From the Shore to the Mountains and Back

Published: February 15th 2014
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Santa Fe MountainsSanta Fe MountainsSanta Fe Mountains

Taken from our patio. The clouds are on the Caribbean side of the mountains.
We left the Azuero peninsula (the Pacific coast) and drove inland to the mountains, to Santa Fe, not New Mexico, for three nights. The weather there was cooler and breezy, though it's still Panama. We were located near the top of the mountains that run like a ridge from the top of North America to the bottom of South America and could see the clouds stacked up on the Atlantic/Caribbean side. We had little misty rain showers and bits of fog that broke up the heat and made the warm days much more pleasant.

We stayed at a small B&B called the Coffee Mountain Inn. Santa Fe itself is much smaller than Pedasi -- Tom was looking for a gas station, just in case we might need gas before driving back, and the B&B owner told us how to find the house where the owner sells gas. The closest real gas station is 57 km. away. There are 2-3 restaurants, but they are a little hard to find, so the B&B provides what they call "no fuss dinners" that they bring from a local place and serve on your back patio. They also serve your "light breakfast" on your patio.
A "Light" BreakfastA "Light" BreakfastA "Light" Breakfast

The Coffee Mountain Inn's owners were a former Peace Corps member and her Panamanian husband.
(See photo for their definition of light.).

The second morning, we took a drive up a road we were told is the most beautiful in Panama. It probably is; it may also be the steepest. Wow!

Next day: rode horses in the morning for about 90 minutes. They were well-behaved and Tom experienced his first river crossing. I think he wondered whether the horses were as sure-footed as the elephants he rode in Thailand, but we all survived. We took tubes down a mild whitewater river in the afternoon, which was fun, as it had become fairly warm. Both nights, we ate at a local Cambodian (!) restaurant.

The following day, we again risked our lives and drove back to Panama City, got lost, and ended up driving right into the city instead of to the airport on the edge near the canal. We finally got ourselves turned around and by sheer chance realized we were a block from the car rental site. Yay! We indulged in a Valentine's Day buffet at our hotel and headed for Bocas del Toro EARLY the next morning. We are there now, staying in a small cabin on stilts. More about
Alto de Piedra RoadAlto de Piedra RoadAlto de Piedra Road

Neither of us had ever been on a road anywhere near this steep. We never exceeded 10 mph going up and went down in first gear.
that later. The Internet here is shaky at best, so I'm posting this as fast as I can.

Additional photos below
Photos: 4, Displayed: 4


Tom's Pit PhotoTom's Pit Photo
Tom's Pit Photo

Neither of us had been on a horse for 20 years.

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