Getting to Boquete from southeastern Costa Rica was a breeze. We had some trepidation crossing the border because the guy who owned the land and hostal on the Osa Peninsula said we could cross without an onward ticket, that all we had to do was get one of those American Airlines 24 hour holds and show it to immigration and they wouldn’t know the difference between that and a ticket. I was thinking, oh right, like the immigration guy doesn’t know that trick. Well, either he didn’t know or he didn’t care, because we breezed in with it. Or maybe he figured if we would try that, we would certainly be able to buy a refundable ticket and show him that before we cancelled it. The whole thing is stupid. You can do the refundable ticket thing and get into the US, too.
Anyway, it’s only about three hours from the border to Boquete, via Panama’s second biggest city, David, which has a hundred and something thousand people. So, voila, we got there in the early evening.
It was nice to be back up at 1500 meters elevation where it’s not hot. At this point, we’re just cooling our jets and waiting till it’s time to go to the States. We figured to hang out there for at least a week, cool off and let our mosquito bites go away. Turned out, we had to stay over a week because my ATM card pin was stolen. That’s a major problem in Boquete. There are many foreigners and the thieves have that card they can put in the machine and recover the PIN from the previous user. It took about 10 days to get my new card from Citibank. As I said, though, it wasn’t a problem because we were planning to hang out there anyway.
Boquete is a nice place, for sure, but after Costa Rica, it was sort of not as good. It’s quite developed, so there isn’t much funkiness. and the wild areas aren’t as wild as some of Costa Rica. There are some wild parts of Panama, especially in the east as you near the Colombia border, but not so much around Boquete. And, the mountainous spine of Central America peters out there, East of Boquete, Panama is all low tropics.
We didn’t do much while we were there. The hostal was very comfortable and quiet, except for the river running behind it. Our place is the one on the left and our room faced the river on the second floor.
Here’s the vies the other way from ground level.
Another creek runs through town.
There are more indigenous people who still wear traditional clothes than in Costa Rica. In general, Panama has more of that than Costa Rica. You might think because the Canal Zone was governed for so long by America, and there is a lot of wealth from that to be shared among a couple of million Panamanians, that Panama would have lost that, but it hasn’t (yet).
I just put this in because I like the picture and it reminds me how much especially Myung likes rembutans, which are a kind of lychee. I thought Thailand was the rembutan center of the universe, but I now think Costa Rica/Panama is, except here they call it mamoncillo.
One of the nice things to do around Boquete is go to some hot springs about 45 minutes away by bus, plus about a 45 minute walk. It costs $2 each way on the bus and $2 more to get in because they are on private property. It’s basic, but well worth practically no money. there are two places where the spring has been dug out and surrounded by rocks.
There are many hikes up and near the Baru Vocano. One popular one is the Trail of the Quetzales. Honestly, we’ve been in Central America for over a year and have not seen a quetzal. Oh well. We have many photos of yet another forest hike. Here are a couple. (Yes, that’s real bug in the top left.)
Actually, that was kind of a hard walk. Steep up and down in many places for about 14 km. After coming down on the other side of the mountain, it was still three hours on two buses to get back to Boquete.
I don’t have much else to say about Boquete. It was mostly about hanging out. Hey, there were a couple of good supermarkets, a fine bakery, and some nice restaurants. The kitchen was good where we stayed. What else do you need?
As soon as my card came, we left for Panama City, where we are now. I don’t know if we will stay here till we return to Costa Rica to fly out on Sept 5. In any case, I’ll have another post before we go.
Be well, all of you.