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.
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.