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  • Total days on the road: 586
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Panama: Mountains, Vetkoek and Dirty-Dancing Devils

Written by Jessica on June 15, 2012

Click to enlarge photoStart: May 25, Boquete, Panama
Finish: June 13, Panama City
Dirty Dancing Devils Seen: hundreds
Words Written: ~75,000

From the heat of the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica we beelined for the mountains of Boquete, spent a few days enjoying the cool mountain air, before searching out a better camping spot near Santa Fe.

Then we headed out to a beach house on the Auzero Penninsula to get caught up on work and to get a few big projects underway. We took the time to cook a few delicious meals and to take part in Panama's totally crazy Corpus Christi festival.



The panorama above is a view of Boquete just after a huge rain storm. We pulled into town and pitched our tents behind a hostel, enjoying the chilly air. Just a we arrived in town we received a message from our overlander friends who were a couple weeks ahead of us and in the middle of trying to ship their car to Colombia. They had a mistake on their import permit, the motor number field was blank which caused them to fail inspection in Panama City. We looked at our paperwork...same problem.

Having just gone through a long day of driving and a border crossing, only to find out we'd have to return the next day, we took the only logical choice left and headed to the bar. A giant plate of fish and chips and a few $1 beers will make anyone feel better.


The next day we returned to the border to have the papers corrected, and to hunt for a new stove to replace what was stolen in Costa Rica. The border issue was straight forward and quickly resolved. The stove shopping resulted in a bit of driving around, but I am proud to announce that we are proud owners a good old fashioned two-burner Coleman propane stove. Woo hoo!

Back at our hostel campground we made some new friends; Andy and Dunia from and Joaquin and Clara from Por America Anando. We shared a few drinks, and were inspired by Andy's stories of driving in India and across Russia, and taking notes as Joaquin and Clara told us about their five months overlanding in their home country of Argentina.


From our cosy hostel in Boquete, we drove east a bit and then circled back up into the mountains to check out Laguna Yeguada. A picturesque lake in a protected park in the mountains of Panama.


Click to enlarge and see the full panorama of the lake. It did not disappoint. The lake and surrounding mountains were stunning. Kobus even fit in some time to go fly fishing.

In case you hadn't noticed from our earlier posts, we are now officially in the Central American rainy season. I know some Seattlites reading this think they are in a permanent rainy season, but this isn't a gray-sky, trickle-down, barely-get-wet-on-a-walk-to-the-coffee-shop type of rain. This type of rain is a proper full-on torrential downpour. Here's an animated sequence of photos to show you how fast our campground became a lake.


Thankfully there was a thatched roof shelter and we could stay mostly dry while the skies opened up. Most days after an hour or two of downpour the skies clear and the sun comes back out.


After weathering a few days in the pine forest, sufficiently drenched, and discovering mold growing on more parts of our tents than we care to admit, we packed up and headed south to the beach. With a lot of website work to get caught up on (you might have noticed our updated homepage) and a few e-book projects to get cracking on, we decided to rent a beach house for a week and stay put.


Playa Uverito, just outside of Las Tablas, was the perfect place to relax and get some work done. Beautiful sunsets and a long stretch of beach were right outside our door.


Although the beach was just steps away, we spent just about every waking hour on our computers. Writing and writing, and then rewriting, and writing some more. We estimate somewhere around 75,000 words total. Sometime in the coming weeks we'll announce when and what we are actually doing. Stay tuned...


While staying at the beach house we were told about a festival happening in a nearby town. Something about dancing devils, incredible masks, and flower-lined streets. Ok, we're in! Kobus and I set out a little later than planned and arrived in Villa de Los Santos around noon. We wandered into the central park to find the procession in full swing.


The devil masks were incredible. Corpus Christi, celebrated 40 days after Semana Santa, is a traditional catholic celebration. Although, like always, religious celebrations here in Central America are taken to a whole new level. The dancing devils are meant to represent the coming of the apocolypse.

We were a little late to the show, so we only saw the last 15 minutes of the procession. These little kids marched and danced through the streets at the end of the parade with masks made mostly made of paper mache and macaw feathers. I can only imagine what it was like to dance in full costume with a giant devil mask on in 90+ degree heat.


15 minutes in, and the procession is over. What's a girl to do? Find the beer tent and the spiral-cut chorizo on a stick! Total cost: $1.75. I love this country.


As if the cold beer crazy cut sausages weren't enough, Kobus actually found some time to cook. Now, for those of you that have been following along for a while, you know that Kobus doesn't normally cook, Kobus drives, Jessica navigates and Jared is the chef. This generally keeps the balance. But, with no driving to do, and Jared tied up writing an epic non-fiction book, someone had to take over.

mmm yummy goodness....

fetkoek Yummy!

This is vetkoek. (pronounced fet-cook) It's a South African specialty. And by specialty I mean, AMAZING! Deep fried dough sliced open, stuffed with curried mince meat, vegetable and all-around deliciousness. We ate it for two days straight.

Up Next: We head straight to Panama City to get the shipping process underway. With any luck we'll be in Colombia by the weekend.


#1 James 2012-06-17 05:00
Diggin the new site, Cant wait to meet up and hear your new ideas. See you in south americuhhhhh

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