Tours and Places

Careening Cay Resort

Just across the pond from Bocas Town

By Jacob Ehrler

Careening Cay Resort
Joan Crabtree rules her kitchen at Cosmic Crab Cafe.

Isla Carenera is right in front of Bocas Town on Isla Colón in Panama´s popular Caribbean destination of Bocas del Toro. Water taxi is the main method of transport between islands for day trips to snorkel, surf and sunbathe. But tourists who take their bags on a one minute boat ride to a hotel called Careening Cay Resort will find themselves having the best of both worlds - private bungalows at "off the main island" prices complete with a fantastic restaurant in a beauiful setting that's just a stone's throw away from the conveniences (and nightlife) on the main island. Carenara is the only island that one would venture out to on a water taxi at night.

Owners Steve and Joan Crabtree pride themselves in service with attention to detail in a casual setting. Joan is the master of her over-the-water restaurant and bar called the Cosmic Crab Café. The three course sunset dinner special ($7.95) consistently lures diners across the water to dine in the main area or in one of the private shaded cabin booths over the water. Joan's signature specialty cocktails are famous all over Bocas.

Other features include a very extensive gift shop with treasures from around the world, wi-fi Internet, kayak rental and tour planning. Air conditioned rooms start at $29. Larger rooms, like the six-person loft unit ($99) also include satellite television. Visit, call 6561-0693 or 757-9157 or just tell a water taxi to take you to the Cosmic Crab.

The Wine Bar

A great restaurant, fine wines

By José Díaz

The Wine BarCarpaccio di Manzo.

The Wine Bar is among the best dining options in the San Francisco neighborhood of Panama City. As its name implies, the restaurant specializes in wine – as indicated by the decoration of the restaurant. Walls are covered with wood recycled from wine cases and empty bottles, bearing the finest labels from around the world, hang from the ceiling as lamps.

While diners contemplate the menu, a television screen shuffles images of European vineyards. The restaurant has two dining areas and a third under construction. The first is an informal setting, ideal for a first date or meeting with friends. On Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, the live music offering includes jazz, salsa and rock. In the back, an intimate dining salon is available for private bookings.

Chef Willy Diggelmann, co-founder of the Vino Club Panamá and winemaking experience that dates back to 1994, personally selected the wines to accompany the gastronomic offering, which ranges from Italian fare all the way to Hungarian dishes.

The wines do not disappoint. German Riesling and the Spanish Albariño are two examples of tasty white wines. The list is long: red wines of almost every varietal, rose and dessert wines – even Kosher options.

Among the many menu options are the Carpaccio di Manzo ($8.95) and a smoked salmon steak ($17.95), a perfect combination of the classic and the modern. Carpaccio is a dish that never goes out of style, just as it is with some restaurants – like The Wine Bar

Where jungle meets the city

Sloth in ClaytonSloth in Clayton.

Spending time in the “Reverted Areas” of Panama City – the former Canal Zone which borders with protected forests – often affords the opportunity to appreciate many forms of wildlife. A reader sent in this snapshot of an unexpected sloth ‘hanging out’ in a Clayton park.

Around and about The Beaches

Coronado fun

That plane is high in the sky, but the pilot's on the ground


Remote Control Aircraft Club of Panama
Faux pilot and all, this remote controlled plane could fool an onlooker.

The Remote Control Aircraft Club of Panama, (Aeromodelos de Panama), came out to Coronado recently to perform dives, twists and rolls as they controlled their planes from the ground, to the delight of onlookers who came out for day.

Club pilots who showed up with their planes and helicopters for the demonstration, are highly-experienced Remote Control (RC) pilots, most of whom enter competitions around Panama and also in the United States. Forrest Waller, one of the pilots, was there flying an 18-horse power; 150cc craft that he had custom-built himself.

"We build during the week, and fly on weekends", says Forrest, talking about his hobby. Forrest has been piloting remote controlled model aircraft since he was a child, and is one of the top RC pilots in the US Top Gun championships. His son, Little Forest Waller has followed in his father's footsteps, being recognized as the youngest RC pilot in competition in the US.

The demonstration helped bring awareness of the club to local RC pilots. If the kids didn't have enough fun watching aircrafts zoom around the sky, a bouncy castle and a candy floss vendor were on hand to increase the Sunday fun factor.

Beach Activities, Events & Specials

In affiliation with

Saturday, April 28

Red Roots Reggae Live at Picasso Bar and Restaurant. Starting at 7:00 p.m.


Every Saturday at 8 p.m. join MC Luigi y Los Karoke Locos at Dad’s BBQ. Drink specials and prizes. Located on the InterAmerican Highway in between Cochez and the Village Mall. Call 345-4520 for more information.

Salsa Dancing

Salsa classes at Paraiso Restaurant in Las Uvas (3 km up towards El Valle) every Friday at 6:00 p.m. $5 per person.

Spanish Classes

Every Tuesday at Finca la Maya from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. $4 / class. No reservations needed. Located in the village of El Nance. Call 240-8281 or visit for directions.


Get in shape in 2012. Email or call 507-6533-9311 for info.
Tuesday 7:00 a.m. - BEACHFIT @ Solarium in Coronado
Tuesday 9:00 a.m. - Dancefit @ Solarium in Coronado
Wednesday 8:15 a.m. - AQUAFIT @ Playa Blanca Resort
Thursday 7:00 a.m. - BEACHFIT @ Solarium in Coronado
Thursday 9:00 a.m. - BODYSCULPTING @ Solarium in Coronado
Saturday 8:00 a.m. - YOGACISE @Solarium in Coronado