Panama, Casco Viejo, Casco Antiguo
Imagine this: sixty five journalists/ publishers/ marketing & sales staff from one of the most prestigious travel magazines in the world come to Panama. They want to see Panama in a nutshell: the most authentic pieces we have to offer in less than three days. Not “mission impossible”! Panama has plenty to offer, but such a logistic needed a special strategy.
Groups were divided into “Quests” where each group had a specific task, like a game, of finding something, bringing something, eating something, building something, exploring something. Groups went everywhere, from the Embera villages in Chagres, to shopping day in Salsipuedes. From learning about our most traditional foods by buying them at the public market and the fish market (then cooked by a wonderful Panamanian chef) to having the real “tailor of Panama” who lives in Chorrillo make guayaberas and Panama Hats for everyone. From hiking Cerro Ancón to boxing at the spartan boxing gym in Chorrillo where most Panamanian boxing stars still train. From a beautiful dinner at the Trump Hotel to a street party in Casco Viejo, featuring arroz con pollo and tamales, drinks by local snowcone man (raspao) who managed to make mojitos, piña coladas and daiquiris – raspao version. From modern city to old city to jungle and back.
Photos taken by all participants in every quest were put into a slide presentation that was shown at the street party, and it was beautiful to see our Panama through the eyes of Travel and Leisure experts. They managed to capture the essence of what makes this country special, the diversity, but above all, it was a celebration of authenticity. They were not captured by luxury nor towers, but by grass roots reality which they found to be fascinating.
I hope ACP reads this blog and realizes we need to nurture and cherish all things authentic in this country. To know that Panama has to run away from “Disneyfication”!
Thanks so much to everyone who participated leading and organizing the quests. From the Trump Hotel to Las Clementinas, Canal House and El Otro Lado, to Conservatorio (organizers), Blanca (La Casona) and Di Vino (for saving us on the street party night when we ran out of wine!) To our quest leaders: Carlos Weil, Hildegard Vásquez, Tony Coates, Ariel Espino, Carolina García Navarro, Kristina Foguel, Ursula Kiener, Felix and his mother Aracellys, and Franz (float team). To the logistic organizers : Lydia, Pat, Kim, Danna (Trump). I hope I`m not leaving anyone out! What an amazing team work!