Panama City, Panama – Where to stay: Part 2, the Culinary Tour

THE ROYAL DECAMERON

At last we had made it to the Resort!

The best advice I can offer about the Royal Decameron, is to be sure to get the Gold All inclusive package. There were different levels of All Inclusive Packages available for purchase, with each being represented by a different color wristband.

On the very first night we arrived we had White Wrist Bands. After a long journey to get here, we were ready for some hot food. We headed off to the resorts restaurant called the Atlantis on the resort map. Which was the main Buffet for the white wrist Band. It was the only open restaurant that we were allowed in the first night, due to no reservations, & having the wrong color wristbands on.

PUT THAT GOLD ON MY WRIST!

What was left of the infamous Golden Wrist Band at the end of my stay.

After getting to the Atlantis & eating our first nights dinner. I can tell you truthfully, I wasn’t going to be able to eat here everyday. The food was warm, not hot. Being as I was in Panama on the beach. I wanted seafood, so I got some fish for dinner. Once I returned to the table with my plate. I tried to cut into the fish with my knife, & encountered difficulties. If you’ve ever worked in a manufacturing, or distribution facility, this piece of fish would have made an excellent wheel chock. I looked to my partner, & told her “we are getting those Gold Bands ASAP!”

When you get to your room, there were other noticeable, things about not having a Gold Wrist Band. Like the mini fridge isn’t stocked everyday, & you only get the exact number of towels for guests in the room, no extras. This was home for the next week, so I was off to the front desk immediately to get my Gold Wrist Band upgrade.

THE UPGRADE

Inside of our Junior Ocean View Suite

I walked back to the front desk, talked with the lady about getting our upgrade, she searched her computer & said we would have to pay extra (After dinner at the Atlantis, Take my Money!) I couldn’t get my card out quick enough. Once she saw I was serious she made some phone calls & found out she wouldn’t be able to upgrade me until tomorrow morning. The Check In Manager needed to verify & approve the upgrade & as it was late, they had left for the night. Also the staff who upgrade the room needed time to get things ready. She asked me to come back the Next morning. We would just have to tough the first night out with white bands.

As I’m an avid coffee drinker. I was up before sunrise, so I could get my morning fix to help me deal with people with a smile on my face for the rest of the day. (I know you may find this hard to believe, but I’ve been told, friendly little ole me isn’t the most fun to be around without coffee 🤣). I decided to walk back to the front desk, as it was still 5a.m I was to early for the manager. This did however give me an opportunity to talk with the new front desk lady, & have her start getting things ready for my upgrade when the manager made it in, to save time later.

My first view of the Resort after the sun had risen. Beautiful

She told me the manager would be in about 9:00a.m., I told her I’d be back around that time. I went back to the room to drink more coffee, & wait for the sun to rise. I wanted to see the view from the balcony for the first time in daylight. At 9:15a.m. sharp I was back at the front desk, the manager was ready & waiting for me. She upgraded us, & made our dinner reservations at the other restaurants around the property for the rest of our stay. She sent a crew to upgrade the room to the Gold package, & she now had a happy customer.

LETS GET THIS PARTY STARTED

Gold Band Wine, Beer, & Waters. Restocked daily.

The Gold package crew showed up at the room, they brought complimentary, fruit plate, beer, wine, & waters for the room, they even bring you more towels to the room. You also get access to the infinity pool & all the other areas of the resort. The food also gets so much better, you can relax in the V.I.P lounge where there’s usually live music. Sometimes even traditional Panamanian Carnival Dancers.

Relaxing in the V.I.P lounge as the Panamanian Carnival Dancers (Right), came out to greet the new guests.

The V.I.P. Lounge is beautiful. As it’s entire roof is made of glass, the canopy of the trees close in over the top of it. Allowing you a great view of all type of wildlife overhead. It’s also an amazing place to wait out a surprise rain shower, which is to be expected in a Rainforest country. I made my way back here quite often. The chairs are comfortable, there’s always free snacks, & drinks for the guests. Usually a local performer is on the stage in the middle & music is playing.

My Partner & I enjoying the music in the V.I.P Lounge at night.

Now you may be wondering, what about the beaches? Well they are beautiful, the water isn’t crystal clear. But being almost 3 hours North of Panama City, the Waters of Rio Hato at Farallón Beach are still quite beautiful. The natural straw roofed Cabana beach umbrellas add to the exotic feeling you expect on a beach.

My partner chilling in the shade of a beach Cabana Umbrella early morning hours.
Get on the Farallón Beach first thing in the morning, to have it to yourself.

After getting our morning exercise in walking the beaches, we were ready to try some food that wasn’t from the Atlantis. There’s this beautiful beach side restaurant called the Kontiky. I can’t recommend it enough. It quickly became our favorite on the resort. Coming back here many days for a late breakfast, or lunch. The entire restaurant is a Palm straw Cabana. It has a nice bar inside of it also.

Cocktails at the Kontiky Restaurant

The Kontiky has two separate seating sections. It has one out front that isn’t underneath the roof, & right on the beach if you want to watch the waves as you eat.

Lunchtime at the Kontiky

The Kontiky also has another seating section underneath the roof, to keep you dry on rainy days, & keep you cool on hot summer days.

Randomly dropping by the Kontiky for a snack! 😋

Also did I mention we really loved the Kontiky? Because we did. The resort offers a lot of activities, with the Gold Bracelet, all of those are free. You can Kayak, go to the water slides at the other end, ride the sailboat, or reserve a Jet Ski. For all of these activities, you just need to go to the activities desk & make a reservation. There are also tour vendors working the beach, offering horse rides on the beach, boating excursions, fishing trips, & rainforest monkey watching tours.

For dinner each night of the stay we ate at a different à la carte restaurant. Like the Cayuco Grill.

Dinner at the Cayuco Grill

The Cayuco offered a beautiful open air dining experience, with candles on each table, overlooking the waves, & bobbing boats along the shoreline as the sunsets.

The food at the Cayuco was well seasoned & grilled to perfection.

HIT THE WAVES

The next day after our usual morning beach walk. We found ourselves back at our favorite restaurant the Kontiky, for a quick breakfast, before hitting the infinity pool.

Breakfast at the Kontiky

The many pools of the resort were the most popular locations amongst guests, especially the one with the water slides. If you wanted a more private pool, where you don’t have to worry about bringing your own towels. The V.I.P pool in the Gold Wrist band section was the place to be. With a towel desk being located conveniently poolside. The pool is secluded from the rest of the resort, with its own bar, for a refreshing drink, or cocktail on a hot Panamanian day as you relax in the sun.

Looking towards the Island in the center of the pool with live Palm Trees.

There are an abundance of beach chairs around the pool to sit in. There are also beach chairs located in the sandy area beside the pool bar, underneath the Palm Trees. It’s an excellent spot to watch the waves.

My partner enjoying the pool, from the Island in the center. Facing the Kontiky in the background

After Sunning in the pool all day. We were feeling a little peckish yet again. We talked over where to have lunch, & after much debate. We decided to try something new, & mix things up (so what I’m saying is, we went back to the Kontiky 🙂

Lunch at the Kontiky…. Again 😂. The food is so good & their service is great.

REPTILIAN LOVE

After lunch we walked across the entire resort, which is extremely long & takes quite awhile to walk across. It makes for a scenic walk, so be sure to walk it’s full length if you visit. There are Iguanas all around the resort, of all different sizes & colors. Just lounging around soaking up the rays.

Iguana getting his little tan on (Bottom Left)

It became a fun game just trying to spot the Iguanas. Although their everywhere, their not always the easiest to spot. With their varying shades of green, they camouflage quite well. Blending into the lush green vegetation all over Panama.

An Iguana camouflaging, I thought it was a tree stump (Center)

From the balcony of the room. You could come out at nearly any time of the day & catch an Iguana, or two out sunbathing & soaking up the rays.

Zoom photo of an Iguana on the lawn below our Balcony.

PADDLE THE PACIFIC

The next day, for one of our activities we decided to get the Kayaks out, & go for a paddle in the Pacific.

Rowing out to get a better view of the shoreline

Getting a little Kayak time in is always fun… Although we got ourselves into quite a pickle once in Clearwater Beach Florida, be sure to check back for an upcoming blog about Clearwater Beach, to find out what happened to us… The view was astonishing from the water. The cloud cover was perfect & playing peek-a-boo with the Sun, providing us with refreshing moments of respite from it’s intense rays.

Looking back towards the water slide pool at the Royal Decameron, Panama

Taking our time, we rowed the length of the shoreline. The water wasn’t to rough, it offered that relaxing, & gentle rock to the Kayak as you floated along. It would be easy to fall asleep on the water, & wake up with a nasty sunburn (or at least that’s what I heard from a friend 🤣)

Video from the water, looking back at Farallón Beach, & the Royal Decameron.

After a long day. We decided to try another of the 8 à la carte restaurants at the resort. This restaurant is called the Pannamai. It’s listed as an Italian buffet on the Resort map. On the particular night we went, the buffet was Oriental themed. Which was right up my alley, as I like just about any dish under the sun that includes rice!

Plate #1 at the Pannamai Buffet. Yeah, I said #1 because I had seconds. Lol

The food was really good, & steaming hot, I’m not going to lie about it. Every restaurant we tried at the Royal Decameron was amazing, with the exception being the Atlantis. After all the eating we had done, we retreated back to the V.I.P. Lounge section to end the night with drinks & live music.

Cocktails for two!

ONE LAST NIGHT

On our last & final full day at the Resort we gift shopped, & of course visited our favorite restaurant the Kontiky one last time (No really, go to the Kontiky). We spent most of our day socializing with the other guests, & meeting the locals who run the resort. We returned to say our farewells to the staff of the Kontiky who knew us, & exactly what we wanted every time we walked in.

For dinner that night we ate at one of the most beautiful restaurants on the entire resort. The Café Med, & it was especially lively on this particular night. Because of a beach wedding that happened earlier that day at the resort, & we were right in the middle of their wedding reception. They were friendly, & welcomed us. The staff was extra nice on this particular night (although they were nice every night). The wedding had brought love & joy to everyone around who was able to witness it.

Dinner at Café Med

With the wedding reception bringing all of the resorts performers to one spot. With each of them eagerly awaiting their turn to perform for the new bride & groom. We had plenty of festive activities happening all around us. It made this one of the most memorable dinners of the whole stay.

Live music with a Beauty at Café Med.

Leaving the last restaurant of our stay at the Resort, we left walking back up the steep hill to our rooms. The newest rooms at the resort are the Ocean View rooms on top of the hill, not the Ocean Front rooms at the base of the hill. Anytime you leave the restaurant section, you have a steep hill to climb on your way back to the rooms. You can also wait on a shuttle, but we hardly ever waited, choosing to walk for the exercise. We reminisced about our stay at the Decameron, as we prepared to depart early the next day.

The hill leaving the Restaurant section of the Resort

THE CHECKOUT

Having a redeye flight the next morning we were up early on our way to Panama City heading back to Tocumen Airport (PTY). Our rental car was back at the main desk, which is close to a half mile from where we were located. I walked to the checkout lobby, as they had a 24 hour desk attendant, so I could check us out. I also needed to retrieve the rental car & bring it back to the room, so my partner wouldn’t have to walk a half mile dragging luggage. Once I got back to the room, we packed the car quickly. We drew the eye of the “sharpest” security guard on duty. Who came to our window to talk to us as we left.

He spoke no English, & I spoke equally as little Español. Having just literally walked back from the checkout desk, I had nothing more to prove we had stayed there other then the bands on our wrist. Not having any extra time to burn, I was in a rush. Which probably made him pecking away at his smartphone screen with one ☝🏽 finger, one key at a time on his translate app seem all the more slow. Reminding me of the Sloth Scene, from the movie Zootopia.

You can check out the full scene, using the link above.

I pulled my translate app out & typed away in a flurry of keys. I held it up for him to read explaining what we were doing. He nodded his head & smiled. Then resumed pecking away at his keyboard, with only the one finger. I watched the clock as the minutes ticked by. He finally finished his typing, & showed it to me. Which was literally the same thing I had just typed for him. He then went to the guard shack & asked us to wait as he wanted to cut our wrist bands off for us. He came back with the dullest pair of scissors he could find. You know those colorful plastic little scissors we used to get in Kindergarten.

After a combined effort of sawing & twisting, he was finally able to get through only 1 of the wrist bands. He then started on my partners, & after 17 minutes (felt like an hour to me). We were finally on the road, heading back to the airport. Turns out, as we were soon to find out, we could’ve used that extra 15 minutes.

STRANDED IN PANAMA

Driving back to Panama City in the early morning hours, both lanes of the highway are diverted South, so we were driving on the opposite side of the highway, still headed to Panama. Upon arrival at the airport, as I pulled up to the front of the building, I missed the correct roundabout that takes you to the rental car return. My partner pulled out her phone, because she had attempted to pull a quite ingenious move. When we first landed & made it to our rental car, we found out Apple Maps don’t work in Panama. You have to use Google Maps, or a stand alone GPS.

Yep, we were officially Lost in Panama… Again

What she tried to do was drop a pin at the exact location we picked up our rental car on Google Maps. That way on our return trip, all we needed to do was return to the dropped pin. There was only one problem with this plan. She didn’t take her phone out of Airplane mode until we made it to the car. The phones GPS hadn’t had enough time to relocate our exact location & was still recalculating our coordinates.

When she told me we were in the wrong place, & this isn’t where the pin was located, I asked “are you sure?” I could see the entrance & the rental cars. They were parked about a hundred yards from where we were, but she was adamant that the place we should be was on the other side of the airport. I thought maybe she was right, so off I drove to the other side.

Panama City (PTY) is a large airport, it was a 15 minute drive to the other side. Once we arrived at the location of the dropped pin. There was a locked gate, with a sign telling us that this was the old entrance no longer in use. Turn around & go back to where we came from. Now after about a 30 minute trip around the airport, we made our way back for a second time with no problem. I didn’t miss the roundabout this time, & found the rental car return location. I ran inside to get the car return agent, so he could come out & inspect our car for return. He walked as slowly as he possibly could to our parking spot.

I was beginning to worry I would have to pick up & carry the rental car agent to our car.

THE BAD NEWS

After he checked inspected our car & said everything was good. Which start to finish took approximately another 12 minutes. We made a mad dash for the American Airlines gate, in whirring of tiny luggage wheels on pavement. As any traveler knows, the normal check in time for an international flight is 2 hours.

We arrived at the gate & the gate attendant told us we couldn’t check in our bags, because we only had 1 hour & 15 minutes to departure. She stated we could leave without our bags, & still catch our flight. I was not leaving my luggage in Panama. She then told us, that if we could pay $100, she would put us on the plane anyway. I asked her if that included our luggage? It didn’t, so I told her I needed to speak with the manager of this gate. Unfortunately, this was not my first missed flight International, or domestic.

I had a little experience in dealing with missed flights. The gate manager wasn’t scheduled to arrive at the gate for another 35 minutes. Which meant we had most certainly missed this flight. My partner was taking it hard, I told her not to worry. We would be on a plane out of here today & free. I had been in this exact situation once, or twice before. I told her we would find some breakfast as we waited to talk to the manager. We found one of those very expensive airport priced restaurants & paid $30 a piece for chicken & eggs with coffee & juice.

The proper way to pay the cashier for an expensive airport breakfast.

THE FLIGHT HOME

To make matters worse as we ate, we got the alert from our flight that they had been delayed over an hour (we could’ve been on that bird with our luggage). After breakfast we talked with the Gate Manager. She re-booked us on the next flight out, with our luggage for free. We had to wait a few more hours until that flight departed, which we slept away in the Airport Lounge. Once we boarded the Plane. We were on the tiniest plane I had ever been on, for any International flight. We were on a plane that’s usually reserved for domestic flights, but hey, at least we were finally on our way back home.

BACK ON U.S. SOIL

After landing in Miami Florida late in the night after 9p.m & making it through customs. We were off to see if they could fit us onto our last flight to Orlando Florida. We arrived way to late to catch our original connecting flight. It was nearing that time of night when airports begin to slow down. As we were heading to our gate, I heard shouting at the gate. I thought it was an unruly passenger. To my surprise it was an unruly female Gate Attendant, she was shouting at an older women who appeared to be in her late 60’s who had asked a simple question. I had flown American before, but I had never seen a gate attendant yell at passengers before anywhere during my travels.

The Gate Attendant was clearly having a bad day.

Her male counter part sitting at the desk didn’t even seem rattled by the event, & was wearing a smug little grin on his face to suggest he probably enjoyed her outburst. Next he flatly starts telling all the passengers there that the flight was booked full, & he was going to call out the names of the remaining who could board. When he was done, we were still standing there with other families. He said he only had 1 seat left on the plane, & wanted to know who wanted it. None of the families willing to be split up wanted it, & were stuck until the next day. I asked my partner if she wanted it, to fly ahead with our luggage & I catch up with her in Orlando? She said she would rather just wait with me, which was fine by me.

I talked with the male gate attendant to make sure our luggage was continuing on to Orlando, & he seemed bothered that I even asked him a question. He gruffly confirmed our luggage was heading on to Orlando. As I was back on U.S. soil I know my way around pretty good here. I wasn’t even bothered, I simply booked a rental car at the gate as I turned to walk away. Now my partner & I were off to the rental car desk.

THE HAMSTER CAR

After using the Expedia app to get the rental car. We headed to the rental car desk at the airport. Making it so quickly I had to pull the reservation up for him on my phone, as it hadn’t even made it into his system yet. I told him we wouldn’t even need the car a whole night. As I would be returning it in under 4 hours in Orlando. Once he got us processed, & we were handed the keys. We hit the road for Orlando in the baddest thing on 4 wheels.

Our Rental Kia Soul. Don’t be jealous 🤣

It was supposed to be about a 3 hour drive to Orlando (MCO) airport from (MIA) in Miami. I made the drive in 2 hours & 45 minutes. I was worried about our luggage being left on the baggage claim to long without us there. My partner impressed me though, & found the number to the baggage claim for American Airlines in Orlando, & was able to describe our bags to Agent over the phone. He retrieved our bags, & placed them in the American Airlines office for us. We no longer had to worry about our luggage, & that was a relief. The American Airlines staff we encountered in Orlando, was a complete 360 of the airlines staff we encountered in Miami.

After arriving at the airport, all I had to do was walk to the American Airlines Baggage Claim office. Prove I was who I said I was, & the agent went to get our bags out of a locked room for us. I was extremely happy about the care they took protecting our personal belongings. Especially when I wasn’t there to do so myself. With bags in hand. We returned the rental car, picked up our own car from airport parking, & went off to our hotel for the night to rest.

NO PLACE LIKE HOME

The next morning after checking out of our hotel, we ate breakfast at a local Shoney’s Restaurant in Orlando. Then we beat a hasty retreat back home. We arrived right on time, even with all the surprise adventures we encountered along the way. What’s a good story without a little adventure anyway?

On the road heading home after one Chaotic Journey.

The Roving Gypsy

Thanks for reading my Blog, I hope you enjoyed our adventure as much as we did. Like what you read, & want more content, or have suggestions? Like, Follow, Share, Comment, & let me know.