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Have you seen our latest promotional campaign?

It is aptly titled The Path Less Traveled

If you have not seen one of our TV ADS, you will have an opportunity to take a look at them with a click of the mouse..


"Take it from a European who thinks of himself more as a traveler than a tourist, Panama is a diamond in the rough, waiting to be discovered and shine from the variety of all its facets! Most people have caught a glimpse of Panama while crossing the Canal, and they will never forget it. But Panama offers so much more... More, actually, than what the average vacationer would expect! Those who are simply seeking unpopulated beaches, breathtaking scenery,  first rate resorts and casinos,  inexpensive hotels and all the rainforest you can absorb in one trip, will be delighted. However, the  seasoned traveler will enjoy the authenticity of a country still untouched by the excesses of mass-tourism. Those who prefer to avoid the crowds will have the opportunity to discover remote locations where very few foreigners have ever set foot, with the exception of the early conquistadores

I have fond memories of a visit to the small town of La Villa de Los Santos (about 150 miles of  well-maintained highway from Panama City). Some friends had insisted that I should not miss the CORPUS CHRISTI celebrations (early June). I stayed at the modern resort/casino Los Guayacanes in nearby town of Chitre, which exceeded by far my expectations. At four in the morning, I got out of bed and a taxi charged one  Dollar to take me to Los Santos. It looked like the whole town was up. I immediately realized I was the only one with a camera... Surprisingly though, I felt perfectly at home with the crowd that was busy looking for the TORITO (the little bull). The creature was hiding among the small houses with their porches, mud walls and antique tiles that looked like the perfect setting for a Garcia-Marquez novel. Drummers and pipers were leading the way, among a flock of running children. When we found the bull - a strange assemblage of bamboo, man and horns, there were loud explosions of fireworks. In the early lights of dawn, we gathered in the streets to share coffee and local bread kneaded like a pretzel. Everything was free, and there was enough for everyone!  

Then, the show began. Again, it was a free show, nobody gets paid, all for the pleasure of celebration itself. Now, tens of multicolored folkloric groups were filling the streets, performing complex dances whose rituals had been handed from generation to generation. I was mesmerized by the costumes. There were DIABLICOS SUCIOS (dirty devils) with their red and black suits and Gorgona-like fantastic masks, topped with guacamayas feathers, accompanied by a guitarist. The DIABLICOS LIMPIOS (clean devils) were not far behind. Following them, a large group of young men, clad entirely with palm tree leaves were jumping rhythmically behind their leader brandishing a mock rifle. Then KING MONTEZUMA and his cohort of Aztecs came into view and I was intrigued by his costume. The long blond hair were rather unexpected, as well as the glasses and the wristwatch, but I thought the monarch had all the required solemnity... This is when the TORITO struck me and threw me to the ground! Everyone else around me had known better and scattered, but I was somehow unaware of the rules of the game... It was nothing, really, and my camera was intact, but everybody wanted to know if I was OK - especially the TORITO. A friendly stranger came to me and offered a glass of SECO, the local aguardiente, which is rather smooth and begs to be discovered. A second glass helped me to a quick recovery... Everybody was happy that I was fine. 

I followed the long procession to the Eighteenth Century colonial church, which by itself would have been worth the trip, and to my surprise all the dancers took it by storm: there were terrifying devils everywhere, attempting to frighten the children with loud bangs from pig bladders. Feathers and palm tree leaves were flying everywhere, to the deafening sound of African drums. After the local priest managed to reestablish some kind of order, there was a church service, and everyone gathered in the Town square, for more dancing and fun. It turned out that the blonde Montezuma and his soldiers were a troupe of local actors which assembled once a year to tell the story of the betrayed king. The audience was clearly on his side and fell silent during the most dramatic moments. But, as soon as the play was over, the CORPUS CHRISTI was in full swing again. It amazed me to realize that there were no tourists, no flashes, no organized tours - just local people having the best of times. And I should add, one of the most welcoming peoples I have ever seen!"

(Michel Langlois) (U.S.N.W.R.) Reprinted by permission.

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