Degustapanama is all about the “Gastronomy” in Panama. There is also an App for Androids and IOS.
“Casco Viejo” – Panama’s Hotspot
The Place is trimmed with Bars, Cafes, Restaurants, Event Locations, Hotels and Hostels. Great to be around Day or Nighttime!
My favorite Places for Dinner:
1. Grapes: Food and Ambience is excellent. The Local is small therefore it is always better to do Reservation. Dress nice and elegant!
2. Atelier Bistro Bar: Very atypical Restaurant. It has a very unique New York Soho Style “trendy & modish”! the Restaurant is a bit hidden and not really noticeable from the outside. It is above an Event Location called “Teatro Amador“. The Menu is short but exceptional for example Food Combinations like: Falafel with fresh Strawberries and Goat Cheese!! Delicious. Moreover they have a great Bar & a big Selection of Liquors. They have a smoking Area!
3. Zaza: Zaza has a “hip” Bar Atmosphere. This Place is elegant, stylish and loud. The Interior Design: modern Pop. The crowd is mixed. It is a popular Place for Dinner & Drinks. The Food is pretty decent & the Drinks are wonderful <3 You should make Reservations, especially on the Weekends!
My favorite Places for Drinks:
1. Gato Blanco: A Rooftop Bar with Lounge Style! Located on the Top of the Hotel “Casa Nuratti”. It is small and cozy with a great view over the City’s Coastline. On the Weekends they always have a DJ playing some “Electro Beats”. By the Way, the Restaurant of the Hotel is really good! On the Weekends they charge 5 USD for the Entrance.
2. Rooftop Bar CBP – Capital Bistro Panama: This is a more quite Place. Good for having a Drink and a nice Conversation. They serve a Variety of Gin-Drinks! They View is spectacular!
3. Open Rooftop Bar Tantalo: This is a Place for the Party People. Great Bar to “heat up” have some Drinks & Dance a little bit! It is always “loud and crowded”. Average age 20s- 40s. The View spectacular. The Drinks are decent. In my Opinion the Quality of the Drinks does not Match the Price Range! On the Weekends they also have a DJ playing. The Entrance on the Weekends is 10 USD.
Panama’s Old Quarter AKA “Casco Viejo”
It is the historic District of the City. It is small but very charming and Fun at Night. 1997 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNSECO. It has a unique European Flair – probably because it was build by the spanish Colonialists.
Casco is divided into two Parts. Today the commercial side, all rebuild & redeveloped, is filled with Shops, Bars, Cafes, Restaurants, Night Clubs, nice Hotels, Backpacker Hostels and historical attractions. A good Mix between Locals and Tourists. Moreover this is one of the few Places in Panama where you can move around by foot Day & Nighttime. Many Government Offices are located in this District and therefore you have Police and Security around.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO AROUND CASCO:
1. Have a Walk on the “Esteban Huertas Promenade”.
You have a great Panoramic View on Panama City’s Coastline. At the same time you can enjoy some historical and cultural attractions like “Las Bóvedas”, “Plaza Francia” & “Galeria Juan Manuel Cedeno” http://cascoviejo.com/galeria-juan-manuel-cedeno/. Along the Promenade you can buy handcrafted Souvenirs from the “Indigenas” (the Indians or Natives).
2. Visit the “Mercado de Mariscos” the Seafood Market!
In my Opinion there is nothing special about this Place except the Food. Here you will get the best “Panamanian Ceviche” & other Seafood Specialities. If you like Lobster -> go to the Local “La Solución”. The Food is served very simple on plastic tableware BUT they have the Best “Lobster Cocktail” and “Lobster Ceviche” ever! It is all about the TASTE.
3. Rest @ “Plaza Bolivar”
The Plaza Bolivar is trimmed with Cafes and Restaurants. The atmosphere is casual and relaxing. Pleasant Place to have a short Break and enjoy a refreshing Drink. “Casablanca” is one of the oldest and best known Locals. They have an extensive Cocktail Menu – I love the “Lychee Martini” (in Panama it is called “Mamóm Chino”).
4. Enjoy a Visit or Performance in the “Teatro Nacional”
Teatro Nacional is the national Theater build in the 18th century. Generally the Doors to the Theater are open if there is no Event going on. The Entrance is 3 $. It is a popular Event Location and definitely worth a visit – especially because it is rather rare to find “Colonial Architecture” in the City.
Many Metropolises already have a interactive Map for iOS Smartphones & Android for FREE. They help you to find your way around easier (especially if you do not speak the local language). The Maps will show and explain how to get from Point A to Point B by Car, Bus, Metro or by Foot.
A Map for Buenos Aires:
Life should be unpredictable and irrational!
El “Tango” vive!
Well, i thought all the Argentinians dance Tango. But that is a Myth, the “Outright Majority” does not dance Tango. Apparently “Tango Argentino” is a Lifestyle. Tango is a Expression of Emotions: passion, anger, happiness, desire, lust, jealousy, love etc. That is how I perceived the Argentinians – very passionate & impulsive!
Buenos Aires is called the “Europe” or more specifically the Paris of Latein America – supremely confident! A multifaceted Metropolis with a Latin American attitude. Every City District has its own Flair – modern, aristrocatic, ghetto, the industrial & warehouse part, downtown, the financial district, Bar & Clubbing area etc.
There are many Things to “do and see” in Buenos Aires. But of course as always I recommend the “Open Bus Tour” to get a Panoramic View over the City and get a Key Idea of Orientation. @ Daytime is is pretty safe to move around the City as long as you do not “show off”! Leave your Jewelry & Designer Clothes @ home. During the Day it is safe to use the Metro and Bus System (0,30 USD a Ticket one Way). In the Evening and @ Nighttime we used the Taxis from the Street! The Taxis are affordable. It is definitely an advantage to “speak” Spanish in Argentina.
Talking about Expenses and Money: As everyone knows there is a “Black Market for USD” in Latin America. The official exchange rate is around 8 -9 Pesos for 1 USD. The unofficial one is almost the double (around 14-15 Pesos for 1 USD). It is definitely cheaper to exchange Money in Buenos Aires and pay everything in Cash.
ALERT: Telling from my personal experience and what other tourists have told me: Be aware of getting “fooled” or “ripped off” !!!!
I personally think that a “Tango Show” is a “Must Do” in Buenos Aires.
You will find a Tango Show in every corner. Of Course most of the Shows are rather touristic but some of them are really good. Almost every Theater offers as well a Dinner before the TangoShow (Dinner ca. 1,5h and the Show ca. 1,5h). The Tickets cost more or less the same in every Place. I think the Dinner is overpriced. Just GO for the Show!
My favorite TWO: “Taconeando” & “Esquina Carlos Gardel Tango Show”
Both have a “live” Orchester playing, “live” Singer and great Dancer.
TACONEANDO it is a Place were you find real Porteños (People from Buenos Aires) and those who live Tango as a “Lifestyle”. They offer as well Tango classes. The Place is rather small and cosy. But the Ambience is sensual & intensive. Anyone will like Tango after that Show. The Price is 40USD.
Address: Taconeando | Balcarce 725 | San Telmo, Buenos Aires
ESQUINA CARLOS GARDEL is more “staged” and upper scale. The Show is “infectious”! The Ticket Price for just the Show is about 50USD.
Address: Esquina Carlos Gardel | Pasaje Carlos Garde 3200 | 1023 Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires looks very European BUT it is still a Latin American City with an unsteady economic situation. On the Internet and in Travel Guides you find a lot of Stories and Prejudice about Porteños (the Locals).
To be very honest i felt very secure and safe in Buenos Aires although i was only traveling with my Girl friend Izabela. No matter what we kept to our usual safety measures while traveling.
1. Watch out for Thieves, Buggers, Pick-Pockets, Tickster & Motochorros
They have a lot of different distraction Methods. Especially the Motochorros are quick and hard to catch. Following Pic show a typical Motochorro Action:
2. Leave you “Valuables” in the Hotel (Safe).
Pickpockets is common everywhere in the World! Especially if you are planing to go out and drink: leave everything you do not necessarily need back @ the Place. No original documents needed: always carry a Copy of your documents with you (incl. a copy of the Migration Stamp). Do not show off: NO Jewelry or Brand Clothes! Just try to take enough Cash for the Night, Lipstick etc.
3. Stay in a lively Neighborhood: preferably in a Nightlife Neighborhood
If you stay in a Nightlife Neighborhood you can be sure the District is patrolled by the Police. Therefore you can walk around safely & drunk. Further you don’t have to take the public Transportation or Taxis @ Night.
4. Money & Currency Exchange
In general it is more convenient to travel with US Dollars (in Cash) to Argentina. Avoid paying with Credit/Debit Cards because you will be charged the official Exchange Rate (Oct. 2014 it was about 8,5 Pesos for 1 USD). The unofficial Rate in Oct. 2014 was about 14,5 Pesos for a 1 USD. You even get a better Rate for 100 USD Bills than 20 USD Bills. In “Calle Florida” (popular Pedestrian Zone) you will find many Opportunities to exchange your USD. Or ask at any currency exchange office for the “Blue Rate”. Try always to pay cash & pay with small change (less than 100 Pesos Bill) !!
5. About Public Transportation & Taxis
Taxis in general have a bad reputation in Buenos Aires. To many Stories of ripped-off Foreigners. Taking Taxis from the Streets at Daytime – if you know your way around – it is rather safe. As a Foreigner that does not know his way around (and is by himself) NEVER take a Taxis from the Street especially not at Night! Ask a Restaurant or Hotel to call you a “RADIO TAXI” it is the most popular Taxi Company in the City. Still always have the address and try to map pointing the way. Taxis are affordable!!
The Public Transportation – Bus & Metro System- is manageable and pretty safe at Daytime.
ATTENTION: Taxi Scams
CLUBBING @ BUENOS AIRES: Anywhere at Anytime !
247 -> this City never sleeps!
Porteńos (the Residents of Buenos Aires) are famous for their “Previas” their “Pre-Parties” with alot of Fernet with Coca Cola. Fernet is their national Liquor. Nightlife starts a bit later in Argentina. Dinner is around 9/10pm. Bars get crowded around 11pm. The Clubs open @ 2am!
Buenos Aires is very accommodating and relaxed when it comes to Visitors and Tourists. Most of the Places do not have a Dress Code. You really need to push the Limits to get bounced from a Dinner Venue or Party. If you do want to enter nicer Clubs a Shirt for Men is required.
Here my favorite Places of Spring/Summer 2014:
“Costanera Norte y Sarmiento” Here you will find a few Clubs around. Most of them visited by a young Argentinian Crowd under 30. Very Boheme Style (very common in Buenos Aires).
In the Summertime there is a great Daytime Party @ Mandarine Club called “PM OPEN AIR”. It starts @ 4pm! Great electronic Acts – great View on the River !
Address: Mandarine Club | Punta Carrasco | Av. Costanera Norte y Sarmiento | 1425 Buenos Aires
VIDEO: MANDARINE PARTY PM OPEN AIR
Tequila: It is One of my favorite Clubs around Palermo. The Crowd is “mature & dressy” (30 & Up). It is more upper scale. They usually open from Thursday to Saturday from 1 am. They say the hottest Women of Buenos Aires you probably find here!
Address: Tequila | Avenida Rafael Obligado 6211 y La Pampa | Buenos Aires
Freddo is one of the most famous Ice Creme Places in the World. We all know it is the Italiens that are famous for their Ice Creme but the Argentinians call their “Freddo” the Worlds Best! In my opinion it might not be the World´s Best, but is Pretty Damn Good. Even not for Ice Creme Lovers it is worth trying. You find it all over the City.
Buenos Aires buzzes 247! And “Palermo Soho” is one of the BEST and the most lively Neighborhood in Buenos Aires -> Day & Nighttime!
Palermo Soho is actually a great Place to stay because in this District you will find Everything you need: Supermarkets, Boutiques (with Clothing/Shoes/Music/Furnitur etc.), Art, Galleries, Restaurants, Cafes, Bars, Clubs, a Market with Hancrafted Objects and so on. It is a very Hip Area with a lot of trendy & young People (20s up – to 40s) hanging around. The Area is surrounded by Police Patrols therefore it is easy to walk around in the evening/night. Argentinians go out very late therefore most of the Bars and Clubs get crowded around 1-2 am. The Restaurants serve Food until 1-2 am. You find all kind of Restaurants around from Mexican to Japanese.
FYI: Monday and Tuesdays the Market and most of the Boutiques around are closed (I guess it is their Weekend).
Bars I recommend:
Frank’s Bar: You enter through a Telephone Booth. The Ambience reminds of the Movie “Public Enemy”. The Drinks are spectacular!
Address: Frank’s Bar | Arévalo 1445 | Palermo Buenos Aires
Victoria Brown Bar: You enter this Bar through a Store. It has a very rustic, unique Design. It reminds a bit of todays New York Soho Style.
Address: Victoria Brown Bar | Costa Rica N°4827 | Palermo, Buenos Aires
This is how “Palermo” looks like:
La Parrilla “The Grill” is almost considered as a Religion in Argentina.
Argentina is very well known for their Food and especially for the delicious and inexpensive Steak and Wine. “La Carne Asada” (grilled Meat) is served nearly everywhere and for sure it is “Good”! The Portions are huge (avarage Meat Dish ca. 500 Gramm, ca. 8 -16 USD). I am not so sure about the “Drinks”, but that is a different Topic.
My favorite Parrilla is “La Cabrera” en Palermo. It is named One of the 50 Best Restaurants in Latin America. http://www.theworlds50best.com/latinamerica/en/the-list/11-20/La-Cabrera.html Everything is great about this Place: The Ambience, the Interior Design, the Service, the Prices and the Food is excellent! It is a good Place to go and have Lunch but it is also a very nice Place to go for a Romantic Dinner or a casual Meeting with Friends. Here you get Kobe Beef from 18 USD up to 50 USD! And they serve you all those little Extras (Paste, Vegtables, Salsas etc.).
Address: La Cabrera | Cabrera 5099 | Palermo, Buenos Aires
essential Info about Argentinian Restaurants:
1. Lunch Time is around 2pm and Dinner around 9pm. If you go @ this hour you should make Reservation otherwise you may have to wait 1 hour (very typical in Argentinian Restaurants).
2. Order one Main Dish and share (they serve a lot of Food in all the Restaurants).
3. Every Restaurant charges “Cubiertos” (an additional Charge for the Cutlery etc.).
TRY MATE! “Mate” is a very traditional Beverage – it is not a Tea – it is a “Hot Infusion” of dried leaves of the Yerba Mate which contains caffeine. If you prefer it sweet you can add sugar to it. Very healthy and very tasty. <3 <3 <3
Floreria Atlantico -> great Quality -> fair Prices!
It is one of the most hyped “Bars/Restaurants” in Buenos Aires. You will not find Tourists around here. It is close to one of the most expensive Streets the ” Av. Alvear“. The Best Hotel in Town “Alvear Palace Hotel” is located here as well. The Hotel contains a Art Gallery and private Collection.
You have to enter the “Floreria Atlantico” through a Flower Shop and then walk down the stairs. You will be surprised how lively it is down there. Stylish Music, hip ambience, great Service & Fair Prices! The Food – especially the Prawns & Octopus- is very tasteful and the Drinks impressive. Apparently Argentinians know how to make good Drinks.
Address: Floreria Atlantico | Arroyo 872 | Buenos Aires
Have a Walk along the Docks @ Puerto Madero at Day- or Nighttime
Puerto Madero is the newest Part of the City and the most expensive one. This Area is full of Office Buildings but you will find as well known Restaurants, a University, Museums, Hotels, Yacht Club, a floating Casino and some high-end Bars and Clubs.
Whatever the Case i recommend the REMIS TAXIS – it is just a bit more expensive than any other Taxis – if you pay cash!
Indeed Opinions are divided. If this is your first time in Buenos Aires and you do not speak spanish go for the “REMIS TAXIS” located directly after Customs. The Standard Rate to the Center of Buenos Aires is 450 Pesos. If you know your Way around and you do speak spanish you might go for the Taxis outside of the Airport (Price negotiable) – but you probably will not pay less than 300 Pesos anyway. FYI: The Taxis have to pass “fee required Highways” to get to the City.
Buenos Aires is beautiful and has a lot of different Looks and contrastive City Districts. The Bus Tour is the most secure and easiest Way to get a Panoramic View over this majestic multifarious City.
The Buses drive periodically all 20 -30 min. It is a Hop On Hop Off Bus. Therefore you may leave the Bus and catch another one later on. The Buses operate all year long from ca. 9 am -7 pm. They have 2 Tours (the blue is way shorter than the yellow Tour, but they cross each other at some Point). If you only have time for one Tour do the yellow Tour. It will take about 3-3,5 hours without getting off the Bus. But the Bus takes you through all the City and shows you the most famous and precious sights of the City and Argentinian Culture:
- Puerto Madero: The new modern Buenos Aires (Right now it is the most expensive Area)
– La Boca: & the Soccer Stadium “La Bombonera”
– Plaza de Mayo: Bank and Financial District
– Palermo: The Heart of Argentinians Lifestyle and Nightlife
– Monserrat: the oldest Part of Buenos Aires
– Caminito: the Street Museum of Buenos Aires
– Area Pacifico: Shopping Area (Galeria Pacifico)
– San Telmo, San Nicolas, Balvanera, Retiro etc.
Do not get the Tickets online. Pay EVERTHING IN CASH otherwise you will overpay because of the currency exchange rate. But be aware: the Ticket Price is 170 Pesos. But they will try to make you pay more – for whatever reason they can think of. That happend to me at the Bus and my Friend at the Tourist Information. If you do not speak spanish ask somebody kindly to get you a Ticket. Never overpay! http://www.buenosairesbus.com/en/
Las Vegas aka “Sin City”
Everytime i visit Sin City it is like a new Experience. The City is constantly growing, new Hotels, new Clubs, Shows, Restaurants, Stores & Activities. It is like Disneyland for Adults! Here is nothing impossible. In Vegas you have “Nightlife Atmosphere 247″. At daytime you will always find Music & Entertaiment in the Pool Areas of the Hotels, the Hotel Casinos and Bars are always packed. The Best Parties at daytime are in the “Beachclubs”. In Vegas it is al about the Bling Bling!! It is the Place for wearing clothes you normaly would never put on. Vegas is pretty expensive. To enjoy the Real Las Vegas “Money” is necessary. The only inexpensive thing in Las Vegas is the Acommodation (a Suite in the Hard Rock Hotel for 4 Popele is about 500USD a Week). Entrance to the Clubs is about 100 USD for the Guys and 50USD for Women. Of Course there are always ways to get around the Entrance Fees etc. Women have an easy Game in Vegas. Las Vegas loves Women especially when they are dressed up nicely and ready to party! The Quality of Drinks and Food is “Top Level”. But you also pay the Price for it. Even in the cheapest Places (Fast Food tec.) you will pay at least 20 USD for your Meal + your Drink. Drinks in Bars & Clubs are between 12 -25 USD. The Price for Cigarettes about 12 USD. The Strip is pretty long. It will take you at least 1 hour to pass all the Highlights on the Strip and about 2 hours to pass the whole Strip. The Best Way to get around in Vegas is to take Taxis.
Helicopter Tour over Grand Canyon & Vegas @ Sunset – What a marvelous Adventure!
The Company arrange a Shuttle to get us from the Hotel to a private Airport close to the Strip. We left Las Vegas by Daytime, we flew over the “Hoover Dam” down to a “Platform in the Grand Canyon”. It was about a 1 Hour Ride. The Helicopter has space for 7 People (incl. the Pilot). The Pilot is your Guide -> he will provide you with essential Background Information. Once we arrived at the Platform we had a little Picknick with Champagne! Beautiful Views of the Sunset on the ride back (ca. 30 -45 min.). By the time we arrived at the Strip it was already dark. The Strip was buzzing, full of energy and lights. This whole trip i felt like in a Movie!
To be very honest it was a marvelous experience. If you have the necessary wherewithal it is definitely wort it. If not -> it is not worth the about 500$ per Person. http://www.maverickhelicopter.com/tour-listing.aspx
There are just too many Places in Las Vegas to go Party. Their are all FUN!
My favorite ONES:
@ DayTime: Encore Beach Club (Encore Hotel), Dria´s (Cromwell Hotel)
@ Nighttime: Life (SLS Hotel), Hyde (Bellagio), XS (Encore Hotel)
ATTENTION: Clubbing in Las Vegas is pretty expensive. Table Reservations -> depending ca. 600 – 6000USD. Single Drinks 12 – 25USD. If you do not have Table Reservation the Entrance Fee will be probably 100USD for Men and 50USD for Women. Las Vegas loves Women. They can always find their way around!!
It is always “sunny” in California!
That is the perfect “Slogan” for Los Angeles. L.A. has beautiful Landscapes. Very different from other Cities in the United States. It is super chilled and laid-back! Maybe because “Medical Cannabis” is legal and apparently easy to get the Prescribtion.
The City of Los Angeles is huge !!! The Traffic can be really bad (depending on the hours) but a Car is necessary. Imagine: A Taxi from our Hotel in Beverly Hills (Sofitel) to the Santa Monica Pier is a 40 min. drive and about 75USD. Sure there are ways to use the public transportation but a Car is always more convenient in the U.S. (unless it is New York or Las Vegas). Especially because the Rental Cars are inexpensive (over Expedia.com you find Offers for 30USD a Day). We rented the typical “Ford Mustang” from “National” over Expedia! Once you have a Car you can move around freely in California. Do not miss out on driving up/down the Coast, the famous “Rodeo Drive” & Hollywood, through Bel Air & Beverly Hills and of course drive up to the Hollywood Sign!
During the Week the Nightlife is rather easy going. On the Weekends the City fills up with people from all around! Still it does not get too crazy on Weekends because everything shuts down @ 2am. Of Course there are “After” Parties but most likely at somebody’s House.
Attention: You can definitely go “Low Budget” in Los Angeles but still enjoy the California Lifestyle!
Lobster Me I LIKE ! It is a American “Fast Food” Chain. Sounds & looks simple but it is DELICOUS! Maybe it is a little bit exxagerated calling it the “World’s Best“. There is a whole Lobster (Large Size 1LBs) in every Roll. For just 10$ more you can double the Lobster. There is no other Place in the U.S. were you get Lobster that cheap. (Roll or Lobster Salad + Drink etc. around 18$).
Of course do not miss the “Lobster Mary” to join your Meal.
You find “Lobster Me” in the Miracle Mile Shops @ Planet Hollywood Hotel and at the Grand Canal Shopping @ Venetian Hotel.