Published: February 22nd 2012February 22nd 2012
So to pick up where I left off. We scored the 3 person private room at the first Panama City Hostel. Well sort of 3 person room, there was a double bed and a single, so I took the single and Catherine and Jenna took the double. The room didn't have A/C and was pretty damn hot I have to say.
First night we just ate at some cheap diner before the next days activities of going to Miraflores Locks to see the Panama Canal! We were there for about 3 hours and I finally got to use my ISIC card and get a student discount on something! Watch a few barges get tugged through, had a few beers and just generally relaxed. Was a very nice afternoon. Evening time comes and we decide we want to go to this Italian place Lonely Planet recommends, except Lonely Planet being what it is it marked it completely wrong on the map and we never found it until a few days later. Instead we went to a place called Rene's which because we were at the hostel we were at we got to have their much cheaper lunch buffet instead of the
Lots of Containers
Wonder wherethey're all heading?
dinner. The food was awesome to say the least!
So Thursday was where paradise comes into the equation. Catherine had done her research and had found out about a chain of islands called San Blas that had cabins and stuff on some and others deserted. We went to Senidup Island and got a cabin for the night. Was a 3 hour 4x4 ride from Panama City into the Kuna Yala Province and then a 35 minute water taxi to the island. The island was stunning, beautiful white sand, clear blue water and the day was perfect weather for sunbathing and cooling off in the ocean. They provided meals in the cost for the cabins which was mostly seafood so I had a lovely dinner of lentils and rice. Luckily beer was sold on the island and Cat and Jenna had some rum, so after sunset we drank into the night. I went to pee in the ocean at one point where I fell over 1.5 times (they claim 2 but I hadn't got back on my feet the 2nd time).
Next morning was early breakfast and ferry back to mainland and 4x4 to Panama City and our final
Paradise on Senidup Island
Me in the beautiful white sand.
night at the first hostel. We had moved rooms and there was only one smallish bed so I slept on the floor that night. I've learned on this trip I can practically fall asleep anywhere.
Saturday we moved to our new hostel closer to the centre of the city and basically were surrounded by banks. Thats all this city seems to have, banks and condos. From here we had to go to the mall (yuk) because I needed a new backpack. My backpack of 8 years had finally had enough and broke. The mall here was stupidly big and took ages so we stopped for beer inside too.
On Sunday we had a nice hike in Panama's metropolitan park, literally like jungle within the middle of the city with a great lookout at the top. Very easy hike after Xela-Atitlan. Got some good pictures. Nothing much else to report on that day.
On Monday we got up early to head to Isla Tobaga, a beach island an hours ferry ride from Panama City, but nice enough for Panamanians to come here for a short day trip to the beach. Was a very hot and humid day and
got quite a bit of colour (read sunburn) despite use of sunscreen. Went on a banana boat ride for the first time in years. The ferry ride was so cool especially on the way back as there was all the tankers waiting to get into the canal with the sunset as well. After this I had an early night and the others went to Carnival.
Tuesday we decided we would check out the Gatun Locks on the Atlantic side of the canal close to the city of Colon. These are supposed to be the more impressive of the 3 sets of locks. After a bus ride from Panama to Colon we got a taxi to the locks. Sadly no student discount here but it was great. So much closer to the locks and much less tourists. Tuesday was also Jenna's birthday so when we got back to Panama City we went out for dinner and then to Carnival for a bit before heading home.
Its now Wednesday and Catherine is flying home to California this afternoon. Its been an absolute pleasure to have met her as she is a lovely person. Thats the thing I've loved most about
The day trip beach from Panama City.
travelling, I have met some of the most awesome people. Jenna and I are heading to Bocos del Toro tonight on the overnight bus for 3 more days of sun before returning to Panama for a night and me heading to LA for the journey back to Australia. Time has flown. Thats all for now and I'll blog again when I'm in LA.
There are more photos below