So we decided to take a little break and head south to Panama. Finding a reasonable place to stay in Panama during the busy season on short notice wasn't easy, but we found Hostel Mamallena, and boy are we glad we did. A private room with a/c for $33 dollars a night in Panama City!!! The bathrooms and showers are not in the rooms (that's why they call this a hostel) but they were clean and had locks that worked so for us it wasn't a problem. They also have excellent internet, cold beer and a lot of interesting eclectic people of all ages to visit with. One of the coolest thing about Hostel Mamallena was the fact that they have a shuttle service for $25 to and from the airport as well as connections to about any place you could want to visit in Panama and for a reasonable price. Are you interested in going to the San Blas Islands or Cartagena Colombia via the San Blas Islands? Hostel Mamallena will hook you up. Bocas Del Toro? Yep, they can help. Do you need to rent a car and you dont want to spend a fortune? Mamallena has a deal with Cruise Rent a Car for 34.95 a day. We used Cruise Rent a Car and drove to Santa Catalina it only ended up costing us $186 dollars for five days.
Rock Your Life with Mamallena. If you click the pictures they will get larger.
Yours truly enjoying the cool breeze and the excellent internet on the patio at Mamallena's Hostel.
If you want to save money and have fun too, then I highly recomend these guys. Mamallena actually have their own travel agency called Panama Travel Unlimited for getting around Panama and Colombia. If you are interested in booking a sailing boat from Panama to Colombia via the San Blas Islands then Mamallena and Panama Travel Unlimited are a great place to start. Heres the link: http://panamatravelunlimited.com/page/san-blas-island-tours/san-blas-island-tour-cayos-holandeses/
Room number three with photo of Bob Dylan (no extra charge) our first night in Panama.
We just asked the friendly desk person at Mamallena, and one phone call did it all. Cruise Rent a Car came and picked us up at Hostel Mamallena and drove us to their location to fill out paperwork and grab our car. They were friendly and spoke decent english too. Here is the link to Cruise Rent a Car (it's in Spanish) Link: http://www.cruiserentacar.com/home.html
If you are going to rent a car and this is your first time in Panama (or even if its your second time) then I highly recommend that you walk down the street (turn left as you leave the hostel) and there is a book store across that busy street you will see down the way. Go into the bookstore and get yourself a map of Panama as well as a map of Panama City. I didn't do this and had a heck of a time finding a map on our way down to Santa Catalina. When you return your car you may want to just go to the hostel and have the folks at Cruise pick up the car there. Because chances are you are going to get lost in Panama City (both ways) Don't panick when you do get lost just find a taxi driver that will allow you to pay him to follow him to your destination or in our case a couple of nice teenagers outside the Chinese Restaurant we stopped at, that offered to show us the way in exchange for taxi fare back, and I tipped them $20 which they didn't ask for. I was lost in El Dorado which happens to be pretty close to Cruise Rent a Car. Whatever the case, I have found Panamanians to be for the most part, friendly, helpful people. So relax and enjoy being lost because you will get there. Now breath deep, breath,….breath again…ahhhh much better.
Here's some video I shot in the Isla Coiba Marine Park. Near Santa Catalina in Panama. The Fog only lasts a few seconds.
First time I got to go on an international snorkel/dive trip was to Belize in 1981. I was fifteen and we drove down in a Datsun Pickup full of dive gear, and a portable compressor, back then it was hard to find a place to fill your scuba tanks, years later I decided it was time to take a break from my Job and see Belize through a greybeards eyes, to say that San Pedro Belize has changed is an understatement, they even have a hyperbaric Facility. I will post here about snorkeling,traveling, and stuff that happens along the way. Thank You for visiting! Burnie