This was our first visit to Panama and also the first time that we booked a property through VRBO instead of reserving a room or suite at a conventional resort or hotel. Although we had done extensive research about this destination and also had been recommended to VRBO by a Client of our agency who is an avid world traveler and has been using this website and booking through them for years, we were still apprehensive and venturing into unknown territory.
Since the service in American Airlines and other US airlines has deteriorated so much, we also decided to fly on COPA, Panama’s airline. We could not be more surprised and pleased! It was a 3 hour direct flight from Miami and believe it or not, the service was superb! They allow 2 large suitcases per person at no charge (instead of 1). They also feed you a full meal (either breakfast, lunch or dinner), offer complimentary cocktails, beer or wine, free earphones, free blankets & free pillows and to top this off the aircrafts are practically new and extra clean. What a difference!
We selected this high-rise condo in Panama City for the first 5 nights of our vacation. After exploring the capital and surrounding areas, we drove 5 hours along the Pacific Coast and stayed 3 nights at the Ocean Lofts, a gated beach-front community on Playa Destiladeros in the Azueros Peninsula. The review for this beautiful 2-story Villa (also positive) can be found on their listing in VRBO.
When we arrived at the Tocumen International Airport in Panama City it did take a long time to go through immigration and customs so we were worried that Jose (the condo’s Property Manager) might not still be there when we finally got outside with our luggage (appx 1-1/2 hours after our flight landed), but of course he was : )
Jose is bilingual in English / Spanish, very professional, courteous, friendly and also very accomodating! He was even willing to stop at the Supermarket on the way to the apartment so we could get some basic foods and beverages to stock the kitchen with. When we arrived at the apartment he did not just help us with with our luggage, hand us the key and leave. He took the time to accompany us up to the apartment and gave us a complete tour of the interior. He also showed us how to operate everything (sign-on of PC, connection to Internet, microwave, gas stove & oven, a/c remote control, TV remote, how to find all English channels, cell phone, etc.)
The apartment we rented from Owner Panama Sarah at the Posada Del Rey Condominium in Punta Paitilla is fantastic and exactly what we wanted and needed! She has done a great job on the remodeling, decor, linens, towels, cleanliness and has also stocked the kitchen with everything a person might need. Although the building is one of Paitilla’s older properties, it is well maintained, clean, lit, with a locked lobby and also a security guard on duty 24 hours. The fact that it also includes internet, a computer, printer and the use of a local cell phone is an awesome value and much more comfortable than staying in a hotel room!
The 1st floor of the building has businesses, so the lobby is elevated and equivalent to 2nd floor level. Above it there are 3 levels of garage before the 1st floor apartments; so this 17th floor apartment is actually at the height of a 22nd floor! Its spacious balcony offered us breath-taking views of Panama City’s bay, Cerro Ancon, the impressive city sky line with all the ultra modern sky scrapers on Avenida Balboa and behind it in the international banking area, the new Cinta Costera (bayfront park) and most of the other high-rise and sky-scraper condominiums in Punta Paitilla! We started each day with coffee at the bistro table on the balcony, had cocktails watching the sun set on the balcony before going out to a late dinner and also ended each night enjoying a night cap on the balcony before going to sleep.
After spending an entire day touring all the upscale tourist / business hotels and resorts as well as upscale residential neighborhoods in Panama City, we both agreed that Punta Paitlla is the absolute best area to stay when visiting Panama City (whether for business or pleasure).
Everything we read and researched about Panama was more than true (including their wonderful citizens who make all foreigners feel so welcome)! We plan to go back as soon as possible and as often as possible. We will only fly on COPA and when staying in Panama City we will only stay at one of the two apartments that Panama Sarah owns in Punta Paitilla.
Last but not least, we are also in love with VRBO, will be using this great service from now on and will book all our accomodations through them regardless where we are travelling.