Fiesta Patronal Virgen del Carmen, Isla Taboga

May 14, 2009 By: Administrator Category: Culture, History

Every year on July 16 the people of Taboga pay tribute to their Patroness La Virgen del Carmen.

The holiday is based on a story passed on through the people of Taboga for centuries. According to this story around the 16th century the island and its peole were plagued by pirate attacks because of its use as a port for Panama City at the time.

taboga-virgencarmenOne day around noon the people of Taboga Island were preparing once again to defend themselves from the pirates and as they were heading towards the beach armed with sticks and stones they saw a woman on the sand facing the approaching ships. To the pirates this woman appeared to be the commander of the armed group and upon seeing her they quickly retreated and left the island in peace. The townspeople unaware of what had happened went to the island’s church to give thanks to God. When they arrived they saw wet footprints leading up to the altar and the statue of the Virgen del Carmen’s feet were wet and covered with sand.

The people believed that she had protected them from the attack and thus named her Patron Saint and Protector of the Island of Taboga.

The island celebrates this day with a boat parade and on the weekends with special church services and celebrations.

Darien: The Last Frontier

May 14, 2009 By: Administrator Category: Travel guide

Darien gap PanamaThe Darien Gap, a province that separates Panama and Colombia, is an area that holds mystery and promises adventure. It is often referred to as the Last Frontier: the last unspoilt area in the world. The Darien has proved a welcome challenge for many who wish to cross Central America to South America by land because of its lack of main roads and wealth of jungle and adventure.

The province of Darien is filled with wildlife and the native people who have lived there for centuries. Traveling through this UNESCO site will allow you to see the beautiful untouched rainforest, a large varitey of creatures, and beautiful beaches in addition to the swampy and mountainous parts of the region.

With all its beauty the Darien Gap is still often an unattractive option for tourists because of all the travel warnings and talk of drug trafficking in the area, and therefore is often missed by the worldwide traverlers who come to Panama. The US State Dept. warns its citizens not to travel to the Darien Province and only allows embassy officials to travel with permission from the Embassy’s Regional Security Officer. Claims have been made that the FARC has extended its hold past the Panama-Colombia border and well into the Darien Province making it unsafe for tourists.

However there are those that believe that the reports are exaggerated and all you really need are some panama-embera-lcommon sense and an experienced guide to explore the Darien. If you do go to Darien we recommend setting up a tour with Panama Exotic Adventures. They are two Frenchman with almost 30 years in Panama and have great relationships with the different indigenous communities. They can provide an excellent informative tour of the Darien.

To arrive to the Darien province it is better to take a plane. AirPanama will take you to La Palma and has one flight a week. AeroPerlas has 3 weekly flights and will also fly you into the neighboring town of El Real.

If you are driving or taking public transport the Pan-American Highway ends at the town of Yaviza. From here you will need to continue your trip on boat.