Oh yes! I managed to escape the cold winds of Canada and go to (drum roll please..) PANAMA! It was super hot and sweaty, but I still enjoyed the weather because anything that isn’t freezing cold is great for me. My vacay lasted 2 weeks (spring break!), which was plenty of time to travel around and visit the popular places. I also got to go on a coffee tour and a chocolate tour, which taught me some interesting information which I’ll tell you about further along this post.
We first arrived in Panama City in the morning after a long flight with a layover in LAX. Since we arrived early in the morning, we visited the famous Panama Canal which was constructed by the Americans, but (I actually didn’t know this) the French were the first ones to try and build it, but they gave up in 1894.
I was lucky enough to be there when a ship transporting Chiquita bananas (love those ones!) was passing through the locks.
Afterwards, we took the metro to Casco Viejo, a nice little area near the ocean, where we wandered around the old streets and fancy houses. To get there, we had to pass by the old and dirty streets where there was vendors milling about selling all kinds of fruit such as bananas, mangoes, passion fruit, melons… But the thing that saddened me was that most of the area had streets full of places for shops, and not one of them was open. So it was kind of like walking in a ghost town with colorful buildings surrounding you. If Casco Viejo had shops everywhere I think it would have been one of my favorite places. But it was still nice when we approached the rich area and the waterfront.
The next day we had a walk in the Metropolitan National Park. We sadly did not see a lot of animals, but we did have a nice view of the city from above.
In the afternoon we took the bus to go to see the remains of Panama Viejo, the old town that was destroyed by a fire caused by pirates in 1671.
A good night’s rest and the next morning we took the bus to Portobelo, Colon! This is like the most authentic town ever. We did not stay here overnight, but actually took the Panama Canal Railway from Colon to Panama City.
Now for Boquete! Very long cramped bus ride to get there, but it was worth it. We stayed at Mamallena’s hostel and the town was super nice and friendly with fruit stores all over the place and nice inexpensive restaurants. We took a coffee tour here and learned quite a lot. Like how arabica coffee is way better than robusta coffee. And that espresso actually has a higher caffeine content than a cappucino or even a latte. At the end of the tour, we got to sample the coffee which tasted delicious. Oh, and for milk lovers? They say that adding milk and sugar into coffee is like adding coca cola to wine!
The tour guide dropped us off at a garden where we saw butterflies and beautiful plants.
After lunch, my brother and my dad went on a bike trip while my mom and I had a walk around the town. The street art was absolutely gorgeous! They also had a place for tourists where they made bags and dream catchers to sell.
After staying there for 2 nights, we took the shuttle bus to the port of Almirante where we hopped on a boat which took about 30 minutes to go to the Isla Colon. We stayed in Bocas del Toro for a few days and we did fun stuff!Snorkeling (well, I didn’t really snorkel because the salt water kept entering my mask so I just swam in the ocean!), beaches, eating amazing food, ziplining and the chocolate tour were some of the few things we did. Sorry, I didn’t take my camera when I went snorkeling or ziplining because I was afraid it would be damaged.
I loved the island since it wasn’t as scorching hot as on the mainland. It even rained a bit! We did have this slight problem with the accommodation (No electricity and rats. Yeah, I won’t go into further details.), but after transferring to a nice hostel, we were way happier.
Bocas town is getting a bit too touristy and I think it was way nicer five years ago. Still loved it though! Especially the chocolate tour ran by an American couple, one who is a retired dentist. Ironic huh? I was very surprised to learn that chocolate, the 100% kind, actually prevents cavities!
There was this amazing restaurant called El Ultimo Refugio and it had such good fresh local food! You have to try it, and I totally suggest leaving space for dessert. Their passion fruit meringue pie was heavenly.
Our last day in Panama was in Panama City (we took the plane from Bocas to Panama), and we took a simple walk on the waterfront with palm trees!
And… That is the end of my vacation! Have you ever been to Panama?