turtle release becoming major tourist attraction
sea turltes is becoming a popular tourist activity.
It is a
warm summer’s night on La Barqueta beach on the western tip
of Panama’s Pacific coast. The moon occasionally peers out between
small gray clouds. The beach is deserted except for the dark lumbering
shape that is slowly emerging from the ocean.
lb. Olive Ridley turtle painstakingly struggles up the beach. She
is oblivious to all around her – she is a mariner on a mission.
At the nearby sand dune, she digs down about 15 inches and deposits
a clutch of 110 small white eggs.
she uses her flippers to cover her brood and then she struggles back
to the ocean. The eggs will take about 50 days to incubate in the
sands of Panama, all the while at the risk of being destroyed by human
and animal predators.
Only a few of these turltes are able to reach the
Sólo unas cuantas de estas tortugas son capaces de llegar al
the next day, the solitude of the beach is broken by the figure of
a young man running. For 16 years, Marcial Rojas, a marathon runner
has used this cool, peaceful time of day to indulge in his passion
for exercise. The clutches of highly vulnerable eggs share the loneliness
of this long distance runner. On this deserted beach their survival
depends on being discovered by a friend like Marcial and not by human
poachers or feral dogs.
eagle eyes spots the tell-tale flipper signs from the night before
and soon the 100 or so Olive Ridley turtle eggs are deposited safe
and sound in a nearby sanctuary.
now 5.30 in the afternoon of October 10th at La Barqueta Beach. The
110 four-inch-long Olive Ridleys are ready for a swim. Local conservationist,
Sue Waligora is there to inform the crowd of almost a hundred onlookers
as to why conservation is so important. On this occasion $195 is collected
in donations to help build a new protective corral for the hatchlings.
ocean voyage begins.
One by one, the small Olive Ridley turtles make it to the
water. Today, the large admiring crowd of nature lovers protects them
from scavenging birds. A variety of video and still cameras catch
them as they depart on an epic ocean voyage that could take them 1,600
miles in 113 days.
Rojas, the turtle protector.
A year ago I watched a similar release and barely a dozen
or more people attended. This year the number has increased almost
Rojas is instrumental in saving and releasing about 3,800 turtles
in Panama each year. This November he anticipates seeing the return
of hundreds of Leatherbacks that he had previously saved and released
two years earlier. This would be critical as the Pacific Leatherback
population has declined sharply and possibly only 25,000 are left
16 years, Marcial has helped release an estimated 50,000 turtles.
He uses his own money, and receives no outside financial help although
he is now working with the CREA (Conservation, Research, Education
and Action) group, that sponsors conservation in the nearby National
Olive Ridleys are not yet an endangered species, perhaps due in part
to the efforts of people like Marcial Rojas and conservationist Sue
would like to participate in an up-coming release please contact Sue
Waligora at: firstname.lastname@example.org
air travel security measures
Transportation Department of the United States (TSA) has recently
announced the relaxation of a number of security measures on
all U.S. carrier flights departing from U.S. and non-U.S. territories,
except the United Kingdom. These are:
are now allowed to carry on travel-size toiletries (3 oz.
Or less), which can easily fit into a carry-on bag.
are now able to carry on medicine, including non-prescription
ones through security check points.
are now free to bring beverages on board, as well as other
items purchased in the "sterile area".
Publications takes part in promotional "Caravan" to Colombia
de Copa en Cali, dando el recibimiento a los invitados y haciendo
entrega de El Visitante y la guía “Focus”
the parent company of The Visitor, will take part in a "Tourist
Caravan" (promotional tour) to Colombia, organized by the Panama
Government Tourist Bureau this month.
Caravans" are part of IPAT’s annual international program,
which also includes participation in major tourism fairs in Europe,
North and Latin America.
October 8-14, the upcoming "Caravana" will visit the Colombian
cities of Cartagena, Barranquilla, Bogotá, Cali, and Medellín.
representatives at the Caravan will be Roquelina González (distributing
the FOB Zona Libre catalogue and demonstrating the website colonfreezone.com),
and Patricia Puentes (Focus on Panama guide and The Visitor).
en la "Caravana" en la orden usual de izquierda a derecha.
Nayiris Redondo, Gerente de Decameron Explorer para Santa Marta, Sr.
Jairo Torrente, Director Decameron y Radisson Decapolis en Colombia,
Sra. María Isabel Aronne, Representante de Hotel Soloy y el
Panamá, Licda. Leslie Sánchez, Hoteles Riande Continental,
Licdo. Omar Ching, Jefe Mercadeo Internacional del IPAT, Sr. Alfredo
Tor-Paz, Gerente de Playa Blanca, Licda. Priscila Vásquez,
Gerente Ventas Hotel Meliá Panamá, Sr. Alexis Zapata,
Viajes Arco Iris, Sr. Luis Arguedas, Grayline Panamá.
Tourism Cluster is born
from left to right/De pie, en orden usual, Hermann Gnaegi, (Finca
Hermann Gnaegi Lesbia Benuzzi (Tropic Tours), Antonio Hincapié
Seated/sentadas: Esther Carles (Descubra Panama); Jéssica Lau
de Velázquez (Forestour Panama), Grace Acedo (La Casa de Lourdes).
de siete empresas relacionadas al turismo de Coclé fundaron,
recientemente, el Cluster Turítico de la provincia, con el
fin primordial de promover la región como un destino reconocible
en los mercados internacionales con el lema “Coclé su
de Coclé recibe asistencia técnica de "Compite
Panamá", programa auspiciado por el Banco Interamericano
de Desarrollo y el gobierno panameño.
de Coclé es la vecina occidental de la provincia de Panamá,
y cuenta con dos regiones turísticas bien definidas: las frescas
montañas del norte y sus amplias playas hacia el sur. La provincia
también cuenta con un gran potencial para el desarrollo del
agroturismo, además del turismo histórico y cultural.
fue tomada durante una reciente reunión del Cluster en el Restaurante
Tinajas, de la ciudad de Panamá.
South Corridor to be extended
gain new recreational spaces
to extend the South Corridor expressway, from its present terminus
in Paitilla to the Bridge of the Americas, has also revived an old
ambition for Panama City, the construction of what government officials
call a "cinta costera", a 100-meter-wide landfill around
the Paitilla area and Avenida Balboa, which will create additional
space for parks and recreational areas –a much needed commodity
in a city undergoing an unprecedented real estate boom.
of Public Works (MOP) recently divulged the plan to extend the South
Corridor, which links the suburbs surrounding Tocumen Inter-national
Airport with downtown. The extension is necessary because the corridor
currently puts too much traffic on Avenida Balboa, especially during
the morning rush hours, between 7:00 and 9:00 a.m. With scores of
luxury high-rise apartments presently under construction in the area,
experts say that traffic will come to a standstill on Avenida Balboa
and surrounding streets if the corridor is not extended.
entails the construction of an overpass starting at the present Paitilla
terminus and ending over the Matasnillo river. From there onward across
the bay, the road will continue at the level of the landfill, connecting
to the Bridge of the Americas via a tunnel (dug through solid rock)
across San Felipe and El Chorrillo, thus allowing drivers en route
from the interior provinces access to the airport completely avoiding
envision the "cinta costera" landfill as a green lung, similar
to Omar Park and the Amador Causeway, with parks, gazebos, boutiques
and restaurants. This part of the project also entails the construction
of water treatment facilities needed for the sanitation of Panama
will be a number of exits to and from the downtown area, One of them
will be located near the seafood market, on Avenida 3 de Noviembre,
which will provide direct access to the North Corridor via the new
Albrook system of overpasses. The project is expected to cost between
US$80 and $100 million.
to Lider Sucre, the Executive Director of the National Association
for the Conservation of the Nature (ANCON), the proposal to create
the "cinta costera" will not have a significant impact on
the environment. He said: "Any project consisting of landfill
will not have a significant impact on the fauna and ecosystem of the
Bay of Panama." He said that the discharge of untreated sewage
waters and other pollutants into the Bay of Panama has caused significant
damage to the sea floor, and that the creation of an additional strip
of landfill along the coast is a relatively small sacrifice which
will not have significant consequences.
and city planners are currently making the final touches to the plan,
which is expected to be announced in detail in the coming weeks.
get housing tax break
Department and IRS issued Notice 2006-87 today, which permits individuals
who work outside the United States and live in foreign countries with
high housing costs to deduct or exclude a greater portion of their
U.S. citizens and residents are generally subject to U.S. tax on their
worldwide income, section 911 of the Internal Revenue Code permits
individuals who live and work outside the United States to exclude
from U.S. tax portions of their earned income and housing costs. The
Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 (TIPRA) made
several changes to section 911, one of which effectively placed a
limit on the amount of housing costs that could be taken into account
under that section. TIPRA provided the Treasury Department with authority
to adjust the new housing cost limitation based on geographic differences
in housing costs relative to housing costs in the United States.
Notice, using the approach suggested in the legislative history to
TIPRA, Treasury exercises its authority to increase the housing cost
limitation, setting forth new higher housing cost amounts for specific
locations. The relief provided by the Notice is retroactive to the
effective date of TIPRA. The Notice also requests comments regarding
the determination of locations and housing costs in future taxable
consortium plans dolphinarium
But environmental groups
dolphinarium on Jamaica’s North Coast.
Ocean Embassy Panama plans to build the first dolphinarium in Central
America with an investment of US$2.5 million, in the community of
El Higo, San Carlos, an hour-and15-minute-drive from Panama City.
The park will include a reception building, an area for tourists and
a tower from which tourists can observe the dolphins.
of Ocean Embassy Panama is to attract tourists from Central and South
America, since the nearest dolphinarium is in Veracruz, Mexico, and
to the south, in Brazil.
on current expectations regarding the growth of tourism in Panama,
the company is expected to generate between US$25 and $33 million
per year. The project also entails the construction of lodging facilities
in the area.
of most potential
The company, owned by Robin Bennet Friday, a U.S. Citizen,
selected the property due to the fact that there are no major communities
in the area. It will cover 4.07 hectareas with eight buildings, and
eight lake-size pools, in addition to three private beaches where
visitors will interact with the dolphins.
will be located in Panama's "Fourth Tourist Zone" (a region
encompassing the coast of the western sector of the province of Panama
and Coclé), which, according to the Panama Government Tourist
Bureau (IPAT) is the region with the most potential for tourist development.
It encompasses 75 kilometers of beaches on the Pacific, and features
three major beach resorts: Coronado Resort, Hotel Playa Blanca Resort
and Hotel Decameron.
The project has faced fierce opposition by a number of conservationist
groups, alleging that the project violates various international treaties.
the first complaints was presented by Marine Connection, a British
organization, which stated that Panama would violate international
law if it allowed the country to import Bottle-nosed dolphins (Tursiops
truncatus), from the Solomon Islands. The group cites the fact that
Panama is one of the countries that approved the Convention on International
Trade of Wild, Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1978.
of this year, the national director of Protected Areas and Wildlife,
Aleida Salazar, issued a statement disapproving the project, citing
possible damage to the dolphins, as well as the project's incompatibility
with the CITES Convention.
report states that "there is a tendency towards the prohibition
of this activity (dolphins in captivity) due to the incompatibility
between conservation and the harmful trade of marine mammals."
also made reference to the controversial background of the capture
and trade of dolphins from the Solomon Islands to other countries.
In 2005, the Solomon Islands banned the export of live dolphins to
other countries due to a series of scandals involving marine centers
similar to that which Ocean Embassy plans to build in Panama.
Interacting with dolphins.
these arguments, the National Environmental Authority (ANAM) approved
Ocean Embassy's Environmental Impact Study through Resolution No.
IA-076 of July 17, 2006. Nevertheless, ANAM stated it had only approved
the environmental study for the construction of the facility, adding
that the capture of live dolphins required additional studies.
decision prompted the entities opposing the project to take their
protest to the media, hoping to force Ocean Embassy to capture local
dolphins instead of the idea of importing the mammals from the Solomon
didn't end there, however. A group of technicians of ANAM's department
of Protected Aareas and Wildlife, issued a report warning about the
environmental and legal problems caused by the capture of live dolphins
in Panamanian waters, stating that "the capture would entail
high mortality rates among the mammals, a fact that could result in
legal action against the company, due to the violation of Law No 5,
which regulates ecological damage."
everybody at ANAM shares the same point of view. "Why can't children
in Panama visit a good zoo, or in this case, a good water park, if
these are considered places of learning?", asked ANAM's director,
Ligia Castro. "I understand that Ocean Embassy is a prestigious
international company with no obscure legal background", she
phase of this "Disney"-type park will cost US$10 million,
and will generate up to 1,100 jobs in seven years. If the park becomes
a reality, it will be the world's 31st of its kind.
starts Chiriqui info service
Steve & Gloriella Hendrickson.
Resident of Chiriquí, Steve Hendrickson, and his Panamanian
wife, Gloriela, have started an information service to help expats
in the province. "Our pricing is very reasonable and we will
hunt down anything they may need and research the best options for
them", says Gloriella.
shows the Hendricksons posed against the backdrop of a painting by
Gloriella, who is a talented artist.
can be contacted at email@example.com or (507) 6667-0606 or 6531-4232.
begins at Palo Alto Mountain Club
at Palo Alto.
projects under way in the Boquete area of Chiriqui. Boquete has become
well known for its extremely pleasant and cool climate, lush vegetation,
the beauty of its mountains, its internationally recognized specialty
coffees and the magnificence of the two rivers, the Cochea and the
Caldera, that run through it and provide an endless source of fresh
the most elegant of the projects is Palo Alto Mountain Club, a development
of villas and condominiums designed to satisfy the most demanding
of the people seeking a second or retirement home. This master-planned
gated community project is being built on 74 acres of nature-friendly
surroundings offering an active lifestyle in a pleasant and safe environment.
are available in four models: Villa Girasol, Villa Chavelita, Villa
Camelita and Villa Gardenia. Villa Girasol is a strikingly beautiful
255m2 (2,744 sq. ft.) home featuring three bedrooms with baths and
a walk-in closet in the master bedroom. Villa Chavelita is an impressive
290m2 (3,120 sq. ft.) 2-story home with 2 bedrooms with baths, and
two terraces to enjoy the beauty of the surrounding areas. Villa Camelita,
on the other hand, is a grandiose 455m2 (4,896 sq. ft.) 2-story home
with 4 bedrooms and baths. The fourth, and latest addition to Palo
Alto Mountain Club is Villa Gardenia, a truly spectacular and totally
different 300m2 (3,228 sq. ft.) home featuring 4 bedrooms with baths
and includes a Jacuzzi.
homes have spacious bedrooms, and beautiful views of the mountains.
They all have fireplaces in the master bedrooms and living rooms,
large kitchen areas with luxuriously finished cabinets, and first-class
fixtures, marble and granite countertops, laundry areas, visitor’s
baths, terraces, and very ample grounds.
to the villas, Palo Alto Mountain Club also has three models of spacious
and comfortable condominiums: the two-level Rose condo with two bedrooms
and baths; the Orchid condo, also with two levels, but with three
bedrooms with baths, and the majestic Lirios condo with three levels,
three bedrooms and baths plus maid’s quarters. All have terraces
with magnificent views.
to preserve the natural beauty of the grounds, all utilities, including
high-speed internet service, as well as water, electricity and phone
lines are underground.
at Palo Alto can meet with friends and neighbors at the Mountain Club
House, enjoy tennis and horseback riding, or work out in the fully
equipped gym and spa. The Boquete area offers river rafting, kayaking
and mountain biking, as well as walking along trails, bird watching
and going to nearby beaches. There are two golf courses nearby.
Mountain Club is within walking distance of the quaint town of Boquete
with its stores, supermarkets, churches and restaurants.
of the main road at Palo Alto Mountain Club has already begun, and
the first two villas and a condo will follow shortly. More information: