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Thread: Colombia/Panama City TR

  1. #1
    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Colombia/Panama City TR

    I was originally supposed to go to Panama City for 3 days, Colombia for 9 days, Ecuador for 3 days and the back to Bogota, Colombia for 1 night.

    Since i was able to see my client in Medellin, and i was missing my wife and my dog, i cut out Ecuador(flight prices creeped up too) and Bogota.

    I will compare prices and things to Thailand in this TR so people can get a comparison. I am not judging either by each other.

    So trip was:

    Panama City for 3 nights
    Cartagena Colombia for 2 nights
    Taganga/Tayrona National Park for 5 nights
    Medellin for 3 nights

    Flight:
    Vancouver to LAX to Panama City then on to Cartagena
    total cost= 1050cad ( about 30k baht)

    Total Spent:
    Surprisingly i only spent about 2900cad for 13 days( about 3k baht/day), that includes flight, accomodation and spending money.
    Factoring into the cheaper costs was Colombia was much cheaper than i thought it would be and i was travelling with a friend and we shared accomodation costs.

    Language:
    I find that Latin America speaks much less english than Asia does.
    That was especially true in Colombia. I think a major reason for that is that 80-85% of their tourists are from neighboring Latin countries, so there is no need to. Even in a hotel, only 1 person at the front desk will speak English.
    Another difficult factor is I/we look like them, especially in Colombia. So people just assume you are Colombian or Latin and start blurting out Spanish. I actually know a bit of Spanish but the thing is, if i start a convo with the little Spanish i know, they assume I am fluent and start spit firing.

    Costs:
    Panama City goes uses the USD and although it can be relatively cheap, and was more expensive than Colombia. Colombia was really cheap, i thought.

    Mongering:
    Panama City- we visited 2 spots that had FL hanging out. One BM Podder's friend took us to, the other Jim and I checked out alone.

    Habanos-an open space bar playing local music that had many FL, mostly Colombia. Girls were very pretty. We did not partake but Podder's buddy said it was about 100-150usd( 3k-4500baht)
    Veneto Casino- a casino in downtown that literally has FL lined up shoulder to shoulder the whole length of the bar. Also just walking around the whole casino. I honestly did not see too many girl i thought were that attractive and did not know the prices but seeing how little action they were getting i would be shocked if they wouldn't got for 50-60usd(1700-2k baht)

  2. #2
    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Panama City, Panama

    Our flight on Copa Airlines to Colombia connected through PTY so we decided to stop there for 3 days.
    But to be honest, we both just wanted to relax and hang out so we didn't do much. Hell, we didn't even make it to the Panama Canal!

    We booked a 2 bdrm suite at the Hard Rock Hotel for 660usd total for 3 nights. It came with a huge buffet breakfast( as you get in big hotels in Asia) plus 20usd drink credit each night.
    The suite was ok, the living room was really not that flattering. I had the master bedroom and was very nice, the other bedroom was decent also.
    But the hotel was very cool to stay at, tons of action going on from just the hotel lobby bar to the 2 discos they have.


    Panama City attractions:
    PC is a very big modern city, looks almost like Miami with a gorgeous seawall/promenade with great parks/outdoor space.
    One are i absolutely loved, probably my favorite area for the whole trip, was the old city that is starting to be revitalized, Casco Viejo.
    Just a beautiful area with great restuarants, plazas, churches and refurbished colonial buildings

    We also met BM Podders in PC, he lives there. Him and his friends were very nice and he was also very patient with my countless emails beforehand asking questions 555

    I want to go back and stay on San Blas Islands with my wife sometime, looks like paradise( google it!)

    Pic1 is Hard Rock Hotel
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    Last edited by marc26; 8th August 2013 at 04:42.
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    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    more Casco Viejo pictures

    As i said, i really liked Casco Viejo
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    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Cartagena Colombia

    This was one of the cities i was really looking forward to staying at. We booked a great 1 bedroom place with a sofa bed in a restored colonial building off of flip key.com for 150usd/night.
    Cartagena is sort of a tale of 2 cities for me. We stayed in a sort of non-touristy area called San Diego while about 6 blocks away was the over run tourist area.
    Although all the city is beautiful i did not care for the over run tourist area but loved where we stayed.

    Here is where we stayed:

    1 Bedroom Apt. / Condo Rental in Cartagena, Bolivar Department, Colombia - Exclusive 1BR apt. in the Old City
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    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Plazas in Cartagena

    This was my favorite thing about Cartagena, just sitting in the plazas and drinking and eating. We had some really good restaurants right by us in 2 different plazas.
    We also had a great night drinking beers in the tourist area at a plaza sitting at, believe it or not, a Hard Rock Cafe! I think we each had about 7 beers and the bill came to about 25usd( about 50baht a beer)
    Also for Anthony Bourdain fans, we ate at the Cerviche place he did on his show, it was a block from where we stayed. It was pretty good but prices a bit expensive compared to others
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  6. #6
    Member Podders's Avatar
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    Sounds like a good trip after you left Panama, it was good to meet you, and you're right about the Venetto Casino girls, definitely the lower end of the scale, Habanos a much better standard!

    I was just laughing at this article this morning actually - Simon Cowell baby mama?s in-laws own Panama hotel notorious for hookers - NYPOST.com
    "The problem with quotes on the internet is that you can never tell if they're genuine"

    Winston Churchill 1944

  7. #7
    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Podders View Post
    I was just laughing at this article this morning actually - Simon Cowell baby mama?s in-laws own Panama hotel notorious for hookers - NYPOST.com
    yeah, I read that story also!
    they really are full on with allowing them everywhere in the casino, i was surprised by that
    i also heard the girls are around the pool during the day, which wouldn't be a bad thing if staying there

    i really liked Habanos, local feel with pretty girls, can't beat that
    and they also don't hound you

  8. #8
    Senior Member tnlawyer's Avatar
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    Looks like you had a great trip. I plan on doing some extensive traveling over Central America/South America/Caribbean over the next few years. Cartegena is on my to-do list.

  9. #9
    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    notes on Cartagena

    Beach- there is a beach area with high rise condos called BocaGrande that most tourists stay in. I didn't have any interest staying there but we heading over one day to check out the beach scene. As soon as we got out of the taxi we were surrounded by 4 of the most aggressive hawkers i have ever encountered, we turned around and never set foot on the beach( actually, we walked into the Hilton and went right into their pool, just paid for drinks)
    There is also a big FL club over in this area called La Dolce Vita, but we never went and supposedly has a 100k peso minimum drink spending, about 55usd.

    Mongering in Cartagena- the picture above of people drinking in the plaza with the clock above is street walker area with girls hanging out in the plaza, some of they actually looked quite nice. I also heard there is a few FL in the popular tourist bars but since it was a Sunday/Monday we were there i didn't notice any
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  10. #10
    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Santa Marta/Taganga/Tayrona National Park

    Tayrona National Park is a big destination on the Caribeaan Sea, in the north of Colombia. We took a shuttle bus about 3 1/2 hours to get to the area.

    Usually people stay in Santa Mart or Taganga for a night or 2 before heading to Tayrona National Park.

    Santa Marta is a big bustling town by the water
    Taganga is a small fishing village with a big hippy/backpacker hangout.

    I didn't want to stay in the city but Jim was weary of the backpacker scene in Taganga.

    We ended up staying in Taganga right on the beach and it ended up being one of best parts of our trip.
    Taganga is about a 4 block area on the beach with the local neighborhood sprawling up the hills from the main road.
    It was one of the coolest places i've been to. Only some of the roads are partially paved and they have cool little restaurants and it is cheap as chips there.
    We shared a room at a hotel on the beach for 80usd(2400baht) night
    Beers around town were about 35-45baht
    A good dinner, maybe slightly better quality than Kamala Aussie Pub main dishes, was about 8usd( 240baht)
    Since it is backpacker hang out, ganja is readily available and consumed by your host and his mate 555

    One day we paid about 45usd( 1500baht) for a boat to take us to 2 different beaches for the day. One of them ended up being possibly the best beach i ever been on.

    Also, Taganga has got to be one of the few places i have ever seen where a tourist spot is just sort of smack dab in the middle of the locals living area.
    And that provided us with the only unsafe moment of all of our travels.
    Once Friday night came around, there was a charged up energy from the locals. They were all out drinking and it just felt a bit aggressive.
    We were sitting having beers at this local place across from the open air disco and this local came by and starting waving a knife at other locals in the disc. Then another guy handed him another knife so he had 2! One the locals in the disco threw a water bottle at him, we didn't stick around to get involved!

    Pics of Taganga
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    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    More Taganga

    here are some more pics of Taganga
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    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Beach Tour, Playa Cinta, Playa Cristal

    these are both in Tayrona National Park but not deep in
    we paid 45usd for about 4 hours on Cinta and 2 hours on Cristal

    When he dropped us off at Cinta it was just us two and another couple
    it was simply amazing

    Pics of Playa Cinta
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    Last edited by marc26; 8th August 2013 at 06:42.
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  13. #13
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    Good job on the pics. Camera or phone?

    Is prostitution legal down there?...

  14. #14
    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dupree View Post
    Good job on the pics. Camera or phone?

    Is prostitution legal down there?...
    phone, my HTC One

    i think prostitution is legal

  15. #15
    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Playa Cristal

    this was the 2nd beach we went on our beach tour
    it was the more popular beach they dropped everyone off on that had restaurants and chairs

    but i am glad we spent most of our time on Playa Cinta
    we really only went to Playa Cristal to eat

    and it was the only time we were scammed/over charged

    our boat guy picked us up from Cinta and brought us to Cristal
    i went to go to a restaurant but he directed us to another one, and when he did that i got a bad feeling
    foolishly enough, i didn't act on it
    we sat down and asked for a menu and the guy said no menu and just recited to 4 things they had
    we orders 2 fish and some drinks
    all total, we had 2 fish dishes, 2 beers and 2 tropical drinks
    then Jim told me the bill was 150k pesos!, 75usd
    what a crock of shit and i was so pissed i didn't insist on the prices 1st

    i wanted to kill our boat guy and then i wanted to kill Jim for continuing to be nice to him
    i told the boat guy he was a fcuking scammer and refused to shake his hand when he dropped us off
    but it was our fault for not asking prices 1st

    Playa Cristal
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    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Cabo San Juan, Tayrona National Park Colombia

    ok, so this was one of the highly anticipated parts of the trip

    Cabo San Juan is the jewel of Tayrona National Park
    you can take a boat there or hike 2 1/2 hours
    once there you can rent a tent for 15usd/night or a hammock right on the ocean for 7/night
    we opted to do the hike, which was pretty easy hike
    there were no hammocks left so we rented one tent each

    the set up is the tents are in a grass field about 20metres from the water, so you definitely hear the waves at night
    but it was pretty damn hot the 1st part of the night until it cools down at about 1am

    dinner is sort of cool, it opens at 6pm and it almost feels like being back in university, with everyone eating at once and playing cards and chatting, i enjoyed that

    i thought the beach would be more crowded but it was pretty peaceful
    oh, and their were a bunch of hot ass girls there from all over!

    Pictures of the hike into the beach
    beaches pictured were unswimmable ones along the hiking path
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  17. #17
    Senior Member WarProfiteer's Avatar
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    Cant wait until I am able to make a shift to that part of the world. I have really enjoyed SE Asia, and I'll likely return in the future here and there, but I really want to make Panama or Costa Rica my home... and from there, check out a lot of the neighboring countries the way I have done from Thailand. Colombia is definitely on the to-do list. I've heard almost all good things from there.

    What did you think of the average Colombian gal (in Colombia, not Panama)? I was offered a job there once, but turned it down to go to Iraq... a buddy I met in Iraq had worked in Colombia for 2 years and said it was the funnest time he ever had as an expat. Said the average Colombian gal was quite cute and many, many of them were stunning. Just wondering what your impressions were...

  18. #18
    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Cabo San Juan

    here are pics from when we settled at Cabo San Juan

    i should have taken better pics of the set up, but wasn't thinking about it
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    Last edited by marc26; 8th August 2013 at 11:18.

  19. #19
    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WarProfiteer View Post
    Cant wait until I am able to make a shift to that part of the world. I have really enjoyed SE Asia, and I'll likely return in the future here and there, but I really want to make Panama or Costa Rica my home... and from there, check out a lot of the neighboring countries the way I have done from Thailand. Colombia is definitely on the to-do list. I've heard almost all good things from there.

    What did you think of the average Colombian gal (in Colombia, not Panama)? I was offered a job there once, but turned it down to go to Iraq... a buddy I met in Iraq had worked in Colombia for 2 years and said it was the funnest time he ever had as an expat. Said the average Colombian gal was quite cute and many, many of them were stunning. Just wondering what your impressions were...
    I was going to expound on Colombian girls at the end but your question is a good time to do so now.

    I said this to Jim and he agreed that i think Colombian women as a whole population is the only other country that i have been to that rivals Thailand women in the amount of attractive women.
    What I mean is that when i land in Thailand, i immediately start seeing women that attract me. Same with Colombia
    Not all of them are stunners, but you will find 6-7 out of 10 girls attractive to stunning.
    And the stunners? They are what god, or whoever you believe in, meant a woman to be.
    Another thing i found interesting is they don't seem to grow into their looks until late 20's
    Whereas in the states, i am absolutely drooling over 18-22yr old girls, i found the younger girls in Colombian not as attractive as the slightly older ones, maybe because they need to grown into those real womanly bodies

    In Medellin, they almost seemed European.

    As for companionship. Colombia is definitely not a mongering country, especially Medellin. Cartagena had the most i saw and even that was minimal. I heard there is a lot of brothel/casa type set ups but not my scene
    But by knowing how my friend who has a place in Medellin gets on and observing it, if you knew Spanish and lived there, i don't think you'd have any trouble finding a very beautiful companion.

  20. #20
    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WarProfiteer View Post
    Cant wait until I am able to make a shift to that part of the world. I have really enjoyed SE Asia, and I'll likely return in the future here and there, but I really want to make Panama or Costa Rica my home... and from there, check out a lot of the neighboring countries the way I have done from Thailand. Colombia is definitely on the to-do list. I've heard almost all good things from there.

    ..
    as for living there, i didn't see much of Panama, and i know there is nice parts, i do know CR well and got a good taste of a few parts of Colombia
    i couldn't imagine living in Panama/CR over Colombia
    Colombia seems cheaper than the both, the cities are way more cosmopolitan, the beaches are absolutely gorgeous and know one talks about them!

    Also, i still reiterate you are in for a dogfight with Taky bringing her there. You absolutely have to know Spanish in any of those countries, and I think will be a bit frustrating for her to just have learned English to then need to learn Spanish. Even the most open minded girl will have very trying times. and you of course will need to know spanish

    One other thing because i know you like to take advantage to travel. One downside of Latin America is flying to neighboring countries is a bit expensive compared to doing the same in Asia.
    I got good fares on a Medellin-Quito-Bogota r/t flight but had to book a month in advance
    a week before it went up to 450usd
    I looked into Colombia-Lima flight and that was 800usd

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