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The Pacific coast and mountains of Panama

A trip on the Pacific coast and mountains of Panama, that was what I did last week. I started the week on Monday in Panama City and traveled to Playa Venao. From there, I traveled to David, and then to Boquete. All in all an adventure once again on the Pacific coast and mountains!

Haven’t read my Travel Diary from last week? Click here.

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The Pacific Coast: Playa Venao

Monday to Friday.

On Monday I arrived in Playa Venao from Panama City. Playa Venao is a small place on the Pacific coast of Panama. I can’t even call it a town, because I haven’t really seen any houses or locals. Only two hostels, some small (expensive) stores and some (expensive) restaurants.

Playa Venao, on the Pacific coast of Panama

I had booked a hostel that was close to the beach and that had a big pool. I planned on using that a lot this week, but it ended up raining most of the time.

Fortunately, there were many things to do. I had a couple of meetings for work this week. The hostel where I was staying – Selina Playa Venao – had a lot of co-working spaces to work from. I used them a lot.

In my dorm I met a Belgian girl, with whom I spend most of my time in Playa Venao. She had been traveling for a while and became a yoga teacher in Mexico. Now, she had started teaching classes herself.

With her, I attended a yoga class one morning. In the afternoon she was the teacher – it was her second class ever! – and I participated. On Friday, we traveled together for a while, before our ways had to split. She was going to Panama City and I went to David. Done with the Pacific coast and mountains to look forward to!

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David: the second biggest city in Panama

Friday to Sunday.

On Friday afternoon I arrived – after four busses – in the city of David. This is the second biggest city in Panama (with the biggest being, of course, Panama City). Everyone had warned me that there was nothing to do in David and that it wasn’t safe either. Of course, I was stubborn and wanted to find out for myself.

The warnings turned out to be half true: there is nothing to do in David. When I googled on Friday what I could do this weekend, I couldn’t find anything. No museums, no sightseeing, no shopping streets… Nothing. Just a church.

So that’s where I went. But it wasn’t that interesting. I spent most of my weekend working and relaxing.

Church  in David, Panama

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The mountains and jungle of Panama: Boquete

Sunday to Thursday.

On Sunday I got a taxi and went to the busstation of David. I told my taxi driver that I was taking the bus to Boquete. The driver did not drop me off in front of the busstation, but he drove to the back of it to find me the next bus to Boquete. Before I could even step out of the taxi, my backpack was already put into the correct bus. Panamanian people like to help and are almost always very nice.

The drive to Boquete was not that long – only an hour – and so I arrived before I could even check in. The hostel didn’t mind and luckily, my room was ready! I put down my backpack and then headed to the supermarket to buy some food for the next days.

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Volcano Barú

When I got back to my dormroom, I met an American guy who had been here for a couple of days. We were talking about things to do in the area, and I asked him whether he had been on the volcano. This was something that I would love to do, but it was quite pricey. I didn’t know if I should spend so much money on it. “No,” he said. “but I’m going tonight. Do you want to join?”

Volcano Barú in Panama, in the mountains

Apparently, it is normal here to hike the volcano at midnight, so you can see the sunrise from the summit. The volcano is 3475m (Boquete is on 1311m). The hike is about 14km. The path isn’t that hard, but the steep way up makes it really challenging.

It is also possible to do the sunrise volcano tour with a 4×4 jeep, but this costs $85. Therefore, I decided to join the guy with hiking on the volcano. We were picked up by a shuttle on 11.30 p.m. and then we went to other hostels to pick up other travellers. The shuttle took us to the foot of the volcano.

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The hike on volcano Barú

We were with six hikers in total. I was the only one being unprepared for the trip. I didn’t even sleep before to have more energy during the hike: the rest did. This is why I fell behind pretty soon on the hike.

We started around 00.10 a.m. After a while, four people of the group left me and another Dutch girl. We couldn’t keep op with them (mostly because I couldn’t). For a couple of hours we hiked with just the two of us. Then, another group caught up with us and we decided to join them. We did the rest of the hike together.

Around 5.45 a.m. we arrived at the summit of the volcano after a hell of a hike (in my opinion). The sunrise was just getting started. We enjoyed the beautiful view from the highest point of Panama. It was really cold and I was super tired from the hike. A tour guide from a 4×4 jeep was nice enough to take me back with them, so I wouldn’t have to hike down.

Volcano Barú in Panama

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The other days in Boquete

On Monday, I slept the whole day, after spending the whole night and part of the morning on the volcano. On Tuesday, I finally checked my work email again and I also worked for a little bit. I participated in a yoga class on Wednesday morning, and then I joined some people from the hostel on a hike.

This hike wasn’t that challenging and it was really beautiful. After we got back, I went to the supermarket to buy some food for this night and the next morning. I also prepared the dinner already, because the kitchen could be really crowded in the evenings.

Wednesday afternoon and evening were really chill. I packed my backpack, I watched a series on Netflix and I went to sleep early. On Thursday, it was time to go to my next destination, and to leave the Pacific coast and mountains of Panama behind. Time to go back to the Caribbean cast!

Until next week!

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