August 2019
  • Day14

    Heading south to Cambutal

    August 19, 2019 in Panama ⋅ 🌧 28 °C

    After quick swim, and stop at pharmacy for cream to deal with jungle bites, we drive towards Cambutal. Interesting drive past various towns, and then in to the countryside. Beautiful scenery, up and down hills, in and out of the clouds.

    It's increasingly remote, but we find a town to stop and order chicken and rice all round!

    As it looks like we will run out of road, we turn a corner and arrive at Hotel Playa Cambutal.

    Our two interjoining rooms over look the Pacific, and open on to the hotel pool.

    Half a dozen surfers in the waves, on a beautiful stretch of beach.

    We seem to be the only guests at the hotel!
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  • Day13

    More private island luxury!

    August 18, 2019 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Beach walk with Dylan this morning - amazed at incredible trees and pterodactyl like birds. Breakfast, then mangrove tour for Dylan, Betsy and I. Not so many animals or facts, but saw the mangrove, and an amazing 'secret ' beach. Watching howler Mahoney high above in trees when it decided to poo on is from on high. Sailing through the air, the poo landed safely on the ground without harming anyone.

    Swim in the pool for couple of hours and then lunch, before boat to mainland and 2 hour drive to Santiago. Quick swim in the pool before dinner, then head to bed in two bedroom suite.
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  • Day12

    Secrets of our island.

    August 17, 2019 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Woke up early with Betsy for walk along beach before others woke up. Low tide, so lots of shells, crabs and bugs making patterns in sand.

    Once we had all had breakfast, boys and I did paddle board tour with Henrique. We all stood up, saw pelicans flying close by and Dylan's saw a ray. Took Dylan and Betsy put on a board together at the end.

    We all walked to the northern beach, accessible due to low tide. Lots more birds along the way, eating the various delicacies in the sand.

    The afternoon started with a secrets of the jungle tour. Learnt loads!

    Saw Howler monkeys, Big bellied tree, Panamanian tree, and Panamanian Cedar tree.

    Trees only have rings to show age when they are from location with 4 seasons. In rainforests, just a heart and an outer ring.

    We tated termites from the side of the tree.

    Two types of forests - #type 1 = oldest with high canopy trees lots of density. Type #2 trees more recent (ie 500 years or so) more low levels density

    Monkey ladder vines - indication of health of forest, and good for monkeys to climb.

    Saw a Mangrove hawk that eats crabs

    Banana tree - only fruits once and then dies. Approx 8months. Re-spawns pre dying so that another tree has formed.

    Lychee fruits red

    Very hot after tour, so plenty of swimming time before dinner

    ‘Thunder and lightning very very frightening during dinner. We were under cover and safe, but very loud!
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  • Day11

    Boca Chica discovered

    August 16, 2019 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    Breakfast, quick swim, then 2 hour drive to Boca Chica port. We had fresh fish lunch on the port, before hopping on our boat for Isla Palneque.

    Amy finally figured out that we weren't staying at a 2 star hotel, with the private boat, cold towels, welcome drink etc (took a while though!)

    Amazing place and we were happy that we would all have to share the Casita for two nights.

    We spent a good couple of hours splashing in the waves of the Pacific and chasing sand crabs. Torch to the restaurant for dinner - fish curry, burgers, and pasta. Panamanian Uno for entertainment.

    Amy and I shared big king size bed with Betsy.
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  • Day10

    Workout and rain!

    August 15, 2019 in Panama ⋅ 🌧 17 °C

    Started our day with a family 7 minute work out followed by a splash in the pool

    We drove up to Baru Volcan and the cloud forests aiming to do a small trek in Cerro Punta.

    Unfortunately it rained all DAY!

    We had lunch at an Eco lodge, and then drove around in the rain. Great scenery, big leaves, and lots of vegetables.

    Back home for massage for Amy and I (5 minutes for Betsy) with open windows, bird song and sound of rain! Great massage!

    BBQ. Fun family dinner in amazing dining room .
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  • Day9

    Coffee and marajuana

    August 14, 2019 in Panama ⋅ 🌧 21 °C

    Morning begains with fresh local estate coffee looking out over the infinity pool, watching the mountains in the background.

    Dylan and I wandered the garden and picked some fresh limes

    The kids spent time in the pool before embarking on an estate tour in Emily’s truck (back of)

    We stopped by the volcano lake, checked out the coffee plants and plantation, learnt about Robusta, Arabica, and Geisha.

    Finished off at the coffee shop for Geisha tasting and cheese toastie!

     Swim back at house, then off to Rachel's Ark in Volcan.

    Weird! Various animals including Sloth and Jaguar "he'll kill you"

    To Jake - 'want to smoke some marajuana'

    Story of oxygen tank - 'stay in there, come out, have check you iPad ' and police investigation.

    Dinner at the recommended Carbonara in Volcan.
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  • Day8

    Butterflies, frogs and flight.

    August 13, 2019 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    We started our day with a hot Tour of the hotel's butterfly and frog houses. Butterflies a bit disappointing, but the toads/ frogs interesting. Very colourful!

    Next couple of hours with the hotel pool to ourselves before an enormous rainstorm forced us inside.

    Next stage of our journey involved taxi to the airport, 38 minute flight to David, then ride up to Volcan by hire car.

    We arrived late at our amazing house .
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  • Day7

    Caribbean fort, locks and railway tour

    August 12, 2019 in Panama ⋅ 🌧 28 °C

    A toucan, an enormous Butterfly, 5 x turtles, a Cayman, aTarantula, Black Vultures, Hawks, Howler monkeys and a Crocodile. The wildlife seen by the boys and I on our day trip.

    We started with 2 hr drive to Fort San Lorenzo, the last hour of which was very bumpy road (after crossing the brand new bridge)

    The fort was in the former US Canal Zone, so we drove through the old American naval base.

    We enjoyed a hot but good walk around old fort (destroyed 3 times by British Privateers (Pirates)), discovering leaves that close when you touch them, leafcutter ants and old dungeons that then became a Panamanian Prison

    We then drove back across the bridge to watch a massive cargo ship passing through the expansion locks (the new, bigger ones) of the Panama Canal.

    Watched a great movie with stats relating to the building of the expansion - enough steel for 19 Eiffel Tours and a lot of concrete! The lock gates were manufactured in Italy and sailed across whole. The biggest is 33 metres high

    We have lunch at a cafetria in Colon, followed by a bit of shopping. Bough Amy a beach bag, and some glue for Betsy.

    We then had a Tour of Colon in our car - rough looking place, but you could see hints of its old glory.

     We then went to catch the train from Colon to Panama City from a very desolate looking station by the container port.

    We took our seats in the viewing compartment – with snack pack and coffee.

    Amazing view of the Gatan lake and canal during the hours journey. The tree stumps are still in the lake from when it was flooded.

     Betsy & Amy had a more relaxed day by the pool, but a Tour of the hotel grounds in the afternoon by golf buggy (Amy driving).

    They saw turtles, caymans, a sloth and a nesting bird that wouldn't move from the path.
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  • Day6

    Old Town, then off to rainforest

    August 11, 2019 in Panama ⋅ 🌧 33 °C

    Up and out to Panama City old town. Started off with brunch in cool cafe, before wandering round the beautiful old downtown.

    Lots of lovely old buildings and churches, but very hot!

    Ended up in hat shop, where we bought 3 Panama hats.

    Finally taxi back to hotel for some aircon!

    2 x Ubers out to next Hotel - Summit Golf Resort 20 minutes or so North of the city.

    Mix up with rooms, bit tome for a swim before the rain came down.

    Sports bar for dinner, then bed
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  • Day5

    Discovering Panama City

    August 10, 2019 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    Breakfast at hotel Tryp Hotel before heading to Bio Museum on the Causeway.

    Amazing museum for a couple of hours exploring how Panama raised from the sea to form the bridge between North and South America. Lots of interactive screens, bones and fossils. They had one aquarium of fish from the Caribbean and one from the Pacific. Amazing 3D movie of the Panamanian Bio-diversity.

    The kids all 'won' some chilli seeds to bring home and plant.

    Saw a massive ship heading back out of the canal.

    Back to hotel to cool off in pool.

    Then returned to Causeway for the evening. Loads of people out enjoying a Saturday stroll. We rented a bike for 5 and cycled/ sweated for half an hour or so.

    Dinner at Sirena fish restaurant. Nice food - Betsy had calamari for starter and main. Fish for Amy, jumbo prawns for me, feta salad for Dylan and carbonara for Jake.

    Straight home to bed with kids falling asleep in taxi.
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