I’ve been writing for International Living since 2006. At seminars, attendees often tell me they’d love to have my job. But anyone who enjoys writing can take a stab at it.
Publications like International Living are always looking for travel writers. If you’re a travel writer (or aspire to be one), all you have to do is pitch your own take on standard media coverage.
In Panama, there are many beats that have been…well, beaten to death. I’ve read countless articles on colonial Casco Viejo that present the same tired old information. Many mentions of Panama City or Boquete are so canned I can almost hear them rattle. The best places to make money as a travel writer in Panama are the ones that haven’t been covered quite as much.
Make money in Panama…and enjoy the beach
Boca Chica is one place I can’t hear enough about. It’s the “hot new destination” on my radar. Located in the Chiriqui Province, on the Pacific Coast, it’s a fishing village facing a pristine archipelago. A good article on this “hidden gem” would be easy to sell to your local gazette. Put a spin on things by writing about the fishing scene or even the fresh seafood served up in a little local eatery.
Making money as a travel writer in Panama can also be easy in the Chiriquí Highlands. Instead of going to overrun Boquete, try heading to sweet Cerro Punta instead. A tiny town known for its strawberries and other fresh produce, it’s a travel writer’s (and photographer’s) dream. Pitch an article on Cerro Punta’s orchids to a publication on flowers or profile the famous racehorses at the local farm.
Perfect for travel writers in Panama: historical ‘Puerto’
And, a travel writer in Panama should definitely consider a trip to Puerto Armuelles. Overlooking the Chiriquí Bay, it’s a well-established town surrounded by beaches. The banana industry that once made it a bustling production center faded away, but there is new development in the area. A massive pipeline project may well spark a revitalization here; next thing you know, the place could be crawling with surfers (who are generally just ahead of the tourist crowd).
The history of Puerto Armuelles (or ‘Puerto’) is fascinating…but it’s been done. A travel writer in Panama would do well to steer clear and find a new hook. Perhaps focus, instead, on the interesting people and culture that took root here as a result of the banana trade. Interview the son of a banana plantation worker or the caretaker that has been at one of the town’s few hotels for who knows how many years.
Panama is a small country, but it is extremely diverse…and not just in its topography…the blend of different cultures, the bio-diversity and the food are all fodder for the would-be writer. So get down here, take notes and photos on everything you see, and get working on that article!