Dave's Panama

Dave's Panama

December 8-22, 2009

After booking a Caribbean cruise for November, where else would be a good spot for December?
Panama is one of three Central American countries I still hadn't been to (apart from transiting through the airport), and weather wise it should be the right time of year. In fact had almost changed my 4th of July Honduras trip to Panama when travel wasn't advised due to the coup. My plan would likely have been a quick trip, flying to Bocas del Toro for about three days and then perhaps two in Panama City, but with time on my hands I went ahead with this longer tour.

Day 1, Tuesday 8th- Arrive San Josť

#1548 AUS 1:15pm to Dallas 2:20pm
#2167 Dallas 4:20pm to San Jose 8:20pm

"Arrive in San Josť at any time. As your fellow travellers are arriving at various times throughout the day, there are no planned activities other than a group dinner and info session. Check into our hotel and enjoy the city.

As it is located in the central highlands, San Josť enjoys a moderate climate. The heat and humidity of the coast and lowland areas may affect you, with a general sense of lethargy and/or loss of appetite. This is no cause for alarm, it is simply a reaction to the heat. Be sure to drink plenty of water (cold bottled water is available everywhere) and do not attempt too much in any given day. We prefer fan-cooled rather than air conditioned rooms to avoid having to acclimatize to the heat and humidity every time you go outside.

Like most cities, San Josť has its good and bad sides. It is the centre of government, theatre, and art, as well as of air pollution and congestion. It has beautiful parks and museums, and a few beggars on the streets. It is big and often noisy, but even from its crowded downtown streets, youíll often enjoy a view of the surrounding lush mountains."

Hotel Aranjuez
#5 of 47 B&Bs

I didn't get in until about 10pm and the place we were staying had no food, so I ventured a few blocks down to this place and got a pastry with some meat inside that they warmed in a microwave. At that time of night there was no one on the streets except a few taxis and some homeless people, it was a very iffy neighborhood.

In the mid-90s I used to watch this travel show " Wild On" all the time, but back in the States you didn't get the full frontal nudity like you do here.

Day 2- Wednesday 9th

My roommate showed up after I did, after midnight. Harald is an engineer from the Bavaria region of Germany. He works less than 150 days a year and loves to travel as well. Here we are having a good breakfast at the hotel outdoor area.

We also had a fellow Asian American, three ladies from Canada, two from Brittain, a South African, and a couple from Dusseldorf, Germany.
Our guide was from Venezuela.

Estimated Travel Time: 5 hours
Approximate Distance: 180 km

We arrive.

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

"An incredible bus ride to Costa Ricaís Caribbean coast brings us to the picturesque village of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. Fourteen kilometres of incomparable white and black sand beaches are surrounded by exotic tropical vegetation. There are several optional activities available; rent a bike or hire a boat to Manzanillo, hike to Monkey Point through the Gandoca - Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge or try snorkelling. Or, just take it easy and explore La Isla Botanical Gardens.

Rent a boogie board if the waves are calling, dance the night away to reggae and calypso, taste flavourful Afro-Caribbean cuisine, and succumb to the natural beauty of this tropical paradise. This area of Costa Rica was quite isolated until a road was built a only a couple of decades ago, and it still hasnít lost its charm."

#21 of 38 specialty lodging

I would have a terrible nights sleep here, with it being warm and mosquitos and/or bed bugs eating me up all night.

Lunch at Lidia's Place

"Ricky Bobby" shows up to discuss our nature tour we scheduled for Friday.


As darkness fell we all hit the nearby black sand beach for some frolicking in the water and waves.

Dinner at Mare Nostrum

Here Ryan tried the ceviche, which along with vegetables and mayonaisse is generally considered a higher risk on the shit your brains out list when traveling.

Ryan and I split two dishes- spaghetti and the talapia I believe. Pretty good.

Then we had a few drinks at this bar. The main show was a beautiful blonde that had decided to wear her short shorts out for a night of playing pool.

* Photos with "RS" under them were with Ryan's camera, thanks for letting me use them here.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones