Sunday, November 23, 2008

Last night there was terrible flooding in the boquete area of chiriqui, early reports are of up to 6 deaths, bridges out and lots of people left homeless. Here is a more or less first hand account that i recieved on an expat forum

"Last night there was a sound that was like a roaring, like when summer winds are blowing. It turned out to be a horrible flood of the Chiriqui river. The bridges up to Cerro Punta are out. Many people have been lost to the flooding and houses lost, too.

Help is needed for all those affected. The catholic church in Paso Ancho is accepting donations of blankets, food, diapers, clothes, etc. There are people being housed there, too. I am sure all of the churches up here would be greatful for any and all donations." There are photos of the destruction on line and less than a week ago there was an earthquake in the same area that registered 6.3
I also wonder how and why these natural disasters occur in pairs like this.

Meanwhile at the hostel last night (11/22) a large group showed up at the hostel workers for an upcoming presidential campaign..they were due to stay one night but are now stuck there as bridges and roads in the bocas del toro province are currently impassable, so the hostel is full for the first time since we opened in July, Gregg is working hard as is benny..

Thursday, November 20, 2008

How will economic conditions affect backpacking in Panama and Central America

Hi all,

As a world wide financial panic sends market down, I wonder how this will impact the alternative traveler, here I refer primarily to the 'backpacker' these travelers live dirt cheap, these roaming nomads follow a long tradition of free thinking bohemians that live day to day at times with no particular plan, nomads going north,south east and west, these Hostel dwellers live on 10-30 dollars a day, use public transportation and even work for lodging and food. I have posed this question on a variety of blogs and forums and the consensus from those in the industry including the Hostel Management Website is that Hostel will enjoy a boost given the current economic conditions. Those at the very bottom of the tourism rung, 'the backpacker' will continue to travel regardless of the condition of the markets. Why? Because they have a limited amount of disposable income that is committed to long trips on the trail, well worn by thousands on the same path. They live on a few dollars a day and keep moving, they travel because they must. At Bambu Hostel we have noticed a decrease in American travelers and more Euro, Aussie and Canadian travelers. What we have noticed is that they are more sensitive than ever to price points and in reaction to that bambu lowered dorm beds to $8 from $10. The competition has gotten fiercer for the backpacker dollar, but they do keep coming and i doubt they will stop.

As for airtech we have noticed too that price points determine sales, we have had to raise prices due to fuel and tax increases and notice a decline in sales related to that, our new web 2.9 site here is a reaction to that, we are using a new business model so we are not so dependent on ticket sales to survive. But the community of alternative travelers live on. Even more so now, especially for the Americans traveling out there this is a great time to be able to answer the question 'where are you from' without getting an angry look. Many backpackers from USA took to sewing canadian flags on their packs so they wouldn't get yelled at. What a horror the last 8 years of neo-con fascism has been. What a relief the new election has brought us.

I would like to hear responses and input here...

Mike Esterson
President Airtech and Bambu Hostel David Panama

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hello I am Gregg co-owner Bambu Hostel David Panama

Hi I am Gregg, Mike Esterson the owner of Airtech and I own Bambu Hostel a backpackers Hostel in David Panama. Last night there was a minor earthquake. I slept through it! Here is what was reported

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A strong earthquake of 6.2 magnitude and at a depth of 30 miles struck Panama overnight, the U.S. Geological Survey said on Wednesday.
The quake hit 35 miles west southwest of David, Panama, at 0611 GMT. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries, the USGS said.
The USGS originally verified the quake at a magnitude of 6.5 and depth of about 9.3 miles."
I can thank Abuelo Rum for the deep sleep, which of course I only drink for medicinal use...the name Abuelo means Grandfather in Spanish, it is amazing Rum dirt cheap and doesnt leave you to fuzzy in the morning, yet strong enough to keep you sleeping through a 6.2 quake! This area is Volcanic, nearby there are Hot Springs called The Caldera Hot Springs Caldera means soup Caldron! Dont stay in there too long..they are awesome though, it cured my bad back last winter..and only 30 minutes from the hostel.
We are in David Panama and Bambu Hostel is a great jump off point for journeys into the awesome beauty of Chiriqui Province I lived in NYC for 20 years and one day realized that if I didn't follow my dreams and leave I would be there forever. That is the way New Yorkers are they just stay and stay and wake up old one day..

Life here is good. Everyday I wake up and give thanks for being in this awesome country. Come to Bambu Hostel and spend a few days at the hostel, we have a sweet pool and a mayan style rancho, and there is always a nice crowd of international backpackers and others there. I will post again soon.

See ya in Panama,


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bambu Hostel announces new Tours, to mountain, Rain Forest, Pacific and Caribbean..more

Bambu Hostel Saturday 11/15/08

Howdy all, we just got our tour page fired up we have some great tours listed..

Bambu Hostel is proud to offer tours to Lost and Found Jungle Lodge in the Fortuna Rain Forrest, Hot Springs , Swimmable canyons, bird watching, trails and surfing as well as surf and fishing excursions. Optional transport to Bocas Del Toro, Hot Surfing beaches and more available. All the tours can be found here

Los Quetzales Trail Tour

Option 1
Pick up at 7am in David, transport to Cerro Punta trial head. Arrive at Cerro Punta Trial head at 9 am...
Hike through to Boquete town.
$110 for the car for up to 4 people.

Option 2
Pick up at 7 am in David, transport to Cerro Punta Trial head. Arrive at Cerro Punta Trial heat at 9 am...
Hike through Boquete town
have pickup at Boquete trial head with your logage ready for you in our truck.
Drop off at lodging of your choice in Boquete or return to David
$160 for the car for up to 4 people.

Overnight at Lost and Found Cloud Forest Ecolodge
2 days/1 night.

Pickup in David at 8:30 am, stop at a river canyon for swimming at 9:30 am. Next get up to the lodge and have lunch. That Afternoon, learn about cloud forest animals and about the jungle. Have a relaxing time in the afternoon, possibility for short guided hikes. Have dinner, and watch the nocturnal animals, take a short night safari, weather permitting.

Use the lodge facilities for night entertaiment, sleep. Have a Breakfast, take 3 hr guided hike to lookouts and a secret river in the cloud forest jungle, have lunch at the lodge and then drive back to David or drop off in Boquete via a different scenic route.

The only thing not included in the following price is the food and drink.
$55 per person minimum 2 people.

Hot Springs and Petroglyphs

Half day

Visit the Hot Springs and ancient Petroglyhs with return to David or drop off in Boquete
$30 per person, minimum 2 people
$10 extra each person

Isla Boca Brava

Full Day
Transportation to and from (includes boat transfer costs)

$100 for the car up to 4 people.

Transport to Bocas (Almirante) With stops at the River Canyon and Secret Waterfall ( Palo Seco Park )

Full Day
Leave Bambu Hostel at 9am
Stop at River Canyon for swimming at 10 am
Hike to the secret waterfall at 1 PM
Arrive to Almirante afternoon

$150 for the car for up to 4 people

River Canyon Swim, Hot Springs , Petroglyphs, Animal Rescue Center .

Full Day
Return to Bambu Hostel or Drop off in Boquete
$55 per person, minimum 2 people

Long Distance Transportation

Prices are for the car, Maximum 4 people per car

David to Bocas $130
David to Santa Catalina $210
David to Santiago $130
David to Chitre or Las Tablas $160
David to Pedasi (Isla Iguana) $210
David to El Valle $260


All tours are a minimum of 4 up to 12 hours long depending on destination and weather conditions.

Las Lajas:

$80.00 a day from 1 person to groups of up to 4 people.

Includes transportation (car), surf/tour guide, ice chest.

La Barqueta:

$60.00 a day from 1 person to groups of up to 4 people.

Includes transportation (car), surf/tour guide, ice chest.

Boca de Hacha:

$75.00 a day from 1 person to groups of up to 4 people.

Includes transportation (car), surf/tour guide, ice chest.

Puerto Armuelles area:

*Includes spots like: Los Olivos, Tortuga , 4:40 and more.

$95.00 a day from 1 person to groups of up to 4 people.

Includes transportation (car), surf/tour guide, ice chest.

Morro Negrito (Isla Ensenada) and nearby islands:

*Includes spots like: La Corocita, Playa Ensenada, Silva Afuera, Silva Adentro and more.

$210.00 (surfing only) a day from 1 person to groups of up to 4 people.

Includes transportation (car & boat), surf guide, ice chest, fishing equipment.

$260.00 (surfing & fishing) a day from 1 person to groups of up to 4 people.

Includes transportation (car & boat), captain, surf/tour guide, ice chest, fishing equipment.

Surfboard rentals

* Taking a tour: $10.00 a day.

* Only surfboard rental: $20.00 a day.**

** Must bring a copy of ID or passport.

+ There are restaurants in most areas, bring your own snacks/food if you wish.

+ There are no available restaurants in the Morro Negrito and nearby islands area so tourists must bring their own snacks/food.

+ Trips all over the country are also available, please ask for more details since this are usually custom made tours and will vary in price.

+ Also available, nature, fishing, camping and more!


All trips are a minimum of 4 up to 12 hours long depending on destination and weather conditions.

Mangrove Fishing (departing from Punta de Tierra):

*Includes spots like Punta de Tierra, Isla Batipa, Bahía de Muerto, Isla Muerto, Isla Chalapa, Los Lajones and more.

$160.00 a day for 1 to 4 people.

Includes: Light meals & snacks( granola bars, cookies, salads, fruit, etc.), soft drinks (water, sodas, fruit juice, gatorade, etc.), tour guide (captain & sometimes an assistant), fishing equipment, transportation to departure point, ice chest.

Boca Chica and surrounding areas (departing from Punta de Tierra):

*Includes spots like Isla Boca Brava, Isla Zaíno, Isla La Ensillada**, Isla Viuda**, Isla Ventanas, Isla Carey Macho and more.

$185.00 a day for 1 to 3 people.

Includes: Light meals & snacks( granola bars, cookies, salads, fruit, etc.), soft drinks (water, sodas, fruit juice, gatorade, etc.), tour guide (captain & sometimes an assistant), fishing equipment, transportation to departure point, ice chest.


Bambu Hostel, Benny Olmos or Gregg Lapkin
Office Phone: (507) 730-4851 Mobile (507) 646-78552 or
Se Habla Espanol

Thursday, November 13, 2008

New Link on Dr Hostel

Hey all we just got listed at Dr. Hostel this is a great site for hostel reviews check it out!

Bambu Hostel in David Panama, A luxury hostel at $8 a night


What started out as a dream about ten years ago in NYC has turned into our new reality! Me (mike Esterson) and my buddy Gregg Lapkin got together and bought a large family house in the San Mateo section of David Panama complete with a 3000 SF garden in march. For me I was correctly convinced that the US economy was in the toilet, the little that i had in my 401k was not growing, so i pulled it out of the market and made the decision to invest in Panama, a better investment in hindsight after seeing the market hear collapse.

Bambu Hostel is a labor of love, Gregg and I have created an international backpackers hostel and resort. It has a sparkling swimming pool, in ground of course, and really nice gardens to relax in..the rancho bar is an authentic central american rancho with hand woven roof and rustic wood construction. We built brand new showers and bathrooms and our dorm rooms have AC or no AC, we charge $8 USD for a dorm bed but you can feel like you are living large.

Bambu Hostel is fun, Gregg and I are both professional musicians, He plays guitars and sings kind of a human juke box and I play hand drum bass and sing as well...we both have had major label deals, Gregg with the legendary Rakes Progress and Me with the infamous and first live hip hop group Smokin Suckaz with Logic.

Nightly there are jam sessions and guest DJ's popping through and often there are bbq's and pool parties..

please come to David Panama and check out our place, stay a day or a week or a month, chill out with me and Gregg and our Panamanian Lothero Benny!

see you in Panama!
Mike Esterson
Co-Owner Bambu Hostel