• Friday , 22 September 2017
Van Halen knows nothing about Panama

Van Halen knows nothing about Panama

Panama gets the short end of the stick. Now it is all about catching the sailboat to Colombia. That said, we did find some great camping in Panama and the country was, happily for us, cheaper than Costa Rica.

Entering Panama took close to four hours but at least we weren't alone.

Entering Panama took close to four hours but at least we weren’t alone.

Our first stop in Panama was spent in Boquete – a mountainous coffee growing region with a climate of eternal spring. The weather, though a bit breezy at times, was otherwise perfect. Cool for sleeping, sunny in the day with wild flowers and greenery everywhere. Once again we camped with Mick and Chris – this worked out extra nice for us as we went on a drive in the Land Cruiser all over the area. When you don’t have to do the actual driving you can really take in the view and scenery – being a back seat passenger rocks!

Coffee country in Panama near Boquete.

Coffee country in Panama near Boquete.

Mike wonders if there is trout in Panama. Didn't find out.

Mike wonders if there is trout in Panama. Didn’t find out.

Boquete, Panama.

Boquete, Panama.

Required tourist pose.

Required tourist pose.

Mick and Chris once again suckered into driving us around in their Toyota Land Cruiser.

Mick and Chris once again suckered into driving us around in their Toyota Land Cruiser.

We didn’t ride much in Panama but did a couple long-haul days and blasted our way south and east. From the cool of Boquete in the mountains we went to the southern Peninsula de Azuero and Playa Venao. It was dry and hot with a continual wind, but then again, we are here at the end of the dry season so we aren’t seeing the country at its finest. The area where we camped is popular with surfers; it is pretty far off the beaten tourist track but a scenic place to camp.

View from camp at Playa Venao, Panama.

View from camp at Playa Venao, Panama.

Hanging out in the tent trying to avoid the wind and get some shade.

Hanging out in the tent trying to avoid the wind and get some shade.

Crazy ant hills near our bikes but luckily they didn't disturb us and we left them alone too.

Crazy ant hills near our bikes but luckily they didn’t disturb us and we left them alone too.

Zippy and the Black Donkey.

Zippy and the Black Donkey.

Twisty vines.

Twisty vines.

Playa Venao, Panama.

Playa Venao, Panama.

Playa Venao, Panama.

Playa Venao, Panama.

Rancho relaxo.

Rancho relaxo.

Then it was off to the big city of Panama City with high-rise buildings and first-world feel. We did some shopping at a massive indoor mall – new jeans for both of us since we now have room on the bikes that used to be for dog stuff. We also took full advantage of the washing machine at the hostel where we stayed; hand washing for the previous months only gets you so far.

Back in the modern world. Can't say that we missed it.

Back in the modern world. Can’t say that we missed it.

It was an odd time to be in Panama City because there was a meeting of Northern, Central, and Southern American Presidents – including a historical handshake between US President Obama and Cuban President Castro. The presidential meeting shut the city down – everything downtown was closed the entire time we were there. No government offices were open as the city took a mandatory four-day holiday and most other shops and restaurants were closed as well. Luckily the mall stayed open!

Overwhelmed by the Panama City Metro Mall but enjoyed the air conditioning.

Overwhelmed by the Panama City Metro Mall but enjoyed the air conditioning.

So long Panama, we need to see other people but I hope we can still be friends. Hello big and beautiful South America, I think I love you!

All aboard the Stahlratte. Next stop Colombia.

All aboard the Stahlratte. Next stop Colombia.

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