Fuerte Amador was distinguished as the best rated port among five destinations in Central America during the fourth edition of Cruise Critic Cruisers' Choice Awards 2019. The review highlights that Fuerte Amador is the closest cruise port to the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal, being an important tourist attraction in the area for its strategic location and beautiful views of vessels waiting for their turn to cross the Canal. In turn, from this place it is possible to visit the Miraflores Welcome Center, take a boat at the Gatun Lake or spend some time at the Biomuseo and downtown, as it is very accessible.
In addition, the port of Amador stands out in the first place of the category "Top ranked destinations of the Panama Canal and Central America", followed by Puerto Quetzal in Guatemala, Cartagena in Colombia; Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera) in Costa Rica; and San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua. With this distinction, the deputy administrator of the Tourism Authority Of Panama, referred to Panama as a country that once again shows that is capable of doing great things.
The deputy administrator highlighted that Panama's advantage is the short distance between places, which allows tourists to take a tour that includes the three cities: Casco Viejo, the modern City and Panama La Vieja. Likewise, is it possible to visit the national parks surrounding the Canal area (one of the top destinations for cruise ships passengers), and the entire history of the Transistmic Route used since colonial times.
Fuerte Amador and Fuerte Grant were two former US military bases built to protect the southern entrance of the Panama Canal. Amador was located under the Bridge of the Americas, while Grant consisted of about three islands near the coast, linked to by the road of the same name. The old Fort Sherman was counterpart at the northern entrance of the Canal, located towards the Atlantic side. These forts were returned to Panama in 1999 and the area is currently a popular port on the Pacific side.
Discovering Darien • Panama
The Spanish conquest of Panama began in 1510, precisely in Darién, with the foundation of the city of Santa María, now the border with Colombia, entrusted to Vasco Núñez de Balboa. This city of the ancient Darién was the capital of Castilla de Oro until the foundation of Panama City. In 1513, Balboa decided to open the famous way to the Pacific Ocean seeking the other sea and the gold. The tough expedition, muggy weather, steep forest and violent confrontations with native communities, compensated his effort with the wonderful gulf that was baptized by him and took the name of San Miguel.
Daríen is famous because of its exuberant and inaccessible forest which interrupts the Pan-American Highway that occupies 16031.37 miles from Alaska in North America to Buenos Aires in Argentina and connects the capital with the rest of the continent. In Yaviza, know as Tapón del Daríen (Darien's Plug) and located 171.49 miles away from Panama City, the highway turns into fluvial forests, rivers represent the communication routes through which different-size ships pass, among which are extended Indian canoes, pirogues or canoes appertaining to local communities.
This area has a small population. Thanks to that, one of the richest ecosystems in the world has evolved there, with an exceptional diversity of flora and fauna. The area registers also a high level of endemism. The National Park of Darién was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and in 1982 as a Biosphere Reserve that occupies 3598.36 miles, forming a vast range of habitats; among which are the following: sandy beaches, rocky coasts, plentiful rivers, mangrove swamps, clearly rainy forest and cloudy forest.
Its vegetation is dense. Trees can even exceed thirty-five meters in height and from a sort of ceiling where a semidarkness is kept inside, favoring this way the growth of huge epiphyte and parasitic plants, in addition to the thick lianas. As expected, Darién is the habitat of an astounding fauna where howler monkeys, spider monkeys and other primates, capybaras, giant anteaters, ocelots, jaguars, sloths, crocodiles stand out. It is also a real paradise for amateur bird watchers.
If arriving at San Blas today has become little more than a simple car ride made partly by ups and downs (an expert guide is always recommended and exclusively with 4x4 cars), it was certainly not like that until the beginning of the 2000s, when the Government of Panama finished the construction of today's route to the San Blas Islands, a completely paved road that allows you to arrive at the port once you enter Chepo in just 1 hour. Junior tells us about it, our coordinator of overland and expert transport on this route where he has been traveling every day for over 30 years: going to San Blas today, for me and my colleagues who traveled on this route in those years is practically like a walk, he tells us with a laugh as he reminds us and tells how difficult and hard it was to arrive at the port of San Blas in those years, much more than an adventure, practically a real undertaking, certainly was not a tour for everyone like instead it has become today thanks to the new road. It took only 5/6 hours to get from the city of Panama to the port of San Blas, then from there via direct to the islands in small wooden boats that were built by the Guna, also here it was a little hussle because the boats were very small with little space and no roof at all to cover yourself from the sun or rain, today these boats are used only by the Guna people for their small transfers and for fishing, today they are available new boats made with resin and much more comfortable, spacious and complete with roof to cover yourself from the strong sun or rain.
Also the accommodations on the San Blas Islands were very very rustic, also for this reason it was not a trip for any tourist but only for a few adventurers.
When you think of the San Blas the first things that come to mind are sun, sea and pure relaxation and when you're lucky enough to set foot in it ... It's really like that!
It is a true paradise on earth, a diverse number of islands scattered in the blue Caribbean Sea of Panama that give life to the Guna Yala Archipelago, one of the most beautiful seas on the planet.
Today these paradisiacal islands with one of the most beautiful season the planet are easy to visit, San Blas Dreams provides trips departing from Panama City 365 days a year, leave stress, anxieties, fears and all the negative vibrations you have accumulated at home during the year and dive into this incredible sea.
All people can be part of this blog, tell us about your experience in San Blas Islands or some tips for traveling to Panama.