Sunday, February 2, 2014

Boquete, Panama

Ahhh....the cool temperatures of Boquete were a welcome relief from the heat of the last few weeks. Boquete is in the Panamanian highlands and is known for flower gardens and coffee plantations. I was planning to stay here for 2 nights before traveling south to the Pacific beaches. Chantal and I arrived late in the evening at Casa Pedro outside of town. I was also meeting up with Mario and Marsha (worked with her at Nutrilite), it was pure luck that our travels crossed paths. It is always fun to meet up with friends on the road. I caught up with Marsha over coffee and shared travel information. She was feeling a little sick and I was exhausted from the long travel days. Chantal and I decided to have a relaxing day and then walk into town in the afternoon.

We walked along the road enjoying the flora and fauna. The hills were covered with clouds and the wind was refreshing.
As we walked down the hill, we passed beautiful flower gardens.
Suddenly, we smelled the delightful aroma of roasted coffee beans. As we walked around the curve, we saw Cafe Ruiz. It was that time...time to enjoy a delicious iced coffee. I have definitely become addicted to a couple of cups of coffee a day. I was on a search for the best coffee as I traveled Central America and towards Colombia. We sat and savored the icy cold brew and reminisced about our adventures. Afterwards we continued to town where we bought a few necessities (peanut butter, batteries, SIM card and apples) and shopped in the boutiques.

We eventually made our way to the Flower Festival. We walked through the gardens enjoying the beautiful views.
Children were performing traditional dances and playing music.
We relaxed as we strolled the grounds before returning to our B&B. 

At breakfast the next morning, Mario and Marsha asked what we had planned for the day. We had planned to hike La Pianista in the morning and then go to the hot springs in the late afternoon. We all got busy chatting and lost track of the time. Mario discussed our interest in going to the hot spring with the owner of the B&B (Peter) and arranged a van to take us and guide us on the 15 minute hike to the hot springs. We all changed our clothes and were ready to go in a half an hour. We made a quick stop at the market and bought beer and snacks. Who goes to a hot springs without beer? We were driven to the entrance and then got out to walk.
We walked along the river bank and up into the hilly farmland.
We passed cows, farms and a cemetery. After 30 minutes we came along side the river. Chantal and I laughed because if we had done this alone we would have given up and stayed here to swim.
Our 15 minute walk was more like an hour and 15 minutes. We were all hot when we arrived and wondered if we really wanted a hot spring. We crawled in and relaxed in the lukewarm water.
Mario handed out cold beers and we relaxed. Everyone shared travel stories and enjoyed fresh fruit, chips and beers throughout the afternoon. It was a beautiful day in nature. After a few hours we hiked back to the van and returned to the B&B.

 We decided to stay in and eat dinner with Mario and Marsha. They gave us great advice for our sailing trip and encouraged us to get sea sick medicine in Panama City. I said goodbye to them, we were all headed in different directions in the morning. My next journey was taking me southwest to Playa Vaneo. 

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