When to go
Situated within the tropics, the peninsula has a balmy climate with high temperatures (over 30°C) all year round. Although there is plenty of sun the drier months tend to be Feb-Mar and Sep-Oct. The region lies outside the main hurricane belt.
Spanish, English and native tongues.
Getting local currency
The national currency, the balboa, is at parity with the US dollar, and only US banknotes are used. (There are some local coins equivalent to US cents). There’s an ATM in Chitre where you can use a UK credit or debit card. You may have ask your bank to authorise withdrawals before you leave the UK, and amounts may be limited. You are best advised to acquire dollar bills before travelling to the province. Panamanians are sometimes reluctant to accept US dollar notes of higher denominations.
GMT -5 hrs.
At the moment (2015) there are no domestic flights by light aircraft from Panama City to Chitre although there is a usable airstrip there; by road it’s a journey of about 3hrs.
Panama City and the canal region (6hrs’ drive), a few days at a rural retreat in Boquete ( 5-6 hrs scenic drive) with a visit to a coffee farm; Boca Chica – 3hrs’ drive to the west along a scenic road on the Pacific coast - the gateway to the Gulf of Chiriquí Marine National Park with its many luxuriant green islands, palm-tree-fringed white beaches and a variety of wildlife.
Chitre: Carnival (Mardi Gras) with dancing and water flights; Fiesta de San Juan Batista, patron saint of Chitre, 24 June with bullfights (no killing); city foundation 19 October, with parades and costumes.
Parita: Corpus Christi, with masked dancers;
Ocu: Festival de Manito, August, a 3 day festival dedicated to the maintaining the region’s traditional cultures, with folklore groups; Festival of saint Sebastian, Ocu’s patron saint, January 20-23 approx, with folklore programmes and an agricultural fair.