Panama Premier Rentals

Did You KNOW?

The most expensive toll for the Panama Canal passage to date was charged on 30 May 2006 to the container ship Maersk Dellys, which paid US$249,165.00 for passage. The least expensive toll was 36 cents to American adventurer Richard Halliburton who swam the canal in 1928. The average toll is around US$54,000.

PPR Blog

First Day of School

Friday, March 14, 2008

So we made it through "summer" with a few trips and a few visits from friends and family.  The kids were ready to start...Max in 1st grade and Lila in Pre-K.  We talked to Lila about starting school.  We bought her all the Hello Kitty gear we could find mostly because it's all pink stuff.  Because she loves pink "142" which is a lot since blue she only likes "5".  Me, she likes "143".  Whew, I'm so glad she likes me more than pink.

Sunday night we prepared all of our gear.  The kids wanted pizza and a ham sandwich and the chocolate pre-packaged cupcakes.  We laid out the clothes, set the alarm for 5:53am and since my husband was out of town, the 3 of  us piled into my bed, read a few books and promptly all fell asleep, including me.

Wow that alarm comes early.  We got up, got dressed and Lila only did a bit of whining about not wanting to go.  She told me on the way to school that it was important that I tell her teacher that:

A.  She didn't want to learn today because she already knew everything.

B.  She only wanted to play today.

Ok Lila, I'll be sure to tell her that.

We got to the school by 7am and Lila was still holding it together.  They were doing the Monday morning opening ceremony and announcement.  Lila played at the park a bit while Max disappeared with his good friend Juan Jose.

I dropped Max off and took Lila to her room.  There were a couple of crying kids but she did great because of course she knows everything already.  I told her after a few minutes I had to go run errands and buy her treat for after school.  Yahoo!  I outconned her!  

I returned at 11:30 to pick her up and she had a huge smile on her face.  She declared that she wasn't ready to leave.

 

Posted by on 03/14 at 09:59 PM


Isla Contadora

Friday, January 25, 2008

We decided to take a vacation and head off to the Pearl Islands.  Grabbed the kids, packed a bag and headed into the city on Sunday.  We hadn't made any reservations at hotels figuring we'd be ok on a Sunday night.  The first 2 hotels we stopped at were booked (Plaza Paitilla and Decapolis) so we made a quick pit stop at the Bristol.  They had one room.  What the heck -  we're on vacation.  On Monday, we caught the 10am AirPanama 15 minute flight to Isla Contadora.  It's definitely a sleepy island.  We had made tentative reservations to stay at Hotel Contadora but when you step off the runway, the Hotel Punta Galeon is right there so we decided to try this hotel instead.  Apparently owned by Peruvians and rarely full, we stepped into our little hotel room - a double and a twin.  Neat, tidy and every room has an amazing view of the ocean.  We immediately rented a golf cart to explore the island.  Ended up on the other side at the Hotel Romantica restaurant.  We ordered our food and headed down to the beach below.

The sand on Isla Contadora is the softest white sand beach I think I've ever been to.  The tide was low...perfect for exploring the rocky areas.  We spent the rest of the day exploring, swimming at the hotel pool, playing at the park and relaxing, and thinking up stories about the pirates that invaded this area - a favorite activity of Max's.  At one point we ended up on what I believe is the only nude beach in Panama.  I tentatively looked around.  Ok good, there's no one here, I can take off my clothes.  Just kidding.  That's not really my thing.  But with the kids there, I just really didn't want to have to answer why grandpa doesn't have any swimming suit on. 

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 The beach here had beautiful sky blue, smooth rocks.  I'm not a geologist and never had much interest in rocks but these were really amazing.  I couldn't resist collecting some to take home and use in one of my glass vases.  As we drove away from the nude beach, we drove by what I dubbed the "refrigerator section" due to its high volume of discarded appliances, and there was a deer.  Apparently someone brought over several hundred deer 40 years ago and it's become a real problem for the airplanes.  Today, the guide said there were probably less than 100 left but they're so tame, they'll eat right out of your hand.The next morning we arranged for a 2 hour boat tour.  We headed out with our Tour Guide on the boat.  He showed us the islands where they filmed "Survivor".  He also showed us the house on the islands where the losers got to stay after they were booted.  Really nice digs.  Beautiful house on a cliff overlooking the water.  White sandy beaches below.  Hammocks in a private bungalow.  Not so bad to be a loser.

We stopped off on the island and jumped in to snorkel.  It was Max's first time and the fish we saw were gorgeous.  Lila decided to just swim it with me  Then we all loaded back up to head off to another beautiful island.  Lila was quick to find a sand dollar and other beautiful shells.  We walked across the beach and up through the mangroves.  Truly amazing.


That afternoon we took golf carting to a whole new dimension.  It was more like 4 wheeling, except with a golf cart and no helmuts and 4 people in the front seat and going 5 mph.  But we did take on some treacherous paths and there were times I was planning on how to safely make an exit.  Ok Coley you're in charge of Max and I'll jump with Lila.  But after Coley told me just to relax, I realized there was really no way we'd be able to survive if our brakes went out so I just went with it. 

On Hotel Contadora's beach we explored an old abandoned ferry (see photo below).  I wonder what that story was.  Max thought it had something to do with pirates.  We stopped at the airport and watched the 20 seater planes take off and land.  Back at the hotel, we played pool and foosball.  Drank our fair share of pina coladas which were very very good by the way. 

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The next day we headed out.  The airplane even allowed us to board even though we had lost our boarding passes.  So laid back, just my style.

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Posted by on 01/25 at 11:13 AM
Things To Do in Panama


Max┬┤s Last Day of Kindergarten

Sunday, December 16, 2007

We officially finished school this past Friday.  Wow and I needed a break.  Max and I left each morning for school by 6:30am.  School began at 7:00am.  Quick kiss and a wave goodbye and I would head home to get a few things done.  Then back on the road at 11am for an 11:30am pickup to return home at noon.  The drive itself isn't that bad, but 5 days a week for 9 months is a bit tiring.

Max attended Kindergarten at a private Catholic school in Penonome called Santo Domingo.  It includes Pre-K through Highschool and probably has close to 500 students.  It costs about $50.00 per month and it truly is a bilingual school.  He made some great friends this year and we met a lot of great parents.  And they definitely know how to have a party at the school.  It seemed there was some kind of celebration every couple of weeks, whether during the school day or for the parents.  One party for the parents required me to get a Peter Pan costume made for Max.  I still don't understand what that was all about.  But all the kindergartners marched onstage to really loud Latino music, sang a song and then marched off.  Max was really sour the whole time and I guess I would be too if my mom had put me in that costume.  He said later it was because his friends said his costume shoes were too big.  I told him to turn around and tell his friends that their shoes were too small.  (See Peter Pan pic below).

Last week was Mother's Day in Panama.  They had a Mother's Day celebration.  I dragged Coley along.  He looked around and soon realized he was one of two men in the entire outdoor auditorium.  I never know what the men are supposed to attend or not.  We watched the Pre-Ks do their thing on stage and then Max and the Kindergartners took the stage.  They sang a song and danced.  Max had a huge smile on his face this time.  When they started exiting the stage, Max put his hand to his forehead in a salute and marched off like a soldier.  Oh great, look at the little American soldier in the middle of all the tranquilo Panamanian kids.

So last week was the teacher's conference.  I didn't fully understand what I needed to do but they said to bring Max.  We drove to the school for our 3:00pm conference.  I sat in front of the room while Max and his Spanish teacher worked at the chalkboard.  For about 20 minutes, the teacher gave directions in Spanish as Max wrote on the chalkboard, described the parts of his body, counted and recited...in Spanish.  He did a phenomenal job. 

Then we went with the English teacher.  The teacher provided the directions in English and he answered everything correctly...and in a Spanish-English accent.  As I explained later to Coley, Max is learning 3 languages....English, Spanish, and English with a Spanish accent.

The school seems  to be working out and Lila is excited to start in March (school year is March to December).  We're watching it to make sure the kids are progressing and I supplement with some homeschooling several days a week, but so far so good!

Posted by on 12/16 at 06:47 AM
Living in Panama


Walking the Pan-American Highway

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Every few months or so, I see a few interesting folks walking the Pan-American Highway.

For those who don't know, according to Wikipedia:

"The Pan-American Highway is a network of roads nearly 48,000 kilometres (29,800 miles) in total length. Except for an 87 kilometre (54 mi) rainforest gap, the road links the mainland nations of the Americas in a connected highway system. According to The Guinness Book of World Records, the Pan-American Highway is the world's longest "motorable road".

The Pan-American Highway system is mostly complete and extends from Fairbanks, Alaska in North America to the lower reaches of South America. Several highway termini are claimed to exist, including the cities of Puerto Montt and Quellón in Chile and Ushuaia in Argentina. No comprehensive route is officially defined in Canada and the United States, though several highways there are called "Pan-American".

The Pan-American Highway passes through many diverse climates and ecological types, from dense jungles to cold mountain passes. Since the highway passes through many countries, it is far from uniform. Some stretches of the highway are passable only during the dry season, and in many regions driving is occasionally hazardous.

Famous sections of the Pan-American Highway include the Alaska Highway and the Inter-American Highway (the section between the United States and the Panama Canal). Both of these sections were built during World War II as a means of supply of remote areas without danger of attack by U-boats."

I'm on this highway at least daily and every so often I see a few interesting folks, non-Panamanian, usually American, sometimes Australian or European.  They're biking the highway in pairs with bicycles loaded down with their gear, traveling on motorcycles and oftentimes just walking.

I think the most interesting one I saw was late 20-something guy walking along with a donkey packed down with his gear.  The first day I saw him he was in between Penonome and Anton.  The next day I saw him nearing Rio Hato traveling in the direction of Panama City.  Ok, I thought, I just have to stop and ask.

I pulled off the road onto the shoulder and stopped about 25 yards in front of him.  "Hi!" I shouted.  He replied.

"I just have to ask," I said.  "In 2 minutes, what's your story".

Well he proceeds to tell me that he's been walking from the state of Washington for about 1 1/2 years.  He picked up the donkey in Mexico to help him carry his stuff and he was going to keep walking to Panama City. 

I told him we lived just a few miles off the highway.  He was welcome to bring his donkey, rest a night, clean up, eat, etc.

His response, "Well I'm in kind of a hurry."  He couldn't say it with a straight face and I cracked up.  "Oh really?", I asked.

He went on to explain that he needed to get to Panama City within 8 days so he could fly to the Middle East for a friend's wedding.  He was hoping a farmer would take his donkey for a month or so and then he would be back to continue on his trip.  I gave him a granola bar and wished him luck.  Now that's a free spirit.

 

Posted by on 11/27 at 01:58 PM
Living in Panama


Another visit to the pediatrician

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

So during our visit to Bocas last week, my daughter Lila cut her foot on one of the many starfish while playing in the water.  There was actually a small puncture wound with about an inch long slice.  No big deal.  When we got back to the house that day, we cleaned it up, put on a bandaid and off she went.

Well yesterday we noticed it looked a bit infected.  There was redness down to the middle of her foot.  By the afternoon it had reached her ankle.  Decided it was time to make the phone call to our pediatrician in the city.  He recommended an antibiotic that I could pick up at a local pharmacy but suggested that we make the drive in the next day if it hadn´t improved.

Today, it hadn´t improved.  In fact it looked a bit worse.  So we made the drive into the city, my daughter and I, with me promising McDonald´s, candy, new toy, anything to get her to stop crying.  We finally pulled up to the doctor´s office on Balboa Avenue and she had pulled herself together.  We waited about an hour in a small 4 room office for our turn.  The doctor prescribed a stronger antibiotic and some cream.  The doctor´s visit was $45.00.  That´s without using any insurance.  The medicine totaled less than $20.00 and we were on our way.

While some things are more difficult to accomplish while living here, we´ve had nothing but positive experiences with the medical field, both with our interactions with the professionals and in the cost associated with visits and medicines.  More importantly, cutting your foot on a starfish, not a bad problem to have.

 

Posted by on 11/13 at 07:05 PM
Living in Panama


Visit to Bocas del Toro

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Took the kids to some friends´ house on the islands of Bocas last weekend.  We drove to the city (1.5 hours) then caught an Air Panama flight (1 hour around $150 round trip) to the main island in Bocas.  Our friends picked us up and we drove about half hour through the jungles of Bocas to their house on Starfish Beach.  What an amazing place.  We were there 3 nights.  It rained only at night and it was a bit cloudy during the day which is actually perfect weather to me. 

During the day, the kids played in the crystal clear water.  The tide change is maybe a couple of inches (vs. our beach where it can be 16 feet or more) so it was perfect for the kids.  We loaded all the kids up in the boat to explore the area.  We stopped at a beach a short distance away where every few feet there was another beautiful starfish.  As my daughter learned, they'll cut your feet if you're playing tag in the water and you step on one.  But otherwise, they're pretty harmless.

We went dolphin searching and found a pod of 4.  Really gorgeous animals.  Headed into town and saw a parade marching through town.  As always, my family wasn't wearing shoes.  But in Bocas, that doesn't really matter.  It is truly a laid back Caribbean town.  Full of shops, restaurants, hippies, backpackers, Americans, Europeans, Panamanians and of course bars.

So that evening we headed out to the bars.  As I told my friend, "one drink only".  Well after we had shared a few rounds of Panama Jack shots and enjoyed a visit with some friends who live in Bocas in a cabin on the water, we decided it was time to head out on the town for "that one drink".  It helps that our friends know Bocas so well.  We hit a few of the hotspots on the town including one bar where the boardwalk is built over a shipwreck.  We were warned, if you jump in, be careful of the shipwreck in the water, the cuts are really awful.

The next day we went out on one of those speedboats.  I think it's supposed to be only for lakes but we went waverunning and there were definitely a few times (mostly when we were airborne for 3 or 4 secs) when I wished I had put on a life jacket.  Then headed up a few of the rivers and canals that divide several of the islands.  I think I can honestly say that the canal from Starfish Beach to Chianginola is one of, if not the most, beautiful place I have ever seen.  Truly unbelievable.

We're planning a trip back in January.

Posted by on 11/11 at 10:10 AM


Sunday afternoon 4 wheeling

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sundays are the same anywhere you live.  No matter where we live, we´re always searching for some way to kill time Sunday afternoons. 

The day started off a bit dreary and very humid with no breeze at all.  We went to the pool at 8:30 in the morning, the kids played with some friends, Ziggy met a Beagle friend and then we were home by 11am.  Ok so now what do we do with the rest of the day? 

Finally around 1pm, we couldn't stand it any longer.  We knew the tide was low so we decided to rent two 4-wheelers, load the kiddos up and take a right.  When you walk out onto the beach in Buenaventura, you can go left to cross a river.  This way takes you past a small fishing village, the President's weekend home, the soon to be Nikki Beach, Playa Blanca Hotel and Resort and then onto to Farallon.  If you look to the right and cross this river, you'll pass a small town called Juan Hombron and then nothing, nothing, nothing but a deserted white sand beach for about 4 miles until you reach an impassable river.  We decided to go this way.

We headed out and crossed the river noting that the tide was coming in.  We drove along at a nice clip - 40 kph or so - racing with a few dogs, spying a few rather large dead stingrays, chasing down a few seagulls.  After the town of Juan Hombron, the beach is absolutely deserted.  I did see some tracks from other 4 wheelers so someone had been down this way today but no footprints, no horse tracks, nothing else.  It was amazing and I kept thinking that this beach is probably pretty close to what it was like for the first explorers to come across this land.  It was completely untouched. 

With Max in front, we pulled off the beach to see what was beyond the tall grass line.  It was an absolutely beautiful river flowing parallel to the ocean.  And of course my second thought was Wow, I'll bet there are some big crocs in there.  Max asked if he could swim and I responded No Way even before he had finished his question.

We drove back to the beach and continued on for a few more minutes until we saw the mouth of the river opening up into the ocean.  Max and I were ahead and I slowly pulled up to the bank.  Something jumped into the water.  Coley and Lila drove up next to us.  I told him there was something in that river.  And that's when we both looked halfway across the river and saw what it was.  It was the head of a very large crocodile...probably a 6 or 7 footer.  We watched it watch us as it slowly crossed the river to the other side and duck under water.  Wow.  Definitely no swimming here.

I then looked behind and saw an unending trail of seashells that had yet to be discovered.  We moved our bikes away from the water and hopped down to explore.  The 4 of us collected some of the most beautiful seashells to date. 

We hopped back on, returning across the untouched beach, stopping to throw a dying pufferfish back into the water, inspecting the carcasses of some wildlife, waving hola to a Panamanian family.  We were barely able to cross the river back to the Buenaventura property.  A few minutes later and it would have been a long drive around the river but Coley was able to get both vehicles across while I waded with the kids.  We lost a few of the shells but Max was sure to hold tight to the sticks he had found. 

Posted by on 09/16 at 08:46 PM
Things To Do in Panama


Isla Grande

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

On Friday we decided to take off for Isla Grande for a night. 

Isla Grande is a popular place in Panama that people simply know as "La Isla" (The Island). The island is inside the Portobelo National park, just 5 minutos by motor boat from the small town of La Guaira on the main land that makes its living out fishing and tourism.

Isla grande has a population of about 300 inhabitants and its surface is mostly covered with plants and trees and its shoreline is surrounded by coral reefs. It is one of the favorit panamaninan turist destinations and on holidays it receives visitors that fill its small beaches and its narrow town roads.

We headed out at noon on Friday with the 2 kids and Ziggy, our new puppy.  We took the highway until the turn off for Colon.  The total trip should have taken no more than 4 hours BUT we hit traffic and construction on the road to Colon.  There were a couple of times we were at an absolute standstill for at least 30 mins.  We finally arrived at the boat dock for Isla Grande 6 hours later.  Long time.  The weather was decent that night and we decided to stay at a place called Sister Moon.  Unloaded our stuff and headed into town - a short 10 minute walk - with the whole crew. 

The town is definitely a laid back Carribean-style setting.  We ordered hamburgers for the kids and seafood for us.  The food was decent as was the price.  I think the 4 of us ate and had drinks for $20.00.

Headed back home for the night.  Everyone was exhausted.  No AC in Sister Moon but it was a cool rainy night and with a fan, we actually were quite comfortable.  Everyone fell right to sleep but I have this problem.  I guess it's from watching too many Tsunami video clips and this happened to me on the San Blas Islands as well, but if I can hear the waves breaking and they're basically underneath me or the structure could slide into the water, I can't sleep.  I woke up at least 12 times thinking for sure we were all going to die while everyone else snoozed the night away.

Woke up the next morning at 5am because the kids were ready to go.  Headed to the pool for a quick swim and then into town again for breakfast.  Luckily some places start serving at 7am.  We hadn't gotten halfway through our meal when the clouds started rolling in.  I asked a local if the rain was coming and he said not until much later.  I didn't buy it.  Those dark clouds were rolling in too fast.  And sure enough the rain came and it came in sheets.  We hung out for about an hour and it started letting up but then it came down again.

By 9:30am, we had decided enough was enough.  The rain wasn't going to stop at least for half the day and we decided to pack it up.  We packed our things, took a boat back over ($7.00 total) and got into the car.  We could hear the Howler Monkeys as we headed towards Portabelo for the Fort ruins.  And the trip home was less than 4 hours with a stop to McDonald's in Colon.

We had a great adventure and I would do it again, but I think I'll wait until the dry season.

Posted by on 09/11 at 10:49 AM
Things To Do in Panama


Ziggy Comet Hudgins

Monday, September 03, 2007

Ok so we got a puppy.  She´s very cute, 12 week old Black Lab, and after 1 day she already knows how to sit.

Here´s what happened.  We went to XS Memories Thursday night for dinner, the restaurant I wrote about a few days ago.  We´re finishing up our dinner and the owner brings out a 4 week old kitten who has no mother.  Black and white, very cute.  He set us up because immediately the kids were begging us to keep him.  (I guess our turtle, Baby, just isn't cutting it anymore.  Although he did run away twice, which in my eyes, counts as a real pet.)  So a few minutes later we´re walking out with a 4 week old kitten in a crate and I don´t even like cats.

The kids are very excited and start thinking of names.  Lila shouts out her suggestions "Napkin! Table! Tree!" 

Max offers his "Venus, Mars, Moon".

We decide that since he is black with a white tummy he should be named Sylvester, even though, as Max points out, the coloring doesn't exactly match Sylvester.  For example, he has a white foot or something like that.

In any case, we take him home and put the crate in Max's room.  We feed Sylvester, clean off the towel where he did his thing and try to play with him although he keeps running under the bed.  After we settle everyone down, Max explains that he's going to have to sleep in his room all night because if he lives, Sylvester will be scared.  Why didn't I think of this sooner???

Max wakes me up at 5 am because Sylvester is crying for food.  We feed him and hang out until the sun comes up about 45 mins later.  Max is really attached. 

We decide we have to play with him only in the bathrooms because he can't hide so easily except behind the toilet.

My nanny arrives a bit later and lo and behold, she has a severe allergy to cats.  Oh darn, I'm not going to be a cat owner.  So we break the news to the kids.  Max begins sobbing, oh so sad.  Lila tries to eek out a little tear for affect.  This is really hard for her.  The crying continues off and on for 45 mins.  Coley, who has always been the one to say no more dogs, finally caves.  "Fine, get a dog."

I promise the kids that I will not come back from the city that day without a puppy.  Ok, to keep this very long story short, I found a breeder in La Prensa, called, located the puppy, last of 13, bought all the gear and headed home.  Arrived home at 6pm carrying the puppy.  Max looks over and says "That's not a puppy."  "Yes it is."  "Well it's bigger than Sylvester."  Oh geez.

The kids quickly decided on a name, Ziggy after Ziggy Marley, Comet, because Max likes space.  So our newest addition is Ziggy Comet Hudgins!

 

Posted by on 09/03 at 11:39 AM
Living in Panama


Life Living Abroad

Thursday, August 30, 2007

We´re often asked by those back in the States as well as expats living in Panama City "How do you LIVE in the middle of nowhere?" and "Don't you get BORED?" and "How long do you plan on STAYING there?"

I've answered these questions so many times that I can acutally sum it up in about 5 seconds.  "We like living here.  We have hobbies and plenty of things to do.  No idea."

The more accurate answer is much more complicated than that. 

How do we live in the middle of nowhere?
I think like anywhere you live, you settle into your daily life and it becomes normal life.  My husband and I have had the fortune to travel and live in many different countries.  Our favorite ones have always been the 3rd world countries.  But living with kids in the 3rd world would be difficult.  That's part of the reason we love Panama.  It's not 3rd world no matter what anyone tells you.  But it has that good feeling of being a developing country.  It's got the excitement of growth mixed with the strong feeling of authenticity.  Living here definitely isn't for everyone and even less so for families who really like and enjoy the luxuries of the States.  While our daily life is significantly different than a similar family in the States, it's become normal life for us.

Don't you get bored?
Of course we get bored!  Doesn't everybody?  I remember some of the most boring weekends in one of the most fast-paced cities in the world...Washington DC.  Oh wow, those long, boring, rainy, cold weekends would kill us.  Ok, we'd say, another trip to the Smithsonian museums.  When we get bored here, we can easily spend 2 hours at the beach, I can take my kids to go run around the Equestrian Center and ride the horses, we can feed the animals at the zoo, pick fruit from the tree, give the kids their swimming lessons at one of 3 pools around here, bbq on the beach, go fishing at the lakes, tube down one of the rivers at low tide, check out the sting ray that washed up on shore.  That's just to name a few things within 5 minutes of our front door.  Expand that to watching the sea turtles come in at night, go to the zoo at El Valle, take weekend trips to the mountains, islands or other getaways...in reality there's not enough time to do everything we want to do!

How long do you plan on staying there?
Oh how I wish I knew that answer.  I guess we'll stay until we feel like moving on.  That's the great part about having the freedom to live how and where you want to…

Posted by on 08/30 at 12:34 PM
Living in Panama


XS Memories Restaurant in Santa Clara

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

After a late afternoon at the pool and beach, we hopped into the car to go grab dinner at our favorite burger joint and sports bar (maybe only?) out here.

XS Memories, located in Santa Clara, is a lot of things...it's a great little burger joint that offers all kinds of food specials depending on what Sheila, one of the owners, feels like making that week, it's a sports bar where you can catch all kinds of American sports, it's an RV Park with 22 hookups for motorhomes and campers, (I've heard it's the only one in Panama), it's a 5 BR hotel in fully enclosed grounds with a garden-like setting that includes a pool, rancho, hammocks, bicycle renting and Kayakpanama, a kayaking tour company.

We go there about once a week because I get this horrible craving for their jalapeño poppers.  Their fries are homemade, their hamburgers are actually juicy which is something very difficult to find out here, and their homemade shakes are delicious. 

The kids enjoy strolling around the gardens which are packed full of toucans, macaws and other colorful birds. They have 2 cats which my kids happened to be terrified of.  My daughter, who likes to hug any animal that crosses her path, tried to pet and hug one of the cats several months ago and it bit her.  She doesn´t  forgive easily. 

Last night, I topped off my meal with apple pie and ice cream!  Now I KNOW you can´t find that anywhere else out here!

For more info you can check out their website here:  http://www.aventuraspanama.com/xsmemories/

Posted by on 08/21 at 03:24 PM
Panama Restaurants


Shopping in Penonome

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I picked my 5 year old son up from his little school in Penonome today with 2 things in mind:

1.  He needs a haircut.

2.  He needs a new bicycle

So we headed into the wondeful town of Penonome to do a bit of shopping. 

Penonome is one of Panama’s last undiscovered treasures. It is the capital city of the province of Cocle and boasts beautiful mountain views, crystal clear rivers. Penonome plays a very important role in Panama’s agricultural industry, and is home to many ranches, and orchards.

We headed down the main street as I drove about 2 mph looking for that bike shop I know I had seen before.  A lady honked at me for going too slow.  That's their version of road rage out here.  Ah-ha!  I found it! 

We hopped out of the car and went inside.  The selection wasn't enormous but they had a bike that fit his size.  And I even found a little pink one with a basket and training wheels for my 3 year old daughter.  As I inspected the bike, my son wandered next door to a movie store.  After a bit of adjusting by the owners, the bikes were ready for my purchase.  My son's bike was $40.00 and my daughter's was $25.00.  I never know if I'm getting the real price or not.

Next we went across the street, down a hall where I found a salon.  We popped in and the wonderful woman placed my boy up on the chair.  I'm very very picky about my son's haircuts and she did a really nice job.  Mid-way through, she asked if my husband had visited her the week before.  I told her yes.  It didn't really surprise me though.  I think we're the only American family with no Panamanian roots living out this way.  Her cost...$3.00...and I think that was gringo pricing.  But you can't beat a $3.00 haircut.

Posted by on 08/15 at 10:48 PM
Living in Panama


Sunday in the City

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Contributed by Donna Wilkins 

We all know Panama has some of the best beaches around and you would think that ever Sunday you want to rush out of the city to take them in but let me tell you there is nothing like a beautiful sunny day in the city. Yes you heard me right! Well for one thing I don’t have to get into the car and drive instead I just have to pack a picnic and off to the pool you go.

It rained cats and dogs yesterday so most of the day was spent in avoiding getting wet but today brought on a whole different day look to Panama. That is the good thing about Panama.  It never really rains more than one day in a row. If you get a down pour one day for sure the next day will be bright and sunny.

So with pool bags packed down we headed to the pool to take in the sun and get wet. Our son Kyle loves to do cannonballs into the pool followed by his father. Mom on the other hand is the referee deciding who has the best splash and who made the most noise. Now take this and add a couple more kids and adults and you soon forget who the kids are and who the adults are.

When pool time came to an end we all dried off and changed and headed off to the Causeway for a drive. The Causeway is a very popular area for the Sunday drive. It is a located on the outskirts of Panama City. The Causeway connects three small islands to the mainland. It is basically one long road from the main land out with the ocean on both sides. As we drove down the Causeway we passed people running, on bikes, roller skating and just out taking a walk. The breeze is amazing as you don’t have anything to obstruct it. The city is in the background and frames the view.  It feels like it is a day’s drive away but really within 10 - 15 minutes you are back in the city.

Kyle is always amazed seeing the large ships that pass by. Funny thing that even for us living here for the last 8 years I am too still amazed with the Panama Canal and the large vessels you see pass. One of the those views you just don’t get tired of seeing.

There is a new Bennigans at the end of the Causeway so we stopped by for a cool drink and something to eat. Kyle always asks for the same thing, calamari so a plate later and a cool one inside we finished our afternoon off with a stroll around to look at all the beautiful boats at the marina before heading back to the truck and home.

School starts early here, 7:15 am and for a 6 year old that means getting up at 6am so it is dinner, bath, book and then bedtime.

So our Sunday in the city...while it isn’t the beach...it is nice!

Posted by on 08/12 at 08:34 PM
Living in Panama


Back to Riding!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Yesterday was my first day of riding horses again since I have returned.  Unfortunately my horse Canelita, a beautiful young Peruvian mare, has been sick so she´s not able to be ridden for the next few weeks.  So I took out one of my friend´s horses, a handsome older Peruvian named Lucero.  We immediately headed down one of my favorite trails following a meandering smaller river. 

We passed a mango tree where all the of the mangos had fallen and were beginning to rot.  The mango season ended about 6 weeks ago.  Passed a colorful blue butterfly.  As always, I looked for crocs in the river.  I have an obsession with crocs and sharks for some reason.  I saw a very small one about 10 months ago.  It must have been less than a foot long.  Nothing since then.

And then the trail opened up to the beach.  I looked to the right and didn´t see anyone.  I looked to the left and saw one person.  Wow, it´s crowded today.

We did our regular loop of riding and headed through the development.  A lot has building has occurred since we left and it´s amazing to watch.  I stopped to talk to one of the guys cleaning the paddle boats on the river.  Any crocs in there I asked in Spanish?  Nope not in this one he responded.  Ok good.

We turned back to the Equestrian Center and Lucero picked up speed.  He's a beautiful horse and likes to "dance".  So we danced our way back to the barn. 

I dismounted and soon realized that I was going to be a bit sore after today.  Not a big deal though.  I'm heading back out this morning.

See Canelita below....

Canelita

Posted by on 08/11 at 08:49 AM
Living in Panama


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Vacation rental information, travel tips and advice, and general observations about life at "The Crossroads of the World" from an American and a Canadian on the ground in Panama.

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