Copa Takes Off In Toronto

Panama’s Copa Airlines is reaching out to those wanting to visit the country it’s based in and points elsewhere in Central or South America.

Yolanda Molinuevo of Copa’s Toronto office told a Wednesday gathering in the Ontario capital that her carrier links both Montreal and Toronto to the “hub of the Americas,” with connecting flights from Panama City available to many other points in Latin America and the Caribbean too. Among them is the Colombian capital of Bogota, with Copa having eight daily frequencies there, she said.

Copa has four Montreal-Panama City flights a week and five weekly flights between Toronto and Panama City. Star Alliance member Copa, which began operation in 1947, has the largest airline network in Central America and serves 74 destinations in 30 countries, Molinuevo continued.

Connections in Panama City may be made in as little as 30 minutes as in-transit passengers don’t need to go through immigration or customs and their luggage can be checked through to their final destination. Molinuevo added that Copa offers a free stopover for a night or two to passengers travelling beyond the Panamanian capital.

Meanwhile, Luis Vargas of the Tourism Authority of Panama labelled Panama the “only country in the world where you can cross from the Pacific to the Caribbean in one hour.” Twenty per cent of Panama is protected, he noted, making it attractive to those who enjoy nature.

Vargas said Panama’s tourism attributes include seven indigenous groups; water sports, historical sites that have UNESCO World Heritage Site status; and the Panama Canal, with great viewing sites including the Miraflores Locks, found 15 minutes from Panama City and home to a visitors centre.

Seen in the photo, from l to r, are Vargas; Jessica Logreira of Panama’s Decameron Explorer; Clara Rangel of Copa Airlines; and Martin Harrington of Panama City-based Happy Tours.