Part 2: The Many Faces of Panama

When I left you we were heading out to Santa Fe.  My experience here was interesting on many levels.  Busses were easy breezy.  I found that if you have a small somewhat fancy London Fog suitcase and you look around with your mouth hanging open, somebody will shuffle you onto the correct bus.  The locals were extremely friendly and helpful.

Santa Fe is a small village.  The basics are available but they do not yet cater to tourists.  There are about 15 full time Gringos living there now.  The taxi drivers have caught on about getting more money from the Gringos but everything else (except real estate) has not yet been Gringoized.  An effective manner in which to deal with the busses and taxis is to give them a small amount of money that you believe will cover the fare then keep your hand out as if you are expecting change.  Most of the time the gave me my change and the times I was incorrect they asked for a few cents more.  Always negotiate taxi fares before you get in.

I love Santa Fe!  Few Gringos, very quiet, friendly locals, stunningly scenic, and you cannot walk 100 feet without falling into a beautiful swimming hole.  It is very hilly and would not accommodate the unfit.  The roads are not good and wash out in the rain.  The wildlife here seems undisturbed by progress so far.  Oranges and beautiful hardwood trees grow wild everywhere.

Progress is coming!  There is supposed to be a highway connecting the Pacific and the Caribbean in the next few years (in Panama 15 or 20 years).  There are developments developing.  They say it is the “Boquete of the future”.  I sincerely hope not.  Onto Boquete…

I was excited as my sister was meeting me in Boquete.  From the beginning of my research into Panama I wanted to go to Boquete.  I try to give information without much bias but in the case of Boquete it is just not possible.

Boquete is Gringo Central.  Everyone speaks English and some of the signs are in English. You can easily get a $5 latte and it has lots of crepe restaurants.   They have completely screwed up the idea of a local market by building this large ridiculous thing that resembles a storage unit place.  It has sliding garage type doors and concrete walls between the vendors.  I won’t go on about this but it sucks the life out of this thing we know as a market.

Don’t get me wrong.  We were not able to do much because of the horrible weather.  I am sure that had something to do with our not so great experience.  Also this is just not “my thing”.  Lot’s of people have only nice things to say about Boquete.  It is set in lovely surroundings.

So what to do…got out when the weather was ok, drank rum and sat on the nice patio of our overpriced hotel for 5 days then left for the beach!  This time we hired a taxi for $60 to drive us from Boquete to Boca Chica to catch the boat to Boca Brava.


Coming soon…Boca Brava, Venao and Isla Contadora.