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The Group Travel Leader Small Market Meetings Going on Faith

Wild and Welcoming Panama

Many of the tribespeople displayed ornate tattoos made from a temporary, plant-based dye similar to henna. On a whim, we asked if they would be willing to draw some on us, and they kindly agreed. Using a thin plant blade, they created the designs with quick, deft movements, and each of us received a unique picture. Mine was a butterfly, one of Panama’s national symbols.

Before we left, we made sure to stop by the market area to browse some of the intricate, handmade jewelry and baskets. Though indigenous products are often showcased at souvenir shops throughout Panama, they typically cost less when purchased directly from the villages. In addition, a direct purchase ensures that the local artisans profit fully from their work.

Westin Playa Bonita Panama

Once we made our way back down the river, we drove into the city and checked into the luxurious Westin Playa Bonita Panama, which overlooks a stunning one-mile stretch of beach along the Pacific Ocean. The resort features three pools, nine upscale restaurants and 611 spacious guest rooms with ocean or tropical-rain-forest views. There are also numerous activities available, from kayaking in the ocean to beach volleyball or salsa classes. Many visitors find that once they step into the resort, they never want to leave.

After settling into my room, I picked up some great souvenirs from the hotel gift shop, explored the beach area and finally settled into a lounge chair by the pool deck to sip a cocktail called a Panamanian Dream as I watched the sun set. Later that evening, our group gathered for one final meal together in the elegant Asiana restaurant and said our goodbyes as we prepared to depart the following day.

For more information on this trip contact Cruises and Tours Worldwide at 800-435-2710 or go to