Cerro Punta and Guadalupe
Parque Internacional La Amistad
Cerro Punta and Guadalupe
Well, we are leaving Boquete and heading to Cerro Punta and Guadalupe and here’s how it all happened. It is dirty, messy, and involves substances. However, it is something we are well prepared for. Our single parent travel has led us to places like this before. We can only hope that there won’t be any bad surprises. At least we have talked to local luxury travel experts and they have assured us of a safe family travel.
We have just had the worst night ever in Boquete! I felt like I was sleeping ON the Dance Party floor. The Panamanian DJ last night at the Feria de Las Flores Y el Café (Flowers and Coffee Festival) has a weird way of playing music in my opinion – but then I am a 50 year old Australian. The technique is that the music goes in and out, in and out as the DJ ‘overtalks’ in Spanish. And it is LOUD… and I mean LOUD!
I dress and go to the manager of the establishment and nicely explained that I was leaving a day early. That part of the reason is that the shower didn’t work for hot water.
Well, this manager (we will call him ‘Senor P’) was just so rude to me, and two times he threw his arms at me and walked off, so I followed him.
I explained the noise was not his fault; it was the loudness of the festival. He then started to verbally abuse me! His rudeness went on and on. His problem was that he was losing a night’s pre-paid accommodation.
When I told him about the shower he basically called me a ‘liar’. He appears to have anger issues but then ‘get this’, he takes me to a completely different shower in another part of the building that is run on a different gas bottle to show me it worked.
I explained that it was MY shower that was out of gas, not that one. He came in and counted to thirty in Spanish on his fingers like I was a moron.
“Ahhh” – Senor P proclaims, “No gas!”
So I asked ‘Senor P’ where we can move to that is quiet but he refused to answer and he refuses the refund. What is this man’s problem?
I walked out to near the kitchen and guests are smoking dope bongs right where my son normally has breakfast. So I tell my son not to go that way.
Plus, I see other drug-related implements on the ground and now I have had enough and we need to leave.
We are out of here
I don’t care where I go, or what money I lose, but I’m not staying here with a child with this foul man and now I see drugs – where has the nice travel life gone?
We grab our bags which are already packed and we start to walk the streets and I have no idea what to do.
Mamallena’s Hostel to the rescue
We walk to the adjacent Mamallena Hostel and I discuss my predicament with the guy on reception who is SO NICE! They are obviously still booked out, but this nice man lets me use their computer and he says he “completely understands”.
He suggests w take a bus to Cerro Punta and Guadalupe on the other side of the mountains. He helps us Google hotels and hostels but it is a tiny town. He even lets me use his mobile phone a couple of times to call and tee up a place to stay. I could hug him.
So guys – want a good hostel in Boquete – go to Hostel Mamallena. I refuse to name the other location.
Bus to David
Bus to Cerro Punta and Guadalupe
We get to David and change buses. Another mini-bus takes us to Cerro Punta and Guadalupe area, and we are getting used to the buses and minivans now. I’m so happy to have left Boquete and the horrible abuse of the morning.
Our host waits to greet us at Cerro Punta
Awaiting us as we get out is a lovely Spanish lady and her helpers.
Hostal Elvita is right opposite the Police Station. It is $30 a night for the two of us and has one other guest. It is delightful – and cool and central for Cerro Punta and Guadalupe region.
Retro heaven awaits us as we enter the foyer. It is a mix of Swiss Alps and Panama. Wood carvings and leather etching add to the ambiance. And we instantly love it here.
It is like time has stood still in these mountains and here all the decor is collectibles.
Kelly, the owner’s daughter, who I think is 15 years old speaks little English and she is a sweetheart. She goes to the local café and brings me back to Ceviche.
Ceviche is a fantastic cold seafood chili soup and I like it! We head down the street and find a local café. For $3 we share the hugest plate of salad, rice and beans, and a hot chocolate. Café Altura is our favorite new café in this town.
Home Sweet Home
We head back ‘home’ to Elvita Hostal, and under 4 blankets we snuggle for a movie on the laptop. When you are traveling it is important to have some places to stay that have that home feel about them, and we find that here. With warmth in our huge room, we are ready for a perfect night of R and R. I have 3Tb Drives with over 300 movies, and these come in handy for nights like this.
So this night sees us watching Whoopi Goldberg movie.
Exploring Cerro Punta and Guadalupe
Next day the lovely Spanish manager (who I never get introduced to?) gives me a great map of the Cerro Punta and Guadalupe area.
We head to Guadalupe on a local min-bus. Here we arrange for a horse-riding experience through the mountain trails. The local kids roam the streets and Explorason is a bit of a novelty to them.
Head for the hills
The hills are covered in all sorts of vegetables and fruit. Strawberries are the famed produce of this region.
Conquering My Fears
Now let me share a secret and that is that I am petrified of horses! I had a bad experience with an ‘out of control’ horse as a teenager. I have not been on one since. But this trip is about conquering my fears. So I try to explain in broken Spanish my fear to the staff and he has no clue of what I am talking about. He figures we can both ride, so off we go with my fears completely oblivious to him. My son finds it hilarious that I am afraid of a horse ride.
We ride through the township first. I ask our guide to hold my son’s rope and not let him go solo. Yeah – he understands my broken Spanish this time. We head up the rockiest road ever.
As we trot along, I watch as several times my son’s horse loses its footing, which makes me quite nervous.
We pass over many creeks and as we do, my horse seems to have a passion for the tropical plants around. Wow! Does he love to eat those palm fronds! He stops way too often and I have to urge him on.
I Take Control
Let’s go back now
As we head back, my horse decides it feels like more food. Then it trots along at a great rate. My son has been riding alone most of the trip and he is getting cranky about this and wants me with him.
Next thing, De Pablo is into a fast trot! I am in agony and I am riding three points. I am about to get a blister on my palms from holding center saddle. My knees – oh my knees; let alone my butt.
We head back to town and there are lots of little stalls. They sell famous strawberry drinks Bebidas Fresca ….. Mixed with berries, they are delightful and we sip our drink, thankful to be standing and not sitting on a horse.
Guadalupe township is thriving with tourists when we return on the weekend.
The Kids Have Fun
Back in town Kelly and her brother Christopher ask my son to go to the park. It is a great afternoon. Language knows no bounds.
The next day I wake with a cold. I am stiff, sore and not well. I must say – bring a good first aid kit with you when you travel. I have appreciated my cold and flu tablets. I also miss Panadol Rapids from Australia and I have run out of them.
I had to buy an alternative in a Farmacia in Boquete at 43 cents per tablet. Strange to have them sell you individual tablets, but at least I have supplies. I do however have no instructions as to strength or quantity to take.
We have to head to Volcan to sort out my banking. We fail to do this since a Panamanian telephone exchange cannot connect me to an Australian exchange after 3 hours of standing in a street, trying to hear against thumping music. 11 calls and I cannot get through. So by lunchtime, it is raining and we give up.
Still, we get to see another town and then it is back to the hostel.
We head back for a quiet afternoon at the hostel. The kids talk to each other via Google Translate. This is worldschooling for the afternoon. How do I spell “XXX”. On and on it goes – it is a great time with them having a heap of laughs.
I have loved Cerra Punta and Guadalupe but I have no access to my bank funds and I am really frustrated. I doubt I will resolve this until I leave Panama in a few weeks. But, money hassles will not cloud the wonder of this country. For this reason, we have to be cautious with what we spend. Also, it is important to carry a secret amount of USD with you is a tip I would give you because you never know when you will have an emergency.
A Rainbow Ending
I have, despite feeling so ill, really enjoyed the mountains of Panama. The rainbow is the perfect end to our day!
Questions and Comments
- What is it you love about Panama?
- How do you love the islands and the culture?
- Was your visit to panama satisfying and adventurous?
- Do share your comments with us below.