Frankie’s “Panama Best Bits”

P1070648Good friends Sally and Mark Fulford visited recently from Devon in England and brought with them their daughters Mia and Frankie. We had a great time with them all and thoroughly enjoyed taking them to our favourite places. Frankie was a great hit with us since it became apparent after only a couple of days she was what we call a “nature magnet”. Seldom seen animals and birds presented themselves on a regular basis when she was around and although she was seeing many species for the first time she frequently spotted the wildlife before we did! After the family returned to the UK Frankie was kind enough to send us a post about her stay at Tesoro Verde for the web site. She called it Panama Best Bits, here it is. Thank you Frankie!

“Writing about my best bits at Tesoro Verde, Panama is very hard because it was all so brilliant, from waking up and seeing the beautiful sunrise in the jungle to jumping off the top of waterfalls. It was AMAZING! Though somehow I have managed to shortlist it down to the top three.

At number one is horse riding, snorkeling and a boat ride all in the same trip! We started by driving a short distance to a little village where we got our beautiful horses and began the ride to Playa Blanca. On the hack we went through different terrains and saw many interesting and fantastic sights. When we reached the beach, Playa Blanca, we tied off the horses and went snorkeling. When we were snorkeling I saw a golden spotted eel. Cool! After that we had some delicious food and started to play a little game of piggy in the middle, after about ten minutes it had somehow turned into an intense game with 3 teams of 2. As the day started to come to an end we got a lancha back to the village and then headed back to Tesoro Verde for another amazing night in the rain forsest.

At number two is zip lining! The zip course had 9 different lines weaving through the forest canopy. The veiws you got when in the air were beautiful, it felt very special interacting with the jungle in this way. On one of the lines you had the option of going upside down, all of us wanted to try it but when it came to it we all whimped out! When we finished the course we went for a little walk in the forest and discovered an ant motorway -there were several different little roads leading on to one big road, there were a few tunnels and seperate lanes. Proof that ants go to school!

At three is fishing! When were staying at Jungle Land (on the beautiful Lake Gatun) we had the option of lounging about and swimming in the lake or fishing, I quite obviously chose fishing. We rode in a lancha for about ten minutes before settling down and casting out our lines. It wasn’t long until I got my first bite and then 11 more, it was like the fish were queuing up to be caught! My Mum got 3, Dad 2 and Jim 3. When we stopped getting so many fish we packed up and went to a different spot, unfortunately we had no success so we called it a day and went back to the floating hotel. When we came back we gave the kitchen the fish and had them served up for lunch.

All in all I had a great time in Panama and was really sad when it all came to an end. Thank you Jim and Heather for making my time in Panama truly special, I really loved it!”

Festival de Mariscos

Last month we visited the local town of Jose Del Mar to enjoy the atmosphere of their annual seafood festival. Its a typical Panamanian feria or fair with the chance to catch up with the local gossip from locals you haven’t seen since last year. It is a great people watching event but no matter how much you might feel like an outside observer it won’t be long before someone engages you in conversation. It’s more than likely your new friend will have had a drink or two even if it is just after breakfast time since the hard core feria goers don’t waste any time getting into the party spirit. As the day wares on you will want to get something to eat and since Jose Del Mar is a costal village and this is a seafood festival I would recommend some of Maria’s octopus stew or perhaps the conch. Both are wonderfully rich and are prepared by one of the very best cooks on the coast. Don’t forget to wash it down with a beer or two. This years major sponsor was Atlas, but to a Scotsman all the local beers taste much the same. Refreshing but not that interesting. A pint of eighty shilling anyone?

Heather with Nentio Vargas 2011

Heather with Nentio Vargas 2011

The big band this year were the same as last and although not in the same class as other “tipico” acts like Sammy y Sandra or Nenito Vargas they certainly earned their fee playing well into the small hours. We made our way home around midnight but the party was really just getting going…