Coronado BBQ festival to set new grilling record $10,000 prize!

Coronado BBQ festival

All is ready for the BBQ Festival this Saturday, March 31 at the Coronado Equestrian Club. Organizers of this outdoor cooking activity are going after the national record for simultaneous beach barbeques.

The competition has three categories: chicken, pork (Baby Back Ribs to be exact) and beef. Over 25 groups of four each are confirmed to take part. More entries are still being taken by calling 393-2420. Cost per team is $100 to participate and the winning group will win in excess of $10,000.

The true object of the event is to break the national record of persons barbequing at once on the beach in Panama, a feat that will require at least 60 barbie’s to be fired up at the same time this weekend. Spectators are welcome and the entrance costs $5. Budweiser will sponsor the party favors. Event opens at 2:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.

Zombie March on Central Avenue

PortoDiao zombies will wreak havoc on “quincena” shoppers

Zombie March on Central Avenue

The cultural web portal has announced the site of its annual Zombie March this year. Panama City’s colorful pedestrian shopping area, Avenida Central, will be the site of a zombie invasion that will begin at 2:00 p.m. from the Santa Ana Park on Saturday, April 14.

Traditionally, Panama’s zombies gather to walk on Halloween. But the mid-April date has another twist. According to PortoDiao proprietor Rob Rivera, the Zombie March falls on the Saturday when Panamanian workers will be out shopping en masse – having received both a scheduled paycheck plus the first “decimo,” a “thirteenth month” bonus (equivalent to one month’s salary) that is paid out in three yearly installments.

Avenida Central: Then and now

Avenida Central

Panama City’s Avenida Central (Central Avenue) is a pedestrian walkway between Santa Ana Park and Plaza Cinco de Mayo. Lined by older buildings of four and five stories, Avenida Central used to be a main vehicular thoroughfare of the capital. Today, car wheels have been swapped for feet. And the fancier stores have given way to what many Latin American buyers recognize as the best bargain shopping in the region.

Avenida Central

The first “decimo” of 2012 will hit the pocketbooks and malls of Panama on Friday, April 13.

A flyer promoting “all geeks” to participate in the event states that the Zombies seek to ruffle the feathers of shoppers engulfed in their spending. More is available on

Disorganized secretary?

A congress to organize she who organizes you

Congress for secretaries, administrative assistants

Secretaries, administrative assistants and those who aspire to fill such roles have an appointment at Hotel El Panamá on Wednesday, April 25. On that day, a secretary sector conference is being organized by the Soluciones Gerenciales group. In English, the group would be called Management Solutions. It has maintained operations in Panama for five years and in Venezuela for since seven years ago.

The congress, which will be held in Spanish, will be held from 2:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. It will feature three speakers: Víctor León (Venezuela), Luis Carlos López (Colombia) and Rafael Cozzarelli (Panamá).

They will speak on themes such as investigation, emotional intelligence, Panamanian service culture and teleconferencing.

Prices range from $250 to $340 depending on the nature of the participant. Information at: 398-50-84 ó 65002227 ó


All the real estate under one roof Expo Vivienda

Expo Vivienda Hours:

Thursday, April 19:
4:00 p.m. a 9:30 p.m.
Inauguration at 6:00 p.m.
Friday, April 20:
3:00 p.m. a 9:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 21:
1:00 p.m. a 9:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 22:
1:00 p.m. a 9:30 p.m.

The Panamanian Construction Chamber (CAPAC) brings about the largest real estate fair of the year, Expo Vivienda at ATLAPA Convention Center from Thursday, April 19 to Sunday, April 22. The fair will feature 160 real estate projects being promoted by Panama’s active construction sector.

Banks will be on site to process mortgages instantly, allowing ease of transaction. The activity also offers entertainment. Construction workers compete for prizes in lively duels of daily activity, in which brick layers, concrete mixers and paint brushes will be put into action to complete the most amount of work in the least amount of time.

Pick up The Visitor or Focus on Panama at Expo Vivienda

Stop by our stand at Expo Vivienda to pick up the latest copy of The Visitor or a new copy of the Focus on Panama guidebook.

The invitation-only inaugural act will take place on Thursday, April 19 at 6:00 p.m. The fair will be open free throughout the weekend to the public.

Improv8 - giggles at The Guild

The Improv8 troupeThe Improv8 troupe struggles to find their “serious pose.” From left to right, top to bottom, they are Matthew Addis, Ines Azpurua, Aquilino Arias, Andres Clemente, Landon Comee, Amit Nathani, Nick Miles, Joe Mezquita, Melanie Lee, Danielle Miles, Susannah Malmfelt-Frank, Steve Purdom, Danielle Chitwood, Rita Banus.

The Theatre Guild, Panama's long-standing institution of English-language theatre, presents Improv8 over the next two weekends. This improvisational acting troupe is the pinnacle example of a real evolution of on-stage entertainment for English-language audiences. And they're funny as all out.

The 14 participating actors have been schooled under the direction of Danielle Scott, of the UK's Forte Theatre, in order to bring this side-splitting performance that has managed to draw record crowds to the historical theatre.

The show opened on Thursday, March 22 with showings continuing at the Guild on March 23, 24, 30 and 31. Shows will also be held at the Guild on April 13 and 14 as well.

Advance booking of tickets is advised,, call 212-0060 or visit

It’s a bird! It’s a plane!

Kites in the skies on Amador and in Colón

Kite Festival on AmadorThe Kite Festival on Amador celebrates the 12th edition of this event organized by the Association of Chinese-Panamanian Professionals (APROCHIPA).

Kites will soar in the skies of Panama this month in a bi-coastal “Festival of Kites” activity. The festival takes place every year thanks to the Association of Chinese-Panamanian Professionals (APROCHIPA).

The arts of kite building and kite flying will be enjoyed on Sunday, March 18 in the city of Colón first. The following weekend, on Sunday, March 25, the 12th annual Kite Festival (Festival de Cometas) takes place at Amador.

The parking lot of the Zona Viva nightlife complex will be the site of this activity on the Pacific side. Count on many participants, cultural extras and the stellar organization that AROCHIPA events are known for.

For further information, contact Judith Salazar De Leon at 236-7355 or 236-8470.

Who is the fairest in all the land?

Miss Panama live from the Riu Hotel

Current Miss Panama Sheldry SaezCurrent Miss Panama Sheldry Saez, shown here competing in the Miss Universe competition in which she ranked as a semi-finalist, turns in her crown tonight at the 2012 Miss Panama pageant.

Miss Panama will be selected tonight, Friday, March 30 live from the Riu Hotel in Panama City beginning at 7:30 p.m. The Miss Panama Organization is hosting the event to select representatives for the Miss Universe and Miss World beauty contests. The pageant will be broadcast live on Telemetro Channel 13.

Those who attend the event are encouraged to wear white clothing. Tickets cost $50, $80 or $125 and are on sale at at Blockbuster stores throughout the capital. See for more information.

A very Hollywood photo expo at the Manrey Hotel

Manrey Hotel and Left & Right Productions

Hollywood photo expo

The Manrey Hotel and Left & Right Productions have recently inaugurated a photo expo by actor/photographer Scott Cann, who many remember for his roles in movies like “Ocean’s Eleven” and “Into the Blue.” The expo is open through March 31 on the top floor of the hotel located in the lively Calle Uruguay district. The glass doors of the hotel have been wrapped with one of Cann’s photos, a giant-scale portrait of George Clooney.

Boquete plays Mexican Best Ball

The mountain town of Boquete, in Panama's westerly Chiriquí province, is enjoying a weekend of golf this Saturday, March 31 and Sunday, April 1. The luxury highland golf communities of Boquete, the Valle Escondido Resort, Golf and Spa and the Lucero Golf and Country Club (formerly Cielo Paraíso) are co-hosting the City of David’s civic 'Club Activo 20-30' 8th Annual Mexican Best Ball Golf Classic.

Casa Cor returns

How to decorate your beach condo

Casa Cor 2012
An outdoor designer space at Casa Cor.

Casa Cor 2012Decorative Salon at Casa Cor.

The fourth edition of Casa Cor, an interior decoration, furnishing and architecture event that takes over Panama City’s design scene, will take place once again this year, from April 17 to May 27. Following the Casa Cor tradition, Panama’s top designers will re-furbish the interior of an historic building in the city to create an experience that draws in big crowds to see the latest trends and features for interiors.

The Crystal Suites Hotel, on the corner of Ave. Samuel Lewis and Via Brasil, will be the site of this year’s Casa Cor celebration. The theme, according to organizer Lilia de de Leon, will be centered around how to decorate apartments at the beach.

The “Casa Cor tradition” began in Brazil over 20 years ago and this is the fourth celebration of the event in Panama City. The city’s top interior designers will take over an historical building and deck out their individually-assigned spaces to the nines: flooring, furnishings, lighting, accessories – even ambient music.
Casa Cor returnsSample of a familiar sitting room.

Famed Panamanian architect Ignacio Mallol of the firm Mallol & Mallol has confirmed participation in the event to present an original homage to the sea using the ocean-inspired photographs of Chef Raisa Kiener of Terrae Organic Bistro in Paitilla. Another attraction this year is an “apartment of the future”.

Casa Cor began in Brazil over two decades ago. The formula is a hit because it allows attendees to see a plethora of designers, ideas and latest trends all in one spot.

The Visitor will carry information on the grand opening of the event, hours, pricing and special features that will be announced as details are released.

Cost of the good life

International Living to hold “fast track” retirement meet

From April 12 to 14, the publishing group International Living will hold an event in Panama for its primarily North American market of retirees and second home buyers seeking to break into the great lifestyle that Panama offers. According to the tout service, Panama, although in recent years more expensive, still holds bargains for those who would seek them.

Under the guise that Americans should take advantage of the “retirement they deserve” by relocating to tropical, less-expensive Panama, International Living offers this conference called “Fast Track Panama: Lifestyle and Opportunity Conference” at the Riu Hotel.

In years past, International Living has included the venue of its events as part of the promotional email and web content. This year, there is no mention yet of a location, perhaps due to the popularity of the event. International Living is credited with being a major force behind Panama’s popularity among North American retirees.

International Living reports that although Panama ranks #2 behind Ecuador in its 2012 list of the best international locations for retirees, the isthmus remains its most popular destination among buyers. The media agrees too. The Washington Post wrote: “With all of its benefits and active expatriate community, Panama is among the most affordable and appealing options for retirees.”

Cost of the good life

International Living states that in Panama, one can live the good life for $1,500 per month… or less. That figure was less several years ago, when Panama’s economy was not yet so developed. With a 6% annual inflation rate currently, the cost of living well in Panama has increased.

The conference promises to share insider information on leading the good life in Panama for less, including advice from “seasoned expats.”

Distress sales are listed as an opportunity available to still find great values in Panama real estate. Bargains are still available, says International Living.

Concert Roster
Don Omar

Don Omar

Thursday March 29

Don Omar returns to Panama. The top dog of Puerto Rican reggaeton will perform his latest hits “Danza Kuduro” and “Taboo”. Stand by for ticket details from ShowPro.

Saints & Demons

Saints & Demons

Friday, March 30

Saints and Demons is a Panamanian rock band, active between 1999 and 2007 and revived in 2011. It has grown between the influences of punk, new wave, goth, experimental music and the metal tendency of its members, all mixed with the flavor of Spanish rock. Tickets: $ 5. Location: Club Nuvo, Plaza New York, next to the General Bank of Calle 50. From 9:00 p.m.

Lights-out concert for Earth Hour

Lights-out concert for Earth Hour

Saturday, March 31 (from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.)

Earth Hour is a worldwide celebration. Environmental organizations, institutions, companies and citizens around the globe will join in unison to support this major campaign (led by the World Wildlife Fund) by turning off the lights (and any other electrical devices – like air conditioners) for one hour as a sign of goodwill and environmental awareness. The event in Panama is from 8:30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m.

Administration Building concert To celebrate Earth Hour, beginning at 6:00 p.m. there will be a free concert with many acts on the steps (and grassy areas) in front of the Panama Canal Administration Building on Ancón Hill. Bands include: Robamorena, Os Admirals and Edwin Benitez Last year 2,500 people attended this event. Candles will be used to light the stage for an hour between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Twitter: @horapanama2012.

Berliner Cappella Choir with Elisa Troetsch and Ricardo Veázquez

Berliner Cappella Choir with Elisa Troetsch and Ricardo Veázquez

Wednesday, April 4

The National Concert Association celebrates Easter with a choral interpretation of Brahm’s Opera 45 featuring the Berliner Capella Choir, the soloists Elisa Troersch and Ricardo Velázquez plus the Música Vida Choir, the Polyphonic Choir and the National Symphony Orchestra. Directed by Kerstin Behnke, from Berlin. Tickets cost between $5 and $20 and can be purchased at Argosy bookstore, Gallery Allegro and the National Theatre box office in Casco Viejo any day prior to the concert, which begins at 8:00 p.m. Contact: 214-4848 or

Eco Music Festival

Eco Music Festival

Wednesday, April 7

This festival organized by Red Hat Studio is focused on nurturing and enhancing the environment. There will be bands from Costa Rica, Colombia and different parts of Panama as well as international DJ’s from Lithuania, Russia, Miami and Panama. The event costs $ 10 and will run from 3:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. at the Plaza San Francisco just before the entrance of Boquete, Chiriqui.

Demi Lovato

Disney song princess Demi Lovato

Friday, April 13

Demi Lovato´s lyrics speak of fame, love and money, three things that are familiar to this 20-year-old Hollywood princess. Her three albums have sold millions of copies. Demi began her acting career on Barney and Friends and later shot to fame five years ago through a Disney movie role. Her singing career is now the focus for this young mezzo-soprano whose voice promises to dazzle her Panamanian fans. Tickets can be purchased at Farmacias Metro, Extreme Planet Cinemas and Home Teck. Entrance costs from $35 to $200. Or purchase on the day of the event at Figali Convention Center.

Manuel Miranda

Cross-cultural music by Manuel Miranda

Thursday, April 19

Known as “the lord of winds”, this Peruvian artiste presents seductive rhythm fusions of jazz, rock, Peruvian rhythms and Oriental sounds, performed with contemporary and electronic instruments. Combining cultures to create captivating melodies, this unique concert truly crosses borders. Ateneo Salon of City of Knowledge, from 8:00 p.m. Contact: 6685-3135. Tickets:, Blockbuster.

Il Volo

Young Italian stars – Il Volo

Tuesday, April 24

Il Volo is an Italian opera pop trio. None of its members, Ignazio Boschetto, Piero and Gianluca Barone Ginoble, are yet age 20. Their album entitled Il Volo was released on May 17 of last year just before they appeared as special guests on the final of American Idol. Il Volo sang `O Sole Mio´, which was released as a single in the U.S. in early 2011. The concert will be at the Teatro Anayansi in the ATLAPA Convention Center and ticket prices range from $30 to $150. Get them at Farmacias Metro, Extreme Planet Cinemas and HomeTek.

Country Fairs

Panama’s fairs and festivals are colorful and lively. Country-folk are friendly and welcoming so they are excellent venues for visitors to get a taste of the ‘real’ Panama. See the schedule which follows.

March 15 to 25 / 15 al 25 de marzo: San José International Fair in David, Chiriquí/ Feria Internacional de San José in David, Chiriquí.
March 16 to 18 / 16 al 18 de marzo: Agro Tourism Fair in Aguadulce, Cocle Province (Parque 19 de Octubre)/ Feria agro turística en Aguadulce, Provincia de Coclé (parque 19 de octubre).
March 16 to 19 / 16 al 19 de marzo: Agricultural Fair of Colon´s Mountains and Coasts /Feria agropecuaria de las Costas y Montañas de Colón.
March 22 to April 1/ 22 de marzo al 1 de abril: Colon National Fair/ Feria Nacional de Colón.
April 26 to May 6/ 26 de abril al 6 de mayo: International Fair at Azuero, Los Santos Province/ Feria Internacional de Azuero, Provincia de Los Santos.

Religious festivals

Every city, village and region in Panama has its own annual religious celebration dedicated to a patron saint. These festivals provide a colorful and charming way to experience local traditions and beliefs.

April 1-8 / Abril 1-8: Holly week with processions allover the week/ Semana Santa con procesiones a lo largo de la semana.
Monday, April 2 / Lunes 2 de abril: San Francisco de Padua Festivities in Río de Jesús, Veraguas/ Patronales de San Francisco de Padua en Río de Jesús, Veraguas.