05/02/2015 I made it safe & sound to Brazil and already visited two great spots in the south’s nature: Itaimbezinho Canyon and Caracol Falls! More on that in about three months or so when I will probably reach Brazil in my Live Updates 😉 Now it’s finally time to cover the last country of my Central America trip! Panama exceeded my expectations and it all started in Boquete, hosting a Jazz & Blues Festival at the time and some really nice hikes in general.
As mentioned before, I came very well prepared to the border of Panama after crossing the Golf of Golfito in Costa Rica; presenting an American Airline Ticket from Panama City to Frankfurt (which was just on hold) as well as plenty of cash, leaving me with no problems whatsoever to enter Panama. Once in the country, I had to get to David first and then change into another chicken bus towards Boquete in the north. Everything worked out smoothly and in Pension Topas, I even found a last second accommodation during the busy Jazz & Blues festival weekend. I actually ended up sleeping in a tent because all rooms were booked out, but thanks to the very nice German owner, the tent has been very comfortable with a lot of sheets and pillows.
It was already getting a bit cold in Boquete, mainly due to it’s higher elevation, and going for a swim in Topas’ pool was certainly a good way to wake up in the morning. I had big plans that day, trying to hike as much as I could from the Quetzales Trail. Doing it from East to West and starting in Boquete takes a long time, as the trail gains over 1000m in elevation. I originally planned to take a collectivo to the starting point but then opt in to walk because of the fact that nobody else wanted to share the collectivo, leaving me with a pretty high price on my own.
Walking up there was actually really nice, passing Mi Jardín es Su Jardín on the way and enjoying it’s free garden. I eventually made it out of town and soon after got a ride actually for about ten minutes, getting me to the starting point of another little excursion: The lost waterfalls hike. I hiked up the muddy path and eventually reached a little booth. There was a charge to enter and getting to the last waterfall was supposed to take a long time, making me turn back while enjoying the splendid views across a nice valley. Getting up here was actually worth just for that view!
I continued the hike uphill along a street with some cool climbing areas nearby, sadly I had neither shoes nor ropes or a climbing partner with me. The path finally turned into the jungle and all of the sudden it started to rain pretty heavy. I was crossing the river several times and trying to stay in good spirits while the rain constantly battled down on me. No other people could be seen anywhere until about one hour later, when a french couple told me that they had turn back because of the rain, mud and probably very bad visibility on the lookout.
Eager to check out the situation myself, I walked into the actual really muddy jungle path for another hour, motivated by the stopping rain and periodically peaking out sun. After a while the sun disappeared again and I had to keep the time in mind, stopping me just before a bigger river crossing. I was out there without a tent and had to get back the roughly 24km to Boquete on the same day. After leaving the jungle and entering the road again, I saw a collectivo waiting and ended up taking it this time since it was already half full. My feet were certainly happy about that decision and I made it back to Boquete early enough to enjoy the town’s Jazz & Blues Festival for a little bit. One older gentleman looked like Gandalf’s secret brother and certainly had the best mood of all people in town, I am sure you are able to spot this guy in the video 🙂