Vacation, all I ever wanted! Vacation get-away to Boquete, Panama!

Blog by Terry Richmeier

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It’s only June so why are we talking about vacation and holidays? Especially Thanksgiving and Christmas? They are amazing holidays to bring loved ones to a warm climate for a very different experience. Instead of sitting in the house on a cold day, and eating until you are comatose and sleeping in front of the TV or just vegetating, plan your trip now and come on down for a Holiday! A holiday of whitewater rafting, island hopping, cloud forest canopy tour, coffee tour or just relax at the bed & breakfast!

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The crazy part is that now is the time to plan such a trip. Tickets for airlines, places to stay always go up during the holidays. And the closer you get to the holiday, the more difficult it is to find a place or a ticket or even a tour. We are noticing that there are suddenly many more inquiries and bookings for the holidays. Some people do know how to plan early!

How much do the prices go up during the holidays and when should one purchase tickets?

Here is what Hopper’s data (which comprises billions of flight searches) found (summer 2015). We suspect that the same patterns apply for 2016:

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First, how much should you pay for your holiday flight? The average domestic roundtrip for the holidays is currently about $383, which is down about $10 (or 3%) from last year at this time. So you may see a very small price drop between what you paid last year and what you’re paying this year.

Unlike Thanksgiving prices, which tend to start high and remain high as the holiday draws near, Christmas flight prices tend to rise more steadily as Christmas approaches and then spike in the last 10 days. Right now, demand is still pretty low for Christmas flights, but our team found that prices are actually rising faster than in 2014. This means you should consider booking quickly.

When should you book your Christmas flight? Based on last year’s data, on average the best time to book is about 80 days before departure. This year we’ve seen some cheaper deals earlier based on deeper sale discounting in September. For every day closer to Christmas, average round-trip holiday airfare goes up about $1.60. But prices move around constantly so it pays to watch for a deal. (One way to do that is with the Hopper app, which will alert you when a deal is found, when prices drop, or when prices are about to go up.)

When is the best time to visit Panama? Quick answer, ANY TIME OF THE YEAR!!!

We just happen to get more tourists from late November through mid-April is because North Americans and Europeans usually try to get away for a vacation during their colder months.

The first thing you should know is that Panama has only two seasons, the dry season from December to mid-April, and the wet, or “green”, season from mid-April to mid-December. As you might deduce from their names, the dry season means little or no rainfall, while the green season can mean rain almost every day. With the exception of the month of November, it typically rains just in the late afternoon and it is often a hard rain.

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As mentioned earlier, dry season is the main tourist season, not so much for the absence of rainfall, but also because snow bird Americans and Europeans are looking to escape to a warm climate in the winter months.

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But the “green season” is also a good time to come to Panama. Prices and availability are better. And the green season is much greener. Panama sparkles and comes to life after a tropical rain. Moreover the rain doesn’t normally last more than a few hours in the afternoons and evaporates so quickly you’ll forget it was there.

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If you’re traveling to the Caribbean side of Panama to places like Colon, Bocas del Toro and San Blas, the dry season/wet season pattern does not neatly apply. There is some rainfall year round. Highlands destinations such as Boquete, Chiriquí and el Valle de Anton have the same wet and dry season but there may be some rain showers in the dry season.

You will never have to worry about hurricanes. Unlike the rest of Central America, Panama is blessed to be far enough south that hurricanes are never a problem.

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Here in Boquete, Casa de Montana Bed & Breakfast is already starting to see early bookings and holiday planning! This is exciting for us and we want to make sure we get your reservations to restaurants and tours before the mad rush of tourists arrive.

For us, the easiest way to make sure we take care of you properly is to get this planned out early. Look for our specials and contact us directly by calling us or through our website. We look forward to hosting you!

Christmas Season in Panama – Boquete Style!

Blog by Andres Lay

 

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Christmas is coming up, and all the Boquetenians and Panamanians are getting ready for this special holiday. After a month full of holidays in November, where Boquetenians celebrated the Independence Day with all kinds of parades and music bands, people are warmed up for more. The celebrations in November took place on the 3rd, 4th, 10th and the 28th throughout the whole country. On December 8th Boquetenians also celebrate Mother’s day which is a special day for everyone to honor their mothers. People come together as a family and have a special day with their mother, by giving them gifts and to spend time with them. For most Panamanians Mom means a lot to us since she is the one that gave us the opportunity to live, she is the one that is always there for us when we need her, she is the princess of the house. In short, she is everything to us!

Panamanians start to prepare their houses, by painting them, putting up Christmas lights, decorating with Christmas trimmings and getting ready for Christmas with happiness that abounds in their hearts. Also, most people buy Canadian Christmas trees, that the supermarkets import from Canada, and decorate them with lights and Christmas decorations. The Central Park in Boquete is also decorated with beautiful lights and different decorations like a nativity where Child Jesus is placed at midnight on Christmas Eve. In Navidad (Christmas) people usually buy food and keep it frozen until they prepare it on Christmas Eve. The Panamanian traditional foods for Christmas include homemade Turkey, Ham, Arroz de Guando (rice with a national bean), Tamales, ensalada de papas (potato salad), fruit breads and more. In most neighborhoods people gather to celebrate Christmas. People get together with their family to eat Christmas Dinner. The tradition in Navidad is to have dinner at 12 midnight on Christmas Eve with your closest family members, listen to Christmas Carols while having a glass of wine and wait together until midnight. Some families go to church to pray with their loved ones and to wait until midnight to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Most young people expect to go dancing and clubbing after midnight. A lot of Children are kept awake until midnight to open their gifts, and some will wait until next day after Santa Claus has arrived. Kids get ideas for their list of toys with the help of their parents, by watching it on TV, or by looking at store catalogs of toys to choose from. They present this list to the Child Jesus way before Christmas day, just to be sure! Children wait anxiously for their toys. The presents are discreetly placed under the tree by “Santa Claus” when the kids are sleeping, typically not until after midnight.

There are places (including shopping centers) like Conway, Arrocha, or others where they put large trees and the kids have fun walking through there. Normally, a huge tree is placed in the Central Park (Cervantes Park) in David, like shown in the picture below.

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Christmas Day is a holiday in Panama so most of the stores, restaurants, and supermarkets are closed. It is a day for people to relax, be with their relatives and enjoy the joys of Christmas. In Boquete, on Christmas day, Boquetenians go out during the evening to watch the parade. The parade usually starts in the Basketball Arena in Los Naranjos close to Casa de Montaña, just up the street, and it is a parade where all schools participate. People are part of the parade with their decorated cars, motorcycles, golf carts, big trucks and more. The parade passes by on the main street right in front of Casa de Montaña (yes, we have the front row seat!), all the way down the street to downtown and usually ends up at Los Establos plaza. Even though most of the indigenous people do not celebrate Christmas, they will go out to watch the parade with their kids, especially since the mayor will be giving candies or gifts to them. In Boquete’s Central Park, the mayor always has a Christmas celebration for families in need, or indigenous people who do not have many resources. For the celebration, the mayor brings a Santa Claus who gives gifts to all the kids, give them hugs or just spend time with them. Christmas time in Boquete is truly a time to celebrate, be thankful for what we have and to show our appreciation of others in our life – a magical time! So if you are planning on coming to Boquete during Christmas time, book your room now at Casa de Montaña, and enjoy all the festivities that Boquete has to offer.

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