama – Bridging the gap of the Americas has never been so fun!


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