How I Spent My Christmas Vacation in Panama: Part Two

Hooray for Coco Mango!

Coming back from Guna Yala we were dropped off at the airport in Panama City for a cross-country flight to David.  David is the biggest city in western Panama and the gateway to the highlands around Volcan Baru, the tallest mountain in the country at just over 11,000 feet in elevation. Because we were all in need of a night of air-conditioning and a comfy bed, we opted for a room at the new business hotel near the David airport where we got a great deal on a family room with breakfast.  Our birding guide had suggested that if we wanted a more Panamanian experience, we should go to the foothill town of Volcan on the western side of the volcano instead of the American expat haven of Boquete on the eastern side.  We headed out in the morning!

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How I Spent My Christmas Vacation in Panama: Part One

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The first day after school got out I found myself driving north with my family toward Panama. Living outside Seattle, this has more to do with funky airline ticket pricing than a bad sense of direction. My wife had found flights out of Vancouver cheap enough to warrant the drive and the cost of parking the car for a couple of weeks. So our trip to Central America started with a short trip to Tim Hortons. Read more »

Coffee and Kids – Touring the Janson Coffee Farm in Panama

interiorcolorpalettesWe arrived in the Chiriqui Highlands in the early-afternoon.  By the time we had enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, rented an SUV that could actually hold a family of four, and navigated our way through the sprawling town of David, it was a bit later than we had expected.  Instead of heading to Boquete with it’s lively ex-pat scene, we went straight to Volcan, on the south side of the volcano, Volcan Baru.  With just a few “upscale” restaurants and tourist attractions, we expected Volcan to provide a more authentic Panamanian experience.  And it did! After settling into our hostel, we were eager to see the mountains and the coffee before our entire day evaporated into logistical doldrums.

There isn’t a sign or map to be found in Volcan.  A faded poster at the hostel indicated that there really was a coffee farm and, with the loan of a cell phone from a women who just happened to be nearby, we reached Leif at Janson Coffee Farm.  It was getting late he said, but if we hurried we could get a nice view and quick tour.

He provided some minimalist directions and we were off.  Through town, to a side road, a fork in that road, and then a long stretch of smooth dirt road sloping gently upward.

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Teen Travel: Costa Rica!

My trip to Costa Rica

This Spring Break, I went to Costa Rica with my friends from Spanish Immersion – we have been studying Spanish together since Kindergarten and we took the DELE (The Spanish fluency test taken in college) in May. This was sort of a good-bye trip before we separate to different high schools next year. It had been the topic of conversation for months, we were going zip lining, kayaking, rafting, hiking to a volcano, etc. I was all for it, but I’m a very cautious person and I was secretly terrified of having to be responsible for myself in a 3rdworld country. I’ve traveled a lot and everywhere but this was my first real trip that was just my friends, some parent chaperones, and me. As I started to pack, it dawned on me how dangerous and how risky this trip would be. I mean, we had to bring special meds for every possible situation! I also can’t swallow pills so my meds were different from everyone else’s. As soon as I Read more »