What is the geography of Panama?
Panama is the southernmost of the Central American countries bordered on the west by Costa Rica, on the east by Colombia, on the north by the Caribbean coastline and on the south by the Pacific coastline. The total land area is 78,046 sq km. The Panama Canal divides the country into eastern and western regions. There are about 480 rivers in Panama and 1518 islands off the coasts.
How's the Weather? Panama is situated very close to the equator and enjoys a tropical climate with average temperatures between 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit. We have mainly two seasons: dry and wet. The dry season runs from January through April - the temperature is generally 80 to 85 degrees F, cooler in the evenings, and it almost never rains the whole day. May through December the temperature is a little cooler and afternoon thunderstorms can be expected from higher humidity.
What is the local language?
Spanish is the official language; however many Panamanians are bilingual. Some indigenous tribes still speak their own language but most speak some Spanish.
What is the population and ethnic makeup?
The population of the country is 3.2 million people of diverse origins: Spanish descendants, blacks, Indians, immigrants from North America, Europe, Asia, East India and other countries. Nearly 49% of the population lives in urban areas. Panama City has an estimated population of 825,300. There are 5 indigenous groups in Panama: Kunas in the San Blas Islands on the Caribbean; Chocoe (divided linguistically into 2 groups-Embera & Wounaan) in the province of Darien; Guaymies (Ngobe Bugle) in the provinces of Chiriqui, Bocas del Toro & Veraguas; and Teribes & Bokotas (Buglere) in Bocas del Toro province.
What is the official currency?
The U.S. dollar is legal tender in Panama
What time is it there?
Panama is on Eastern Standard Time (EST) except during daylight savings months, then we are on hour behind EST.
What type of wildlife can I see in Panama?
With its huge expanses of tropical rainforest, the Isthmus of Panama is one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world. Its unique ecology stems in part from its connection to two continents. Birds are a primary indicator of biodiversity and Panama takes the grand prize of 936 species of birds, more than the United States and Canada combined. Until 1996 Panama held the Audubon Society’s world record for identifying the most species of birds in a single day - 357 species were counted in one 24-hour period. There are 125 animal species found only in Panama, and many kinds of animals can be seen including: tapirs, caiman, monkeys, sloths, jungle cats, deer, bats, possums, etc. Panama is also privileged to be home to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), the world’s primary tropical scientific investigation center, which has been cataloging and monitoring this vast ecological heritage for nearly a century.29°C
The 2013 Season begins our 50th Anniversary! It's hard to believe that one man's dream hatched by founder Ray Smith in 1963, has become the top rated Big Game Fishing Resort in the world according to Robb Report Magazine and so many of our loyal and repeat guests and friends.
Tropic Star Lodge® is a veritable paradise cut out of the side of a mountain at the edge of the Darien Jungle on the Pacific coast of Panama. The Lodge is situated 150 miles south of Panama City. It can only be reached by boat or plane, since there are no roads within a hundred miles. A charter plane lands on an airstrip in Pinas Bay. You then take a ten minute boat ride to Tropic Star Lodge.
In 1961, Ray Smith, a Texas oil tycoon, built the Lodge as his "home away from home." In 1963, it was opened as a fishing lodge named Club de Pesca. Soon after Ray Smith built his dream, he caught one of the first IGFA World Record marlin on 12-pound line. "There are going to be all kinds of records set here now that the place is being fished a little harder", he was quoted at the time. His prophecy has come true.
In the ensuing years, more than over 250 World Records and numerous Junior Angler World Records have been set at Panama's internationally known Tropic Star Lodge® - more than any place in the world!
In 1969, shortly after Ray Smith's death, the Club was sold to Edwin Kennedy who renamed it Tropic Star Lodge to correspond with a "sister Lodge" in Canada known as the Arctic Star Lodge. Then in 1976, the Lodge was purchased by Conway D. Kittredge of Orlando, Florida, and is still operated by the Kittredge family. One of his daughters, Terri Kittredge Andrews, and her husband, Mike Andrews, are Chief Executive Officers and Operators of Pinas Bay Resort®.
The original owner's home is known as El Palacio, or the Palace. It is reached by cable car, or for those looking for exercise, there are 122 steps up the mountainside! The Palace has three bedrooms with private baths, and can sleep six. It has a sunken living room and outside terrace, both with a beautiful panoramic view of the Bay and surrounding mountains.
Tropic Star Lodge® was featured on the cover of
Sports Illustrated in April of 1963 in a 18 page
story which has stood the test of time.
Tropic Star Lodge® is a veritable paradise cut out of the side of a mountain at the edge of the Darien Jungle on the Pacific coast of Panama. The Lodge is situated 150 miles south of Panama City. It can only be reached by boat or plane, since there are no roads within a hundred miles. A charter plane lands on an airstrip in Piñas Bay. You then take a ten minute boat ride to Tropic Star Lodge.
Palace LivingroomThe original owner's home is known as El Palacio, or the Palace. It is reached by cable car, or for those looking for exercise, there are 122 steps up the mountainside! The Palace has three bedrooms with private baths, and can sleep six. It has a sunken living room and outside terrace, both with a beautiful panoramic view of the Bay and surrounding mountains.
Cabin's BedsOur spacious cabins and rooms are air-conditioned, with a beautiful view of Piñas Bay. Each room has twin beds and private bath/dressing room areas. A king-size bed can be requested. The cabins have surrounding porches with chairs.
The Lodge has a fresh water swimming pool and bar.A jungle trail has been cut across to La Playa Guest PoolBlanca, where you may enjoy swimming, sunning, and shelling on the beautiful white sand beach. This trail is over a small mountain and takes thirty to forty minutes to hike there. In order to really enjoy this walk you should be in very good physical shape! Kayaks are also available to enjoy the bay and Piñas river on your own. A jungle river trip to bargain with the "indigenous" Indian tribes is a fascinating experience, which can also be arranged. However, this trip can only be made during certain tides. Guest Kayaker If you are interested in planning this excursion, contact the manager upon arrival to see if it is available and on what day it can be arranged. Many guests bring sugar free candy for the children, and special "gifts" for the Indians, such as cloth, thread, needles, or other items that can be put to good use by the tribe. School supplies for the children are always welcome, as well as used tee shirts and children's clothes. Please pack these donations in a separate bag/box and identify this as "excess luggage." It will then travel to Pinas when space is available.
Fish StoriesEach afternoon when the boats return to the Lodge, "fish stories" are swapped while guests relax in the fresh water swimming pool, or drink pina coladas and eat fish fingers or sushimi on the veranda overlooking the bay, or in the air-conditioned bar.
Multi-course dinners, complete with wine, are served in the scenic bay-view dining room each evening. The chef prepares various specialties, such as Baked Alaska, Cherries Jubilee, black bean soup; fresh baked pies and bread, ceviche, and many more varied and delectable dishes. A fresh "catch of the day" is offered, as well as our regular main course selection.
Tropic Star Lodge® guests are catered to by 80 employees, whose "personal touch" makes your stay a memorable one! Since the Lodge can only accommodate a total of 36 guests at a time, early reservations are a must; otherwise, you might have to be wait-listed for a possible cancellation.
Tropic Star Lodge® enjoys a very large repeat client business. It is known the world over as an exclusive fishing lodge where quality and a quantity of fish come together in Pinas Bay! You will find no telephones, fax machines, or newspapers at this fantastic "get away from it all" fishing retreat! We have a television and (VHS) VCR in the bar, used solely for the purpose of viewing fishing videos. Please bring any cords or adapters needed for your video equipment.
BarWeekly bookings consist of a 31-foot Bertram with captain and mate, six days of fishing (Sunday through Friday), seven nights lodging, and three meals a day, plus all fishing tackle. Arrangements for less than a week can be made after May 31, or on short notice due to cancellations during the prime time season of December through