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February 2011

 I Trip Reports   II News  III Agenda  IV Suggestions V Picture

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I. Trip Report    

Chagres National Park and Kuna Yala Expeditions , January 2011

We had some great trips on January 2011.  A group of 12 women did our 100-15 Chagres and San Blas Adventure,  7 nights  package.  The owners (Alfredo, Marcelo y Felipe Meneses) of Ecuador Adventure a Tour Operator based on Galapago Island s had a chance to visit Panama  and they were atonished by it, specially by San Blas Archipelago and Chagres National Park. Here are some few shots taken mostly by our new staff member Matthew Podobinski.

"Aventuras Panama San Blas Trip Rocks" by Hope Haff (from tripadvisor.com)

By Hope Haff,  Boston, Massachusetts,  Feb 7, 2011

The 5 days I spent exploring the San Blas islands by kayak were the best commercial sea kayak trip I have ever been on, and I have been on a dozen, all over Latin America. The trip is pricey, on the other hand everything, including Panama airfare and airport transport is included. The gorgeous, untouched San Blas islands, a Kuna Indian independent territory, are totally inaccessible by sea kayak to the independent traveler, so trips like this are "it." The guide and the cook/camp manager were both experienced and thoughtful, the food (very fresh fish and lots of trimmings) was plentiful and varied, the tents/mattresses were super quality and comfy, the corasl of the reefs were more varied and healthier than in Belize. We explored different islands and snorkelled different reefs every day; I could often set my own agenda. Kayak equipment was high quality, and the launch accompanying made for super-safety and convenience. Almost best was the chance to talk to Kuna about their very self-aware and so far successful campaign to keep their culture and islands safe from destructive development, while allowing for some income for tribe members through ecotourism. Thank you Javier, and good luck!

This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

II News                                                                                      TOP
Aventuras Panama Expands Its Reach

In January 2011 Adventures Panama and Ms. Ana Royo teamed up to make a new company, Panama Travel & Explore, Inc., which now operates Experience Panama, the country leading Destination Management Company offering fresh, dynamic and professional services, adapting its programs to suit the need of every client.

Ms. Royo, until recently the President of Panama Tour Operator Association, still manage Experience Panama  and it is now backed by Adventures Panama (Aventuras Panamá). 

The Biggest Rain in 200 Years (Taken from La Prensa, Dec 28, 2010, by Wilfredo S. Jordan)
The Panama Canal shut down operations for the first time in its history due to natural events

Between December 7-9 the Panama Canal watershed was hit by a storm of unprecedented intensity. According to metorological data the rainfall was the most intense in a 2 day period in 200 years.

The Lake Alajuela Basin recorded an average of 281.88mm(11 inches) on December 8 alone.

In a span of 30 hours the level of the Gatun Lake rose from 87.4 feet to 88.57 feet. According to Alberto Zubieta, the Administrator of the Panama Canal Authority, ACP, this caused one million gallons per second to flow from Alajuela Lake to Gatun Lake.

The Chagres River, which feeds Gatun Lake grew to 43 feet. In some places the raging water demolished everything in its path, including 2 ACP weather stations.


Gatun Dam spillway

Force of water during the opening of the 14 spillway gates Gatun on 8 December. CORTESÍA/ACP1487467

It is estimated that in less than a minute (55 seconds) was pouring 55 million gallons of water, the same amount used for a ship transiting the Canal, or in one hour poured water equivalent to 65 transits ships.

Due to the magnitude of the spill on Gatun Lake the administration had to order the use of the three culverts Gatun Locks and Pedro Miguel. ´´ It was a unique experience and required us to make decisions in a time of emergency and will help us prepare for future unexpected emergencies´´ said Mr. Zubieta.

Meanwhile the ACP is working on studies to increase the discharge capacity of Gatun Lake to the sea. These studies may result in an increase in landfill capacity, as well as design and construction of a new landfill on the Atlantic side of the lake to increase the capacity of water dispersion.

Paddler Killed in Crocodile Attack (Reproduced from American Outdoor Newsletter)

In December of 2010 expedition guide Hendri Coetzee was killed by a crocodile while leading a group of American paddlers. The expedition was in its third week and had travelled a series of rivers. Coetzee had taught the boaters to tap their boats to make noise, stay out of the eddies where hippos might attack them, and keep clear of the banks where crocodiles sunned themselves.  The fatal attack happened on the Lukuga River in Congo.

  Hendri Coetzee

The two American boaters and guide Coetzee were paddling in a close formation on a quiet section of the river when the croc swam up behind them and tore Coetzee from his plastic boat and disappeared with him. The crocodile was estimated to be 15 long and weigh 2 tons. The two Americans were unharmed in the incident and managed to paddle to safety.

Coetzee, 35, was a highly regarded paddler who had run a 200km section of the Congo River and the Murchison Falls section of the Nile River solo (and unsupported). He also led the first Source to Sea expedition of the White Nile in 2004. He had been living in Uganda before embarking on this expedition. This latest trip was sponsored by Eddie Bauer’s First Ascent line of outdoor gear

III. AGENDA for February  2011                                                  TOP
DATE TOUR  NOTES Price exclusive for members
offer subject to availability
Feb 17, 2011
Rio Grande White Water, upper section, in duckies
Regular price $ 125.00(from the beach area)  $ 85.00
March 5, 2011 Chagres Jungle Camp Regular price $ 350.00

 $ 250.00 per person

For reservations please call us at Phone 260-0044,  Cel 6679-4404 or email us at . Payment is required at least five days prior to tour date.  Trips departs from our office HERE

 Note:  Listed prices for above dates are good only for residents of Panama that had joined "Atrevete a Vivir !" Ezine previous to current month.  Tour participation is subject to availability and our own Terms and Conditions.

If a member is interested in a particular destination or activity we welcome suggestions. This ezine is also available to post members available preplanned trip into the outdoors. 

IV Suggestions                                                                TOP

The Bridge of Life building, which is designed by one of the world's most important architecture firms — Frank O. Gehry & Asociados — will be a new icon for Panama. It will also be a striking building unlike anything most of its visitors have ever experienced. It is expected to open to the public in 2011.



For more than a decade, Ecuador Adventure has been leading adventurers like you to one of the world's most exciting travel destinations, a place of countless natural and cultural wonders...Ecuador

Aventuras Panama's  Resources  around 2,200 links to websites related to adventure, paddling, Panama, and the outdoors.

V Videos and Pictures                                                                                    TOP


River Otter in Chagres National Park playing with Javier Romero while guiding a Chagres Challenge trip of Aventuras Panama

The river otter is the symbol of Chagres National Park

Taken by Matt Podovinski



Did you knew that river otter had to be taught how to swin ?

Recommended by Dennis





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  experience panama | ecuador adventure | chagres national park | river otter | kuna yala | san blas archipelago


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