Exploring The Small Towns of Panama

After getting through the holiday rush we arrived in Santa Fe. Santa Fe is a less developed version of Boquete, however, with real estate buildings popping up it looks like it won’t stay that way for too long. We stayed at Hostal La Qhia in the small mountain town. The hostel was a beautiful Swiss style home with an outdoor kitchen. The wood beams and rock decor was a nice change from the cement rooms we were getting used to. We spent most of our time relaxing in the hammocks; looking out at the mountains. Our best meals came from the small restaurant attached to the bus station offering chicken, rice and beans for around $2.50. On one sunny afternoon we went tubbing down the local river. There were some intense rapids… The closest thing we’ve come to white water rafting thus far!

After a few days in the mountains we were in need of some salt water and warm breezes. We headed to the popular beach town of Santa Catalina. We were told by many books and people that this was the place to be. However, we were greeted by black sand and rough waters abundant with jellyfish, not ideal for us non-surfers (Santa Catalina is the top surf destination in Central America). We had plans of staying many days in Santa Catalina but decided it wasn’t for us after 2 nights. The town offered over priced rooms and a depressing 2 isle grocery store with dusty shelves.

After going back to our guide book, We headed to El Valle in hopes of better luck. El Valle is another beautiful mountain town. In fact, the whole town is inside a volcano crater. The town offers a wide range of hotel options mostly in the upper markets. We were able to rent a room in the back of a local restaurant. The town is a landmark for hikers and bird watchers. We spent the day at the local market and hiking to the waterfall, Charros Las Mozas. The waterfall was a local hotspot and the teenage boys were crazy jumping off everywhere possible into the small but deep pools below the falls. Willy was brave enough to go for a jump as well! We also ventured to the hot springs where we were able to apply healing mud to our faces and then soak in the warm waters.

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Happy Easter From Boquete

Wishing all our family, friends and followers at Happy Easter from Boquete, Panama! We are spending the day relaxing and enjoying the beautiful mountain town.

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We arrived here a few days ago from Bocas del Toro. Boquete is a cool mountain town which is much different from the party beach town of Bocas however, it is a pleasant change. The weather is very unpredictable here; one minute sunny and the next raining. We are staying at a fantastic hostel called Mamallena in the center of town. It is an old historic house with a lot character. We have also found some great cheap food at the local spots! The town is very busy because of the holiday and the Flower & Coffee Festival in the park.

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Due to Willy's allergy to horses, I went on a horseback ride with some other girls from the hostel. We booked the tour right through our hostel which was very convenient. We rode for about an hour and a half through the beautiful mountain side. We finished up the tour with a stop in the hot springs. These hot springs were much more rustic and different from the previous ones we visited (Baldi Hot Springs in CR). However, they were still very hot and relaxing!

The following day we decided to hike the Quetzal Trail. When we first arrived there was a light mist covering the land. The fence post were glistening with moss and sheep were grazing in the field. It felt as though we had traveled to New Zealand! After some trial and error we reached the actual trail. This trail is famous for the Quetzal bird which is very rare to spot. The trail was full of biodiversity with all sorts of ferns and plants growing everywhere. We hiked for about 2 hours and still no luck with our bird hunt. Our legs were growing tired since there were many hills involved in the hike so we decided to hike back. Even though we did not see this famous bird, the hike was still very enjoyable and a nice escape from town. We hitched hiked our way back into town to save some money. We were lucky enough to be picked up by a friendly couple from Chicago who are working on the expansion project for the Panama Canal! We arrived back at the hostel for their famous BBQ night which was a fun way to unwind!

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