Panama Series: Loving and Hating the Islands of Bocas del Toro

If you’re one of those awesome people who have followed my Panama Series from the beginning in Panama City up until now, you’ve probably learned a thing or two about me, about Panama and maybe (fingers crossed) I’ve even managed to inspire you to rent a car and travel cross-country Panama, just like we did! Now that would be bloody awesome!    In case you haven’t followed my previous posts and feel like you’ve missed out on something spectacular, here’s a quick summary and link to the posts:

We (my boyfriend, his parents and I) spent a couple of days in Panama City, rented a car and drove to El Valle de Anton where we spent a night in a village with no electricity. We continued our journey to the colorful beach town Pedasi , stayed in a dirty hotel in Santa Catalina, went hiking and learned a lot about coffee production and honeybees in Boquete, visited an archaeological site and stayed at an Ecolodge in Cerro Punta and voila; last stop, Bocas del Toro. Enjoy!

After having spent a week cruising down the streets and up and down the steep hills in our Toyota 4×4, it was unbelievably hard to say goodbye to it – our beloved rental car – when dropping it off in David, a somewhat strange city, good for nothing but shopping and dining. We were planning to spend the night there before taking the bus to Almirante in the early morning. A water taxi would then take us to Isla Colon, an island paradise in the Caribbean sea, where we’d splurged on two junior suites in a gorgeous 4-star resort called Playa Tortuga Hotel & Beach Resort.

If only we’d known in advance that the night at the filthy hotel in Santa Catalina would completely traumatize me, we wouldn’t have needed to book anything fancy. At this point my standards were lower than ever and just cleanliness would be enough to impress me. Fresh towels and a clean bed with no hairs or stains in it was already luxurious to me. In other words, our junior suite was above all expectations and I felt like a queen. It was clean, huge and we had a great view over the pool and the sea. We even had two TV’s in the room….which I never even used.

Isla Colon was different from anything else I’d seen in Panama. Downtown was the ultimate hot spot for hippies, surfers (which my boyfriend refers to as sea-hippies), bohemians (sophisticated hippies?) and yogis (a lot of those are also hippies) and most of the shops, restaurants and bars were decorated and themed to attract people who share their interests. I was totally digging that vibe and I loved every minute spent wandering the streets of downtown Isla Colon, checking out jewelry and clothing and eating delicious organic food at boho chic restaurants.

I’d love to show you all some pictures, but I forgot to bring my camera both times we went downtown (it was kind of far from the resort).

We didn’t get to sleep in, as we had already scheduled in an excursion for our second day in Bocas del Toro. We were planning to go island hopping, dolphin watching, snorkeling and relaxing on a beach somewhere. Now, that sounded fantastic…. until we looked outside and saw all the dark clouds and enormous waves caused by the heavy wind. Great. The boat that picked us up was a tiny little thing with a motor attached to it, and I was certain this would be the day I died. Whatever. I decided to show the Reaper the middle finger and get in the boat and hope for the best. The waves gave the tiny boat quite a few punches and I felt like mother earth was beating my butt into fifty shades of blue.

And then the sun came out…

The tour guides spoke absolutely no English. In fact, they barely even spoke, and when they did it was in Spanish only.  They took us to some restaurant out on the water, in the middle of nowhere, and no one understood what was going on, or that we were supposed to get off the boat and stay at the restaurant for a while. Other boats arrived to the same spot with people just as confused as us. Eventually one guy who did speak a little English, said “Out. Stay. Eat. Drink. Back in boat in 45 minutes”. Seriously? Nobody seemed even remotely eager about it. We had just eaten breakfast and it was too early for cocktails, and most people seemed to agree with us as everyone just sat down, moped around, played Candy Crush and waited to get back in their boats. At least we got some good photos while we were hanging around waiting.

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After 45 very long minutes of waiting, we got back in the boat and hoped for the next destination to be something a bit more interesting. Instead, what happened next, made me feel nothing but furious.

We went to Dolphin Bay to see – you guessed it – dolphins. Everything started out fine. The guide slowed down the speed of the motor boat so that we could all get a good view and maybe take a few pictures of the beautiful dolphins. We were delighted to see a dolphin up close…until five other boats showed up and circled the dolphin. Five boats. Then six more. All together twelve motor boats surrounding one poor, defenseless dolphin. I felt sick to my stomach. And pissed off. I wanted to scream “Stop”, “leave him alone” and even jump into the water to prove a point. My boyfriend could tell how angry I was and tried to calm me down, without luck. Right now, I felt like the effin’ Hulk.      But powerless.

Our next stop was a secluded beach, where we’d spend the following two hours doing whatever there is to do at a beach on an isolated island. We went swimming, took pictures of the beach and went back in the water again. I tried to keep my mind off the dolphin situation, I tried to keep a smile on my face and pretend to be fine, but it sure wasn’t easy. At this point, I just wanted to go back to the resort and be miserable.

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On our way back, we were forced to once again spend 45 minutes at the same restaurant as before. What a joke. At least this time we did order something. Cocktails. It was the first beverages we’d had since breakfast. Bottles of water was supposed to be included in the tour rate, but we never saw or heard anything of it.

Included was also the water taxi back to the resort from downtown – as we got picked up at the resort in the morning and were promised to be dropped off at the same spot…which turned out to be yet another big, fat lie. We confronted the guide about it, who appeared to be quite annoyed and mumbled something in Spanish, pointed at the harbor and indicated that we had to get off the boat immediately. We tried to ask him in English and Spanglish what was going on and why he wasn’t going to take us to our resort and got no answer. Nothing. Just get off the boat, was all we got.

Now more pissed off than ever, we went to the front desk of the tour company, located right next the harbor, and complained. The lady at the front desk promised to make it up to us. She called for a water taxi, which arrived after five minutes of waiting, and took us to our resort. We were relieved that our complaint had been taken seriously.

…Until the water taxi driver forced us to give him 10 dollars each.

The next day was spent visiting Playa Estrella, which translates to Starfish Beach. There used to be hundreds of starfish at this particular beach, but sadly most of the starfish escaped the beach and migrated into deeper water to avoid the large crowds of tourists who unknowingly torture them to death for the sake of a perfect selfie. In case you didn’t know; starfish die within seconds once you take them out of the water.

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I witnessed a couple moving two starfish closer to each other, to get a good photo. First dolphins, now this. Again, I was furious. I saw perhaps four starfish in total, on that beach. I had my photo taken with one of them and posted a long rant on Instagram about how it’s perfectly fine to take pictures with starfish as long as you treat them with respect and don’t touch them. In the heat of the moment, I was a radical environmentalist. Right there and then I was ready to join PETA, Green Peace, Sea Shepherd’s, the guy who directed “The Cove” – all of them.

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What saved the day was a man named Ricardo. He owned a restaurant by the beach, as well as a little souvenir stand. He talked about the starfish situation and had the same view on it as us. He offered to rent us snorkeling equipment, so we could see the starfish better, out there in the deep water, where it would be easier to catch a glimpse of them.

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We all loved talking to Ricardo and agreed that nobody deserved our lunch money and cocktail budget more than he did. We were originally planning to go to a completely different restaurant – one with great reviews – but quickly dismissed this idea to support Ricardo and his business instead.

Cajun fish, Cajun chicken, fried plantains, spiced rice – and special made cocktails that weren’t even on the menu (Banana Colada, you guys!) made it an experience beyond all expectations. After finishing the meal and my second Banana Colada, I bought a bracelet from his souvenir stand and thanked him for his kindness, his service, his delicious food and drinks. For everything. Little did he know what I had experienced the day before and how much I needed someone like him to brighten my day. He treated us like friends, not like ATM’s with a pulse. And because of that, we felt good about spending our money in his establishment.

A long hike was scheduled for the following day. A hike through the savage jungle with a local tour guide. Was I ready for this? Inexperienced, clumsy me who was still in really bad shape? Nope. I wasn’t ready. Not only was I not ready, but I was itching everywhere, all over my body, and my legs looked like something you’d photograph and send people as a prank photo to make them lose their appetite. Some of my mosquito bites were leaking liquid, others were filled with pus. It was disgusting. And the fact that I’d been bitten through my pants while hiking the previous week, made it even creepier. Those mosquito’s were savages. I was absolutely certain I’d be a wandering buffet for female mosquito’s (the males don’t bite) while hiking in the jungle.

The water taxi took us to Isla Bastimentos, to what we guessed was the office of the tour company, but looked more like a random house out on the water. We were greeted by three surfers who told us they were expatriates from the Netherlands who now lived out here to follow their passions. And the house was their office. The office was their house. Shared surfer housing. Tour guide housing.

I was jealous. I wanted a house like that too. With a large hammock and multiple bedrooms and a kitchen out on the terrace. I wanted this.  But all to myself.

Nobody had told me that part of the itinerary was going to the beach to go swimming, and I hadn’t brought any swimwear for the occasion. Bummer. A beautiful surfer girl who was basically a Dutch Margot Robbie, offered to lend me one of her bikinis. Could fat me really fit into Margot Robbie’s bikini? I had my doubts. Still, I tried it on and strangely enough it fit – except, I looked almost pornographic as the bikini was teeny tiny and barely covering anything on me, compared to someone with an athletic body.

One surfer guy introduced himself as our tour guide and shared his story about how he’d ended up in Panama and how happy he was to be able to run his own business on Isla Bastimentos.  He was already quite experienced backpacking around the world and living abroad in different countries for different reasons, before settling down in Panama. The tour company was his calling. I admired his positive attitude and confidence. Starting a business is hard – and so is starting a new life abroad. But this guy’s story was a real sunshine-story!

The conversation took a darker turn when he told us about an on-going murder investigation that had shaken up the community. “Bocas del Toro is such a peaceful region. I don’t understand how this could happen here”, he said, after telling the story of a female solo traveler who had been strangled to death while hiking near Red Frog Beach. Her body was found washed up on Isla Bastimentos. Such an awful  tragedy. May her soul rest in peace.

The hike started out just the way I like it: Slow and easy. And involving food. The guide introduced us to a wide range of exotic fruits growing on site – some of which I had never even heard of – and took a few of them with him so that we could taste them and learn more about them. One of those fruits were the famous cacao fruit, which is where chocolate comes from. Another one was jack fruit – a fruit I had already heard of as it’s quite popular among vegans as a replacement for pulled pork. The other fruits…don’t even ask. I have no idea how to neither spell nor pronounce their names. Whatever they’re called, they were oh so delicious!

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After a mild start came the challenging part. Hills, more hills and a whole lot of slippery mud. The humid climate made me sweat like a pig and smell like I hadn’t showered in ten days. We walked approximately ten kilometers, and it felt closer to a hundred. A few adorable distractions along the way, sure helped on the mood, though. By adorable distractions, I mean sloths, monkeys and an iguana!

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After having asked “are we there yet?” a million times (like impatient little brats) followed by the obvious response “almost there” for quite some time, we finally made it to Red Frog beach. Here, we’d have a quick break before moving on to another beach to eat lunch and drink coconut water (straight out of the coconut, obviously).                     There’s no better spa treatment than the sea. And there’s no beverage as refreshing and cleansing as coconut water (in my opinion). This was my reward after the long, exhausting hike.

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This was the last day before our last day in Panama. Our last real Panamanian experience before heading to the airport hotel in Panama City, for our last cocktails, last dip into a Panamanian swimming pool – and last chance for mosquito’s to feast off me.

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Panama Series: Archaeological Sites, Hikes and Ecotourism in Cerro Punta

In recent years, tourism has become a great source of income for Cerro Punta.

Hikers come to explore the flora and fauna of the Parque Internacional La Amistad, a national park geographically located in both Panama and Costa Rica. Ecotourism – which seems to be a growing trend worldwide – is booming here, and who are we to pass up a chance to spend a night somewhere where protection of the environment is the main focus?

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Our guidebook recommended an ecolodge called Los Quetzales Lodge & Spa – a charming wooden lodge which has some kind of glamping (glamourous camping) vibe to it. What caught my immediate attention at the check-in counter, was the free hot chocolate with marshmallows, offered to guests at the lodge. While my boyfriend and his parents were asking about excursions, hikes and hotel facilities, I was busy indulging in hot chocolate and that sweet fluffy campfire-delight, also known as marshmallows. If this is what eco-glamping feels like, this fat lady was loving it!

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The wood furniture in our room was kind of dated, and one of the chairs were actually broken, but that’s just part of the charm, right? As a kid growing up in Norway, I was raised in a big, wooden house and spent quite a few vacations going camping in log cabins, which is probably why I love wood furniture (broken or not) and see past the fact that it’s not stylish or sexy. Whatever. It has a charm. A campsite-marshmallow-munching-bunkbed-sleepover-wool-socks-wearing kind of charm. And for one second there, I forgot I was in Panama.

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…Something you’re quickly reminded of, once you open the front door and take a look outside. Colorful, tropical flowers and hummingbirds fluttering in full speed, sipping nectar and teasing us humans who hang around, impatiently trying to get the perfect photo of those beautiful little creatures, before they take off – faster than superman.

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Thanks to the macro lens I inherited from my late father, we managed to get some decent shots. But it took us a lot of time and patience to get there. Trust me!

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A hike was scheduled for the following day. I hadn’t even been aware of it, as I’d been to busy stuffing my face with marshmallows and hot chocolate while the others spoke to the receptionist and made the arrangements. I assumed we were going to the La Amistad National Park – and I was right.

A 4×4 picked us up in front of the lodge. Our tour guide spoke absolutely no English and no one in our party spoke any Spanish. All communication would be solely based on gestures such as thumbs up, thumbs down, stop, face palm, you get it. The tour guide didn’t get it, though. He spoke to us in Spanish the entire time. Strangely, the slower and louder he spoke – and the more he said – the more I understood. Or at least I think I did.

Boots. Walk in water. Wet. Change. Toilet. Go. Easy hike or extreme hike? Waterfall. Good.

The 4×4 took us to a cabin and we had no idea what was inside of it and why we were going there in the first place. Were we gonna buy snacks? Was it a lounge area? Was all of this just a scheme? Was he planning to murder us? We let the men enter first. It was safer that way.

Inside of the cabin there was a kitchenette, a large trashcan – and hundreds of pairs of rain boots placed on a shelf. The guide wanted us to change into the rain boots. We were already wearing hiking boots and couldn’t quite understand how uncomfortable low-quality rain boots would be a better option for a hike up the waterfall trail, but we assumed there was a good reason for it.

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We walked through a stream. Once. That was the only time the rain boots felt somewhat useful and comfortable and not just sweaty and all wrong. During the rest of the hike I was even asking myself whether it would be more comfortable to go barefoot on the way up, and roll down the hill on our way back. But I decided to just leave the boots on and act like a civilized person. As soon as we reached the waterfall, we all forgot about our discomfort for a brief moment, and got busy taking pictures to document how fit and healthy we all were (lies).

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The highlight of the hike was surprisingly not even the hike itself, but what happened on our way back to the lodge. The 4×4 that picked us up in the morning had not yet arrived, but another one was there – but to our disappointment, it was just a two-seater. My boyfriend’s father jokingly suggested that we could ride with him. In the back. Standing up. Now, let me tell you one thing. This may be totally legal in your country, but it sure isn’t legal in the country I’m from nor the one I live in. Because of that, I was a bit hesitant at first, but once the vehicle started going down the (bumpy) hill  and we passed the wicked jungle landscape and felt the wind blowing in our faces, it felt nothing but magical….until my boyfriend’s mother, who stayed in the passenger’s seat, vomited out the window.

Our hike was done, but our adventures were far from over. Tim, the friendly receptionist back in Boquete, had told us about an amazing archaeological site and museum in Volcan (close to Cerro Punta) and we were eager to visit!

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Sitio Barriles is an archaeological site on a local family’s property. Here, National Geographic and several universities have participated in the discovery of many hidden Native American artifacts. Edna, the owner of the land, the museum – and guardian of all the archaeological discoveries made on her property- gave us a fantastic tour and a lot of interesting information about not just the pottery, statues and other items found, but also about her beautiful garden and all the different plants.

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The place is in need of funding, as there’s a lot of maintenance work to be done, so if you decide to head over to Sitio Barriles, please donate a little while you’re there. For a good cause. For history!

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Other things you can do in Cerro Punta or nearby… And why I didn’t do it:

  • 11 hour hike to catch the sunrise and climb the Volcan Baru – I’m not fit for those things. Sign me up for the next season of ‘the biggest loser’ and maybe then….maaaybe…I’ll be able to do HALF that hike.
  • The spa treatments at our ecolodge Los Quetzales Lodge & SpaThe prices were the same as spa treatments back home, so we prioritized our budget differently. I’m all up for sponsored spa treatments, though. Anyone? Yes? Maybe? No?
  • Finca Dracula (Botanical garden for orchids) – We wanted to visit, but it was closed for renovation.

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Sitio Barriles:

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Hiking in La Amistad:

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Next post will be the last one on Panama – and it will be from the beautiful islands in Bocas del Toro!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Panama Series: Educational Ecotourism in Boquete

If anyone ever asks me what my favorite part of Panama is, I’ll without a doubt say Boquete. Which may seem shocking to some people, as it’s not by the coast, it’s calm and quiet and absolutely not the place to go if you’re planning to party all night and sunbathe all day. In fact, your grandma might have a lot more fun than you will, as a lot of the people who have settled down in this idyllic little town are old, retired North Americans. 

So how can I possibly prefer Boquete over places like Panama City or any of the beach towns with a young cool vibe?

I have plenty of reasons for that.

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First of all, I’m not a party girl (anymore). My days of clubbing until dawn and daytime drunken shenanigans are way behind me. I’m turning thirty in two months. Thirty. That number tastes bitter on my tongue, even more bitter than the lemon or lime or whatever it is they serve with your tequila shot. I’ll rather sit down and enjoy an ice cold draft or bottled beer at Boquete Brewing Company (photo above) over a fun conversation with my travel partners (my boyfriend and his parents in this case) and move on to dinner and cocktails (or wine) at one of the amazing restaurants in town – such as Argentinian restaurant La Posada Boquetena (side note: they have the best coconut lemonade imaginable) and Italian restaurant RetroGusto Restaurant & Bar (excellent place for a romantic date). And the coffee shop in our hotel, Hotel Central Boquete, serve the most amazing coffee ever. You must try their raspberry mocha. It sounds weird, I know, but it’s magical. So is their plain, non-fancy black cup of Joe. Coffee in Boquete – no matter what coffee shop or restaurant you go to – tastes a hundred times better than any coffee I’ve ever had before. Trust me, I’ve had a lot of coffee these past fifteen years.  And no, frappuccino’s are not coffee. It’s liquid candy.

I will talk more about coffee later in this post, but first I’d like to talk a little more about our hotel – which brings us to my second reason for loving Boquete:

Tim, the owner, and his lovely wife.

After a night at the “strangers’ bodily fluids and hairs fest” hotel in Santa Catalina, it felt amazing to be greeted with kindness and professionalism, when arriving at Hotel Central Boquete. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from living in the US, it’s how easy it is to bond with Americans. Tim was no exception. He had a look at my ID and was pleasantly surprised to find out that I was Norwegian (at least half, anyway). “I am Norwegian too”, he said, and told me about his family in Norway, where they were from and which Norwegian specialties he’s particularly fond of. I love talking about food, and I love talking about my country, so my frown was turned upside down within seconds. Even more so when I got my coffee.

“Our room is so clean I can still smell the cleaning products!”. I couldn’t hide my enthusiasm. A clean room. What a luxurious feeling!

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After a night in the dirtiest hotel imaginable, I was probably scarred for life.

We returned to the reception and asked Tim to help us book a couple of day-tours for the following days in Boquete. We wanted to go bird watching and were also interested in booking a coffee tour. A lot of the tours scheduled for the following day were already fully booked, but as luck seemed to be on our side, Tim didn’t give up on calling every single tour company he knew – and managed to schedule us in for a bird watching tour the next day, followed by a butterfly, bees and honey tour in the afternoon, and a coffee tour the day after that.

The birdwatching tour (which I would’ve posted a link to, had I known the name of the company) was a 4 km hike up the pipeline trail in Boquete. It’s an easy hike as long as you’re not stuck hiking in the pouring rain….like we were. Whether it was because of the rain or just a matter of bad luck, spotting any birds was not an easy task. We were kind of expecting to see the beautiful quetzales, after reading guidebooks and articles basically guaranteeing that we’d spot these fascinating birds when in Boquete. We didn’t.

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What we did see, were the occasional bright green birds, yellow and some red ones (itsy bitsy teeny tiny birds) – and on our way back we discovered a family of monkeys jumping from one tree to another. My partner managed to capture a few shots from afar, although the quality of the photos are rather questionable and we had to be quick to avoid heavy raindrops from attacking the camera.

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We found a little lizard, as well. The little guy escaped quite rapidly, but we managed to take a photo with him before he took off. The rain seemed to be getting heavier and heavier, and the ground more and more slippery. Dragonflies the size of my index finger, hovered like helicopters before flying away. Thirsty mosquito’s attempted to come close but flew away when sensing the awful scent of the insect repellent.

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Although we hadn’t seen as many birds as we were hoping to see – and even though it was raining during the entire tour – we were still very pleased with what we’d seen. It was an amazing hike and the guide was professional and clearly passionate about bird watching.

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The second tour that day was even better. And it stopped raining. Now, here’s yet another reason why I love Boquete: the educational aspect. I don’t travel to “switch off my brain” and just rest. In fact, I hate resting – sleeping excluded. I love sleeping. And when I’m done sleeping, I just wanna get dressed, eat a nice big meal and get out there and learn some interesting facts that may or may not change the way I see things in life. Our tour with Boquete Bees taught me that there is such a thing as STINGLESS BEES. People who know me, know I’m terrified of wasps and bees – even adorable bumblebees. If they had seen me standing in front of a beehive without any protection, without freaking out and making a scene, they’d probably say the beehive is fake and the insects flying around are probably just flies or something. As soon as the guide informed us that the bees on this farm were all stingless and completely harmless, I managed to let go of my fears. Maybe this will even help me relax a bit more around the bees we have in Europe. I know how important bees are to the ecosystem. Without them, all life on earth will die.

The tour continued to a butterfly conservatory, similar to the one we had visited in El Valle de Anton. We spent a while admiring the beautiful creatures and photographing them as they were resting, eating or fluttering gracefully. I enjoyed every second of it – obsessed with butterflies, as I am.

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The garden of the property had a small coffee plantation, vegetable garden, pineapples and plenty of gorgeous, colorful flowers. Have you ever eaten a flower? We tasted some. Yup, they were good. No, I’m not crazy (not more than the average woman, anyway).

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We finished the tour with a grand finale inside of the main building. It was time for a real honey tasting experience! I don’t even remember how many different kinds of honey we had lined up in front of us, but it was a lot. Maybe thirty different ones?

Fun fact: Did you know that honey is actually bee vomit? 

Our honey tasting didn’t consist of just plain honey. There were blends of honey/cacao, honey/chili, honey/lavender, honey/ginger and a lot more. Even the basic honey didn’t taste “basic” or “plain”. It tasted divine. The guide poured us a glass of some sort of honey wine and some honey liqueur. I wasn’t a fan. We ended up buying some honey to take home, though. We would have been fools not to support these amazing people who work so hard to educate visitors on the importance of the protection of bees, protection of different butterfly species, growing organic coffee and vegetables. It feels good to spend money on good causes!

Our last tour in Boquete was another educational experience – and I can’t decide which tour was my favorite, between the previous one and this one. This was the coffee tour I had been looking forward to ever since we made it to Panama. I love coffee and I was interested in learning more about the farming, production and marketing of Panamanian coffee. Our tour was with a guide named Carlos at Cafe Ruiz. Carlos was the funniest tour guide I’ve ever met and I’m surprised he doesn’t consider becoming a stand-up comedian – because that guy has skills (check out Cafe Ruiz on TripAdvisor and you’ll see I’m not the only fan). Even when talking about serious subjects, such as how the coffee production in Panama is decreasing due to locals who sell their land so that North American migrants can build their gated communities there, he still added a little tongue-in-cheek humor to even the touchiest subjects. I can’t help but feeling sad for the locals, and I admire his ability to speak so lightheartedly about it.

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I didn’t know that little white flowers grow on the coffee trees. Nor did I know that coffee beans are green before they’re roasted. And I definitely didn’t know that light roast coffee is the strongest in caffeine and has no bitter aftertaste, whereas dark roast contains way less caffeine and has a strong, bitter aftertaste. You know, the taste that makes a lot of people put milk and sugar in their coffee.

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The tour finished with a trip to the coffee shop, where we did a coffee tasting. As you may have guessed, the light roast came out as the big winner. As if the coffee tasting and the stand-up comedy wasn’t already 35 dollars well spent, Carlos gave us a goodie bag with our own bags of coffee, some biscuits, a postcard – inside of a really cool Tote bag made from an actual coffee sack. We’ve kept them and use them for our groceries. Strangers have even complimented me on them. Thank you Carlos – for everything!

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Now that you’ve read this post, I’m sure you have a better understanding for why I love Boquete and why some of my most wonderful memories from my trip to Panama, were made here. I feel educated. I feel like I spent my money on things that matter. People that matter. People that contribute to making this world a better place.

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Next: Hiking and chilling in an ecolodge in Cerro Punta