A Travellerspoint blog

Panamá City and Boquete

Our mini plan finally landed on Panama City mini airport. We had been warned by our newfound friend from Faroe Islands all places that the procedures at the airport would take ages. This was an understatement. Our luggage was opened twice, laid out on the ground and sniffed by dogs. We had to go into two different offices, an interrogation with Migration and police checking. In addition, they would sort of mentally check you by surprising you with random questions in the airport and see if you freak out. So silly as no one in their right mind would smuggle drugs or guns this way when you can simply sail around the coast or walk across Darién gap with very small chances of being checked. Finally we were through and we were ready to catch a cab; while we were waiting to flag one down, we saw a guy we just met before taking the flight, he was inside a taxi already so we decided to jump in with him. Once we arrived at the hostel, the taxi driver was asking us to pay extra money; we argued back and rejected to give him more money from what he had already agreed with our friend. He kept on insisting and we walked off towards the hostel. He kept yelling at us, saying that he would call the police immediately. We paid no attention at the threat but after some minutes two policemen came (we could hear everything from the reception of the hostel). I had to go out and explain what had happened to them. Once again, I said we wouldn’t pay anything to that cheeky man. He kept on screaming, to the point that a gringo came from the house right next to the hostel and gave the man 5 dollars and said: “I’d pay anything for you to keep it quite; I am trying to relax at my place. Please take the money and leave”. And just like that, the conflict was not there anymore: the taxi driver stopped complaining and the two policemen left. Money buys more than we think; it can even buy someone’s principles…
Panamá City is a very hectic place: a chaotic and busy big metropolis: markets, people and shops everywhere. It is not definitely my cup of tea but it was good to be in a place somehow quite westernised. We even went to Mc Donald’s in a big shopping mall close by the bus station after visiting Panamá Chanel. After months of eating so basic, our stomachs were craving for new flavours.
The channel was really impressive to see: sometimes I forget how like I am of witnessing amazing places like this one. The magnitude of the construction is overwhelming, so it is the history about it and the politic issues behind two. We could see one big cargo boat going through the lock gates; and these ones closing and opening at different stages to level the water out in both oceans. The grandiosity of such a masterpiece really blows my mind.
We also wanted to go to a man made peninsula and cycled around the: we took a taxi there and wanted to rent one of those silly tricycles. However they said that it was a requirement to leave the passport as a deposit; we obviously had not brought our passport with us and said that we could leave money instead. They were sceptical and had to call the owner twice to discuss about it...after some minutes waiting in the place, they came and said sorry. And this is a place that was completely empty, no clients at all. We were offering to give money us a deposit for a tricycle and they stood on their feet and said no! Awesome. Some people do not want to make business: why do we bother them?
Anyways we finally went to another place and rented a silly tricycle that moved very slowly and went on a short ride: it was tacky but lots of fun!
After Panamá City we still hadn’t figured out where to go yet. Sara was leaving for David (second biggest city in Panamá) and we said we would decide at the bus station. We had thoughts of either going towards the pacific coast or towards David and Boquete and decided to take the second option. We took the overnight bus to David with Sara and got there very early in the morning. It was really sad saying good bye to Sara. After three weeks travelling together we had become really close and felt that it would feel really odd to not have her around.
We took a bus to Boquete from David. Boquete is a really nice place: a little bit chillier than the rest of Panamá, it is an ideal setting to go for hikes. We stayed in one of the best hostels so far (Mamallena Hostel): we got a pretty good deal: 10 bucks for a huge room, en suite bathroom and breakfast included (free pancakes). Not the cheapest but worth every penny.
We did one of the famous hikes through a national park: they said it would be a tough 10 hours hike back and forth. Turned out it took us only seven. We even started to think that we are becoming used to walk through mountains and were starting to be fitter and fitter. The walk was ok, nothing really special: the trek is named after the bird Quetzal. However, we did not get to see any. The views from the mirador, up on the top, were really impressive. You could see the cloud forest and the colours changing...
This was just few days before Christmas and you could already see the lights on the streets; it was a bit colder of what we were used, and for the first time we had the Christmas feeling back!
We also went to bath terms and visited a lovely private garden full of these phrases that would make you reflect about things in live. Definitely worth a visit!
Cargo boat approaching

Cargo boat approaching

Opening the gates in the Canal

Opening the gates in the Canal

Cargo Boat moving along the Canal

Cargo Boat moving along the Canal

Cargo boat trough the Canal

Cargo boat trough the Canal

Canal de Panamá: gates

Canal de Panamá: gates

Tricycle tour in Panamá City

Tricycle tour in Panamá City

Quetzal trek, after crossing one of the rivers

Quetzal trek, after crossing one of the rivers

Hot springs in Boquete

Hot springs in Boquete

Making friends with a buffalo

Making friends with a buffalo

new 793

new 793

One of the swings in the Eco garden

One of the swings in the Eco garden

Eco computer

Eco computer

Eco TV

Eco TV

Circus swing!

Circus swing!

Las plantas también tienen problemas de vista

Las plantas también tienen problemas de vista

Posted by hmontonen 20:28 Archived in Panama

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.

Login