It has been quite a trip from the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica to David in Panama. It took most of one day to travel here with the 4WD to Puerto Jimenez and then by boat, taxi and bus to my destination for two nights.
The boat trip from Puerto Jimenez to Golfito was very nice. Great weather, a calm sea and a little boat which they use as a ferry. About 10 locals were on board, and of course one Swiss tourist. From Golfito I took a taxi to the boarder. Traversing the border between Costa Rica and Panama was quite a process, but with a bit of experience and lots of patience I managed fairly well.
Once in Panama I took a bus to David. You can immediatley spot that you are in a different country. The Panamericana is a two lane highway in Panama, whereas in Costa Rica it looked much more like a small regional road, with lots of dangerous potholes to boot.
David is the second biggest city in Panama, with about 130.000 people living here. It’s nothing special, but a good travel hub with lots of transportation connections. I decided to stay a day and visit Boquete.
In order to make it to Boquete I went to the bus terminal. The receptionist in my hotel told me that the bus is easy to be found, they would be positioned in alphabetical order. I do not know what alphabet they use here in Panama, but it must be a very different one than we use in Western Europe… I finally found the bus after a lot of asking around in the terminal . It was a one hour ride to Boquete, the fare $1.50.
Boquete is a small, calm and nice town, surrounded by smaller mountains and rainforest. The climate is much more comfortable than in David, cooler, with clouds hanging in the trees of the rainforest. Therefore they call the forest here cloud forest. The yards of most homes are lush gardens of colorful flowers. Boquete is said to grow the best coffee in Panama. Some very special types are only brewed early in the morning and usually sold out quickly. I am not an early bird, so just got some ‘ordinary’ brews, which were certainly tasty enough.
Another interesting thing in Boquete are the local taxis. They are constantly cruising the streets and as the population is small, they seem to know who is going where. They usually only leave once their cab is full. So if you are getting in, the driver will look for other passengers with the same destination. He charges everybody, but with a lower price than for a single passenger. It’s a real win-win, lower prices for passengers, profit for the driver, not to mention using less gasoline than separate trips would have used. Of course those advantages mostly work if you have some time to spare. The people here in Panama seem to have it, they take it easy.