Life in the region
The infrastructure in Panama is well developed. The telephone service is quite advanced, so international calls are always easy to make; high-speed Internet is widespread; and Panama City’s international airport is completely modern, offering daily flights to many international destinations.
Penonomé (2 hours from the project by land)
Penonomé lies amidst the humid lowlands, with the lush hills of the highlands to the north and the Azuero Peninsula to the northeast. Because the Inter-American Highway runs straight through the heart of the town, many travellers will only see Penonomé as they zip past, a blur of bright houses and busy locals, while on their way north. Still, buses make frequent stops here before heading off to other places, a fact which is especially nice considering the abundance of amenities and services offered in Penonomé. There is a decent number of basic hotels and ample amount of grocery stores, restaurants, banks, Internet cafés and shops.
A great spot to take in the local culture is in the town centre, where a pleasantly shaded plaza faces the whitewashed Catedral de Penonomé. The cathedral is well preserved and features colourful stained glass windows that shine brightly when struck by the sun. The plaza has a gazebo and a string of benches, which provide the perfect place to soak up the leisurely pace of Panamanian life. A large and well-maintained playground lies nearby, as does the Casa de Gobierno, a governmental office building with finely made, wrought-iron grillwork. Penonomé is known throughout Panama as being one of the best places to buy Panama hats, a fact that is evident as one strolls through town and passes vendors selling a wide variety of finely made headwear.
Laced along the Inter-American Highway, Penonomé is remarkably close to a variety of attractions. The small foothill town of La Pintada, only 12 km northwest of Penonomé, boasts a quaint artisans’ market and a thriving cigar factory. Parque Nacional Omar Torrijos, known locally as El Copé, is 53 km west Penonomé. The park is difficult to access but has some of the most well preserved forests in all of Panama. It runs right through the Continental Divide, boasting montane forest on its Pacific side and humid tropical forest on its Caribbean side. Furthermore, a string of Pacific coast beaches southwest of Penonomé are popular, pristine and easy to access from the Inter-American Highway.
Panama City (4 hours from the project by land)
Panama City boasts a tremendous skyline of high-rise buildings, including chrome and steel modern office complexes, massive hotels and enormous apartment buildings. The city is an important hub for international banking and commerce.