What is the weather like? We are located only about 10 degrees above the equator and blessed with warm temperatures all year round with the average temperature of about 78F (26C). The average high temperature averages normally between 88F (31C) and 92 (33C) and average low temperature averaging between 68F-72F (20C-22C) . Important: DO NOT LOOK at weather information from Panama City, which is where most weather is reported from. Esplendorosa is located in a "Tropical Dry Forrest" whereas Panama City is located in a "Tropical Rain Forrest". The Azuero Peninsula is the driest region of Panama and is made up of a Dry Season and a Green (Rainy) Season. Even in the "Green" season, rains in Azuero are normally intermittent and most days have plenty of sunshine. Naturally, there are transitions from one season to the other that may be a mixture of the two seasons.
Dry Season – December to May
- High Temperatures - Low 90's
- Low Temperatures - Low to mid 70's
- Rainfall – Virtually none, particularly from December through April
- Breezes – Almost constant breezes from the NE particularly from December through April
- Humidity – Not exactly sure, but less humid that Rainy Season
- Sunshine – Abundant, nearly constant
- Landscape – Golden Brown "savannah like"
Green Season – June to November
- High Temperatures - Upper 80's
- Low Temperatures - Upper 60's to low 70's
- Rainfall – Rains are normally intermittent, peaking in September and October
- Breezes – Normally late morning through early evening from the SW
- Humidity – Not sure, but high humidity during this season
- Sunshine – Mixture, but most days have sunshine
- Landscape – Lush Green "Tuscan like"
Villa Esplendorosa is designed with abundant shade, shelter and breezeways to maximize outdoor comfort 12 months of the year.
How close is sport fishing? There are several options within 15 - 30 minutes of the Villa. Our houseman Anel will be very happy to arrange a fishing trip for your group.
How close are the nearest surf breaks? Our beach, Playa Distilladeros has a nice break, but there are several others within 15 - 30 minutes from the Villa, including popular Playa Venao, perhaps the most famous in Central America.
Do Hurricanes impact Panama? No – Due to its position near the equator, there have been no recorded hurricanes in Panama. Sometimes, tropical systems can cause a lot of rain/flooding in some areas of Panama, but this is not typical in our area.
Which Airlines Fly to Panama? You will first arrive in Tocumen International Airport in Panama City which offers excellent connections from the U.S. from Miami, Orlando, Houston, Newark, New York, Washington DC, Dallas, Atlanta and Los Angeles with American Airlines, Delta and Continental. Panama offers direct flights from Europe from Amsterdam through KLM Airlines.
******Flights to Pedasi*****
- Aeroperlas, a regional carrier in Panama, just announced flights from Panama City to Pedasi with arrivals/departures on Fridays & Mondays with round trip fares of $108.
How do we get to Villa Esplendorosa from Panama City? If you have been to Panama before and wish to make your own arrangements to fly or drive to Villa Esplendorosa from Panama City, you are certainly welcome to do that. On the other hand, for most people, particularly first time visitors to Panama, we recommend our "DOOR TO DOOR" Package. The "DOOR TO DOOR" package (including some site seeing options), the basic package includes the following:
- Our English speaking guide will meet you upon arriving at the airport.
- Our guide will provide a comfortable private transfer to a nearby hotel for a relaxing evening there.
- IF you prefer to dine outside the hotel, our guide will provide restaurant recommendations and arrange transfer there and back to the hotel
- After breakfast at the hotel in the morning, our guide will deliver you directly to the Villa or transport you to Allbrook Airport for the short 35 minute flight to Pedasi.
- Our Houseman, Anel Vergara, will pick you up at the Pedasi Airport and delivery you directly to the Villa
- From there, prepare to relax and enjoy an incredible experience at Villa Esplendorosa
Do we need advance shots for tropical diseases? – NO - Fortunately, the diseases of Yellow Fever and Malaria that plagued construction of the Panama Canal a century ago are no longer threats today. While there are some remote jungle areas in the Darien Province where caution needs to be taken, all areas of Panama readily accessible to tourists are safe from disease and inoculations are not necessary. If you are arriving from certain countries where tropical diseases are prevalent (not the U.S., Europe, etc.) you may be required to show inoculations.
What currency does Panama use? The U.S. Dollar - Since, 1914, the Republic of Panama has used the U.S. Dollar. Technically, they use the "Balboa", however, one Balboa equals one dollar and Panama does not print any of its own paper currency. You will see some local coins that are sized the same as U.S. dimes and quarters. However, all denominations of U.S. currency are accepted and used in Panama every day.
Should we rent a car? Its up to you. If you choose to fly to Pedasi, we can also reserve a car for you to be delivered to the Villa.
Are taxis readily available? How do we get around on our own? Taxis are available a few miles away from Pedasi and will pick up and deliver to the Villa.
Are mosquitoes and other pests a problem? We have been to Panama many times as well as many coastal areas in Mexico, Latin American and Florida. We find more mosquito problems in our U.S. home in Missouri than any of these places. Being a Tropical Dry Forrest, there is virtually no standing water during the dry season of Dec through May and we do not have much of the pests such as snakes, etc., that you will find in the tropical jungle areas. The "No Seeums" occassionally are encountered but and seem to be selective as to whom they target. We will have deet based repellents at the Villa for such occassions.
I have heard about frequent Electrial Outages in places like Costa Rica. What is the reliability in Panama? Panama is well ahead of Costa Rica and other countries in Central American in almost all areas of infrastructure including roads, telecommunications, power delivery, water delivery, security and transportation services. Electric reliability is still not equal to the U.S. or Europe and outages sometimes do occur. They typically do not last long, but can be annoying. HOWEVER, we have installed state of the art backup generator and water storage just to insure that there are no disruptions of either during your visit.
How much money should I bring? Bank's and ATM's are readily available in nearly all towns in mainland Panama, so 2-3 days of cash is plenty upon arrival. Credit Cards such as VISA and Mastercard are generally accepted in most restaurants, nearly all hotels and many gas stations and convenience stores. If you explore some of the Islands or plan to visit or drive into remote areas, then it is a good idea to have some extra cash and keep the gas tank topped off.
How expensive is traveling in Panama? If you are coming from the U.S. or Europe, you will find local food, beverage and services to be very inexpensive, particularly outside of Panama City. For example, the funky little beach cabana at Playa Venao is home to $.50 beers and a $3 red snapper lunch.
How much do we tip the staff? Tipping of the household employees is voluntary—however, it is customary and expected. The amount of the tips would, of course, depend on the service, the length of stay, the number of guests, special service and so forth. We are frequently asked how much to tip and have established a guideline that may be of help to you. We believe that about $10.00 per guest per day is an appropriate range.
The staff uses a formula to distribute the tips, with key people receiving higher shares but all staff will receive some share. You can ask Anel for an envelope. 100% of this money goes directly to the staff and none to the Villa owners.
Will we be safe in Panama? Panama is safe to very travel and its people are some of the friendliest you will find anywhere. Traveling along the InterContinenal Highway and in the Azuero Peninsula is very safe. Pedasi is an area where many homes aren't locked at night and serious crime is virtually unheard. Panama City and Colon are have some areas to avoid. However, if you use the same caution that you would use in cities in the U.S. or Europe, you should have no problems whatsoever. Yes, you will find U.S. state department warnings but really these apply to areas you shouldn't be traveling in anyway, such as the Darien Province along the Colombian border.
Do we need to speak Spanish? Finding English speaking people in Panama City is fairly easy, however, the rural areas and small towns outside of Panama City may not have many English speakers. We would recommend purchasing a handy phrase book with some phonetic pronunciation guides just in case. Our houseman, Anel, speaks fluent English as well as Spanish. As the center of trade and banking in the Americas, Panama City has many ethnic groups and tour guides can be arranged to travel with you that are fluent in many languages, including French, German, Russian and Chinese just to name a few.
Will our phones work in Panama? Probably, but it may be very expensive to use them. Before you depart for Panama, check with your mobile carrier to see what service you may have and the cost will be. Our experience is that U.S. phones will work well back and forth to the U.S. but will have difficulty making calls within Panama, particular to local cell phones. Prior to your depature, we will provide some useful tips learned the "hard$$ way" on how to minimize phone and data transmission costs when traveling in Panama. We will also provide a local cell phone for your use within Panama with pre-loaded minutes and a number of pre-programmed contacts.
What services does the staff provide? Any and everything you need. Services include but are not limited to cooking meals, grocery shopping, housekeeping, bar service, arranging tours, laundering and folding your clothes. You will be charged our out-of-pocket costs for all food and beverage purchased for your group.
Are there safe places to store money and valuables at the Villa? Yes, each bedroom is equipped with a combination safe like you would have in most hotels these days.
How are the beaches, are they safe for swimming? Our beach, Playa Distilladeros, is a great beach to walk, ride horses and a great beach to look at. Although it is safe for swimming at certain times, our recommendation is that you take advantage of a couple of other beaches nearby that are nearly always safe for swimming and body surfing. Our houseman, Anel can guide you there with a nice picnic basket and cooler of refreshing drinks. Just a short distance (about 3 miles) is one of our favorite beaches that is virtually unused Playa Panamais - These PICTURES were taken by me (garyF) on Sep 10, 2009 (my son in the Photo) and these PHOTOS were taken last March on Isla Iguana, about a 20 minute boat ride.
Can we walk to the beach? How far is it? - The beach is not more than 125 yards from the end of our property. As our Villa sits up about 70 feet (20 meters) above the beach for spectacular views, there is a steep ravine to access the beach. We recommend that you load the beach stuff, the cooler, etc.a pleasant and take a short trip to the beach by the road by your car our our Houseman's car. He will give you a Walkie Talkie so that you can communicate with him to bring you something or to pick you up for a return to the Villa.
Do we need to bring our own snorkeling equipment? We maintain our own supply of snorkeling equipment, life vests and many other items. They are cleaned completely prior to each arrival. Once you are fitted, they are yours to use throughout your visit to Esplendorosa. Please contact us before bringing anything, as we will like already have it for you upon your arrival. If we don't have it, we can most likely find it for you so that you can pack efficiently.