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Planning your trip to Panama

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THE BEST WAY TO PANAMA

From LAX,

Copa flies nonstop to Panama City, and American, Delta, Continental and Mexicana offer connecting service (change of planes). Restricted round-trip fares begin at $338. Round-trip service to David is available on Air Panama. Restricted-round trip fares begin at $160.

TELEPHONES

To call the numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (the international dialing code), 507 (country code for Panama) and the local number.

WHERE TO STAY

Finca Lerida, P.O. Box 0413-00146, Boquete, Chiriquí; 720-2285, http://www.fincalerida.com. This is a bed-and-breakfast converted from a 90-year-old farmhouse on a coffee plantation in the heart of Panama's mountainous coffee-growing region. Doubles $144-$180 a night.

Panamonte Inn & Spa, Boquete, 720-1324, http://www.panamonte.com, in business since 1914, has 25 recently renovated rooms and a spa with two treatment rooms. (The Panamonte felt more comfortable to me than where I was staying, Valle Escondido Resort & Spa, which was nice but too exclusive for my tastes.) Panamonte doubles from $236 in low season, and $295 in high season.

Cala Mia, Isla Boca Chica/Boca Brava, Archipelago Chiriquí, 851-0059, http://www.boutiquehotelcalamia.com. This eco-resort in the Gulf de Chiriquí is on an island where solar power rules. This little bit of paradise is dotted with private cabanas overlooking the Pacific. Doubles $180-$400.

WHERE TO EAT

Panamonte Inn (see info above) offers diners inventive, gourmet fare in a cozy, rustic setting. Entrees $9.50 to $28.

Sabor Escondido, 702-2454, http://www.resort.valleescondido.biz/sabor.html, in the upscale Valle Escondido residential country club, is presided over by chef Melissa de Leon, who also runs foodie tours. Entrees from $14.50.

Restaurant Lourdes, and Sabroson, Boquete, local hole-in-the-wall restaurants serving traditional Panamanian cuisine. Dinner less than $10.

TO LEARN MORE

Embassy of Panama, (202) 483-1407, http://www.visitpanama.com.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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