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Moon Panama (Moon Handbooks) Paperback – November 2, 2010
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There are several well thought out itineraries available in the beginning of the book which are catalogued by length of stay and various interests....This is a must have book for those planning a trip to Panama. --Dave's Travel Corner, November, 2008
Friar provides great trips for travelers exploring his native Panama. This second edition includes tips such as the 14-day Outdoor Adventure and Six Days for History Buffs. --Planeta.com, December 2008 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Bill began his writing career as a stringer for the metro desk of The New York Times, where he found that covering stabbings, shootings, blizzards, and hockey parades was surprisingly good training for travel writing. He has also worked as a rock music critic, technology news editor, human biology instructor, writing coach, fundraiser, software manual author, and reporter for three daily newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area. His current day job is press officer for the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. Bill's work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Arizona Republic, Neuen Zürcher Zeitung, San Jose Mercury News, Orange County Register, and Houston Chronicle, among other publications.
A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Stanford University, Bill also holds master's degrees in English and American literature from Stanford and in journalism from Columbia University. He lives in London with his wife.
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There are some minor flaws. The maps tend to be a bit off; the one for Valle de Anton has a place or two on the wrong street, and the scale doesn't seem right. In Panama City, the author's favorite restaurant, Siete Mares, is actually on the other side of the road. The restaurant recommendations generally are a bit hit or miss. The author writes you can go by taxi almost anywhere in the capital for $1 or $2, but don't be surprised if reality doesn't deliver those fares.
Apart from things like that, though, it's a thorough, well-researched book. And again, the author's personal involvement with the country really makes it a more unique read. I chose this over Lonely Planet and would do so again.
I thought the book was great - I really read through it and brought it with me pretty much wherever I went out in Panama. The descriptions are really thorough and comprehensive, but at the same time it is filled with personal details from the author (spent part of his childhood in Panama).
When you first get the book, it is somewhat daunting; there's a lot of information to digest at first, so it may seem overwhelming, but really it's an easy read, and once you actually get to Panama the content starts to make sense. The organization is sort of awkward; the majority of the book is broken up by region, but there is a section in the back that gives you overall tips for the country (currency, taxi, etc.), so don't forget to read that as well. The short spanish section in the back is also helpful. Even the maps were helpful - I actually used them to navigate my way around - since Panama is pretty small, this was feasible.
- some things are a little outdated, but that's mainly with regards to the clubs/bars in Panama City - this book is from 2010, and things like nightclubs change all the time, especially in the city, so I don't really think it was that big of a deal, especially since you could go on the Internet.
- As nice as the maps were, more maps would be great
- Book is a little big, so kind of bulky to bring around with you if you don't have a backpack.