Panama: heat, chaos, music and disorder

Who I am
Martí Micolau

Author and references

After days of waiting and waiting, we finally arrived at the time of departure. By car to Rome then a plane to Madrid and finally off to Panam ?.
After a very long journey what awaits us? the heat, the chaos, the music and the disorder. And as always? immediately home.

1 day

The confusion that we find as soon as we arrive? strongly in contradiction with the perfect functionality? of everything. After three minutes from leaving the airport we are loaded into a collective taxi (we don't have time to find other solutions? It's dark and we don't know what to do) that in 20 minutes drops us off in front of the hotel we think we have booked. Result? that the reservation does not? been taken into consideration but fortunately they found us a room.
Once inside and ready to collapse, exhausted from fatigue, we realize that it will not be? cos? easy to sleep. IS? Friday? and this implies that everything is very, very,? musical? !!! We will learn that in Casco Viejo you never sleep at the weekend !!!
Casco Viejo until a few years ago was considered one of the most? of Panama City. Then they started a reclamation operation and now it is becoming too luxurious. Still for? there are strong contrasts between restored colonial palaces and perfect in their colors, next to palaces whose walls are barely standing.
We spent a day walking around Casco Viejo. Then, as always, do you want to escape from the confusion of the city? and waking up after a second sleepless night found us at the bus terminal ready to leave for San Felix, destination Playas las Lajas.

2 day

Almost six hours long journey with Cosimo who was not well, then finally here we are in Las Lajas and precisely in La Spiaza where we are welcomed by Massimo and Elisa. The ocean? here in front of us and tonight we will sleep lulled by its noise. We are on the Pacific in a sea view bungalow, in one of those places where you arrive and you immediately want to stop for a while. Endless beach with no end in sight, fringed with palm trees and tonight pizza and beer await us.
Upon awakening here is the ocean right in front of our eyes. A breakfast and then off to the exploration of this place. Lunch at the Estrella del Pacifico with salsa music in the background, cerveza, pollo y arroz. Good provecho.
The night here the sky? incredible: the stars are many and very, very close to us. The sensation ? to have them so? close enough to almost touch them. They take your breath away and leave you speechless, just as we remain silent. Speaking some could go out forever. To our left a fire red ball rises and here comes the other protagonist of this night: the moon. A light like that? strong and? as if its light dimmed that of the stars.

3 day

After another night lulled by the ocean, it is time to leave. We say goodbye to Massimo, Elisa and Roberto who welcomed us to their corner of paradise, we say goodbye to Gennaro and Tequila, the splendid four-legged friends who have kept us company in these days and backpacking we are back on the road.
With perfect timing, the taxi that takes us away from Las Lajas meets the bus to Horconcitos to reach Boca Chica and then continue by boat to Boca Brava. Bus overloaded. Travel ? standing with ball music. After changing three means of transport (taxi, bus, boat) here we are in Boca Brava, a nature reserve.
Here we took a bath on a deserted beach surrounded by monkeys, one also with her little white baby attached to her. An afternoon ? flew lost in the observation of these animals cos? so similar to us and perhaps even better!
We are sleeping and eating at the Hotel Boca Brava, a fairly large structure a bit? perhaps too much tourist, but still beautiful. We sleep overlooking the sea immersed in silence. In the background, only the birds can be heard, nothing more. The alcoholic accompaniment of the holiday? made up of Balboa, Panama. Atlas, and Soberana. In a word cerveza !!

4 day

After a quiet night interrupted only by the conversation a little? agitated by the monkeys we load our backpacks and get ready to cross the island and reach our friends we met last night, Rody and Katrin who, between one cerveza and the next, have proposed us to take a boat excursion with them today to Isla Bolano and then continue with them to Boquet, where they are headed and we were going to go.
Arriving at the beach there was Henry our captain who loaded us into the boat and we set off for what would have turned out to be a fantastic day. Splendid sea up to one of those postcard-like beaches with white sand, palm trees and almost deserted. While we were there we were having our wonderful bathroom Henry called us why? the whales were passing !!! We immediately got into the boat and Henry made us spend twenty thrilling minutes alongside the whales. There were two, probably the mother and the little one, they went straight on their way without even considering us. We there? to absorb all their energy. An amazing thing !!!! What? huge, hear them breathe. Right there? near to us!!!! Who knows? how far they still had to go and where they were going.
After this adrenaline rush, we continued to bask in the sun. Then ? the moment came to leave and as soon as we got into the car with the boys we immediately had the unexpected: flat tire, but with the intervention of two inhabitants of Boca Chica, the unexpected? was quickly resolved and in a short time we found ourselves back in the car to Boquete.
We arrived with the help of the boys and found the hotel with the Italian owner (Hotel Rebequet) and then Rudy invited us to dinner at his parents' house. Sense of hospitality? that I always find in these places. Simple people and wonderful in their humanity. Normal things but which have become rare for us.

5 day

In the morning as soon as we wake up we leave for the exploration of Boquete which we like immediately for the tranquility? and the extremely pleasant climate. We meet Katrina and Rudy for an excursion in the Bajo Mono, through a very beautiful path up to the San Ramon waterfall !!! This ? the place where the quetzal lives, but unfortunately we didn't get to see it. Not ? easy, him? green and here? all green, extremely and totally green. At dinner tonight pizza. Listen to the pizzeria in Mi Modo in Boquete? I think positive? by Jovanotti is priceless.
Boquete? so touristy there are many Americans. The place ? perfect for de scansar, walking, resting, drinking a coffee. Tomorrow? departure day. Say hello to the Ngobe-Bugl ?, they are beautiful in their clothes, here the sense of belonging? strong and have an? identity? deeply rooted cultural. Beautiful to know that you belong to something. We say goodbye to Boquete by indulging in a dinner at the Argentine restaurant to the delight of Cosimo. Meat ? very good.
I look at the calendar written on the first page of my notebook. The pages are slowly, slowly filling up. Time flies!!!!
Days go by and emotions, sensations, smells and colors are stored to carry inside and relive calmly in everyday life? home!!!

6 day

Upon awakening our itinerary takes us to Bocas del Toro. From Boquete we arrive at David where they load us on a van with an almost uncertain destination. We cross the cordillera and find ourselves on the Atlantic Ocean: Caribbean.
The bus after about five hours of travel leaves us in Almirante from where we arrive by boat to Isla Colon. Then again a boat that takes us to Isla Bastimentos !! IS? the island pi? quiet and we like it very much also why? to sleep we find Tio Tom: they are stilt houses and we will sleep directly on the ocean.
The night for? show the feature that will accompany us? throughout your stay here in Bastimentos: the rain. It rains all night and the morning looks uncertain. This ? the time in the Caribbean and comes to us a bit? to regret the warm Pacific sun.
The Bastimentos pueblo is called Old Bank. They speak criollo and they are all much more? colorful of the rest of Panama: we found Italian here too. Marco from a Sienese mother: the world? really small!
It still rains. We wake up for the second time with the rain. For now, between one rain and the next, we managed to take a tour inside the island and through a path full of mud we managed to get to Playa Wizard: a beautiful beach with incredible, crazy, scary waves.
While it rains we take advantage of Tio Tom's hammocks. But it continues to rain and after the third night that the rain accompanies us we decide to leave again.

7 day

We leave with crazy weather and the journey to Isla Colon is panic. The sea ? really bad and we get completely soaked up to Almirante. Is the boat at least better here? covered even if we do not understand how the driver can see the road !!!! Then again by bus to David.
A journey surrounded by water. Is it raining like this? a lot on this side. In David we find a hotel and after a hot shower we set out to discover this city? that ? the second pi? great after Panama. Very provincial, but the fact that I think I am the only tourists makes it unique in its kind.
Dinner ? by Pio Pio, who can be defined as a Panamanian Mc Donald, with men? based on chicken. Dinner for? ? it was consumed at the tables in the bar next door: beer for $ 0,65, a price too cheated to pass up.

8 day

In the morning again on the bus to Penonom ?. Duration of the journey 4 and a half hours after having breakfast at eight in the morning with some meatballs not bad.
Transit from Penonom? it lasts only half a day, then we are ready again to get back on a bus that in less than an hour takes us to Santa Clara, where from there with a taxi we arrive at Playa de Santa Clara and fall madly in love with this place.
Not C?? plenty of choice for sleeping, but the Veraneras? really cute. We have a split level bungalow all to ourselves with an ocean view. Immense beach, white sand with some points of black sand, palm trees and few people: this was Noriega's beach, here he had his villa and we understand why: it is difficult to find better.
We warm up in the sun also why? we need it after a lot of water and we relax with cerveza and food. We do star indigestion and in the morning after doing some more? of sunbathing, back on the Interramericana and go to Panama City.

9 day

The change turns out to be abrupt: from the solitude of Santa Clara to the chaos of this city. Panama? a mess also why? we discovered that the carnival begins here and? National holiday. From Friday tonight until Shrove Tuesday nobody works. So the traffic? even more? intense, everyone runs away to spend these holidays elsewhere: to the sea, the mountains or Las Tablas, the country where there is? the carnival pi? famous all over the country.
We wake up in this chaos and go to Miraflores to see the canal. Incredible engineering work where we spend a day watching the ships pass by. A huge cruise ship also passes by. At the end of the day we discover a place that makes us peace with Panama City: the Causeway. A strip of road that passes through the ocean. Ocean view on one side and the bay with Panam skyscrapers in the background? City. We have dinner here and then go back to the hotel: Residencial Cuba which we discovered to be a hotel by the hour.
Since we are forced to stay still in Panama due to Carnival, we decide to move within the city anyway? and then when you wake up, backpack and go back to Casco Viejo where we find a place to sleep at the Hospedaje Casco Viejo. With one problem: the room only has a single bed. We take a ride on the Cinta Costiera, where all the Carnival celebrations take place: casino, music, especially cerveza, a few wagons and a lot of police.
With a little? of nostalgia for Santa Clara, we return full of confetti and foam and try to sleep in the mini bed.

10 day

Not very rested we wake up and go to the Terminal to take a bus to San Carlos where c ?? the beach of El Palmar. C ?? people we rent our paragua (umbrella for the sun) and we enjoy the day at sea: the sand? black and it's really hot. Tourists are not seen, maybe it's just us.
Tuesday? fat leads us to the discovery of a practically deserted Panama City. All ? closed, nobody works. We took a walk to El Cangrejo where it was practically just the two of us: a city? ghost.
Did we wander around a bit? all day: Panama Vieja, Casco Viejo. Did we meet Diego Del Bon who told us a lot of things about reality? of Panama. Writer, journalist and Italian, with a story that looks like the script of a film behind him. We also discovered the name of the owner of the pizzeria in Naples where we went to eat pizza, a company more? than a pizzeria. The name ? Jovine, a name also found while reading Saviano's book? Gomorrah. "Who knows, maybe it's just a case of homonymy.
During the day we also changed hotels and met two other Italians. We moved more? towards the canal area where everything? pi? quiet.

11 day

Wake up early in the morning. We ate a banana on the go and flew to the hasta Colon train. A train designed and built exclusively for tourists.
We got off at Colon and started telling us that it was extremely dangerous and that we absolutely shouldn't stop too long. And said by the police it has a certain effect. Arriving at the terminal we got on a bus to Portobello (a Caribbean village where the prevailing feeling is that no one does absolutely nothing) and then relax in Playa Langosta, where we were the only ones in costume, as they are practically dressed on the beach.
The days are truly ending.

12 day

The last full day of vacation we decide to spend it on Isla Taboga or Isola dei Fiori. We are very close to Panama and the island? beautiful, quiet and relaxing, with a postcard beach and sea. Dinner on the Casway at? MI RANCITO? for a last farewell to Panama at night and as always, when we feel more? that never at home, when we begin to know and appreciate the rhythms and times of the country that hosts us, the time comes to return. The last day of return we are accompanied by a tsunami alert that c? E? been to Japan and whose arrival? scheduled for nine in the evening, but we manage to say goodbye to Panama without noticing anything. We return !!

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