Thursday, August 24, 2017


I really loved Pedasi! We booked two nights during a holiday weekend at the very end of the dry season. When we arrived it was cloudy and a storm took out our power for 24 hours. It made the weekend a little more of an adventure, as everyone in the area was packed into restaurants, and our generator failed, causing lights to surge on and off during the night. The house we rented was the nicest place we stayed during our 10 months in Panama. I kept trying to figure out the square footage of the two bedroom house because it seemed like the perfect size for our family. Each bathroom had an outdoor shower, and the design incorporated a lot of natural finishes. With rain and no power, it meant lots of rest and monopoly playing. We ate a lovely brunch at the home/restaurant of a newly arrived French family, and the girls played ponies with a shoebox-turned-bus with their daughter.

Finally, the sun came back out, and we explored a beach down the mud/dirt road. We had the little cove all to ourselves for the morning. It was perfect. Like with so many spots in Panama, I had the intention of returning to Pedasi, but we ran out of time. It's such a quaint little town, still authentically Panama but with plenty of tourist-friendly infrastructure. We'll have to head back there one day!

Friday, August 18, 2017

drive to pedasi

One great factor of our trip to Pedasi was the drive. The roads between Santiago and Pedasi are fairly straight, flat, and in good shape. It made for one of the easier two hours drives we had around Panama. We also made a few fun stops, like at a watermelon stand and the Feria de Azuero in Los Santos.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Costa Rica

I am now officially three months behind in blogging, and we'll be home in two weeks! We were eager to explore a bit more outside Panama and planned to meet my parents for Semana Santa in Costa Rica. We found a location that would be a good half way point from Panama and San Jose, and made our plans. Meanwhile, immigration laws in Panama changed and my contact at the Embassy advised us not to travel. That caused some stress, but in the end, we decided to risk it. We didn't anticipate, however, that Panama wouldn't let us drive our car out of the country. We quickly figured out plan B: park at the fire station and catch a bus to Manuel Antonio.

It was a magical long weekend of exploring, eating, and enjoying time together. The house we stayed in was brand new and had its own pool. Mangos were raining from the trees around. We celebrated N's 6th birthday. Of course, her name was spelled 'Nahomi' on the cake, even though I ordered it by text! We visited the national park and spotted a couple of sloths. We rented a tent at the beach and sipped pipa fria. E and I got a date night, and the girls hunted eggs in the house. The weekend ended too soon.

Coming from Panama, southern Costa Rica struck me as lush and green. There was a lot less clear cutting and farmland than right across the border. It's interesting to compare the two countries that share so many natural resources yet approach them very distinctly.

For as many photos as I take, you'd think I'd be better about getting group shots!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Las Lajas

The first time we traveled to Chiriqui province, I noticed the sign at the entrance of Las Lajas and did some research. It's not a beach you hear much about in Santiago, but it's not super far and seemed to have some tourist development, so we decided to spend a weekend there.

We stayed about 15 minuted from the beach, in the hills near the town. The views were beautiful, and we fell in love with the area immediately. The town is quaint and authentically Panamanian. Colorful houses with flowers and small fields of cows. There are a few hotels and restaurants on the outskirts of town. At the beach, it feels more touristy, but all the properties are still tiny. The beach was huge and almost deserted! It's not only long, but also very deep, even at high tide. On the first day, we parked our car under the cabana and paid for the next day, too. C and E enjoyed the waves, and N and I stayed on the sand.

We rushed back to clean up for dinner in time for sunset at an Italian restaurant. While we were waiting for our food, the girls and I explored and found a maraƱon tree. It's the fruit that cashews are attached to. We picked one and took it to E, who used his teeth to crack open the nut. 3 of us ate a little of the fresh cashew. Bad idea! The shell is toxic. E's mouth was burning, so I googled it found so many stories of severe reactions, even days later. I didn't tell him the extent of what I read, but he took benedryl and went to sleep after dinner. Luckily, it just burned his lip, and it healed over the next few weeks. But now we know! And I have a new appreciation for cashews and a better understanding of their high price. It's a labor intensive production process.

After an amazing breakfast the next day, complete with homemade yogurt, we headed back to the beach. The waves were bigger, so only E swam. A lifeguard came toward us, unwrapping the rope of his float, and I asked him if he was getting ready to save my husband and he said, "Yes." Apparently, you can't go out past chest high because of the currents. E wasn't out that far, but we called the daredevil in anyway. I continued talking to the lifeguard, and it turns out I know his sister. She's the music teacher at my school. Panama is a small country! I love the connections I have from working at such a well-known place.

We planned to go back to Las Lajas because we really loved it, but it'll have to wait for next time.