A Travellerspoint blog

Boquete, beaches, and carnival

Fat Tuesday...Panama style

sunny 93 °F

When we arrived in Panama City one of the first things we learned was to get out of town for Carnival weekend, Feb 18-21, 2012. This huge pre-lent party disrupts Panama City and anyone who can goes to the beach. We had a little difficulty finding a place to go because of the carnival. Our search took us to the northwest edge of Panama, almost back in Costa Rica, to the Playa La Barquete area, about 30 kilometers west of David, Panama. However, the carnival is country wide and each town, city, village has some sort of celebration. For the first time since we've been here the beach was busy, not in front of the hotel, but at the public area. Fireworks were set off, quads are driven up and down on the beach, people getting away from the city heat for the beach. A little bit of 4th of July and Marti Gras rolled into one. 92bobh_001.jpg

We drove up to Boquete, Panama yesterday. This mountain community is about 1.5 hours from our hotel and a nice drive in the hills, not real Colorado type mountains. This town is home to many, many, ex-pats. Mostly Americans and Canadians. We heard more english being spoken in this town than anywhere we've been. For a wee bit I thought we were in a Del Webb retirement community. The town is in a very pictureques area, so it is easy to see why so many gringos live here. 8bobh_002.jpg

Because of the carnival celebrations around the country there were police road blocks and check points everywhere. In Panama, if a tourist doesn't have ID and passport on demand by the police you could end up spending the night in jail, this just doesn't mean the driver but all passengers too. This requirement should be in bold print in all travel guides. We were stopped four times on our round trip to Boquete. 00bobh_003.jpg

The sunsets here continue to be absolutely beautiful. Each night has been different, colorful, and always worth watching. Tomorrow we check out of Las Olas and head to Pedasi, Panama for four days. Looking forward to the change of venue.

Posted by rhislop 10:28 Archived in Panama Tagged mountains beaches sea sunset las panama david boquete barqueta olas firworks Comments (0)

Blue Skies & Seas, Sherbert Sunsets, Starry Nights

Welcome to Las Olas @ Playa La Barqueta

sunny 92 °F

52bobh_003.jpg

Surround yourself with beauty, very few people, blue skies & seas, nights full of stars and sunsets that change flavors every evening you will love this place. The beach is black sand. You can walk it for miles and only see a few people. There are no peddlers with junk hencho de mexico. You will spot a few shells, sea gulls, pelicans, dolphin, some very nice homes built right on the beach and the nearest McDonald's is 25.6 kilometers away.
5bobh_002.jpg3bobh_001.jpg
Setting on our patio each evening we watch the sky change from blue to orange or raspberry or firey red and then twilight to dark. As the sky darkens the stars start popping out. First only a couple bright ones and then the explosion starts like fireworks. By 8:30pm so many stars are in the sky and constellations that we haven't seen in years come into view. We have yet to watch TV since we've been here.
8bobh_003.jpg
Today we visited some of the single family homes for sale or rent and some condos next to Las Olas. Lots to consider for next winter's getaway.

We visited the mountain community of Volcan yesterday. A rain forest area, everything is very green. Volcan reminds me of Estes Park, CO in the 60's. Lots of small farms, hillside terraced gardens, and incredible fresh veggies and fruit. Six dollars bought us a bag of each. Great healthy munchies. We read in one of the travel guides about Arte-Cruz, a local artist that is famous for his wood work and glass etchings. A very talented man, he made a special gift for us and loved showing off his skills. A good non-tourist trap stop.

Tomorrow is all beach day!

Posted by rhislop 15:06 Archived in Panama Tagged sky sea sunset ocean las la panama playa scenic barqueta olas Comments (0)

HAPPY VALENTINE'S

To lovers every where

From the warm and wonderful Playa La Barqueta, Kryss and I wish everyone a very Happy Valentine's. Day.

And special happy birthday wishes to a fantastic young man who celebrated his 36th yesterday

Posted by rhislop 15:14 Archived in Panama Tagged warm Comments (0)

180 Degrees

Panama City to the beach

overcast 80 °F
View Central America on rhislop's travel map.

bobh_006.jpg9bobh_004.jpg

No it's not that hot in Panama, it's our living pace. For the last six nights we've been in Panama City and the surrounding area. Today we woke up at the beach. While we were in Panama City we visited an Embara Indian village, the black Jesus shrine and the Fort of San Geronimo in Portobello, and a number of local historical sites near our hotel. We are ready for a change of pace.

We've learned about Panama time...if you are told a time to meet, feel lucky if they are there within an hour of the scheduled time. A very frustrating condition when dealing with Panama natives. We had arranged with a travel agent to meet at 6pm, after our trip to the Embara Indian Village, three phone calls later, she showed up at 7:30pm. Not really the way we had wanted to spend the evening. Everyone has an excuse why they are late, but doesn't do anything about it.

We bought a throw away Panama phone. A smart thing to do if you are going to travel here. Having a phone helps in getting things done.

The Embara Indian village is about two hours away from from Panama City. A van ride to a national park and then a canoe (powered by a 15 horse yamaha outboard) ride up a river for about an hour. The boat ride was through the jungle, with lots of birds and other wildlife living on or near the river. About 100 people live in the village, selling baskets, handcarved items, and masks to the tourists. We enjoyed a native meal, dancing, and walking around the village.34bobh_003.jpg61bobh_002.jpg50bobh_001.jpg

The trip to Portobelo was a car ride about 1.5 hours from Panama City. Portobelo is a very small town that was once a shipping port and Spanish garrison, back in the day. Visiting the old fort was interesting and very similar to the Spanish built fort in St. Augustine, FL and Limon, Costa Rica. The building plans must have been like today's shopping centers...here's the plan, build it. Also, the Black Jesus statue is located in a local church. Google the Portobelo Black Jesus to read about him. Lots of interesting rumors. 2bobh_005.jpg

The drive to the beach was 460 kilometer ride on the the Panamerican Highway and a narrow paved country road. At least 60% of the Panamerican Highway was four lane as we headed to David, PA. The other was a two lane highway, with a few pot holes that kept us on the alert. When we got on the county road we realized that it could have been a Costa Rican super-highway.

We'll be here a few days, maybe more than we want, since it is carnival in the big cities and getting rooms is a struggle. All the city folk go to the beaches to get away from the insanity of the carnival. But why not stay at the beach...it's beautiful, quiet, and of course relaxing.

Posted by rhislop 06:12 Archived in Panama Tagged beaches birds indians panama black jesus portobelo embara Comments (0)

Raise the FLAGG!!!!

Colorado scores again

overcast 80 °F
View Central America on rhislop's travel map.

0bobh_005.jpg1bobh_004.jpg0bobh_003.jpg9bobh_002.jpg8bobh_001.jpg
We arrived in Panama City on Feb 7th about 5pm. By 6pm we were in our hotel room at the Magnolia Inn. The owners of the MI are former Coloradoans, who lived about a mile away from us when we lived in Arvada. Didn´t know them at that time. The recommendation from other Coloradoans brought us to this new hotel. Reggie & Cherie Flagg, opened the MI, forty days ago. The first floor is set up as a youth hostel and the second and third floors have hotel rooms. The bed in our room is the best bed we´ve slept on since this trip started. The building was built circa 1900-10 in a section of Panama City known as Casco Viejo. This is like being in the New Orleans French Quarter, but much narrower streets. Reggie and Cherie have been working on this project for over 18 months, this labor of love has turned into a great boutique hotel and hostel. It is about three blocks from the Panama President´s office, lots of security types in the neighbor, so it is safe to walk about at night. The whole area is going through an urban renewal project, as they would say in San Francisco it is a gentrifying nieghborhood. Many of the buildings have already been completely gutted and only the walls with windows frames are standing. The exteriors will stay the same, but inside deluxe apartment, condos, offices are being built.

Last night we had dinner with two other couples from Grand Junction, CO. This morning we met another couple, staying at the MI, from Littleton, CO. It is incredible that we travelled all the way to Panama and Costa Rica to run into Coloradoans.

Yesterday we rode the Panama City tourist bus, Hop on Hop off, around the city. It took us to all the major landmarks and the canal zone. These are English style double decker buses that permit the rider to get on and off at each site, get back on the next bus and go to the next stop. Without getting on and off the trip is about 2.5 hours, however, we were gone about 5.5 hours. Great way to see the city.

We´re working on our schedule for the next twenty days. Probably heading to the Pacific coast and north toward Costa Rica for the first leg. Then work our way back to Panama City and up to the Caribbean coastal area. However, that could change like the weather, if something else interests us.

The attached photos are from the Casco Viejo area, some finished buildings, the Magnolia Inn and a moon/church view from the MI balcony

Posted by rhislop 11:18 Archived in Panama Tagged churches buildings panama hostel youth inn magnolia casco viego Comments (0)

(Entries 26 - 30 of 47) « Page 1 2 3 4 5 [6] 7 8 9 10 »