Exploring the Panamanian Countryside
07.04.2011 - 07.05.2011
Day 2: Coronado
The first day of the trip was spent in Panama City, and it was a truly amazing day. However, we wanted to spend the next few days exploring what was outside of the city. So for Day 2 of the trip, Mason and I filled up the gas tank and drove west to the beach town of Coronado. In order to gain access to the beach, it was necessary to have a residency there so we met up with our friend Jorge and spent the day at his family's beach house. This was the most uneventful day of the trip, being that our access to the beach was actually closed. But we had a good time as we learned a lot about the local customs, played futbol and relaxed with some good friends.
I don't have too many photos from this day, but there are a few below that you can check out, showing the drive from Panama City to Coronado and the house that we stayed in for the day:
And now in Coronado:
Day 3: Fantastic Mistakes and Accidental Destinations
For Day 3 of our trip, we were planning on heading back to Coronado and going to the beach with our friend Ian. However, we could not reach Ian once we arrived in Coronado and had to change our plans. Instead of heading back to Panama City, I urged us to drive ahead and check out the town of El Valle. Jorge had mentioned it the day before and said it was a beautiful destination and was worth checking out, but we knew nothing more about it. On top of that, it was a good 45 minutes west of Coronado, which which placed us about 2 hours west of Panama City. However, we had nothing better to do and decided to check it out. This turned out to be the greatest surprise and accidental destination of the entire trip.
The road to El Valle is basically one long continuous paved road that starts right off of the Pacific coast and slowly ascends high into the mountains, then descends down into the middle of a huge valley where the actual town of El Valle is located. This valley is apparently the second-largest volcano crater in the world. I'm not sure if that's true, but that's what we were told by the locals. Regardless, it's huge and beautiful and stunning and definitely worth a trip. The photos shown below showcase the drive to El Valle, as well as some of the sights as we ascended higher and higher up the mountain:
And below are my favorite photos of the trip. This is actually "El Valle" and the town is in the bottom of the valley here, with the mountains soaring up high into the air. This is truly a hidden treasure:
After seeing the beautiful sights of El Valle, we drove back to Coronado hoping to hear back from Ian. However, he was still out in the ocean and didn't answer our calls, so we headed on back to Panama City just to drive around and burn some time before dinner. After crossing the bridge into the city, Mason took the wrong exit and we entered a part of town that we were not familiar of. But as had been the theme of the day, this mistake actually turned into a great evening as we had stumbled upon the island that I had seen on the first day in Casco Viejo. The island and the associated roadway that connected it to Panama City were known as the Amador Causeway. The island was home to a Smithsonian science research center, as well as a marina, seafood restaurants and a few shopping districts. Yet again, Panama impressed us as the island was gorgeous. On top of that, the weather was near perfect and made for a fantastic evening on the water.
Check out the photos below to see the drive along the roadway and the island in the distance:
Here is a portion of the marina:
And here are some photos of the interior of the island, along with some shops and restaurants:
The Causeway entertained us for the rest of the evening, and soon after we made our way back to Punta Paitilla and crashed for the night. This day did not go as planned, but it turned out better for that reason. Witnessing the natural beauty of El Valle and the Amador Causeway certainly served as a great way to experience the surrounding Panamanian countryside, and by "wingin' it" the day had turned out to be fantastic in every way. That's all for this entry, be sure to check out the third entry soon to read about the Panama Canal and monkeys in the rainforest!