Panama is suddenly on my vacation radar. I had been searching for a warm trip for this winter and came across a dual-country tour to Costa Rica and Panama. Then, I met a new friend who spoke really highly of Panama saying it’s less touristy country-side was much more appealing to him than Costa Rica. Then, the NY Times put out The 45 Places to Go in 2012 and guess what was #1? PANAMA. The travel stars were quickly aligning and I started my research.
If you know me, you know my research started with cheap flights and gluten-free eats. This is how I start planning all of my trips. Through a little bit of a cumbersome search (too many Panama City Beach, FL results!) I found a link through Celiac.com to the Fundación de Celiacos de Panamá. The entire site is in Spanish, but with the help of Google translate I was able to navigate around and learn more about being gluten-free in Panama. I also found an email address and immediately emailed the group.
Valeria Lara, of the Fundación de Celiacos de Panamá wrote me back in less than a couple of hours. I am always excited to hear back from global gluten-free folks and was thrilled at this quick response. Here are some of the tips from Valeria about being gluten-free in Panama.
- Panama does not have gluten-free restaurants, so you might want to think about cooking your own food while traveling.
- The Gamboa Rain Forest Resort in Gamboa that can offer a gluten-free menu when ordered in advance.
- In the city, it will be easier to find gluten-free products especially at the Organica Store. (There are two Organica Stores in Panama and two in Guatemala. Good to know!)
- The Riba Smith supermarket and the Super 99 might have gluten-free products, although not always.
For those of you visiting, living, or staying long term in Panama, please bookmark the Fundación de Celiacos de Panamá website and attend their future events.
As I do more research, I will post more links. For now, I think this is a very helpful start. Thank you Valeria!