(It is the day after Christmas — I hope everyone had a lovely one! — and again I am up early. Let’s continue with the visit to Volcan. This post will be the final one covering our visit to Boquete.)
I am so fascinated by Schwarzenegger’s hummingbirds, that after we check in to our rooms, I wander back outside to look some more. I sit myself in a chair right next to a ficus tree in a planter that is placed about 10 feet from a hummingbird feeder. I sit super still for minutes until the hummingbirds forget I am there. As they go about their usual feeding and fighting, sometimes they chased one another right past my face! If you’ve never witnessed two angry hummingbirds the size of robins zooming right at your body, only to turn aside at the last moment, well, put it on your bucket list! (“yea, right, I’ll do that right away, Robyn!”)
El Cielito Sur Bed & Breakfast has lovely grounds behind the main building that are worth exploring. Filled with a myriad of flowers, trees and a stream, it is worth the half hour to explore it.
We went to bed early and joined the other hotel guests in the main dining room for breakfast. There were two other young couples, not traveling together, and we struck up conversations with both of them – natch, ‘cuz we’re loudmouths. One of the couples left on their hike over the volcano to drop down into Boquete (“Oh, we just came from there you’ll love it!”) and the other couple continued chatting with us:
“Where are you from?” they asked.
“California” we replied. “So are we! What part?” they said.
“Orange County.” “So are we! What part?”
“Lake Forest.” “We’re from Laguna Niguel, across the freeway! And John, I have to say you look familiar to me. What do you do?”
John replied, “Well, for years I was a school teacher at Trabuco Hills High School.”
“I WENT to Trabuco! Go Mustangs! Oh my God, Coach Cole? Are you Coach Cole? I think I had you for Civics.”
And thus was our introduction to Danielle and Ammad, two cute kids who we decided to pal around with. We went on a tour to an orchid farm. Here are a couple of pics:
The first shot is of the smaller orchids. This is considered the “nursery” of the farm. The second shot is of the most interesting orchid shown to us. It’s called the “Monkey Orchid”. Can you see the monkey face in the middle?
After that, our new friends headed out to their new lodgings for that night. They didn’t particularly care for the El Cielito for the same reasons we were kind of “meh” about the place: the rooms have not been updated since 1955. If you like that look, this is the place for you. But the kids found a resort near the Hotel Bambito called Casa Grande Bambito Spa and Lodge. I couldn’t find it anywhere on Trip Advisor, but when we heard they scored a deal for $69 (rooms normally run over $200 per night), we couldn’t help but look at the place.
We joined them for some horseback riding that afternoon at the Casa Grande and fell in love with the resort. The restaurant is lovely and the rooms are very modern with spa-like bathrooms. It was well worth the deal and also worth us re-packing our stuff and moving over to this place! Here are photos of some horseback riding and of the grounds of the Casa Grande. By the way, if you have not had an open-air massage, this is the place to do it! John and I arranged for massages at the same time in their spa facilities and it was great! Here are photos of the Casa Grande and our horseback ride:
The next day after breakfast with us in the Resort Restaurant (fabulous!) our new friends left for the Boquete Garden Inn in Boquete (say “hi” to Jay and Susan for us!) and John and I continued with our last day in Volcan. We explored the main town and I realize now why Boquete is a better landing place for us as we first hit Panama:
Volcan is a bit too rural and Boquete provides a softer landing for newbie Americans. There are more services, restaurants and retails establishments in Boquete. Yes, it’s more crowded, but for us, Boquete is where we would live if we come here and Volcan is a great place to visit.
Time to head home to the States and ponder our future. John and I still have not looked one another in the eye and asked the million dollar question: “Stay in the States or go to Panama”? That question will be answered in the next post, but in the meantime, here’s a shot of the Panama Canal from the jet that sped us from David back to Panama City: