We have been wanting to visit other parts of Panama where we have never been. Having heard some great stories about Boca Chica which is on the Pacific side towards David, we came across an Oferta Simple (similar to Groupon) offer for Seagull Cove Lodge in Boca Chica for a Friday and Saturday night and purchased the coupon for the 2 nights. Then Mikkel bid for a 2-night stay at Boquete Garden Inn with Bid4Boquete, and annual fundraiser for several organizations, and won the bid. We have always wanted to visit Bocas Del Toro on the Caribbean side as well, since we had not yet been to that side of the isthmus, and found a reasonably priced condo to rent for 3 days outside of town on the main island. With all that in mind, we planned our trip as an 8-day vacation from our vacation in Pedasí, since it always feels like we are on vacation even at our home. After taking some time to coordinate the availability of all three of these lodgings, we finally came up with planning another road trip from May 2nd through May 9th.
We wanted to take this trip sooner, before the wet season started. Waiting to hear from our attorney as to when we needed to return to Panamá to get our Cedula (the final, but not required stage. yet beneficial, of our permanent residency), we held off booking this trip. The Cedula was supposed to be available 6 weeks after we received our permanent residency visa in February, but the attorney hasn’t heard anything yet. So we finally booked this trip because the Oferta Simple coupon expires June 1st. We will just have to get our cedula later.
After arranging for my Spanish teacher and her husband to house and pets sitting for the 7 nights, and then having some guests over to our home on Thursday who were visiting the Azuero from our home town of Auburn, California, although it was the first time we had met, we finally took off for Boca Chica, stopping in Chitre to get my new eyeglasses. This is the first on 3 blogs about our next adventure. I have limited access to the internet, so I am writing first as the adventure continues and posting when I can.
Boca Chica is located about an hour’s drive southwest of David, or about 5 hours from Pedasí. After leaving Chitre we headed toward the Panamerican Hwy and David. We have taken this road a few times, previously visiting David and Boquete, so we knew the highway after Santiago narrows down to one lane each way and is very bumpy with lots of potholes. The only difference is that they have finally started work on widening the road to two lanes each way. We were surprised how much had been done since the last time we went to David in January. We also thought we might come across some traffic delays due to the construction, but fortunately this is a holiday weekend for Labor Day and the presidential election on Sunday. Everyone stays home because they are required to vote. So all construction was halted and to the side of the existing road. The only things that would slow us down were an occasional slow vehicle we had to pass when we could and the buckets of rain that began about an hour past Santiago. But we found the road to turn off and eventually made it to our destination. And what a beautiful choice to stay!
PanAmerican Hwy Widening
The Seagull Cove Lodge is strategically built on the side of a hill in the jungle overlooking a cove and inland passage surrounded by small islands. We were immediately greeted by Luis who checked us in and carried our bags down to our room. The rooms are separate bungalows and ours was 2nd to the last down the flights of steps before continuing down many more steps on the hill to the beach. Each bungalow has a balcony and the view from our bed was spectacular. It was still raining a little off and on, but I did manage to walk down to the beach after unpacking. But just as I got there, it started pouring again, so I trudged up the 80 steep steps plus walkways back to our bungalow in the warm rain. Later we went back up another 55 steps to the open-air lobby and dining room/bar for a drink. They were serving a barbecued dinner at the Tiki Bar, located at the end of the pier next to the beach that evening. Usually they do this on Saturday night, but as of noon on Saturday until Monday at noon, all of Panama is dry; no alcohol can be sold, purchased, served, or drank in stores, bars, restaurants, cantinas, etc. So they opened the Tiki Bar on Friday instead, a place where guests and residents of Boca Chica on land and on the boats (mostly expats) meet for food, drink, music, and talk. That night they were barbecuing chicken wings (Mikkel’s choice), hamburgers, and shish-kebabs (my choice). We got to meet a lot of friendly people and hear their various stories. One couple from San Diego, California had been sailing the Pacific since 2005 from Mexico to Ecuador. We went to bed and put to sleep by the sound of the waves coming ashore and the cool ocean breezes.
View from our Bungalow
The next day we spent the morning at the beach sitting on the dock behind the Tiki Bar at the end of the pier and the early afternoon at the pool. Because the cove is surrounded by islands, the water and waves are gentle, much like that of a lake such as Lake Tahoe in California, but salt water and much much warmer. And the rain was now gone; the dark grey clouds now replaced by white fluffy and whispery ones. I couldn’t help to reminisce about when I was younger, this scene was only for the rich and famous. Well, I am not rich or famous, and yet I am here experiencing this. Again I am so grateful that God has brought me here to enjoy a little bit of heaven on earth. But I am also grateful for Him teaching me contentment – “tranquilo”.
Tiki Bar, Pier, & Beach
Later it seemed to be clouding up again, so we took advantage of the daylight and drove over to explore the very small town of Boca Chica. Two roads lined with typical Panamanian homes leading down to a fishing marina. In the center of town is a park; down the street from there is a very small Catholic Church, a one pump gas station, a restaurante de mariscos, and a small market; on the other street was a two-room school. We returned on the rocky dirt drive to the lodge to find a big bowl of bananas and other fruit for the taking. Later we had dinner on the dining terrace. Although due to being well isolated, you are pretty much captive to eating meals at their restaurant. But the food is good with an excellent variety of choices, reasonably priced, and excellent service.
Town of Boca Chica
The next morning after a good full complementary breakfast, we headed out past David to the town of Bugaba for a permaculture farm tour. But the Seagull Cove Lodge is on our choice list to stay if we are ever up this way again