People come up to Ventura to enjoy the harbor, the amazing Channel Islands, and the fresh breeze — and now the Ventura Trolley will make travel within the area a breeze. Ventura, California is about to become easier for travelers to visit this summer thanks to a FREE trolley system to take you between Ventura’s Downtown and Harbor Village. After living in Los Angeles for many years, I finally got up to the Southern-ish California coastal village of Ventura. I was there to kayak around the Channel Islands and their pristine beauty took my breath away and reinvigorated me at the same time. But while there, I also got to know downtown Ventura — and as I walked around I was sorry I had missed this lovely town for so many years. (I also learned Ventura has two great golf courses and that one is a true Links course. Soon […]
Visit the islands around Isla Boca Brava and Isla Coiba and you are greeted by a sight that’s quite a lot of fun. These beaches are literally crawling with shells of varied colors, shapes and sizes scooting around! Actually, the shells are being scooted around, not scooting by themselves. These shells are host to Hermit Crabs. What makes these tiny creatures so much fun is that rather than grow their own hard shells, they find, borrow, and live in other animals’ abandoned shells. When they out-grow one shell, they move out and borrow another. It’s great fun to watch these many, many tiny creatures digging holes, crawling in or out, or running around at a rather furious pace. Then when one of them feels the vibrations as you walk, or even feels a camera moving in close to it, it quickly folds into the shell so it appears to be […]
I was very lucky the day I met Susan, a Peace Corps volunteer who is working in a tiny indigenous Panamanian village. I wasn’t able to visit Susan’s village as she was away for a break, but I was able to visit the fabulous Juan Carlos and his friend Elmon in their own village, Soloy. I plan to write more about this visit and the opportunities for others to visit and learn about indigenous Panamanian, but here are a few photos for now. Getting to Soloy, Panama
In 2011, 30-something-year-old Murray Johnson and some friends reached out to CouchSurfers to join them driving two donated ambulances down to Honduras to give them to Honduran hospitals. Johnson recently posted: “The experience was so amazing and the donation so needed that we have made the Charity Rally official and opened it up for others to join! You can mix travel, adventure and charity all in one for a good cause. How it works: You form your own team or join a “potluck” team. Your team can be comprised of any number of people. (I am guessing it is best if all of our team members fit in your vehicle though, of course.) Each team secures its own car/ambulance/fire truck/buse/whatever and drive down. The rally organizers work with you to get the vehicle, secure the donation and do the paperwork to have the vehicle imported into Honduras — or wherever […]
This is the view I get to enjoy from my bed hammock at Hotel Boca Brava. I so-loved sleeping in a hammock at my friend Daniel’s that when I got here and saw this hammock setup I just had to try it. Yes, that is water you see — the warm Pacific Ocean — and yes. Those are islands you see out in the water. Both sides of this room have water views.
This weekend, there was a festival day in the tiny town of Boca Chica, Panama. I joined three others from my hotel, taking a passing water taxi from our Isla Boca Brava location to this nearest mainland town. ($3 from our hotel, $1 from the point we first walked to.) After a typical Panama lunch of rice mixed with beans and a small piece of chicken for $3, we took a very hot 20 minute walk up the road. As the day was so hot, this activity was postponed for an hour or so. We walked back down, picked up some cookies and drinks at the town’s market (tienda), played a handmade carnival game, then walked back to the corral. Here is a photo summary of the sport. Very early, people just start to arrive. Meat kebabs for sale. (There were also candy apples.) The bulls. We wondered why they […]
When you’re traveling in Panama City, the walk from the start of the cosway to the end of the three now-connected islands the comprise Amador provides great views of the city. However, the restaurants there are higher than the meal budget of the typical budget traveler or backpacker. Of course you can bring sandwiches for the day. Sandwich meats and cheese are quite affordable in Panama City. However, as of approximately December 2012, there is an affordable alternative. at the very end of your walk, off to the side of the last parking lot, you will notice a Sort of a New York City style trailer that is a diner. The owner set this up to sell hot food to the people who work on Amador — but it is open to all of us. It isn’t fancy and it isn’t top quality, but it will get you buy. A […]
At 11am today, just as the heat of the day was building, my friend Gary Smith and I went walking. We walked the entire Cinta Costera, stopped at the Seafood Market for cold drinks, then continued through the streets and scenic views of Casca Viejo and San Filipe. As the sun went down we thought we would take a Metrobus but we just walked instead. It was easier to walk as the sun went down. We stopped for shaved ice along the way. Gary’s first. As we walked home, we decided to go see a movie. We did something I have never done before. We walked up to the ticket counter and asked what the next film was that was playing in English. It was 7pm and The Impossible was on at 7:30, so that’s what we saw. At $9 or so in LA, I would likely not choose to […]
I share this because every backpacker that has time, has the interest to travel between Panama and Colombia. I have not made this trip and will not be doing so, but I watched a lot of travelers research and book passage. The flights are around $500 as are the commercial sailing boats. The sailing experience be excellent or, like some travellers tell me, your captain can fail to being enough food and water or can be high or drunk on the voyage. Every hostel in Panama City, and Captain Jack’s in Portobelo (and maybe hostels in Bocas del Toro) can provide information about several of the approximately 30 boats that now make this trip. Jeff at Captian Jack’s is a sailor and told me that several years ago there were only 10. This voyage is a popular thing for people with boats to do in order to make money. Jeff […]
I happen to be in Portobelo, Panama during the Congo Festival. In the early afternoon four men dressed up for this traditional celebration came up to Captain Jack’s, whistles blowing, acting in the traditional goofiness. Their faces were painted the blackest black, making their lips ever-so-pink and they were always sticking their tongues out. That is part of the celebration, which is to mock the Spanish, their former enslavers. (In the days of the Spaniards here, people were brought from the Congo as slaves.) Later in the day, Gary and I were walking in town and watched as the men surrounded a car in the road and one man stepped in front of the car and laid in the road with his feet up on the hood of the car. Still later, we were walking home from seeing the Negro Christo (Black Jesus statue) when the guys noticed me and […]
This fort is the closest one to the town. It’s the easiest one to visit as no boat is needed. However, the other one is the first line of defense and is three levels and more interesting. (You can get to the other one by renting a kayak and enjoying the harbor as well. It is difficult to see here but that long wall is where the cannons are. They are clearer in the next photo.
On Thursday, January 17 (2013), my <a href=”http://travel-friend Gary L. Smith and I got on a $1.25 Metrobus from MultiCentro to Allbrook Bus Terminal, then took two more busses to come to Portobelo, on the Caribbean coast here in Panama. Portobelo was an important port in the 1700s and 1800s as much trade took place here. This is where Portobelo is located.
I’m a gal impressed with El Canal The first time I visited the Panamá Canal I was a tourist visitor at the museum. The second time I visited the Panamá Canal it was as a customer making a transit. The third time I visited the Panamá Canal it was from the perspective of a Canal Authority Tugboat Captain. The ships that transit the Panamá Canal are quite large. Under their own power, their own mechanics are well able to steer the ships. However, they must travel an extremely show speed within the Locks of the canal, as well as through the Gaillard* Cut. At these slow speeds, their rudders aren’t effective. They must rely on tugs and “mules” to steer them. The job of the Tugboat Captian is tricky. It requires precision to be able to match the speed of a ship, to come up right against it, and to […]
Unable to sleep for the first time since coming to live in a friend’s home in Punta Patilla, I just looked out my bedroom window. It is 3am. Rising out of the darkness comprised of private homes and now empty office buildings, is just one building — its elevators and halls alit. How interesting, how telling it is that by night Trump Panama looks like a Cobra poised to strike. And that I didn’t notice in the light of day – from any angle.
I am happy to have made the acquaintance of Gary Smith. This is his blog. GypsyGary.blogspot.com
On November 19, during the raining season, but on a day that was beautiful in San Jose, Costa Rica, a couple of brothers, another guy at the hostel, and I set out to see Volcán Poás, in Poás Volcano National Park, in Costa Rica. It wasn’t necessary to take a tour as there is a $7 quite comfortable (clean and in great shape) public bus that takes you there from downtown San Jose, gives you a few hours as it waits for you there, and then returns you to San Jose on the very same bus. Unfortunately, we forgot to realize that when you travel to the top of a volcano, you ascend into the clouds – and rain. The bus driver didn’t mention this to us, but of course we didn’t ask. Then at the entrance to the Poás Volcano National Park, we all willingly got out of the bus and paid our $10 […]
Look who I met as I hiked along the green-lined beach side jungle path of Cahuita National Park. I didn’t being my camera as I was focused on getting back into the Caribben Ocean. These photos were taken by a hostel friend, Daniel Peraza. First we watched this little guy eat. Then we noticed this mom and baby.
Yesterday I interviewed a wildlife guide in Monte Verde and as we spoke about seeing Jaguars and Such here, he told me that 3 weeks ago Costa Rica made hunting illegal. He said that as man kills off the wildlife these animals eat, these animals are forced to come into towns or farms seeking food. Hopefully now that won’t happen and man and animals can coexist.
If you’re in La Fortuna, Costa Rica and are wanting to go white water rafting, ride a zip line, or do whatever else is offered there, the person to find is Christian. You’ll hopefully find him at Sabor Tica, an excellent restaurant (called a Soda). Find Christian and let him bring you in to book your tickets.
Time to take the “Jeep-Boat-Jeep” from La Fortuna to Santa Elena (aka Monte Verdi). The bus arrives at my hotel gate for me. Yep, the “Jeep” is a mini-bus, just like my hostel companion Sebastian guessed it would be. The first bus is 20 minutes to the lake. Flat boat. Flat water. Beautiful scenery. Man made lake after 1968 Volcano. Then 1.5 hours on stone and dirt narrow roads as we climb toward the clouds. We are going to the Cloud Forest. Here it doesn’t rain so much. The views cannot be caught in a single frame photo. We all comment on the beauty of the rolling green hills and many levels of mountains and fields and textures. We pass some small home or farms, some cows locked in pens and some out grazing. At 11:05 after about 30 minutes from where we packed up the 4 american horse riders […]
Time to take the “Jeep-Boat-Jeep” from La Fortuna to Santa Elena (aka Monte Verdi). The bus arrives. Yep, the “Jeep” is a mini-bus, just like my hostel companion Sebastian guessed it would be. The first bus is 20 minutes to the lake. Flat boat. Flat water. Beautiful scenery. Man made lake after 1968 Volcano. Then 1.5 hours on stone and dirt narrow roads as we climb toward the clouds. We are going to the Cloud Forest. Here it doesn’t rain so much. The views cannot be caught in a single frame photo. We all comment on the beauty of the rolling green hills and many levels of mountains and fields and textures. We pass some small home or farms, some cows locked in pens and some out grazing. At 11:05 after about 30 minutes from where we packed up the 4 American horse riders we are in the clouds. The […]