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Speaking at the Live and Invest in Panama Conference

Speaking at the Live and Invest in Panama Conference

I was invited to speak at the Live and Invest Overseas Conference a while back in Panama City. The Conference was very well organized by Kathleen Peddicord and Lief Simon; attendees flew in mainly from North America for from several days to several weeks to explore Panama.

My subject this conference (I had spoken a number of times for previous International Living Conferences) was “Opening a Business in Panama – Our Experience”. We also set up an information table about Taboga Island and our B&B Inn Cerrito Tropical.

Conference Table for B&B Inn Cerrito Tropical

Conference Table for B&B Inn Cerrito Tropical

People often ask me, if not for financial gain, why do I speak publicly at these types of Expat / Investment conferences?
My answer is quite simply, I love the challenge of speaking to a large group, and the opportunity to speak about Taboga Island.

Expat

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The New Cinta Costera in Panama City

The New Cinta Costera in Panama City

Check it out when you have time. A super new area to walk, run, or bike along Panama Bay (Pacific Ocean side of Panama). The traffic is much improved with a beautiful new bypass for Avenida Balboa in Panama City. Nicely designed and much needed additions to Panama City – more green space, more parking, and a bypass through Chorillo and Cinco de Mayo direct to Amador and the Bridge of the Americas, and reverse – direct to the highway to the Tocumen Airport (Corredor Sur).

Walkways and Bike Paths

Walkways and Bike Paths

Parking lots

Parking lots

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Taboga Island, Playa Honda

Taboga Island, Playa Honda

03-07-2009 | ROB KIRCHER
rob@robkircher.com

Taboga, the garden paradise only a few kilometers offshore and less than an hour ferry away.

We’ve all heard the phrase, “So close, but yet so far away”; which by the way originated during the US Civil War between the States when bales of cotton would be stacked close together, so the enemy would face a seemingly impregnable barrier.

Well, that phrase couldn’t be any more accurate than describing quaint little Isla Taboga; which I’ve heard much about and finally visited a short time ago. To me, it was always an intriguing place, but unfortunately more than a taxi drive away. So therefore, it wasn’t a realistic destination that fit with my hectic schedule.

It wasn’t until I met a new friend of mine, Monarch, that the thought of traveling to the close but seemingly far away island became a real desire. As we were sitting last month in the Café Havana in Casco Antiguo enjoying one of the best mojitos on this planet, she enthusiastically introduced me to the finer aspects of the garden paradise only 20km offshore and less than an hour ferry away.

But, being a previous New Yorker with an engrained mentality that whatever someone needs should be attainable within a 5-block area of where they reside, the thought of traveling over an hour by boat just to see some pretty flowers was becoming a tough sell. And, oh by the way, that was just one way. Another hour would be needed for the return trip. My mind started to race. What if I get bored because there are not enough things to keep my interest? What if there are no quality restaurants? What if it rains? What if I miss the last ferry back and I have to stay the night? Will there be an available hotel room? What then? Should I make reservations just in case? No. The whole notion of visiting this seemingly far away island was becoming a big hassle.

Being the clever person she is and knowing how much I enjoy historical places such as Casco Viejo, Monarch ordered another round of mojitos and started to relieve my concerns by filling me in on the fascinating past of the scenic island? a place she was very passionate about.

Over the next half-hour I learned that Taboga was founded in the XVI Century by the Spaniard Sancho Clavija and that the island’s original name was “Aboga”, which means “an abundance of fish”. She also told me that Taboga is surrounded by several other islands, including Isla Taboguilla, Isla Urava, and Isla El Morro and that they were a small group of more than a thousand islands found within the Gulf of Panama. Then with a big smile Monarch began to enlighten me about the picturesque pueblo of San Pedro and how small eateries and shops line its main street and continue down some of its constricted paths too narrow for automobiles.

With my concern about finding adequate restaurants successfully satisfied, Monarch launched herself onto the main reason why Taboga is known as “The Island of Flowers” by reciting a list of floral species that are abundant throughout much of the island, such as lianas, bromeliads, orchids and ferns; along with a host of fruit trees that include nisperos, mameyes, nance, mango, tamarind and pineapple.

Finally, she appealed to my love of fishing and expounded upon the fact that Isla Taboga is world famous for its sport fishing and that the majority of its roughly 1000 inhabitants make their living from the sea. Some of the prized trophy fish caught off its shores are Amberjack, Pacific Sailfish, Black Marlin, Yellowfin Tuna, Wahoo, Cubera Snapper, Blue Marlin, Corvina and Roosterfish.
Then with a twinkle in her eye, Monarch added that the dazzling skyline of Panama City can be easily observed at night anywhere on the island and when there is a full moon the island lights up with a special air of romance. As things happen, it rained the day I visited the island, so I never got to experience what she described. However, blooming flowers were everywhere and the food was very tasty.

Rob Kircher is marketing and advertising specialist, writer and filmmaker

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I borrowed this from Sam Taliaferro´s Panama Investor Blog where you can subscribe to his regular newsletter, very informative on Panama events from a business perspective.
http://primapanama.blogs.com

Excerpts from La Prensa

The Canadian airlines currently offering charter flights to Panama may start providing regular flight services during peak travel seasons.

Canadian Transport Minister John Baird announced that Air Transat would operate two flights a week from Tocumen, while WestJet reported it would schedule a single flight each week. Flights will operate between November and April.

Representatives for Air Transat, which has offered two weekly charter flights Montreal, Quebec, and Panama City, Panama, since 2003, said the new service will be similar to that currently offered.

As of September, some 33,649 Canadian tourists have arrived in Panama, according to the Tourism Authority of Panama.

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Red snapper and shrimp

Red snapper and shrimp

We recently visited the beaches in the interior of Panama along the Pacific Coast and stopped at Restaurante Los Camisones. A little hard to find, on the main Pan American highway drive past Coronado, look for the El Valle turn off it is about 5 minutes past the turnoff on the right hand side, you can spot a sign where you should turn up a small hill. There is no forwarning to let you know where the turn is. The gardens and bohio (large thatched roofed area where the restaurant is) are lovely and well kept.

Deliciously prepared Spanish and Panamanian food with attentive service. I was told to order Paella in advance which I did not because our visit was a spur of the moment thing. In case you want it, order 1 hour in advance, their number is: 993-3622.

Appetizers run from $4 for Corvina Ceviche to $9.75. We ordered the Greek Salad ($4.75). It’s a delicious Greek salad with onions, olives, green peppers, and feta cheese served in a lettuce bowl.

Main courses run $7 for Corvina (Seabass) to $21 for Lobster Thermador; the mains do not come with vegetables. We ordered a sides of potatoes, fried yucca and rice. We enjoyed fresh jumbo shrimp and red snapper. Both the food and service were excellent.

Open 7 days a week.
Owners: Tomas and Beatrice Camison
Tel: 507-993-3622
La Ermita
San Carlos KM 104
Panama

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Calypso King Ferry to the Taboga Island Beach for Vacationers in Panama

Calypso King Ferry to the Taboga Island Beach for Vacationers in Panama

Day trippers heading to the beach, or vacationers heading to Taboga Island on the Pacific side of Panama for a few days to de stress, hike, lay on the island beach, go fishing, take a boat tour, eat fresh fish, sleep in the hammock… Now can enjoy the convenience of the Calypso King ferry, a reconditioned larger ferry now sailing from Panama to Taboga Island. The trip was 1 hour in the Queen, but in the King we were back in the city in 30 minutes yesterday. The lower deck is air conditioned, while on the upper deck travelers can watch the ships waiting to pass into or out of the Panama Canal while they travel to Taboga.

The ferry leaves from Amador Causeway. Check the FERRY schedule on our Bed and Breakfast website B&B Inn Cerrito Tropical: http://www.cerritotropicalpanama.com Telephone for Calypso Ferries: 314-1730, 390-2403

We do not yet have the permanent schedule for the King which holds over 200 passengers. It will probably run on weekends and National Holidays-they will not likely send it when there are not enough people to fill it.

On a personal note: I still love the other open air ferries, they are slower and lull me into a relaxed state of mind coming from the crazy city to the much slower paced Taboga Island.

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Moored off Taboga Island Panama today with views from B&B Inn Cerrito Tropical´s balconies is the Amazing Earthrace. This impressive powerboat with its space age wave piercing hull design looked like it had dropped in from outer space.

The crew of Earthrace is relaxing on Taboga Island after transiting the Panama Canal before setting off for the Galapagos Islands.

From the Earthrace website: “The goal of Earthrace was to set a new world record for a powerboat to circumnavigate the globe, running 100% renewable biodiesel fuel, and with a net zero carbon footprint. The amazing Earthrace boat started the attempt on 27 April 2008 from Sagunto in Spain.

After breaking the world record in just 60 days 23 hours and 49 minutes Earthrace returned to Sagunto, Spain on the 27 June 2008, 12.24.00 GMT/14.24.00 CET knocking almost 14 days off the previous record. The journey was almost 24,000 nautical miles fueled by biodiesel to demonstrate the efficiency of, and draw global attention to, the potential for alternative fuel sources.

“This fantastic team of people and our astonishing boat have broken the record by a massive margin” said Pete Bethune, New Zealand skipper and owner of Earthrace, “I finally feel that all the sacrifices made, especially by my wife and daughters, have been worth it. I don’t even know how to begin to thank all the individuals and companies that have supported us along the way, some of them since the very beginning over five years ago. Without them, none of this would have been possible”.”

Learn more about Biofuels from this link on the Earthrace website.

The official fuel sponsor is SGC Energia (SGCE) which is based in Portugal, supplying the 100% biodiesel made from waste cooking oils, and soya bean and canola from sustainable sources. They are supplying fuel for the record attempt, as well as the promotional tour that will follow this years record attempt.


Check the Earthrace website out, a truly impressive undertaking and an amazing powerboat.

What interesting times we live in, there is never a dull moment, especially in Panama!

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