From Alto Boquete
Back in the U.S. after a trip to Panama cut short by a minor, albeit potentially serious medical issue. But the trip was (mostly) as we’d planned, and in some ways much more than we’d expected. One thing we can report is that, despite what our research and the guidebooks told us, as Kris Cunningham said in The Panama Adventure, and she’s right, the simple truth is that everyone’s experience of Panama is likely to be different. The highs were higher; the lows much lower; temps are worse, temps are better; people are languid, diffident, rude, dismissive; people are happy, supportive, helpful and engaging. The bottom line is this: to get a good, definitive view of Panama, go there and see for yourself. Before you go, get comfortable with conversational Spanish. Our experience was that, showing a willingness to try, Spanish speakers without fail jumped in to assist us. It wasn’t pretty; but we made ourselves understood, and the exercise gave the local folks a good chuckle, which always helps.
Here are a few of the things we heard that are simply not true, at least from our perspective: we were told not to bring or wear shorts & casual shoes, lest we appear to be gringos. Well, guess what? We’re sure as heck a couple of gringos, and no hiding that fact. Many times we wished we’d brought shorts along, and worn our open-toe Tevas. Next, the ‘zero-space’ phenomenon. We’d heard that Panamanians ignore personal space, crowding in far beyond what we’re used to. Not true, for us at least. We never felt crowded, hemmed in, space-compromised, so… Also, that without Spanish we’d be shunned, ignored or worse. See the above; we tried our extremely limited Espanol, and everyone we met leapt at the chance to help us. Here’s the short version of our abbreviated trip:
This is the view from our room at Bocas del Mar. Not a bad way to greet a new day, and awfully hard to stay grumpy if this is what you see waking up. Located in southernmost Chiriqui Province, Bocas del Mar may not be the end of the earth, but you can see it from there. Kudos to Peter, Lara, Alfredo and the whole happy crew at Bocas del Mar for the phenomenal greeting and all they did for us. If you’re looking for a truly world class resort in Panama, look no further. Bocas del Mar has it all: friendly, helpful staff, great activities, a view that is… well, take a look, and the food and atmosphere is beyond luxurious. BdM is truly a bucket list item. It wasn’t reality, but that’s fine. We needed a vacation, and who said the hard work has to come first? Here’s another view:
Sunset: Bocas del Mar
Cap’n Gustavo & Mariah
Monkeys swim? Who knew?