past the potholes, travel journal, Panama

So. Many. Holidays.


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This week’s travel journal will be short and sweet!  With a non-stop parade of holidays, we haven’t had the chance to get out and about all that much.

If you want to read about our journey from the start you can find our other travel journal entries here!


We didn’t pack our costumes!

Putting together a halloween costume is no easy feat when you’re living out of a backpack!  We were invited to a Halloween party on Tuesday night so that meant most of Tuesday was taken up with walking the 8km to the department store in search of costume supplies and making a pasta salad to take to the party.  The party was a lot of fun.  We met many more people, both expats and locals and ate way too much!  This also meant that we didn’t accomplish a heck of a lot on Wednesday…

Couple dressed in a homemade costume for Halloween.
Can you figure out what we came up with? (full credit – blame? – goes to Terry)


Hunker Down and Party!

Thursday, Friday and Sunday (observed on Monday) are also holidays here.  This weekend Panama celebrates Day of the Dead, Separation Day from Colombia and Colón Day!  We were told to stock up on groceries and get comfortable for the weekend.  As the majority of Panama City makes a break for the beach and countryside for the extended weekend the roads are supposed to be a nightmare.

Couple having a drink on a sun-drenched black and white sand beach in Nueva Gorgona, Panama.
If you can’t beat them, join them!

We definitely noticed some changes around here.  The pool and beach area that is usually empty was full of families and friends chatting, drinking, eating and playing.  The beach has resembled a highway with the number of dune buggies and dirt bikes driving along it and the sand and sea have been dotted with people.

It has given us a chance to relax and get some stuff done though.  We’ve spent our weekend enjoying the view (and constant music) from our balcony, working on the blog and Teachers Pay Teachers and playing volleyball.  Terry decided to try his hand at making cookies and he’s even starting to sound like a guitar player!

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Friday night was karaoke at the beach bar and, while we didn’t join the fun, we certainly were entertained by it all night.  Saturday night was a live band so we did head down for that.  Our new group of friends were all there and the buckets of local Balboa beer were tasting good.

San Carlos

We did manage one outing this week.  I figured we should get out somewhere on Thursday before we were grounded for the weekend.  So we decided to visit the surf town of San Carlos.  I was looking forward to checking this place out.  The beach is supposed to be good for surfing (with board rentals unlike here) and there is a cute little town.  Two public buses and just $1.30 each later, we were dropped off on the highway.  A short walk had us at the beach in 15 minutes.  The waves were noticeably absent unfortunately, although the group of kids getting a lesson were able to get up and ride them no problem.

Row of palapa shelters along a deserted beach in San Carlos, Panama.
San Carlos

Looking Ahead

Something else this relaxed week allowed for was the time to get some things booked.  After hours spent staring at the computer screen, we now have all flights and accommodations booked until mid-January.  Not looking forward to that credit card bill!  We have confirmed that Ecuador is our next destination and Peru after that.  Christmas and New Year’s Eve will be spent at the beach in Ecuador as my research suggested this might be the more fun place to celebrate.  I guess we’ll see!  Now we need to decide on the Inca Trail before we can book any further ahead…  I’m not wishing this month away, but I’m definitely excited for those two countries!


How was your week?  What did you dress up as for Hallowe’en?  

Any advice for Ecuador and Peru?  We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!


Beautiful sunrise over mountains and Pacific Ocean from a condo in Nueva Gorgona, Panama.


New post this week:  Two Week Trinidad Itinerary

New video: Surf Costa Rica



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  1. Oops, just saw my typo – Embera (not Emebera) village. Your pics this week make me want to go back to Panama for some hiking!

    1. No problem – a quick google search had me figuring it out! It looks awesome but most day tours start early in Panama City and it takes us 1.5 hours to get there by public bus. We’ve kept this trip pretty local and definitely want to come back to Panama and explore some other areas so it’s on the list for next time for sure!! If you do come back, El Valle is a great spot for hiking and so close to the city. Where did you hike before?

  2. Firstly,what a great story! Travelling for me is through you! ( and very inexpensive ….which is great now I am retired on fixed income!)
    Secondly,as Claire is the gold digger I will take a stab at Terry’s costume as the 196.97 lb golden boy born in 1979? But you can’t be that heavy and old!
    The waves on Thursday here made me think of you guys surfing as winter blew in on Georgian Heights Beach.
    Looks like fun! Keep on keeping on!
    Glad to see we will have another guitar player around the kitchen table. I hope you are learning “carrying your love with me” for UJ.
    Great pictures too!
    Ann,Hannah and Maitlin all say hi and safe travels!

    1. Hola señor,
      Thanks for the message. As we travel, I am meeting more people who are living on fixed incomes. They are pretty happy! Hopefully, you are having as much fun as them.
      Claire and I were desperate to find a costume so we raided a local department store that was clearing out last year’s Christmas decorations. She was dressed as a gold digger and I was supposed to be ‘gold plated’. I’m not quite 196, but I am a little older than 1979. I feel much younger!
      At this point in my guitar career, I’m just hoping that Claire will recognize one of the songs that I’m trying to play. If I start singing along, she might make me practise on the roof. Once I’ve mastered some beginner songs, I’ll check out the song you mentioned. I don’t think I know it.
      Claire is the primary photographer on our team. It’s not my thing, but I’m trying to contribute.
      If the waves are nice, you should throw on a wetsuit and go for a ride! You’ll really appreciate a fire and a glass of whiskey after your surf session.
      It was great to hear from you. Say hi to Ann and the kids from Claire and I.

  3. Black gold? Gold digger? I love homemade Halloween costumes!

    Looks like your travels continue to go really well. Not sure if it is on your Panama list, but we really enjoyed a day trip to the Emebera village. If you want the name of the guide we used (he was excellent and it was just the four of us and another couple – versus the cruise shippers who had a much shorter and less personal tour) let me know and I’ll dig up his contacts for you.

    1. You’re half way there! You got gold digger… I’ll look up Emebera Village, I haven’t heard of it. If it looks like it’s close enough for a day trip I’ll maybe bug you for the details :). Thanks!

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