Sunday, October 19, 2008

James Bond returns to Latin America

James Bond is returning to Latin America. Thanks to Cynthia Mulder in Panama for breaking this news from one of the film sites. If you recall many of the film series’ locations over the years, you’ll easily recall the common denominator - fantastic scenery. So it is not surprising to learn that we've already treated our clients to every locale in Bond's upcoming film, "Quantum of Solace" filmed in 2008.

Looking forward, it is natural to string the latest film’s Latin American sites together for one special Bond journey. We might not be the only outfit doing this, but our niche is upscale travel and our clients are already regulars at each of the film’s locations in Chile, Panama (impersonating Haiti and Bolivia) & Mexico. Channel your inner secret agent and enjoy the ride...

We begin in Chile. Built of adobe brick, San Pedro de Atacama is home to expatriates from all over the world. This oasis has been an important village since pre-Hispanic times. Here you'll find an impressive museum, exceptional cuisine, and dry desert air leading to stunning landscapes just outside of town. There is also the favorite destination of astronomers, Vicuna -home of two famous observatories. Cerro Mamulluca Observatory was designed for the public and offers spectacular programs for travelers awed by the area's crystal clear skies. Filming occured in Antofagasta, "Pearl of the North", Cobija, the Paranal Observatory & its ESO Hotel.

From Chile, we’ll jet to Panama. The Bond film visits Casco Viejo. This is the 2nd city site built in the 16th Century to replace the original site burned in pirate raids. Modern Panama City has been called the “Hong Kong of the western hemisphere” but in this film it is depicted as Bolivia. With cobblestone streets and charmingly decayed colonial architecture, Casco Viejo could be many places. It’s a classic Latin American barrio, gentrified as it is. From Panama City we'll visit Isla Taboga to stay with my friend Cynthia who owns Cerrito Tropical with her husband Hiddo. It is a marvelous journey from the city to the island, and a special destination for viewing Panama City from a comfortable distance.

On the other end of the Panama Canal is Colon on the Caribbean, which serves as Haiti for the film and the harbor at Fort Sherman where the boat chase sequences were filmed. Closer than Haiti, there lies a quintessential Caribbean hideaway just a short hop from Colon. It’s the archipelago of Bocas del Toro. We’ll exit Panama after a few days in this bohemian hideaway via Costa Rica and continue north.

Our journey ends in Baja California, Mexico. This is where Bond's aerial action sequences were flimed. Here the desert landscape is almost lunar and very stark and dramatic. Our favorite location in Baja Sur is Todos Santos, where a friend of ours grows organic fruit. Within one day’s drive there are beaches and landscapes that seem other-worldly. To the north, Loreto is an hour’s flight from San Diego. Todos Santos & Loreto are upscale seaside villages very different from the mega-resorts many tourists frequent in Mexico.

Allow 2-3 weeks to enjoy all of the film's destinations. It’s true, 007 does not linger long in any one place. You, on the other hand, will not stay as long as the film crew resided in each location. One could say you will be stirred, not shaken. Sorry, James.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Steve for the review. In the beginning of the movie another part of Colon also features but not the City of Colon, a private island off the Caribbean Coast in the privince of Colon. The scene is part of the boat action sequence - I was an extra in the film and in that scene which is only shown for seconds. Casco Viejo in Panama City is also shown as Haiti.
    Enjoyed your review, Cynthia