Known as the "Crossroads of the World", Panama is strategically located to be the perfect venue for international conferences, business meetings, and incentive programs. Panama has a long tradition of hospitality. With the advent of tourism as a mainstay of the economy, it is prepared to create legendary experiences for your clients. Panama is a small country, full of natural attractions and a booming world commerce.
Panama has some of the world's most beautiful and biodiverse rainforests. As one indicator of biodiversity, Panama has over 950 species of birds, more than the U.S. and Canada combined. Furthermore, all this great nature is very accessible, with some of the best locations just 30 minutes from Panama City. With two coasts, countless islands and pristine beaches, it offers full-service resorts with experience in handling large meeting and incentive groups.
No trip to Panama can be complete without visiting the early settlement fortresses and churches established at the beginning of the 16th century: Portobelo, Fort San Lorenzo and the magnificently preserved ruins of Panama Viejo. And, of course, there is the Panama Canal, a marvel of engineering set amidst a spectacular rainforest environment. Panama also offers beautiful mountain sanctuaries, historical sites, impressive diving and snorkeling and unique Indian cultures living in the jungle with their culture and rituals still intact.
Regional Managin Director
Ligia is a native "Tica" who was born and raised in Costa Rica, was a student in the USA, worked in Mexico and now is home again as the director of IVI’s Central American operations in Costa Rica and Panama. Ms. Vargas’ experience as an American Field Service student gave her a good understanding of North American people and cultures. Later she studied communications and public relations at the Universidad de Costa Rica.
Her business career began in Cancun, where she gained experience with several positions in both tourism and government relations. Ligia's international experience included serving as an accredited consul from Costa Rica in Cancun. On the business side, Ms. Vargas was general manager for LACSA, the national airline of Costa Rica, in Cancún and Yucatan. Her 14 years in the Cancun area also included working as the sales and marketing director for 5-star hotels.
She returned to Costa Rica in 1995 to take advantage of Costa Rica's growing popularity as a tourist destination and start her own business there. She had developed a strong working relationship with IVI founder Jose Manuel Garcia, and in 1998 he asked her to launch an IVI Destination Management operation in Costa Rica. She agreed, and the success of their joint venture led to expanding their venture in 2009 to include Panama under the banner of IVI Central America Quest DMC.
Ligia credits her team's success to an emphasis on hiring the "best and the brightest" people she could find. From the outset, she recruited young Costa Ricans who were highly intelligent, had a high sense of ethics and morality, and were excited by the opportunity to work in a stimulating environment within the dynamic and fast-growing field of tourism. Ms. Vargas firmly believes that a team of people who can meet high performance standards is the only way for IVI to deliver the outstanding level of service the company's client's demand. In brief, Ligia and her team are trained and dedicated to keeping IVI’s promise to all clients: "We make you look GREAT!"