People see that I’ve procured a tan and say, “where have you been?” and I reply “Panama” and then they give me this blank stare like… “why would you want to go there?” The New York Times listed Panama as the number one destination for 2012. Not that the NYT is the gospel for travel, but B and I were contemplating between Belize and Panama, and what tipped the scales was the article. I don’t regret picking Panama over Belize, but because I have a constant yen for travel, I sincerely wish that Belize AND Panama was an option because I would have readily accepted that itinerary. And I should know about itineraries, I made two tentative itineraries, one for Belize and one for Panama. Prepping for a vacation really brought out the anal retentive tour manager side of me.
On Tuesday we flew Air Panama from Panama City to David, which is west of Panama City towards Costa Rica. I had a hell of time booking the tickets, as late February when I was trying to see flight schedules on the two domestic airlines, Air Panama and Aerperlas, I couldn’t see either. The next day, Aerperlas had a cryptic message on their website indicating they were no longer operating. Later on in our trip, we were informed that Aerperlas lost their license to operate. It’s some political move to introduce a new domestic airline. In the meantime, Air Panama is running around with its head cut off. Our fight to David was delayed because the pilot was on another flight that hadn’t landed yet.
When we got to David, we found out Budget didn’t have a rental car for us. Something about a woman in the Panama City office not sending the 4×4 to David. The guy at the counter apologized, and then sent us to his “friend” at Thrifty. Do you notice I keep saying “something about” when referring to things that tripped us up along the way? That’s because my vacation brain selectively deletes the details that would otherwise make me flip out and become all anal and totally revise my itinerary like a psychotic stage mom. Anyway, getting switched to Thrifty actually saved us in the end, as you will see, later in this epic saga.
From David, we drove to Boquete, which is a small town at the base of Volcan Baru. Boquete is where a lot of ex patriots go to retire. Thus, it was somewhat reminiscent of a mountain town in the western United States. We had $2 beers at lunch, Balboas, which are a domestic brew and taste delicious when you’ve just experienced a slew of mistakes made by other people.
From Boquete, we had a little bit of a drive to Alto Quiel, which is just up the windy, steep road from Boquete. We were staying at Finca Lerida, which is a working coffee farm that also has a small lodge. A) the grounds were beautiful and B) the view was amazing and C) we were the only people staying there.
Also, there were hummingbirds galore.
Tuesday night we had a fantastic dinner at the hotel restaurant. We were the only people there, and the server thought B was the funniest person to ever grace her presence. She giggled from the time he chose a wine until dessert.
Also, I peeked outside our window in the early evening and saw this little guy taking a nap in the rose bushes. Cute. This would never fly with E-money though, he’s too much of a pansy to lay in the dirt.
There are more photos (but still, not all of them) on my flickr stream.