Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Las Olas

Panama ~ Week II
The surf forcast was looking really good for the second week of our trip so Drew and I went back to Playa Barqueta to take advantage of the beach break at Las Olas resort.

A typical day at Las Olas would start early. It's impossible to sleep in when you can see perfect waves from bed! The water was really glassy first thing in the morning so it was easier to paddle out.

In between sets, we could look a little ways out and see dolphins jumping around, and some really big fish splashing all around us. Drew even saw a couple sting rays cruise by.

After surfing it was siesta time.

. . . and then an afternoon swim in the pool :)

Practicing Spanish at the swim up bar

Evenings were my favorite time to go for a run on the beach.

The sunsets were incredible . . .

Then happy hour, dinner, sleep, wake up and do it all over again.

My only complaint is that the week was over WAY to fast!

When I retire, you'll know where to find me . . .

somewhere on a beach in Panama :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Week I

Panama is a place that Drew and I were really curious about since neither of us had been there before, but we'd heard really good things about it. We wanted to go on a surf trip somewhere with sunshine and warm water, but we only had a couple weeks so we didn't want to go too far. Turns out, Panama is a pretty awesome surf destination and we had the breaks all to ourselves. We originally wanted to see the Caribbean side as well, but we were having so much fun on the Pacific side we decided to save that for another time. We spent the first week making our way up the coast to Punta Burica near the border of Costa Rica.

Flying into Panama City

Traveling in Panama was really easy going and affordable and the people were super friendly, even when we were stumbling through our Spanish. The food was really good, especially at the rotisseries. We ate a lot of fresh fruit, seafood, rotisserie chicken, fried plantains and rice. When we camped out we cooked foil dinners smothered in Lizano sauce.

We flew into Panama City and rented a pickup truck so that we could get out to some of the breaks where buses don't go. We also brought a tent and camping gear to have the flexibility of camping on the beach. The first night we drove about an hour out of the city to camp at Punta Chame, a well-known kite beach.

Punta Chame

The next day we drove 6 hours to Playa Barqueta and stayed at a place right on the beach. There is also really good camping here.

Las Olas

The waves were pretty big, and after two days of getting pummelled we decided to go check out the town of Boquete a couple hours away near the mountains.

Boquete is a really cool little tourist town with rafting, kayaking, hiking, ziplines, and some fun bars. We stayed at the Boquete Outdoor Adventures Hostel on the river. The next morning we decided to go for a "nice little" hike around Volcan Baru on the Los Quetzales trail.

It was a pretty sweet hike through the jungle with some creek crossings, unfortunately our Spanish failed us and what we thought was going to be a 5 hour loop trail took us on a whole new adventure to the other side of the volcano with no roads leading back to Boquete. I'm still not really sure where we ended up but we had a choice between a 5 hour hike back the way we came or a 3 hour bus ride around the mountain. We got some beverages and hopped on a series of buses and taxis. After getting lost a couple of times we finally made it back to our truck, in the dark, and immediately got stuck in a giant mud bog. We dug ourselves into a pretty good trench until, luckily, a rad bus driver came by and pulled us out. The next morning we decided it was time to head back to the beach.

This time we headed out to Punta Burica, on the border of Costa Rica. This place is only accessible by 4-wheel drive and it is pretty remote so we stocked up on food and water to camp for a couple days. The only way to get out there is to wait for low tide and drive right up the beach. It is easily one of my favorite places I've ever been and no one else was around. The trees are full of monkeys and there are miles and miles of surf breaks, beaches and palm trees. To top it all off, the waves were the perfect size for beginners and there was a full moon so we surfed until our arms were about to fall off.