A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about mountains

The Beach and the Mountains

Coronado and El Velle

sunny 86 °F

We took off last weekend for a trip to Punta Chame and ended up in Coronado. The short version of the story was the cleaning service didn't clean the condo in Punta Chame from the previous guests and we moved on down the beach. However, the benefit of this event was that we were able to visit Gorgona,Coronado, and El Valle. Gorgona is just starting to be developed by condo, land, and hotel speculators. There a few nice place available but most of the new stuff is in the development stages.
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We stayed at the Coronado Bay condominiums for three nights and used that as our base. Besides walking the beach, a very beautiful black and tan sand mix, bird watching and people watching, we explored the community. The places on the beach and the view from the highrise apartments are the best. The homes off the beach are nice but they have difficult beach access and all beaches in Panama are public. Also, once you get off the main roads of the community, it's slow going on the uncared for streets.
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We cruised up the mountains to El Valle on Sunday. A nice mountain town develop in the crater of a large volcano that "blew it's top" centuries ago. It is usually cooler in El Valle than in Coronado just because of the elevation but the humidity was still very high. We ate lunch at a great little restaurant called Bruschetta. A popular spot for tourists. Maxine and Foo-Foo were also having lunch when we were there. We visited the farmers market which was very cool and went to the local zoo. The zoo was disgusting. I'm not a radical animal rights activist, but after visiting that dump I was ready to release all the animals and birds back into the wild. And if you are a "forgiener" you pay extra to get in. The main reason we went there was to see a "Golden Frog". The Golden Frog is endangered and the frog house has two in captivity. I'm glad we got to see them, but the zoo is a place not to visit. Save your time and go to the Farmers Market. Lots of great deals and very friendly Panamanians.

We returned to Panama City on Monday. Kryss had classes to teach and clients to see. It has been amazing to me to watch the development of her business. No matter where we go Dr. Krysstine helps fill the need.

Tuesday night we became real "gringo" tourists. We went to Restaurante-Bar Tinajas in Panama City. They are known for their outstanding show of traditional Panamanian dances, costumes and music. We had heard from many people it was worth seeing the show but the food was just average, much like a dinner theater. Our friends were right. Food average, show great and we're glad we went. The place was filled with tourists from the US, Canada, Columbia, and the UK.
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This coming weekend...the jungle.

Posted by rhislop 10:40 Archived in Panama Tagged mountains beaches birds panama el valle panama_city coronado_beach gordona Comments (0)

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)

Ylang Ylang to Arenal

from the beach to the mountains

overcast 80 °F


Adios to healthy food, hola big steak...that's my story. Kryss on the other hand didn't want to leave. As the Range Rover bounced along the beach taking us to a van in Montezuma Kyrss said, "I love it here, I just love it here". If you only had a week for a vacation and needed to totally chill out this would be the place. The peacefulness will make you forget the pressures at home. However, the last couple of nights the sounds of the crashing waves were like cannons going off.During the day we watched surfers running passed our beach to another beach about 20 minutes away to ride the wild surf. Even the waves hitting the beach in front of YY looked pretty huge to me.

We rode a van from Montezuma for about an hour to the ferry. We walked on the ferry carrying our bags along with at least another hundred people, Ticos, Americans, Canadians, and a few intitled children from who knows where. Their parents probably sent them to CR so they wouldn't have to put up with them for the winter. The ride was unadventurous and we read our Kindle's. A young Tico mother had never seen a Kindle and between my elementary spanish and sign language she understood that it was a "biblioteca" library with many "libros" books in it. She was totally amazed and it was fun sharing with her.

Another van picked us up in Puntaranes and took us to Arenal. We stopped before we left town picked up a few cervesas for the road. Drinking beer at 10am, we are on vacation. Four hours later,as we approached La Fortuna, the town Arenal towers over, there was a break in the clouds and we saw the top of the volcano. The tour books say that only 50% of the visitors to La Fortuna see Arenal. I guess we are lucky because we've been able to see it yesterday and today.

The buzz in La Fortuna is that Will Smith and Bruce Willis are in town to film another MIB 3 movie. We haven't seen them but I'll put them on my wildlife photo list if we spot them.

As for the pictures. The spider is a Golden Orb. They are all around on the jungle plants, we watched one the other day eat a nickel size butterfly. They are about 3 to 4 inches in diameter. The lizard is just one of many we saw every day at YY. The jungle picture, if you look close, you can see the roof of our dome "colibri" which is hummingbird in espanol.

Oh yeah...last night I had a NY Steak, rare, with baked potatoes, plantens, and JW Red. Kryss had gazapacho, a raw cold soup, and a salad with vino roja! Always the carnavore and the vegatarian.

More on Arenal later...hasta luego amigos!

Posted by rhislop 12:10 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged mountains volcano costa rica montezuma arenal ylang Comments (0)

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