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Panama & Brazil

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Panama & Brazil

1. Posted by sandya (Budding Member 5 posts) 8y

Hello - In September I plan to travel to Panama and may be continue to Brazil.
I am not good in my Spanish and also I will be travelling alone.
Therefore, I am posting this thread to look for any volunteers who can help in these 2 countries -
i.e. to find a safe (even with a family or a hostel) place to stay for about 6-7 days ,
sightseeing advice and in general help in seeing the 2 countries.
So if there is anyone who would be willing to assist me , it would be really REALLY great.
Thank you so much because I want to travel but a little hesitant too.

2. Posted by Brambor (Budding Member 15 posts) 8y

I can't help you with Brazil but I can help you with panama. In Panama, English worked fine, every hostel owner spoke English but if you learn a few basic sentences it helps. I liked panama city (casco viejo and panama canal), Boquete and bocas del toro. A must see I think are the "islas de San Blas". You can sail from San Blas to Colombia. Maby you can go from there to Brazil.
I think the Darien jungle must be nice to.

If you buy a book like lonely planet or footprint you will find plenty of hotels/hostels in these places. If you go to place with no tourists you might have some problems finding a place to sleep.

No need to worry in panama. It is a good country to travel. Public transport and the hostels are really good.

3. Posted by LuzMac99 (Budding Member 14 posts) 7y

My friend is about to leave to go to Brazil for a month and I'm a little worried about her.
I've heard it's not the safest place and she's quite an attractive lil' gem.
Does anyone know of particular places/clubs/scenes to AVOID!?
So I can pass them onto her?!


4. Posted by way2goeh (Full Member 159 posts) 7y

As for Panama, I have to agree with brambor. I was in Panama several weeks and had zero problems. In the entire time I was there, I didnt hear one person speak Spanish even though I speak English. Boquete is a great mountain resort (but can get very cold at night), Boca Del Toro and Boca Brava(near david) are great places to go with the latter having monkeys on the island. San Blas is expensive but well worth the white sandy islands and turquoise water. Panama is very cheap and I mean very. Except gasoline for the car. Taxis to go 30kms cost about 5 dollars or 1,50 across town. I stayed in a hotel in Panama city which was listed in and paid about 20 dollars a night, inc breakfast. Only negatives about panama is earthquakes ( was there for a 6.0 one) and rain.

As for Brasil, Brasil is safe during the days. At night, I would watch out especially in Rio. Sao Paulo is the biggest city but nothing to see. Rio is fantastic but try NOT to speak english outloud. SP used to be very dangerous but has gotten better. Rio, on the other hand is one of the most dangerous cities in the world. WHatever you do, stay away from the favelas!! DOnt take city buses in any big city as robbing buses is a norm. The buses that go from one city to another are very safe and comfortabe and cheap(ish). The beach is great but not at night. Forget sleeping on the beach unless you like to sleep in a black bag (if u know what I mean). Never camp either. Ive lived in Sao Paulo for 8 years and Ive never had a problem, but I have a car and know the right spots for nighttime. If you feel unsafe, take a taxi and get out, thats our philosophy. But the most fun is at the beach especially with friends, not alone!!!

[ Edit: Edited on 26-Aug-2009, at 10:23 by way2goeh ]

5. Posted by LuzMac99 (Budding Member 14 posts) 7y

Why shouldn't you speak English outloud?..

Favela's - heard by so many people to avoid!! What's so bad about it?!

Should she avoid wearing jewellery any carrying around handbags because theft is so common?

WOAH!! Defiantely not sleeping on the beach!!! Are you serious, it's THAT dangerous?!

Thanks for all that, was very helpful!


6. Posted by way2goeh (Full Member 159 posts) 7y

[quote=LuzMac99]Why shouldn't you speak English outloud?..
the reason is: if u speak english, you have money. If you have money, youre a target. Just speak at a low tone, thats all Im saying

Favela's - heard by so many people to avoid!! What's so bad about it?!
Drugs, Guns, Bad people. WIthout a tour, dont even think about it!! There was an episode on CSI Miami Season 5, episode 1+2 or the movie Tropa de Elite(or the english version)

Should she avoid wearing jewellery any carrying around handbags because theft is so common?
This is a tough one. As long as its not diamonds, since diamond rings are almost non-exsistent. Just keep money in 2 or 3 places upon one selves. The chances of something happening are remote, but STILL is it worth it ruining your vacation without a little common sense?

WOAH!! Defiantely not sleeping on the beach!!! Are you serious, it's THAT dangerous?!
Ive done it before b/c I know where to look (far from any city), but I would NEVER reccomend it to a visitor

A little common sense is needed. Dont look like a foreigner, talk outloud, or look lost. Brasil is VERY layedback except for driving.

7. Posted by LuzMac99 (Budding Member 14 posts) 7y

That's their logic - if you speak English you have money ...... Ok then.. :s Not quite sure if who she is going with speaks any Portugese; hope so!..

As for the jewellery thing, I think it's best she not wear anything, just to be safe. You're right - it's just not worth it ruining your holiday.. And she'd probably be on the edge as she was wearing it anyway because every second person would be eyeing it off..


- Don't look like a foreigner
- Don't talk aloud in English
- Don't look lost

GOT IT!!!!

So you're actually living in South America at the moment?

8. Posted by way2goeh (Full Member 159 posts) 7y

I live in Sao Paulo. Cosmetic jewelry is good. Forget pearls and diamonds. If you went to England, you would use the same common sense as in Brasil, just a tad more. Nothing to be scared of. Maybe I sound strong when i advise against something but everyone wants a vacation to remember, not one to forget! It used to be alot worse but in Rio, there are alot of foreigners. If she stays ay hostels, then she will have friends to go places with. Learn a few common phrases before coming too. In Panama, you dont have to worry about spanish, but in Brasil, its portuguese. Knowing a few common phrases goes a long way!!

9. Posted by LuzMac99 (Budding Member 14 posts) 7y

Yeah you've made it sound like a pretty scary place to travel :p
She'll be in a group of four, three girls and one guy I think it is. So hopefully the guy is built so they can avoid trouble.
Common phrases such as?... How much.. Where is... Thankyou... Please... Etc?? They'll be able to pick up you're a foreigner anyway won't they because you'll have an accent when you speak theor language.. ??