Posted: April 8, 2011 in Panama

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The crossing from Costa Rica to Panama was a bit rough like through all large Central American borders. I hired a guy for 5$ to help me out but he tried to rip me off more than a couple of times. He tried to get an extra 5$ for the insurance papers, then another 5$ with some BS to rush paperwork… etc… but that’s how some of them do their business. Either way, it was a bit faster this way than me trying to figure it all out by myself. I was in a bit of a Rush since I had to meet Katia in Panama a few days later.

The first city I hit was called David. It looked a lot like a North American city with good roads, large malls and most of the same franchise names as in the US. I went and did some shopping at one of the malls for some camping stuff. When I came out of the store, I met John. He lives in David and owns a DR650 that he rode all over the place too. He invited me over for beers and we chatted all night.

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The DR

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In David I stayed at the Purple Hostel. It’s a cute lil place that’s all purple in and out. It also turns out that the the day after I arrived to David, there was a big fair starting so I decided to stay for another night and check it out. I didn’t take any pictures as it wasn’t the best place to bring a camera. The fair was a lot like the Stampede in Calgary. Roller coaster rides and lots of bars and clubs. I have to say that the Calgarians have lots to learn for their Stampede from the Panama fair. The clubs here were 10 times better.

At the hostel I met James, who’s traveling on a Honda Super Tenere 750. We rode together from David to Panama city.

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On the way to Panama, we came across this car racing so we checked it out for an hour or so.

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Finally in Panama, I waited for Katia. She arrived late at night after a crazy trip with lots of headaches through the US customs. It seems to be a custom these days to have issues through the US customs. Her luggage on the other hand didn’t make it on the same plane.

The next day, while waiting for the luggage, we checked out the old part of Panama city. Here is the view from that side:

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And here I am waiting for the luggage to show up. It came in a bit late so we had to stay another night as the tickets for the bus we wated to take to Bocas Del Torro were all sold out.

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Finally we made it on to the islands of Bocas Del Torro on the Bus. I left the bike at the Hostel during Katia’s visit and we took buses all over the place. A chep way to travel, but pretty stressful and the options are a lot more limited than on the bike. Bocas is a very touristic area of Panama with elevated prices and more white people than locals. At least the scuba diving is really cheap there, priced at 50$ for 2 tanks.

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From Bocas, we headed into the mountains to Boquete. Another small tourist town where old people go to retire and die. In Boquete, we went on a small day trip and checked out some local hot springs.

After taking the bus, we hitched a ride on a small dirt road to the springs. Here is Katia sitting in the back of the truck

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And here are the hot springs

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After the mountains, back to the beach by Pedasi

Here is Katia saving a butterfly from the water

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From Pedasi, we went to a nearby small town called Chitre where we stayed for a couple of nights. For some reason, all the pictures taken in our hotel room would come out pink. These pics are not reworked at all…

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From Chitre, we did a few day trips around the area. This pic is of a church from a small local town

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Katia running after the birds

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The 2 of us posing

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Our lunch

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On our last day, we went up to Colon, to catch a train that goes between colon and Panama city. Colon itself is not really worth visiting. A dangerous, dirty, guetho city with not much to offer. We checked out the free market part, the 2nd largest duty free market in the world.

These are the mannequins they use here. If only all women had the proportions of the middle mannequin…

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Even though Colon had lots of photo opportunities, the only place we kinda felt safe taking the camera out was by the boardwalk along the water

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From Colon, we took the train back. It’s an old school train that rides along the canal for an hour. It’s 22$ which is a bit steep, but worth doing once in a lifetime. You get to see the canal along with jungle bits from one end to another.

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A Korean friend we met on the train.

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The canal

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That’s it for now. Katia had a safe flight back home and I rode up to Portobelo to try and catch a boat to Colombia. Getting a boat is an adventure on it’s own and really stressful. More to come on that later…

  1. katia says:

    Panama was crazy a lot more fun than El Salvador I gotta say. More to do and more to see. It was a bit different since we started traveling like all the ‘tourists of tour guides’ it was a lot of fun but limited scenery. 🙂

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