- Costa Rica
- Panama Boutique
- Trinidad and Tobago
- South Africa
- Search by Activity or Interest
We loved Panama and truly had a wonderful time; one of the best trips we have had! We liked every place you booked for us. Thank you again for all your patience and for putting together such an interesting and varied trip. We will definitely recommend you to anyone who is considering travel in Panama.
Coral Lodge: Must say, this was our favorite.... The snorkeling was some of the best we have ever had and the San Blas Islands are amazing. Each island looks like what you would dream up for your tropical paradise. As you know, the Coral Lodge is strikingly beautiful and lived up to our expectation. What could be better than just lowering the ladder from you room and going snorkeling?..
... I'm sure you can detect my enthusiasm for Panama
Panama City / Los CuatroTulipanes: Our favorite of the two places was Casa Mendes …. very attractive and bright with a great stereo system. We managed to catch two different nights of excellent Panama musician playing live (free) music at the Casa Gongora (Casa de la Cultura y del Artista Panameno) It happens to be just across the street from Casa Mendes. .....
Cala Mia: We liked Cala Mia … a relaxing spot on a beautiful piece of property, a point on the island with rocky shore on one side and sandy beach on the other. ....Both the staff and the guests at Cala Mia were fun and interesting. Food was good.
Canopy Lodge: ...Our best experience was one afternoon when it poured for hours. The serious birders went out, as usual. We sat under cover on the beautiful lodge deck and watched the three bird feeders just a few feet away...Accommodations there were quite nice...
You did a really great job. …. The accommodations, the food, the service were all top notch. The birds were incredible. I think the final count was 206 species. Just about everyone was talking about wanting to go back….
I also thought your contribution to Panama Audubon was great. Future trips, I hope the Latin American committee will follow your example. …I would highly recommend your company to anyone contemplating travel in this area ….Thanks again for a wonderful job.
Thank you for arranging our trip to Canopy Tower in Panama. My daughter and I had a fantastic time there -- it is a truly unique place -- and you were right about the delilcious food, including many local specialties that we really enjoyed. Our birding guide, Carlos, was fantastic, and in addition to our birding tours, we saw lots of wonderful birds and mammals right out our room windows at Canopy Tower
Thanks too for giving me such a good overall orientation of Panama and suggesting a manageable itinerary for our brief 7-day stay. We loved El Valle, which you strongly recommended, as well as our visit to the Miraflores Locks of the Panama Canal. I was a bit apprehensive about taking buses everywhere and not renting a car, but you had assured me that the bus system was great, easy and inexpensive , and you were so right. We really enjoyed seeing all the local people, including many school children, that we shared minibuses with. Thanks also for encouraging us to go during the rainy season, despite some "warnings" we had read about. It only rained a bit most days, and while somewhat humid, it was very pleasant and we didn't miss having AC in places that had fans.
Most of all, thank you for encouraging us to go to PANAMA, my second choice after Costa Rica, but chosen due to flight availiability and economy, so I am very grateful that you and Barbara were so postiive about Panama as our destination choice. Your personal attention to detail and your experience were very much appreciated.
We had a wonderful time in Panama. I'm so glad you told us about the Embera Overnight. It was the highlight of our trip. We learned alot about the tribe and had many memorable moments. .... The Posada Ecologica was also very nice. ... The views were amazing! ... El Valle is a sleepy, charming little town. We loved it! We did lots of hiking, horse back riding, and mud baths. ..... The Anton Valley Hotel was also very nice. We would definitely stay there again. Thank you so much for all your help. Everything went smoothly and we all truly enjoyed Panama!
Hi Jean. I thank you for everything you did to help make our honeymoon the best vacation we've had. We had such a good time.
I want to tell you what a wonderful surprise the Coral Lodge was for us. I enjoyed it so much! That was truly paradise. We had to island and all the staff to ourselves for the first day and night. I couldn't have asked for a better place to be. This place exceeded our expectations. The food was excellent. We had a wonderful guide named Evelyn, who was terrific. I can go on and on about it. The champagne was lovely, thanks. Each tour was fantastic. We loved the Kuna's and we went on the Santa Isabel tour as well. All great. Each tour throughout was amazing. Gamboa and Playa Bonita were nice. A little on the expensive side.
We are already planning to go back. Probably around the same time. ....
I will keep in touch with you and let you know dates for next year.
The trip was wonderful – it was relaxing & exciting at the same time. Everyday brought new places & adventures. The mix was just right.
Sailing the beautiful waters surrounding the San Blas Islands was about as relaxed as I’ve ever been. Add the mysteriousness of a French-Algerian captain by the name of “Gilbert” (that’s pronounced “jhill-ber”) and the great cooking of his lady friend, and we had all the ingredients for a magical get-away – and it was! JB Journeys knows how to put a trip together, showing us that while Panama has a big canal, that’s not all it has to offer. It is an off-the-beaten path kind of place, still fairly undiscovered, filled with amazing sites, friendly people, colorful flora and fauna, and a big canal.
B Warneke, Smithville, TX
Barbara, This Place (Trinidad) is the Holy Grail of Birding. My first morning, when after 4 hrs sleep, I walked out my cabin door, I was totaly hyperventilating.......I have never seen so many, and so many different varieties of birds in one place at one time in my life. ... My stay was GREAT and I must break my one time rule and go here again.. I photographed 27 life birds and saw another 7 life birds without managing photos. Not bad for a 5 day tour... I wish all my bird tours could be so fruitful!! I was very pleased with all your arrangements and help. Now I am really looking forward to Panama in May
"The trip on the Rio Negro over last Christmas was very satisfactory, indeed. The boat, the Tucano, was comfortable; food very good, guides were excellent. Having only ten cabins meant that the group on board was small enough so that we got to know and to enjoy everyone--quite diverse geographically and otherwise: a family from South Africa, couple from N. California, a well=-traveled librarian from Montana and her active 87 year old mother (!), a teacher from Seattle with her daughter, a teacher at the Am. School in Sao Paulo, etc. he sight-seeing was well planned and various--early morning canoeing for birds, walks in the jungle, visits to a couple of villages, two night junkets, etc. We were blessed with good weather, and 'though the air conditioned cabins were nice at night, the days were quite tolerable--needed a jacket on those early morning trips; and although we came prepared for insects, we had no trouble and only rarely used the deet! Transfers were handled as scheduled and the Hotel Tropical was an elegant resort. I am sure my daughter Joan would join me in recommending the trip with enthusiasm."
I had a spectacular time at the conference, and at Hacienda San Lucas. All the planned events were worthwhile. The Solstice at the Ruins of Copan was so much more incredible than I would have expected. I was having the best time of my life, and enjoyed everyone's kindness and good humor. The itinerary was perfect. Let's do it again in 26,000 years; or sooner.
Our group traveled thru Panama by van, boat, puddle jumper plane, and train. We started in El Valle, staying at the Canopy Lodge, just outside this lovely village. There was plenty of bird watching, hiking and swimming in a natural spring fed pond, and we also took a cooking class at the Three Sisters Café, named for 3 resident pot bellied pigs. No, pork was not on the menu! But I did eat my weight in clams, little tiny clams swimming in garlic and butter, and patacones..so good! Next we flew to San Blas to board the Golden Eagle, our chartered sail boat. Capt’n Pete met us at the “outside baggage claim” to walk us about 20 steps to the “taxi dingy” to our sail boats. We get our first of many encounters with Kuna Indians who live on the San Blas islands. The Kuna row up in boats to sell their molas and wrap beads as well as big just-caught lobster for our dinner. The next 3 days we spent our time snorkeling, reading, swimming, sailing and drinking Balboa beer. Can’t get much better than that..oh but it did.
We ended the trip at the Coral Lodge. It was like being in Fiji, where the bungalows are built over the water. We had the place to ourselves so again we read, snorkeled, went kayaking and drank more Balboa beer. To get back to Panama City, we traveled the Panama Canal train and ended up at the Miraflores Locks Restaurant that overlooks the locks of the Panama Canal. It was fascinating to watch cargo ships, fishing boats and yachts make their way thru the locks. For a true Panama experience I highly recommend Panama Boutique aka JB Journeys to plan your trip, it will be a wonderfully memorable trip.
P Whitehair, San Jose, CA
We had a wonderful time in Panama. .... Panama was very good to us. I'm not sure exactly how many pictures we took but I know it's over 3,000. Panama is a photographers dream location. The different ethnicities, the different climatic zones, the tremendous variety of wildlife, I could just go on and on.... We enjoyed every place we stayed and every guide we dealt with. Ivan's B&B is a little jewel, and I highly recommend his place. ... Carlos and his beautiful Los Quetzales was everything I'd hoped for and more. .... Thank you again Barbara for all your help in planning our Panama trip. .... I could talk up Panama until I'm blue in the face, and would be honored to be an ambassador for future travelers to such a special place.
....we had an absolutely wonderful time all around. Cala Mia is a little bit of heaven. It reminded me at
first of an area that Ontarians cottage at in Georgian Bay, a large bay off the southeast tip of Lake Huron. We loved the water, the heat, the little floating dock with it's little bird family living on it, the kitchen staff and
food [wisely, they don't overserve]and just the general atmosphere that insists on you relaxing. Evelin was delightful and very helpful in getting Christian there, along with your GREAT help [would the Hotel in San Jose even have let him stay another night without your help and your Mastercard???] It was a great portion of the holiday and definitely our favorite.....
Thank-you and Barbara once again for orchestrating a wonderful holiday for our family, and interrupting your own to make sure we were taken care of on more than one occasion
.....All the best for a wonderful year. You guys are the greatest!!
Pam, Andrew and Christian.
With the help of JB Journeys, we had a wonderful time in Mexico!
Yelana & Scotty
I want to thank JB Journeys for making our trip on this amazing cruise ship so easy to go on you ladies really had it all covered for us. I am looking so forward to booking my next adventure with you...
We had a great time. All your transfers, etc worked perfectly. We really enjoyed Hore as our driver a couple of times......
It rained a few times but never affected our plans. Humidity was hard to get used to....
Our highlights were the village, the boat tour with Christian and snorkeling. We liked the Bocas Inn the best, loved the canal view at the Country Inn....
So, thanks for all your help. We all have a lot of great memories.
We are back in NJ and all agree that the trip absolutely great, and superbly well organized! Thank you...! You have a wonderful reputation in Panama.....
Arriving here to 45 degrees and rain makes us appreciate the weather in Panama even more...!! We loved Cala Mia, the villas, the food, and the great staff. All pick-ups worked to perfection, and your timetable for driving was also right on the ball.
Balboa Inn in Panama City is an excellent location, and their taxi driver Julian turned out to be a treasure....
Thank you very much again,
Rita, Malcolm & Richard
Los Quetzales was the highlight of our 2+ week vacation. We hiked, crossed rapidly flowing rivers, spoke Spanish, and loved our Cabin #2. The host, Carlos, was gracious and we felt honored to know the local Panamanians working with Los Quetzales who shared their knowledge about birding. Thank you for all of your help.
It was an unforgetable experience that enriched our lives.
Hi Barbara and Jean,
We had a spectacular time! The cooking class, the horse show, the Flamenco show, the tasting – all were excellent suggestions! (In fact, I felt like we ate our way through Spain …) Although it was hot, we finally learned why people take a siesta in the afternoon, and quickly changed to the Spanish way!
I guess my favorite town was Seville , followed by Gaudi in Barcelona , then the Alhambra . Amazing architecture! Of course everyone loved Torremolinos, and it was a great way to end our trip.
All of the hotels were wonderful. The hotel in Seville was a palace! And the guesthouse we stayed at in Grendad gave us such a wonderful taste of the “real” Spain ; the proprieter there was truly gracious, and we really enjoyed being there. (Plus we were right next to the Alhambra , and an incredible view at night!)
The hotel at Torremolinos was okay – not as good as the others, but really close to the beach, and that was great.
All in all, it was a fantastic experience, and we have ya’ll to thank for it! Muchas gracias!
Sandi and the rest of the Ross’
The sailing portion that JB Journeys planned for our Panama vacation was a fantastic mix of adventure and relaxation; part Jimmy Buffett –style beachcomber leisure, part environmental discovery, part cultural history and part aquatic workout. The two sailing vessels, ours a 63’ dark blue single hull beauty and the other a modern catamaran, offered very comfortable accommodations. Our captain, Peter Rippingale (a great name for a sailor), had been sailing since he was 12 in his native Australia. He was an expert sailor, and along with his one person crew, was a wonderful host. His knowledge of the San Blas islands and the Kuna culture added to the adventure. I can’t wait to repeat the experience.
DJ Whitehair, San Jose CA
Jean and Barbara,
Thank you so much for arranging our groups trip to the 2012 CMA Country Music Festival it was an amazing time. The whole week was filled with excellent live acts performing everywhere from the local pubs, Karaoke bars and on the street if there was or wasn't a microphone. LP Field at night was electric the crowd was so alive you rarely sat in your seat for 4 hours. Thank you as usual for making the arrangements and travel very easy. I look forward to booking my 2013 trip early before the event sells out faster than it did the last couple of years. Thank you again and I look forward to traveling with JB Journeys in the very near future. Thank you, Richard LoGatto
My participation in The Great Return was wonderful. JB Journeys created a seamless visit to Pico Bpnito and Copan Ruinas which is always a challenge in the third world. That is not to say there were not challenges; however Barbara and crew met the task expertly. Both venues were marvelous. The Lodge at Pico Bonito is in the mountains between two rivers. Cabins were well appointed and you could hear the soft white noise of the rivers as they tumbled through rapids down the mountainside. Outside the cabin, cool breezes rustled the foliage of a tropical forest and the soft sounds of tiny feet of agoutis could be heard in the leaf litter. The food and hospitality of the Lodge was very good. I stayed at Hacienda San Lucas in Copan Ruinas. This was my second visit and the owner, Flavia Cueva, has created an environment that is warm and welcoming. I felt like family. This inn is well worth a visit for any traveler. The program JB Journeys led included several prominent authorities on Mayan culture, including astronomers, epigraphers, and archaeologists. All were fascinating and knowledgeable, as well as great hosts in their own right. I was able to participate in ritual ceremonies that included a sunrise meditation in the ruins themselves led by Leah Glatz, a temascal experiencing (similar to a sweat lodge), and Mayan Sacred Fire ceremony. Always present was the wonderful Shannon Kring Buset without whom this tour would have not happened. She was a delight. I could go on, but brevity demands I end by saying this was a one in a lifetime experience. It was made that way by JB Journeys and all noted above.
I would like to thank you for the amazing vacation recommendation you presented to visit Hotel Ecoparaiso in Celestun, Mexico. Although the photographs on the website were beautiful, and your description of the resort made it sound amazing, we were still in awe of the unparalleled beauty this resort offers, the incredibly furnished bungalow, as well as every other space the resort has to offer. Read our Trip Advisor review!
The service of the staff was exceptional; they were respectful of your privacy and were never invasive, yet they were always eagerly awaiting to fulfill any request you have. The beauty of the natural landscape really did not settle in until the second day, when we were on the beach and could look for miles in each direction and not see another person. The resort was completely sold out during the Holiday week and it felt like we had the resort to ourselves, except when you took one of the incredible yoga classes or during breakfast, lunch or dinner. The tours of the Cenotes (natural water sink holes) the Hacienda, and the pink Flamingo Reserve are to be experienced by anyone seeking gorgeous gifts from nature. Participating in the Mayan/Mexican traditional New Years Celebration was a night filled with warmth, spirituality, and enjoyment. Hotel Ecoparaiso in Celestun Mexico is not to be missed! The resort seamlessly combines an appreciation of nature and a respect of the environment with relaxation and luxurious comfort. This was truly a unique experience and one that I wholeheartedly recommend! Thank you!!!
Just a short note to say we had a fabulous time!! Everything went perfectly and guides and hosts were very friendly. We were very satisfied with all arrangements. The birds were also very beautiful and friendly. Thanks so much!!
You exceeded our expectations in every way! May be interested in Belize trip.
Barbara and Jean helped me plan a wonderful trip to Panama as a gift to my two nieces who were recent high school graduates. I wanted to give them an adventure to remember without scaring their mother to death. Panama Boutique gave me great suggestions for out of the way and little known places across the country that got the girls a variety of experiences in the jungle, in the mountains, around the cities, as well as the usual beaches and islands. It was painless for me and the girls had a great trip.
I highly recommend Panama Boutique,
…this was the best trip I’ve ever been on.
Our trip was outstanding...almost beyond words. I have traveled to many parts of the world but have never experienced a friendlier atmosphere than our time in Copan Ruinas. It started with our being welcomed into the Hacienda San Lucas family by Argi and, later, Flavia. I became fast friends with Carlos, the watchman, who would take me around the property each evening and morning to show me the birds. ............. Marian thoroughly enjoyed her cooking class and I thoroughly enjoyed the resulting empanadas and pico de gallo...they even got me into grinding the corn.
The feeling of being a part of the family extended to everyone we met in Copan Ruinas. All the guides, the owners/workers in the shops, the Tuk Tuk drivers, etc. were terrific. Our birding trip with Yobani started out wet but the whole day was wonderful. ............
Our tour of the Ruins was wonderful but it was made even more amazing by our guide, Marvin Diaz. ............
Nery Gonzales took us to tour the Chorti village of Llanatillos. Meeting Nery was also a wonderful treat. .............We got one of the local children to guide us up the trails to the home of Teresa de Jesus. Jesus and her family were very accommodating and watching the pots take shape in her talented hands was amazing. See was a wonderful artist. After we finished there, we went back down the trail to the center of town and then up the other side of the valley to the home of Lucas who specialized in smaller pieces of pottery...some small enough that we could carry them back with us to the states so we bought three bowls from her.
Even our fellow guests made the trip special. We were admiring the beautiful paintings and jewelery on display in the Hacienda. As you know, most were done by Frida, Flavia's daughter-in-law. A day or two after we arrived, Frida and her son, Yax arrived so we able to talk with her about her art and the New Mayan Alphabet. ...............
I like to think that traveling to other countries learning about the people and culture of those countries makes me a better person but I've never enjoyed a trip as much as this one nor have I felt that a trip was as life-changing as this one. Hopefully, this trip has inspired us to work to improve the lives of others. Based on conversations with Nery, Frida, and Argi, we are seriously thinking about setting up a program at Sul Ross State University to allow a student from Copan Ruinas to get their undergrad degree at Sul Ross. ...............
Thank you for doing such a wonderful job in organizing our trip and for introducing us the Hacienda San Lucas.
Copan, Honduras January 2012
"We have taken two international trips with JB Journeys. Both were superbly planned and smoothly executed. Everything worked well: transfers, accommodations, selection of activities and destinations, and sensitivity to local customs and populations."
"JB Journeys is our preferred adventure travel company."
~Kenya 2008 ~Panama 2010
Jim Cousar and Donna Squyres, Austin, TX
..I wanted to drop you a note to say thank you for all that you did to assist me in having a great birthday vacation. My trip to Colombia was excellent the retreat center was great and the food just awesome. Your professionalism and dedication in getting me to a location that was aligned with what I was looking to experience is greatly appreciated. I am very much looking forward to booking my next journey with you!!!
I want to thank you for first being so understanding of my last minute request to switch my plans to Colombia and even getting me a hotel in the fun city of Bogota when my flight was changed by the airlines. My journey to Colombia was one of the most amazing experiences I had in my life from the everyday Yoga the awesome food and spending all of those days with the amazing Kogi tribe who let us into their world and what a beautiful, loving peaceful healing world it is. I look forward to being with the Kogi tribe again in the future and receive more of their gifts.
Live to Love and Laugh,
.... Of course the highlight of the trip was the full day transit. I loved it, and it made the book I was reading about the canal really come to life. I personally think people who only take the half day tour are making a big mistake. It was such a pleasure to sail across Gatun Lake after three quarters of the passengers disembarked halfway...and the view from Gatun Locks was wonderful. All in all, a great trip. Thanks again
“We had a fantastic trip to Trinidad & Tobago…arrangements were perfect: accommodations, guides, and transportation were all top-notch. The birds matched as well – 18 species of raptors and more blue-crowned mot-mots than we ever imagined. Thanks to JB Journeys, we had a smooth, fun trip and were able to do what we wanted: see lots of birds, all day long.”
We had a FANTASTIC time!!! Everything went smoothly and was so much fun. Hotels were gorgeous – I could live at the Finca Rosa Blanca!
In short, Costa Rica was muy bueno! More later….
Trip to the Embera Village with Ann Gordon was the number one highlight! What a GREAT day and a GREAT person! Birds and guides were wonderful too. Saw 225 species total and 75 lifers among them. Many great photos. More on the trip and will send a few bird pics when I get them edited. Thanks for everything . It exceeded our expectations.
We can't thank you enough for the seamless coordination of transfers. It worked flawlessly and we were amazed at how well orchestrated everything was. We never had to wait and our rides were always on time. We were also impressed with the good quality of the hotels as well as the activities and tours. We were highly impressed with Coral Lodge and look forward to visiting in the future.
We loved Panama, and the places you picked out were great....
With a couple of minor exceptions (mentioned below), everything went very smoothly. I have a few stories and some comments that might help future clients.
(re: driving from Tocumen to Gamboa)
... We were hopelessly lost the entire time we were driving through Panama City. There is no relationship between the maps and the street signs. Change number 1. I would take a taxi to Albrook and rent the car there. Well worth the extra cab fare.
We did manage to get in the wrong lane in the toll booth--twice. Fortunately, it was Sunday and we were able to back up and get in the right lane. We finally figured out which sign meant cash and which one meant you needed a prepaid card. You should warn future clients about this one. I can't imagine what a mess it would have been during rush hour.
You mentioned that you haven't used Mateo's B&B. We loved it. Lots of birds and animals. We had five new birds and two new animals on the life list from the first hour in his back yard. Mateo and his wife were friendly and gracious. However, he has two classes of rooms. One is a pair of tiny little rooms with an outdoor bathroom. The other is the top floor of one of the old Canal Company buildings. He moved us from the tiny room to the spacious apartment after the first night. You should have no hesitation about sending anyone to the larger rooms (mention the cold water showers), but warn them about the small ones. We didn't have a problem with it, but some people would. ....
Los Quetzales was great. We had a female quetzal land outside the deck fifteen minutes after we checked in. We should have followed your advice about the sweaters, instead of relying on my usual tropical alternative, a light weight poly shirt I use for skiing. We were 500 feet higher than the lodge and at that altitude the temps were a damp 50 degrees. Happily, the wood stove made evenings very comfortable. We used a meal option that didn't appear on the website. For $10, they will deliver meals from the restaraunt. We brought our own wine, they supplied the food, and we had the evenings to ourselves, watching the hummingbirds and bats...
We loved Al Naturale, and wished we had spent another day there. It was far better than we expected from the descriptions of Boca. The food was the best I have ever had in Latin America.
Our flight to Panama City was moved up, but we really enjoyed the Balboa Inn and the neighborhood around it. Good birding in the garden and around the streets. It put us up over 90 species for the trip, and we are not serious birders (unlike most of the other Panama tourists we met).
Thanks for putting together a great trip.....