“Kathleen, I am a graduate your 52 Days program. My husband is also a member of Lief Simon’s Marketwatch investment service. We are both experienced travelers and enjoy reading your daily dispatches very much.
“We will be in Panama this summer and we have some questions regarding this trip.
“We have only two weeks for the trip. We are planning to spend the majority of our time exploring the best highlights of Panama but we also want to make a side trip to Nicaragua (Granada and San Juan del Sur) for three to four nights and maybe fly back to the States from Managua. Do you think it is too ambitious to squeeze Nicaragua into our itinerary?
“We wanted to visit the community of Los Islotes during our trip. Will it be possible?
“As a Marketwatch member, my husband never took advantage of a 30-minute free consultation with Lief Simon. Will it be possible to arrange one during our trip to Panama? We would also like to use it as a chance of meeting you all, even for a short time.
“Our son will turn 12 during our trip. Can you recommend something special for us to do for him in honor of his birthday? We are looking for both a special experience/activity and a special place to celebrate.
“Can you recommend a good hotel for us in Panama City?
“We also want to look at the schooling options in Panama City while we are there. Can you recommend some schools we can consider and possibly visit? We are looking for international schools with the International Baccalaureate program, preferably non-American curriculum, study of foreign languages a must.”
–Anastasia K., United States
I’ll take your questions in order.
First, yes, two weeks would be enough time for you to work in a side trip to Nicaragua. You could get an idea of Panama in 10 days.
Definitely, we can help you organize a visit to Los Islotes while you’re here. You can get in touch here for more information on that specifically.
If Lief is in the office while you’re in Panama City, yes, by all means, please come by and take advantage of the opportunity to have yourMarketwatch member consultation with him in person. You can schedule this with our Marketwatch customer service staff here.
For your son’s birthday, you could take him deep-sea fishing (our 13-year-old son Jackson has enjoyed this) or maybe to Gamboa Rainforest Resort for a jungle experience. Again, Jack has enjoyed our visits to this jungle lodge.
A hotel in Panama City is tough, because there are so many. A good budget option is the Milan (at US$65 a night). Our favorite hotel in Panama City is the Bristol, which is reasonably priced given the standards of the property and the service (about US$175 a night).
You also have many good international schooling options in Panama, including American, British, and French schools. Our son attends the French school and will take with the French Bac. The International School of Panama (ISP) offers the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. The Metropolitan School of Panama is currently pursuing accreditation for the IB program.
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