The San Blas Islands and Boquete

Sorry about the time, it’s been a ridiculously long time since I last posted anything. We are now halfway through our trip and a lot has happened since my last post. Our trip to the San Blas islands was amazing, the island we stayed on looked like something off a postcard; beautiful white sand, clear blue water, and palm trees. Although I, along with basically all my classmates, got burnt I loved staying on the beach for a few days and playing in the sand and water. The best part of the trip though was definitely visting the Kuna on Carti island, being there for their independence day celebration was an amazing experience. The first day we went to the island to visit the Kuna congress where they welcomed us to their islands and then we went to a museum where I learned about traditional Kuna life. The celebrations started the next day with reenactments of their revolution that lasted the entire day. I was surprised by how well rehearsed they were and the extent of their props which included fake guns that fired and fake blood. Chris unexpectedly got to take part in the reenactments, portraying the american Richard Marsh who played a role in the Kuna gaining their independence. The next day, the actual day of their independence, began with more reenactments and then around noon the men and women convened in their ceremonial building. Inside, the Kuna men and women seperated to each side and began their ceremonies which was centered around drinking cheecha fuerte. Being able to participate in these ceremonies was one of the coolest experiences of my life. It rained basically all night and due to the flooding of almost all of our tents we were tired and ready to go back to La MICA the next morning. After being at La MICA for a few days a group of us headed to Boquete for our free days. Getting there entailed riding public transportation for the first time. Going from El Cope to the Entrada went smoothly, however, once at the Entrada we had to wait about 3 hours for a bus that wasn’t completely full. When we got on that bus (which was a giant double-decker) we unexpectedly found Paul, Ethan, and Cameron. We took that bus to David, the provincial capital of Chiriqui, were we found out at the bus terminal that the last bus for Boquete had already left. After almost getting royally ripped off we found a bus driver that would take us to Boquete for a reasonable price. Once we finally got there we checked into Hostel Mamallena. We were surprised to find out that basically everyone at the hostel spoke English and that there were people there from all over the world. It was very weird to hear more English spoken than Spanish for the next couple of days and I felt like I had left Panama and gone to a small mountain town in Colorado. Our first day there we decided to go to the hot springs which was a short bus ride away from Boquete. The hike was supossed to be a short 10-15 minute hike from where the bus dropped us off, however, we ended up hiking for at least an hour thoroughly unprepared wearing flip flops without seeing the hot springs. Turns out we had passed it about 10 minutes into our hike, Panama does not have signs everywhere like in the United States. Since our bus was going to be back to pick us up soon we decided to just play in the river where the buss dropped us off for a while. It was fun even though we didn’t get to go the hot springs and the hike was absolutely beautiful. That night we went out to a middle eastren restaurant; I found it strange that my first time eating middle eastren food was in Panama. The next day we did a zip line canopy tour. Although this was definitely a very touristy thing to do I had a blast and was pleasantly surprised by how fast you go on zip lines and all the guides that went with us were extremely nice and fun. That night we ate some delcious pizza and walked around Boquete. We left early the next morning and although it was nice to be able to understand everyone for a while, I was ready to leave this weird touristy place and go back to the campo. Next up, our homestay trip to Santa Marta.

  1. #1 by Aunt Teresa on April 1, 2010 - 2:11 pm

    I just realized you don’t have any comments, and I thought you needed some. It sounds like you’re having a great experience-I would love to have had the opportunity (and the courage)! We’re looking forward to seeing you and hearing your stories. Have a safe rest of the trip as well as a safe trip home.
    Love you,

  2. #2 by Allie McG on April 7, 2010 - 3:00 pm

    Yay you did a zipline!!!! Those are so much fun!!!

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