One of the things I always wanted to do is a Road Trip in Panama and well I did it. In recent days I ventured with one of my best friends, it was 10 days, here are some of the anecdotes.
First of all, despite being October, it made us an excellent weather, it only rained on the way, but not all the way.
On the route, we wrote down places that we had already visited, others that we had not, some popular places and some not so much.
We started at Delicias Margot, a mandatory stop for my stomach, the idea was to have breakfast, but we arrived for lunch, I always buy to take away.
However, this time, because of the route, I decided not to do it, since we were heading to Azuero.
But, it was not easy to get such rich Panamanian fries, some will tell me “but it is easy”, but the one who does not know is like the one who does not see, if they are, they are not very visible.
On the Road Trip in Panama we stopped, almost by chance in Parita, we were going to see the bell tower of the Church.
But, we were amazed with the architecture of the houses, you see many, but many Quincha houses with the roof tiles.
Before leaving Chitré, we realized that a tire was almost in the ring or the ring was almost on the ground, so we fixed that immediately.
Nearby we found where, it had a drill bit screw, as is.
Then we left to Sarigua, although they say they close at 5:00 p.m. and the manager was no longer there at 4:15 p.m., that is, it was closed.
So, we only gave it a close view, so as not to have made the trip for nothing, also the way is not good.
Other of the destinations in the Road Trip was “Iguana Island“, from Panama we did not get a tour for that purpose, but a comment on the web helped us, indicating that they are cheaper there.
So, we went for a walk and we got a cheaper one than I had seen before.
Now, we were very lucky, since the previous day they canceled the trips due to bad weather and that day was more than perfect, yes, I have tanned so much that I thought that even my pet would not recognize me.
Venao Beach, we stayed in a hotel, which I will reserve for myself, it has such an ecological style, wooden rooms, there was only Wi-Fi in a small ranch (I had no signal phone, nothing), being there watching the route for the next day, one of the guests came to say that a snake was found in his bed, almost, almost, almost we changed hotels.
At some point along the way, between Cambutal and Las Minas, we took the wrong street, there is no signposting and the street is in perfect condition, how we were going to know.
We realized that we were lost when the time to reach the destination passed and we only saw mountains and cows.
Without a signal, without data, without people to ask, in a street where there was no place to turn around.
What were we going to do? We weren’t scared, but we were worried.
Solution, fortunately the GPS of the cell phone was activated and loaded in the google maps, and so, without a signal.
We could see where we were and reach the destination, we could not point the route to leave, but if we were seeing the streets on the map to take the correct one, we lost almost 2 hours.
But on arrival, I had the cheapest lunch of the trip, only $2.75 (rice, smoked pork and salad) and it was good.
We arrived at the hostel in Las Minas, with the idea of eating a delicious pizza at the Italian restaurant, but that day it closes, we almost cried, but the owner, very kindly made us one for being guests.
Then on the way to Boquete, we pass through Gualaca and cool off in the Cangilones of Gualaca, which is very easy to get to.
Already in Boquete, we went to Mi Jardín es tu Jardín (My Garden is your Garden), which, we do not know why it was closed, the sad part is we walked especially for that, and the strawberry shop that was in front, was closed too.
We traveled in the car a large part of Boquete, on the way we saw many coffee plantations, also the occasional planting.
We saw San Ramon Waterfall that is practically on the street.
At the end we came across some refreshment shop, specialized in strawberries and of course a mandatory stop.
We did not reach the Escondida waterfall, since at the end the trail disappears and leads us to another side.
However, the trail is interesting, since if there is silence you can see and hear the animals.
I had the great luck of to see the monkeys very closely while they ate, actually the me who were before and they indicated us to see them too.
The next day we woke up early to go to the Caldera Hot Springs.
Check the information before starting the trip and everything indicated that it was easily accessible.
To get close you need a 4 × 4 or a 4 × 2 car and that the road is very dry (part of the road has dirt and stone, and part is paved).
When going in a sedan car, we had to hike for 1 hour, with part of the way made of stones, holes and hills.
The part that we all have to hike is not very nice, but it is short, for people who go by 4X4 car it can be about 100 meters, and for people who go by 4 × 2 car, 200m.
We only could to touch the water because we did not know about the 2-hour by hiking.
So, we literally touched it and we went to the hotel to change us and check out.
At the hostal in Bambito there was a Strawberry Tour flyer in the hostel at Bambito, of course, as a strawberry lover, I had to go.
Unfortunately, the company has had some problems this year and they suspended it for the rest of the year.
I will go on the next trip.
We continue towards Santiago with rain, fog and a large stretch of double track with little signposting, the highway was extremely long.
The next day we went to La Yeguada, as in Veraguas it rains at any time, we left quickly, seeing that it was a more or less sunny morning and we returned fleeing to the rain.
In this trip we visited, in 10 days
- Azuero: Parita, Sarigua, Herrera Museum in Chitre, Belisario Porras Museum in Las Tablas, Pedasi, Iguana Island, Venao Beach, Cambutal, Las Minas, Ocu.
- Chiriqui: Boquete (San Ramon Waterfall, Hanging Bridges, trail of Escondida Waterfall, driving through the town, seeing the crops and coffee plantations), Caldera Hot Springs, Cangilones of Gualaca, Volcan (Barriles Site), Cerro Punta (Haras de Cerro Punta, El Viewpoint, more planting along the way).
- Veraguas: La Yeguada refuge (the lake, the dam, the waterfall).
Advices for the Road Trip in Panama
- Find out as much as you can before leaving and when you arrive, ask and ask the hostel / hotel or the tourist information point for advice, not everything is on the web.
- Plan expenses.
- Plan your travel route, but be flexible (if you need one more or one less day, you can make changes without problem), research the destinations, what to see and do in each one, costs and places to stay.
- For some people, the tours are not usually the best option to get to know and enjoy the places well, but in some places a guide is needed, yes or yes, do not try to avoid it.
- Essential for the trails, you go with sneakers (preferably boots), long pants, repellent, waterproof coat. Clothes that are quick drying.
- Travel calmly, enjoy each destination.
- Not everything is signposted, check the route of the road before leaving and download it on Google Maps, then remove the data so that it is not consumed, but not the locator (GPS). The cell phone has to be charged.
- Note that there are places where there is no signal phone, nothing, I repeat, check the route before leaving and always lodge where there is wifi.
- Be cautious, there are places where you may not find fuel or stores. Stock up when you can.
- Check the car before each trip.
- Always carry water with you
- Write down the places that you want to come back and those that for some reason you could not go.
- Respect each place and its people, remember that you are visiting.
How to save money in the Road Trip in Panama
- Try to save money at the beginning of the trip, in the things that you can, so you can extend your money and enjoy any place or surprise tour.
- If you are staying in a hostel with a shared kitchen, take advantage of it, go the market (to buy food) and cook.
- Take a look at the restaurants and fondas (food joint), you may be surprised with the prices, I had lunch with $ 2.75 in Las Minas and had breakfast for the same price in Boquete.
- Don’t buy water, in Panama the water is drinkable in practically the whole country, I still don’t know a place where you can’t drink tap water, so fill the bottle before leaving.
- When you share, you save money, a trip of 4 people is perfect to share the expenses of fuel and lodging.
- The low season, which in Panama is long, is perfect for traveling, there are few people in the destinations, cheaper prices for accommodation and in some places no booking is needed, just stay turned the news for any change in weather.
Where did we sleep?
- Hotel Casa Loma, Pedasí, Los Santos
- Casa Friuli Ecolodge, Las Minas Herrera
- Hotel Galeria Restaurante Interior, Chitré, Herrera
- Hostal Gaia, Boquete, Chiriquí
- Cabaña La Petite Maison, Volcan, Chiriquí
Where did we eat?
- Smileys, Pedasí, Los Santos
- Casa Friuli, in Las Minas, Herrera
- Restaurante Coleos, Playa Venao, Los Santos
- La Carbonera, en Volcán, Chiriquí
- Barú Restaurantes, in Chiriquí
- Rest. La Casa del Cuzco, Boquete, Chiriquí
- El Sabroson, Boquete, Chiriquí
- Central Park, Boquete, Chiriquí
- Also in fondas en David and Las Minas
My investment (Trip of 2 people, 10 days, expense per person):
- 164.32 food (dishes between $2.75 and $23.00).
- $90.25 lodging (in hotel and hostel, but private room).
- $37.00 fuel.
- $90.25 entrances / tours.
- TOTAL: $424.57