Whale “Vacation Spot” Attracts Travelers and Vacation Home Buyers to Panama’s Gulf of Chiriqui
Travel enthusiasts and real estate mavens are discovering that Panama’s Gulf of Chiriqui is the hottest new vacation destination — a secret humpback whales have been in on for centuries. Among the dozens of pristine emerald islands, humpback whales spend their extended summer vacation breeding and calving in the warm waters of the protected Gulf.
Abe Zimmerman, Sales Director for The Resort at Isla Palenque, an ecologically sensitive Panama real estate project in the Gulf of Chiriqui, was taking customers out to view the island property when he experienced his first whale sighting. “We were cruising through the Gulf, remarking that we were the only people in sight among all of these beautiful islands. Out of nowhere, an enormous humpback shot out of the water. My breath has never been taken away like that before.”
Whale watching is one of the many adventure opportunities that attracted Amble Resorts, developer of The Resort at Isla Palenque, to the secluded Gulf of Chiriqui. The Gulf has long been the best-kept secret of serious sport fishing fans, and has recently been discovered by adventure sport enthusiasts who come to revel in the surfing, scuba diving, and of course, whale watching opportunities the uncrowded Gulf has to offer.
Like many vacationers, humpback whales travel from the icy north to the warmth of the tropics each year. Their 4,000 mile migration, the longest of any animal, takes the humpbacks from their arctic feeding grounds to their tropical mating grounds for much of the year, with October and November the height of the season in Panama. Humpback males truly enjoy their vacations and can be heard singing their elaborate songs and spotted putting on a spectacular show of jumps and twists — all to attract the best possible mate. The following year, females return to give birth and fatten up their newborn calves. Baby humpbacks already weigh 2,000 pounds at birth, but they are born with very little body fat and spend the temperate months drinking over one hundred gallons of milk a day and growing strong enough to make the long return journey.
Once nearly extinct, there are now almost 20,000 Pacific humpback whales — and humpbacks are just one of 20 whale species that can be found in the Gulf of Chiriqui. The increase of whale watching tours not only means great things for Panama tourism, but also for the whales. Despite the international moratorium on whaling, endangered species are still hunted by the thousands each year, but new studies show that they are worth more alive than dead. Discovery News reported that 13 million eco-tourists paid to see the animals in their natural element, fueling a $2-billion industry in 2009.
The growing popularity of whale watching is good for tourism, but are whales good for real estate?Zimmerman thinks so. “The whales seem to think this is the best vacation spot on earth,” says Zimmerman. “Our customers are inclined to agree with them.”
About Amble Resorts
Amble Resorts was founded in 2007 to develop and own unique upscale resorts and residences which provide ecologically and culturally sensitive travel experiences. Those who want more out of travel, amble with us. http://www.amble.com
About Isla Palenque
The Resort at Isla Palenque will be a secluded and sustainable residence community opening in late 2012 with a unique boutique hotel, ingeniously designed residences, and sumptuous amenities.