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Katherine Smoots, Charlotte, USA

My thanks and appreciation to the team at Eye Candy Safari for such an amazing experience in Panama last week. From the first email communication at home to the last hug goodbye in Panama, it was absolutely extraordinary!

Excellent communication prepared me well for the adventure...from packing lists to a detailed itinerary complete with activities, team leaders and the what/when and where’s...no stone was left unturned. I was met upon arrival at the international airport and transferred to my accommodations (Central Panama Hotel) which were divine...and before I knew it, we were making our way to the Heli pad for aerial views of Panama City in the late afternoon sun. Simply breathtaking and a surreal experience! As an amateur photographer, I was able to watch and learn from the professional on board...and apply these techniques in my next helicopter experience. A wonderful dinner with the team and a briefing on the next day’s events concluded a fantastic first day with Eye Candy Safari.

The next several days were spent in the Gamboa Rainforest, located about 45 minutes outside of Panama City. The beautiful Gamboa Rainforest Lodge served as our “home” and was a true oasis (lovely accommodations and atmosphere, terrific proximity and delicious provisions.) The Eye Candy Safari team had plenty of activities arranged during our stay including a sunrise boat safari into the Panama Canal for incredible photo opportunities of monkeys (Tamarin, Capuchin and Howler species,) lizards, bats and birds; a zip lining tour (Gamboa Tree Trek) through the rainforest canopy for an adrenaline filled experience and breathtaking views of the flora and fauna of the region; an educational and photo opportunity filled visit to the Gamboa Rainforest Reserve where sloths are rescued, treated and returned to their natural habitats; a night boat safari for up-close views of crocodiles, birds and the local indigenous village; and finally, a nature trek on foot deep into the rainforest (yes, the machete was necessary!) for a deeper understanding of the vegetation and foliage that comprises the rainforest itself...not to mention more monkeys!!!

Following several wonderful days in Gamboa, we returned to Panama City for more fellowship, activity and photo opportunities (including a lovely stay at the Intercontinental Hotel.) A walking tour of Casco Viejo (the old historic/cultural part of Panama City) provided many occasions for photos as well as opportunities to pop into local shops and coffee bars (don’t miss Cafe UNIDO!) And by night, the Eye Candy Safari team planned rooftop terrace dinners with exceptional views of the Panama City skyline...and opportunities for photos and instruction for night photography.

Why did I choose Eye Candy Safari? Because I love travel and I love photography...and I wanted to improve my skills while I was experiencing a whole new culture and land. That is exactly what Eye Candy Safari does...they combine both pieces and provide an exceptional package. Not only did I experience Panama City and the Gamboa Rainforest as a tourist, but I experienced Panama City and the Gamboa Rainforest through my camera lens and bettered myself and my photo taking ability. Thank you Eye Candy Safari for such a superb experience.
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