Best Things to Do in Panama in January
What do you think when you hear about Panama? Sure you might think of the beautiful beaches, the Panamá Canal and maybe two of its most important celebrities, boxer Roberto (hands of stone) Duran and musician and actor Ruben Blades.
Panama has become one of the main tourism destiniations in the last years, but there is still much more to know about this beautiful country than its landscapes, beaches and successful boxing history.
Throughout the year, Panama also celebrates a considerable number of festivals and folkloric events that are also becoming interesting and attractive options for those who enjoy and appreciate art, music, culture and folklore. Four of these events are celebrated in January, just when summer (dry season) in Panama is at its peak.
1. Boquete Flowers and Coffee Fair
Boquete is one of the main tourism attractions in Panama due to its beautiful mountains and landscapes, comfortable weather, coffee farms and much more. It has become one of the main places to retire in Panama for many Americans and Europeans. Every January, the town gets ready to receive a great amount people that visit its traditional Flower and Coffee Fair.
You don´t have to be such a big flowers or coffee lover, The Boquete Flowers and Coffee Fair also gives you the opportunity to know more of this amazing mountain place, located on the North of the Chiriqui Province, in the western side of the country. At the fair you will find this region´s art crafts, food and culture, and experience Panamanian night life at its best at the party structures around the fair, designed to dance end enjoy the night along.
2. Panama Jazz Festival
Founded by Panamanian musician Danilo Perez, the Panama Jazz festival might be the main international musical event in Panama. Danilo´s strong connection with the music industry allows him, and its music foundation, to bring the most representative jazz artists from the United States, other Latin American countries, and all over the world.
Along a whole week, a series of concerts take place at the city´s main musical sceneries. But the main and most crowded event of the festival is a free, outdoor concert where Panamanian and foreigners, living in Panama, get together to enjoy the performance of recognized artists in the most important jazz festival of the region.
3. The Thousand Polleras Parade (Desfile de las Mil Polleras)
If you´ve never seen the Panamanian typical dress, you might be missing of one of the most beautiful expression of handmade wardrobe in the world. Considered by many the most beautiful typical dress in the world, la pollera is a luxury gown that every Panamanian woman dreams of wearing, at least one time in their lives.
In January, The Thousand Polleras Parade gathers women from all over the country in Las Tablas, located a few kilometers inland from the Gulf of Panama on the Azuero Peninsula. La Pollera, in all of its different manifestations, depending of the country´s region they come from, come to life on the bodies of each woman that proudly wave their polleras at the rhythm of cheerful l traditional music and street orchestras called murgas.
But men also share this moment wearing the traditional male shirt known as camisilla and other elegant folkloric men´s outfit. If you want to know Panamanian folkloric traditions at its best, you might not wanna miss The Thousand Polleras Parade, where the main protagonist is this beautiful traditional women outfit.
4. Full Moon Drums
Even though there are several festivals as this along the year, especially on full moon nights during the summer, the first Full Moon Drums of the year takes place in January. For over 16 years now, the Full Moon Drums have brought together thousands of Panamanians and tourists to enjoy a music jam where everybody becomes the night´s performer. People of all ages gather around recognized musicians to go along with them with drums, tanks and anything that might function as a music instrument.
This festival have become so popular that it has become a brand of itself. The festivals rotates during each season, from beneath a Corotu tree in the City of Knowledge, located at the old American military base of Clayton, to the Cinta Costera, the sea strip boarding the Pacific bay, to the old mystic side of the city known as Casco Antiguo. The festival offers an open space for creation, music appreciation and fun, especially for kids and music lovers of all ages.
Do you think this is a lot for a month? Well, February doesn´t need anything more than Carnivals. The main and most expected Panamanian holiday is a 5 nights, 4 days ongoing celebrations that is a characteristic representation of Panamanian´s way to have fun and enjoy life. Don´t miss it from February 5 to 9.
If you would like to know more about Panama and these festivals visit Panama!
By Anayansi Mendoza