If you are looking for some sun, waterfalls and surfing in Panama and don’t mind roughing it in buses or hostels then you will have a blast! After escaping Panama cities hustle and bustle, we instantly fell in love with the beautiful beaches, tonnes of surf and very chilled out culture!
Panama’s Main Destinations
Playa Venao (Surf and snorkelling)
Our favourite destination was a surf beach on the Pacific coast called Playa Venao. It has a lovely beach, surf, waterfalls and tonnes of wildlife! Being one of our first destinations in Panama, this was where we saw plenty of new animals we had never seen before – including fireflies, toads, howling monkeys and a 9ft snake!
We also loved our hostel which was right on the beach with awesome owners and a great chilled out atmosphere. We highly recommend staying at Venao Cove Beach Hostel if you are on a budget, or you can investigate the private rooms they have available.
Santa Catalina (Surf Beach)
Not too much further around the coast is Santa Catalina which is also known for its surf! Most of the accommodation is a 15 minute walk over the hill via the road to the main surf spot. Unfortunately, Moss found it extremely difficult to find anywhere that rented a 6 foot surf board as most companies only hire long and learner boards. Therefore, if you are a serious surfer, make sure you either take your own board, or befriend a local that’s willing to lend you one like we did.
Bocas del Toro (Surf and diving/snorkelling)
It is a long drive to Bocas del Toro! Add on a detour to find a beach and a very foggy drive over the hills, and it took us a total of 12 hours to drive from El Valle to the car ferry at Almirante. We decided to sleep in the boot of our tiny car that night, and as uncomfortable as it was, we heard that we made the right decision because the hostel was pretty gruesome. After an uncomfortable night’s sleep we found the car ferry which costs US$25 to transport a car, or US$1 per person (one way). So, deciding to leave the car behind we jumped on the ferry, which after getting a closer look had far too many coats of paint and was a rust bucket that we half expected to sink at any moment! Note: there are also water taxis available which are much faster than the 2 hour car ferry. However, as you can expect, they cost a lot more than US$1!
Without even realising it, we arrived in Bocas del Toro right as the biggest swell in years was hitting the coastline and this attracted pro surfers including Kelly Slater and Sunny Garcier. It also meant that there was rain, rain and more RAIN! So, putting on our togs (bathers) and hiring bikes costing $2 per hour, we headed off along the road. What we didn’t realise was that the beach was also classed as road in some areas, therefore we were swamped by waves as we attempted to push our bikes through the surf and coral rocks.
It was a neat adventure, with talented/daring surfers to watch, cows with massive ears, moss breaking his jandals that had survived 8 months of travel and having to fix a broken bike chain in the middle of no where. Moss even snapped this awesome shot as a wave hit a log on the beach!!
Due to the stormy surf stirring everything up, diving was restricted to the sheltered areas and visibility wasn’t amazing, so we befriended one of the scuba diving companies and jumped on board their day trip with our snorkelling gear. We also caught a water taxi to Red Frog Beach. It cost US$3 per person to enter the beach and even though we saw no frogs, it is a lovely beach!
About 2 hour’s drive from Panama City, is a small town called El Valle which is built within an old volcanoes crater. We went on a Sunday to make the most of their market and even got sucked into purchasing two hammocks! Aside from the market, we didn’t really like El Valle. Yes you can walk or drive to the top of the hill for a great view of the crater but to be honest everything else was a bit of a disappointment. There are a few waterfalls in the area, including Puente Mama Chea which was far too overpriced costing about US$7 pp. We saw better waterfalls on the side of the road while driving to Bocas del Toro and its natural pool was nice for a cool down, but certainly was not ‘natural’.
Unfortnately due to me getting sick over new year’s, we couldn’t explore both Bocas del Toro and San Blas, so we will have to explore San Blas another day. From our research the tours look pricey but everyone says that it is beautiful!
The Panama Canal
It is just over 100 years since the Panama Canal was officially opened on August 15th 1914. We couldn’t leave Panama City without learning more about the Panama Canal. The Miraflores visitor center contains a museum which is pricey (US$15pp) but very well set up and we found it very interesting. Moss enjoyed driving a ship in the virtual simulation, and I enjoyed looking up my surname in the database of workers.
Panama’s currency and accommodation costs
We were surprised to discover Panama used US currency. In general, we were able to find accommodation for US$15 per person per night. We found cheap hotels for this price in Panama City, and stayed in hostels (with kitchens) for the same price while exploring the rest of Panama. You don’t need to book far in advance either. We generally booked 2 nights in advance (during the new year’s period). However, it may pay to book in advance if you have a specific hostel in mind. But for Bocas del Toro, there is so much accommodation available, we just wandered the streets and found accommodation upon arrival.
Hiring a car versus public transport in Panama
We didn’t realise how good public transport would be in Panama. We were one of few people travelling who hired our own car, costing US$25 day with insurance (as third party insurance is mandatory in Panama). To be honest, if we went to Panama again, I would just use public transport. For the amount of little side of the road stops and drama that we experienced with an immobiliser stalling our car for over 24 hours, it wasn’t really worth it!
Food in Panama
The side of the road stalls/small outdoor restaurants with food in cabinets are worth stopping at. Most places are likely to serve chicken with rice and beans, but take a look in the cabinet and be daring. I discovered what seemed to be a deep fried sweet corn fritter and they were AMAZING!! Not to mention the road side stalls are super cheap – one dinner we had with a drink of coke cost $7 for the two of us.
Extra advice for Panama
- You do not need a yellow fever vaccination to visit Panama
- We recommend carrying insect repellent with you
- While in Panama City, do not walk the streets with jewellery or expensive items. We did not have any trouble, but we were warned
- Christmas Eve is much more of a big deal than Christmas day itself! We flew in to Panama at 2am on Christmas morning and the view from the plane was incredible with fireworks in every direction
- Keep an eye out for the butterflies!
- If you do hire a car, petrol is extremely cheap! It cost us about US$30 to fill the tank of our car
Top 4 cities for bingo fans
Some people travel looking for the best parties, others travel to find the best beaches, while foodies are looking for the best restaurants and the best street foods. If you are looking for top-notch entertainment, there are plenty of cities where you can do some exciting and unusual activities. You probably know that the best karaoke parties are in Japan and Korea and Las Vegas, Macau and Monaco are the places to visit if you are looking to play casino games.
This time we’re going to talk about the best cities for bingo fans. If you’re thinking that all bingo venues are the same, think again, because bingo has changed significantly lately. One of the key contributing factors to the modernisation of bingo in general and bingo venues as such is the emergence and popularisation of online bingo. Players started switching online as it is a lot more convenient, so conventional bingo venues had to adapt and try to offer something new and exciting for a change.
London is definitely the bingo capital of the world, and there’s definitely a reason why it founds its way to the top of our list. In the old days there were more bingo halls in UK’s capital than there are now, but we have bingo venues now. You may wonder what’s the difference between a hall and a venue, and to put it simply, venues are modern and offer more exciting bingo variants.
Nowadays bingo games are organised at a lot of non-standard venues, it’s not just dedicated halls/venues.
Have you ever been to the Breakfast Club Battersea at Clapham? They’re now doing bingo nights as well, with party mashup, quiz nights, and other fun activities for all visitors. Tickets are available from £7, which is not a lot for an amusing and unusual bingo party.
Selecta Saturday Special is a bingo party that takes place at UKG Bingo at Camden from 6pm until 9:45pm. If you fancy bingo and garage music, this is the right place for you.
Finally, if you’re a fan of house, you’ll have a blast at Brixton’s Cattivo where Bubbles & Bingo events are held.
The city of light is another great city for bingo fans. You may think of the UK as a top bingo destination, but the game was played in France long before it made its way to Britain.
Bingo made it to France towards the end of the 18th century and the French elite grew quite fond of it in the next decades. Nowadays there are a lot of standard bingo halls in the French capital where you can play bingo every evening. One thing that’s typical for Paris is Bastille Day Bingo which takes place every year on the 14th of July in memory of the French Revolution and the attack on Bastille prison that took place in 1789. One thing that’s specific about Paris and Parisian bingo is that you need to yell ‘King’ when you hit bingo and not ‘bingo’.
If you look at any list of top cities, regardless of the topic, New York will surely be on it. So, it is hardly surprising that New York is also one of the best cities for bingo fans.
The Fifth Avenue bingo hall is one of the fanciest and most popular New York bingo venues. It opens every evening at 6pm and the most interesting thing about it is that there’s table service, so you can get your food and drinks without any interruptions to the game.
Le Poisson Rouge Bingo Hall is located on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village and you can enjoy a game of bingo with a cocktail in your hand. If you are a fan of the funky sound you will enjoy the standard DJ sets at this venue.
Despite the fact that London is the largest city in the UK and its capital, Glasgow has often been called UK’s bingo capital due to the popularity of the game in Scotland’s largest city.
Carlton bingo hall in Partick is one of the most famous bingo halls located in Glasgow’s West End. The place is sometimes referred to as the effs (F&F), since it used to be called that when it was just a dance hall. Then there’s Buzz bingo located on Hawthorn Street and this venue opens at 11am. There are few Mecca bingo halls for more traditional bingo fun. Finally, there’s the Hillhead Bookclub where the Lady Balls Bingo takes place.
Skin-Care Rules to Always Follow When You Travel
With the holiday season nearly upon us, most of us are hit with a bout of wanderlust. Traveling will take us to different places, and these places likely have completely different climates from what we are used to. Nobody wants to have a skin breakout or any other type of skin problem during vacation. To prevent this problem, this article will give you Skin-care rules to always follow when you travel.
Every time you step on a plane, your skin is exposed to a whole different condition. You are plagued by stale, dry, circulated air that can do wonders to your skin (in a bad way, of course). And that is just your flight. Your actual vacation can be a nightmare for your skin. From weird hotel products to bad sunscreen, to stress from forgetting stuff at home or from family members and a host of other problems.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to keep your skin looking great despite the challenges of travel.
- Drink Water…a lot of water
Staying hydrated is extremely important. Being hydrated inside and outside is one of the most important skin routine tips at all times, even when you are not on vacation.
The switch from a hot to a cold climate or from a hot to cold climate can cause skin dryness and irritation among other things. Even the air on the plane is dry and can sap all the moisture from your skin. Therefore, make sure your drink a lot of water. That would keep you hydrated inside.
For your skin, you should liberally apply moisturizers to keep your skin looking radiant and beautiful.
- Use Sunscreen
Next to staying hydrated, sun protection is one of the most important routine for your skin type. While travelling, you should be extra diligent about your sunscreen.
It might sound strange, but you should apply sunscreen even while on the plane. Why? Because you are in a metal container 10,000 feet close to the sun. In fact, you are likely to get a sunburn while in a plane than on the ground. You might want to close the shades, but others might want of view. Hence take precautions and apply the sunscreen.
When you are travelling, it can be easy to forget to use sunscreen, or you might run out of sunscreen. You can go the extra mile by setting a reminder on your phone either to use sunscreen or buying a new one before the current one runs out.
- Use Minimal Makeup
During your vacation, leave out heavy foundations and other heavy makeup products. If you are traveling to a location with extreme weather, your makeup will wear off fairly easily. This not only leaves you looking silly, but the heavy makeup can clog the pores of your skin and result in breakouts.
If you choose to use makeup at all, use breathable makeup. Preferably it should be water-resistant and offer protection from hot climates.
- Take your facial cleanser and moisturizer along with you
To keep your face looking great even in extreme climates, your facial cleanser and moisturizer are very important. The daily cleanser helps to clean impurities on your face, while the moisturizer will feed your skin with the important nutrients required to keep it healthy during the duration of your trip.
- Use trusted products
Trying out new products is fun, but you should be very careful doing this while on vacation. The change in climate is enough stress on your skin. If you add new products to your skin, you might be increasing the stress on it. Invariably, this might lead to skin breakout and other issues.
Therefore, stick to what your skin is familiar with. When you go back home, you can try out new products. To make it easier to keep using your familiar products, you can buy travel-sized versions of your moisturizer, lotion, cleanser and other stuff.
- Have a medical emergency kit
This should contain smoothening calamine, aloe vera potion and other things that can be used in case of skin emergencies.
To enjoy your trip, no matter where that might be, follow these skin-care rules. Your skin will thank you for it!
Scottsdale – Come for the Sights, Stay for the Experience
Scottsdale, Arizona is one of the most popular destinations in the Grand Canyon State. Known for its resorts, natural trails, and association with nightlife, the city has become a must visit for anyone who wants to experience contemporary life in a former desert.
Scottsdale is very famous for its modern hospitality and geographical sights. Keeping this in mind, it wouldn’t be surprising to know that finding a Scottsdale nightclub is on the minds of many tourists who pay the city a visit – even those who do so to explore one of its mountainous ranges.
If you are planning to head down to the Copper State anytime soon and enjoy life, then Scottsdale may prove to be a great summer destination.
To help you understand what the city would have to offer in terms of recreation, here are some of the top Scottsdale vacation and dining options that make the West’s Most Western Town, a must visit.
Old Town Scottsdale
Old Town Scottsdale is perhaps the most popular destination in the city. With its unique lineup of culturally rich events, this colorful area has a vibe that defines old West meeting its modern counterpart to a T.
While Scottsdale remains famous for its modern nightlife, club scene, and luxurious resorts, Old Town Scottsdale brings about the old Western charm for tourists to experience firsthand. Old architecture, preserving museums, and cultural activities are just a few of the many things that you could experience at this destination.
With an array of fine dining restaurants that prove to be the best in the state, you could grab a bite in luxury after roaming around in the sun.
And if you feel a bit more adventurous, then you could do that exploration while riding on a Segway instead of using your good old feet. With plenty of Segway tours being conducted each day, you will easily be able to find something that suits your schedule.
As the winter home to famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Taliesin West boasts of an unmatched architectural design.
Now a museum, the destination doesn’t only showcase the building in all of its glory, but also offers insights into Wright’s work and his mind through detailed tours of the facility.
It is due to these reasons that Taliesin West ranks as one of the topmost destinations to visit in Scottsdale among many professional guides.
Since the building or its experience cannot be replicated elsewhere, it remains a must visit for whenever you are in Scottsdale.
Scottsdale Fashion Square
Want to visit the biggest shopping mall in Arizona? You would find it to be located in the heart of Scottsdale.
With around 2 million square feet of shopping space, the Scottsdale Fashion Square is one of the biggest malls in the whole country. Made up of high end, luxury retail locations, it is literally the one stop shop for upscale items that you may not find elsewhere in the city. With that, the mall holds plenty of fine dining locations as well. What more could you want from a shopping destination, really?
Due to its modern inventory and access to high fashion, the Scottsdale Fashion Square could be a must visit before you hit the popular nightclub scene of the city. Whether you are finding some club wear or just want to spruce up your existing outfit with some Loboutins, this mall would provide you with plenty of choices and fun to boot.
Scottsdale Has Something for Everyone
Depending upon your personal preference, Scottsdale has plenty to offer. Whether you want to indulge in the city’s party scene or just explore its natural history, you would find that the destination has something for everyone.
So the next time that you are about to visit the Wild West, don’t forget to put Scottsdale at the top of your list. You won’t be disappointed with what you get to work with.
Meet Cole and Adela
We have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...
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