This post is also available in: Spanish
By Marijulia Pujol Lloyd
Carnival revelers have plenty of destinations to choose from throughout the Republic. Although many Panama City dwellers will opt to disport themselves on the bay-front coastal strip where the “Carnival of the City” is being held, many more will head for the interior towns such as Las Tablas and Chitre, in the Azuero Peninsula and Penonome, Cocle province, just to mention a few. It is important to realize that every town in the country, even the smallest one, has four days of partying.
Then there are the thousands who decide to avoid Carnival altogether and flee to a remote island or mountain retreat – or stay at home and watch it all on TV.
If you are planning to go to the beach, beware. Beach resorts tend to up the prices during the holidays and reservations can be difficult to find. However there are islands that can offer a tranquil paradise and very good fishing. A good alternative is Bocas del Toro, on the Caribbean coast of Panama. There will be some partying going on but not as furious as in other places. Hotel rooms are still available on the different islands. For more information visit: www.booking.com/Bocas-Del-Toro-Hotels.
Another beach option is to go to the San Blas Islands, where carnival is not part of the culture of the Guna tribe. Pristine beaches, a different culture and peaceful surroundings await you there. You can camp, too. Find out more by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those who prefer the mountains, you cannot go wrong by going to Boquete, in the western province of Chiriqui. They are not really into carnival there. What you will find instead are a cold climate, hot springs, coffee plantations and excellent restaurants, everything you need to relax and enjoy peace and quiet for four days. There are still rooms available. Visit www.hotels.com/Boquete for details.
Fighting with the carnival traffic exodus to the interior can be exhausting, so why not follow the revelries through the comfort of your own home. Telemetro, Channel 13, transmits the parades of the Carnival of the City and TVN, Channel 2, shows the festivities in the provinces. You can always grab a good book and relax while the rest of the world goes crazy.