47 Chapters
Medium 9781628872545

2 SUGGESTED PANAMA ITINEARIES

Nicholas Gill FrommerMedia ePub

2

Suggested Panama Itineraries

Panama is home to a staggering array of natural landscapes, each beautiful in its own way, and each offering attractions and excursions that appeal to different kinds of people. Scuba-diving fanatics or anglers seeking to reel in boatloads of billfish, for example, might plan their entire journey to Panama around their sport. Multisport resorts have been popping up around the country, too, providing guests with a home base and roster of activities as varied as kayaking, hiking, scuba diving, and mountain biking. These range from pricey, boutique-style lodges boasting “rustic elegance” to destination megaresorts, with 300 or more guest rooms.

Whatever your passion or desire, Panama has it all: a thriving metropolis; endless stretches of pristine, hyperdiverse rainforest; legendary sport fishing; scuba diving in the Caribbean and Pacific (even diving both oceans in 1 day, if you wish); white-water rafting and trekking through rugged mountain highlands; cultural encounters with one of the country’s seven indigenous groups; a round of golf on a world-class course; a river cruise on a dugout canoe; or boating the Panama Canal. Of course, there are also plenty of relaxing spots for travelers who just want to kick back on a chaise longue or spend their afternoons strolling along the beach.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781628872460

10 USEFUL TERMS & PHRASES

Nicholas Gill FrommerMedia ePub

10

Useful Terms & Phrases

Peruvian Spanish is, for the most part, straightforward and fairly free of the quirks and national slang that force visitors to page through their dictionaries in desperation. But if you know Spanish, some of the terms you will hear people saying are chibolo for muchacho (boy); churro and papasito for guapo (good-looking); jato instead of casa (house); chapar (literally “to grab or get”), slangier than but with the same meaning as besar (to kiss); ¡que paja está! (it’s great); mi pata to connote a dude or chick from your posse; and papi (or papito) and mami (or mamita), affectionate terms for “father” and “mother” that are also used as endearments between relatives and lovers (which can get a little confusing to the untrained outsider). The inherited indigenous respect for nature is evident; words such as Pachamama (Mother Earth) tend to make it into conversation remarkably frequently.

Spanish is but one official language of Peru, though. Quechua (the language of the Inca Empire) has been given official status and is still widely spoken, especially in the highlands, and there has been a movement afoot to add Aymara as a national language, too. (Aymara is spoken principally in the southern highlands area around Lake Titicaca.) Dozens of other native tongues and dialects are still spoken around the country as well. A predominantly oral language (the Incas had no written texts), Quechua is full of glottal and magical, curious sounds. As it is written today, it is mystifyingly vowel-heavy and apostrophe-laden, full of q’s, k’s, and y’s; try to wrap your tongue around munayniykimanta (excuse me) or hayk’ atan kubrawanki llamaykikunanmanta (how much is it to hire a llama?). Very few people seem to agree on spellings of Quechua, as you’ll pick up on street signs and restaurant names in Cusco. Colorful phrases often mix and match Spanish and indigenous languages: Hacer la tutumeme is the same as ir a dormir, or “to go to sleep.”

See All Chapters
Medium 9781628871807

2 ICELAND IN CONTEXT

Nicholas Gill FrommerMedia ePub

2

Iceland in context

Tell friends you’re going to Iceland, and many will wonder whether they’d be able to place the little country on a map. Most people know only that it’s somewhere west of Europe—and close enough to clog the continent’s skies with ash should a volcano or two decide to awaken, as did Eyjafjallajökull in 2010 and Bárðarbunga in 2015.

Iceland, dangling from the Arctic Circle between Greenland and Norway like a prickly Christmas decoration, is indeed a land of volcanoes. Eruptions are rare (on a tourist scale if not on a planetary one) but evidence of the country’s volcanic history abounds in the landscape—from moss-covered lava fields stretching as far as the eye can see, to geysers and hot springs, to black beaches and basalt-lined bays, to the craters and volcanic mountains themselves (often teasingly hidden away under glaciers).

In some places, houses half-swallowed by lava have been preserved for show. The Westman Islands showcase a port extension created during a 1973 eruption (p. 228), when some quick-thinking locals decided to tame the lava stream, hosing it down from boats on one side so that it would flow into the sea to improve the shape of the existing harbor.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781628872842

9 THE PACIFIC COAST

Nicholas Gill FrommerMedia ePub

9

The Pacific Coast

by Nicholas Gill

O ff limits to most travelers for decades until just a few years ago, Colombia’s Pacific Coast is a natural para dise just waiting to be discovered. This is some of Colombia’s most spectacular landscape. It’s here that jagged hills covered in dense, tropical foliage meet the Pacific in dra matic fashion. El Chocó, as the northern half of the region is called, is one of the wettest places on earth, though that doesn’t stop adventurous tourists from camping out in a growing number of small eco-lodges perched on rocky bluffs or pristine black- or white-sand beaches. They take surf lessons, fish for big game, or go whale-watching. To the south, Colombia’s largest port, Buenaventura, once a dreadful place to spend the night, is even coming around with some good places to stay and eat. The vibe up and down the coast is less mestizo and gravitates more toward the Afro-Colombian and indige nous groups that call this region their home. Visiting isolated communities that still cling on to their traditions is just a hop on a canoe or makeshift motorcycle-powered rail cart away.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781628872842

3 SUGGESTED COLOMBIA ITINERARIES

Nicholas Gill FrommerMedia ePub

3

Suggested Colombia Itineraries

by Nicholas Gill

Many first-time visitors to Colombia are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things to do in the country. Not only is there plenty to explore, it’s a big country. Even if you have several months to spend in Colombia, you won’t come close to seeing all of it. Destinations tend to be spread out and require some advanced planning to get to. Bus and driving routes between major cities can take entire days, and transportation to remote towns and villages might only be possible on certain days of the week. An extensive air network will help shave some time in transit and might be your only choice for reaching some isolated attractions. Keep in mind that as modern and sophisticated the country might appear in some places, it’s still Colombia. Once you leave the cities things move at a slower pace. Sometimes when the sun is out or rain is beating down on you, they don’t move at all. Planning too tight of an itinerary is never a good idea here. The itineraries that follow are meant to be suggestions of what is possible—with flexibility to shave off a day or take an extra stop when needed. Relax, and take some time to stop and smell the coffee!

See All Chapters

See All Chapters