Blogs from Central America Caribbean


I spent a fair amount of time here for logistical reasons - arrival by plane, picking up Mike and then Peggy, and getting a COVID test to leave - and I can say that Panama City is certainly the most navigable and comfortable Central American capital, making it worth a couple of days if you don't mind the higher prices. LA CINTA This seaside trail and park was my favorite part of the city. It's the perfect place not only for exercise and views of the skyline, but also to walk from the CBD to the fish market and Casco Viejo without the need to dodge cars. CASCO VIEJO It used to be a no-go zone and with the exception of the tip near the water, the new and old are visible on every block - ... read more
The Reinvented / Gentrified Casco Viejo
Casco Viejo
City View from Metropolitan Park

Central America Caribbean » Panama » Colón July 18th 2021

It was a strange relief to step off the dark, “comfortable,” air conditioned coach bus from the capital and into the rain and humidity of Las Sabanitas, a commercial hub outside of Colón. The intersection felt more like Latin America than anywhere else during my Panamá trip. The only constant from our vantage point under the steel supermercado awning were women seated at folding tables selling lottery tickets and counting wads of twenties. Packed repurposed U.S. school buses stopped every few minutes and the locals stuffed themselves into the aisles. Ours arrived about a half an hour later and surprisingly had empty seats. PUERTO LINDO Just walking through this village is an experience. A narrow dirt path handlebars off the main camino and cuts between wooden bungalows with the tide at their doorstep and rubbled concrete ... read more
Cacique Beach

Central America Caribbean » Panama » Veraguas July 15th 2021

CERRO TUTE The most popular hike in the area is mostly disappointing, but Peggy and I managed to create our own adventure on the slow descent back to town. We ventured into the morning drizzle for what we thought would be a mile-long road walk to the trailhead. Instead, the sign directed us onto a wide dirt road that climbed steeply toward the sporadically-forested hill. There wasn’t much peace, with trucks in the distance whining up the carretera in second gear and an occasional taxi camioneta passing us. The sweeping views of the mountains and valleys were impressive and difficult to capture in photos. But the Panamanian mentality is to build and ask questions later, so these horribly eroded roads will probably be paved and the lots sold for retirement mansiónes in the next few years. ... read more
View from Anachoreo
Peggy on Dirt Road
Playa Calovebora

As of the summer of 2021, Santa Catalina is still in the backpacking ‘sweet spot,’ as I call it. It has basic infrastructure, meaning a paved road, comfortable lodging, and a few nice restaurants and cafés. On the other hand, the road is bumpy near town, everything is still locally-owned, and the power goes out sometimes - all of which keep out the crowds. My buddy Mike and I celebrated our 13 years of friendship (see Ecuador 2008) by heading to Santa Catalina to see Parque Nacional Coiba. The bus trip took 10 hours because of any number of possible inconveniences on the maldita Interamericana, and the power was out when we arrived, so it was a pretty challenging day. HOTEL IGUANITO Juan and Chris have an impressive operation going here and are passionate about providing ... read more
Coiba Waters
Coiba Cocodrilo

Central America Caribbean » Panama » Panamá » Bejuco June 30th 2021

I hopped from bus to bus down the Interamericana and back into the mountains. It’s more and more apparent that people in Panamá are very friendly unless you’re doing business with them. The bus ayudantes on this leg just shrugged and shook their heads when I asked them questions and didn’t offer any more information. One did talk to a local with the same indifference, but he was also carrying a container filled with gasoline. So I got dropped off 3 miles from La Joya de Chica and figured I’d walk the rest of the way and hop on a bus if there were any. The road was wet and thunder rumbled in the distance, and around the same time I was congratulating myself on missing the rain, the sky opened up into an absolute deluge. ... read more
La Cruz
Tarantula in the House!

SAN CARLOS I need to stop visiting surf towns since I don’t surf. They rarely equate to nice beaches and I was a bit disappointed to find a black sand beach at San Carlos. I’d ventured onto the beach fairly far before I realized the sand was burning my feet. I did a high-step sprint back to the dirt road, looking around afterwards to see if anyone was watching this ridiculous scene. The next morning I went for a walk on Playa Enseñada, a fairly nice adjacent beach, and then the owner of Sweet Dreams hotel drove me to Santa Clara, about 25 minutes south on the Interamericana. SANTA FE It’s really difficult to tell how nice a beach is by browsing online photos. Practically any beach can look like paradise with the right framing and ... read more
River Meets Ocean
Beach near San Carlos

JOHNNY'S JOURNEYS: HONDURAS 2021 May 28, 2021 (Friday) The alarm clock was set for 4:35. Before I retired about 3 weeks ago, my (every other) Tuesday morning alarm was always set for 4:50. Hey, I've got this. Most everything was packed last night. There's just a few last minute items to get. We left the house at 5:30. As Janet dropped me off at the United Airlines entrance, she asked if I had my phone. Oh no, I was still charging the battery and left it behind. Well, we just won't communicate for 9 days. After checking in my luggage, I waited 15 minutes and called home. No answer. A few minutes later, I called home again. Next, I called her cell phone #. She had just returned to the airport... with my telephone! My day ... read more

This was my first destination in Panama and first trip abroad during COVID. So first, here are a few observations about traveling here “in these unprecedented times,” as of June 27th, 2021: - Towns like El Valle desperately want tourists. - You have to wear a mask outside your home. Everyone complies but no one gives you a hard time if you lower it when you’re nowhere near anyone. - I was literally the only foreign tourist in town. On Saturday night and Sunday there is an influx of tourists from Panama City - many of them perpetually drunk - so it’s best to visit during the week. - During June and July it is usually partly sunny during the day and then showers or thunderstorms move in sometime after 2PM. - There were at least ... read more
José and Me.
La India Dormida

My sixth stop to my Anthony Bourdain No Reservations Central America Trip 2016 is Panama. Looking forward to seeing the Panama Canal and how it works.... read more

My second stop to my Anthony Bourdain No Reservations Central America Trip 2016 is El Salvador. Stopping at a town called San Benito, San Salvador.... read more

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