I'm writing to you today from a breathtaking location in the Andes Mountains. I left Panama on June 29th and have been eager to get my Panama story up for you since leaving but have had a difficult time getting proper internet and I quite literally have been trying to catch my breath.
Since leaving Nicaragua Devon and I continued on to a very brief stay in Costa Rica en route to our destination country of Panama (we had both been to Costa Rica before and know our Pura Vida
). In getting to Panama, we stayed a couple nights in the rastafarian Caribbean town of Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. Our time spent there went well enough but the weather and first hand accounts of machete laden banditos put a bit of a damper on our time there. Without going into too much detail, and to not scare my mom😱, we heard from three different groups of people who had experienced everything from their car getting broken into to being robbed in broad daylight by a guy wielding a machete. So, needless to say we were eager to continue on down the coast to Bocas del Toro, Panama.
a completely different experience. Crystal clear water, good weather and very accomodating locals made it a stay that we were ecstatic about. For those not familiar with Bocas, it is an archipelago of islands that straddles the northwestern corner of the country of Panama and offers up white sand beaches, diving, surfing and the kinds of sights that are typical of your computer's screensaver. While there we took a moped ride around the island (check back for video), took a full day boat tour of a few islands and spent a lazy day at the infamous Bocas del Drago (aka ''Starfish Beach''). If considering a trip to Panama, this place is a must. It was also here that Devon and I met a great traveling couple from Holland, Mike and Lilian, that would travel with us on through Panama City (congrats guys on your big win over Brazil!!!)
Following Bocas we took a 10 hour overnight bus to Panama City. We all know Panama City for the gran canal that we Americans built but it really is soooo much more. Given this, it is a very difficult city to understand. The USA handed over control of the canal to
Swimmin with starfish
Bocas del Drago, Panama
Panama in 1999 and from what it seems, the city assumed its independence with an unrestrained hunger for urban growth. To illustrate my point, there are currently a jawdropping 191 skyscrapers under construction. In talking with locals there are mixed opinions about the construction. Some feel it is just a natural reflection of their ''cosmopolitan'' city while others are very upset over the lack of infrastructure to support such a metropolis. Either way, we found it very interesting. In addition to the new construction, there is also a huge refurbishment of the colonial mansions in the part of the city we stayed in (Casco Viejo). This area of the city is stunning and in 10 years its going to be quite the international destination. Overall we had a great time in Panama City. The canal was definitely worthwhile and adding to the experience was our night on the town drinking mojitos and partaking in an impromtu night of salsa dancing aided by some very patient locals. And of course we found some local sports to participate in as we were welcomed into some pretty competitive pickup basketball on the sea walk downtown. The food was excellent as well. Devon sort
of treated us to a decadent 5 course meal on the last night with a few other friends. Everything from octupus to prawns to maracuya mousse was served up.
As I mentioned earlier I am now down (or up?) in the Andes Mountains and will get another blog posted very soon. Enjoy your 4th of July, Kayce and I will be trying to find a Budweiser and a barbecued hambuger somewhere. Ya....right.
Once again, any questions or comments are much appreciated.
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