The tour group walked 1 block to the famous Tuesday Market. Every Tuesday Panamanians and expats sell products and produce at the market. And it’s the day when hundreds of people from town come to the market to catch up with friends, meet new people, and buy stuff or just people watch.
The group stocked up on locally grown organic coffee. I recommended Palmira Gold coffee grown by Sandra Cripes. This coffee is so smooth it tastes like velvet. Sandra roasts the coffee the day before the market so it is super fresh. Bouqete is known for having some of the best coffee in the world. When you drive around the mountains which surround the village of Boquete, you see coffee growing everywhere.
Next, we boarded the bus to make the trip to Volcan. We took the “short cut” which goes through Portrerillos then winding roads which crisscross the side of Volcan Baru.
An hour and a half later, we arrived at Mana Restaurant. It’s my favorite place to eat in Volcan. The food is always excellent and affordable. I invited Canadian expats Pete and Ruth to join us for lunch so they could share their experiences about living in Volcan the past 4 years. When I first came to Panama, this was the first place I stayed. Owner Jorge, an expat himself, and his wife Vicki are the perfect hosts.
Volcan is about half the size of Boquete. Many say Volcan looks like Boquete did 10 years ago. But Volcan is growing. New shopping centers are being built, a casino, new restaurants, and large 24 hour hospital is almost complete. Volcan is also much more affordable than Boquete so for many it is much more appealing. The Romero’s grocery store is larger and better stocked than the Romero’s in Boquete.
We drove north through Bambito then Cerro Punta where 80% of the food in Panama is grown. Crops of all types are grown year round along the mountain sides in Cerro Punta.
Cerro Punta’s elevation is 6,500 feet with ideal temperatures, air, and rainfall for growing food year round.
In every direction, for as far up as you can see, there is food being grown along the side of majestic mountains.
We also say a large horse farm with some very happy looking horses.
Before heading back to Boquete, we stopped by Arte Cruz’s studio. He’s a famous Panamanian artist.
He studied marble carving in Italy for 8 years, but his true passion is wood carving and making inlaid wood furniture.
See the photo below of some exotic flowers growing outside Arte’s shop
It’s the rainy season in Panama, and boy did it rain all the way back to Boquete.
At the hotel, I answered more questions about living in Panama before we headed off to Big Daddy’s restaurant for dinner. Big Daddy’s is owned by expats Larry and Elizabeth Slagle from Florida. They have lived in Panama for 4 years. Their fish tacos and margaritas are the best in Boquete!
Three people who had been on previous tours and already moved to Boquete joined us for dinner.
During the tours, we strive to give everyone on the opportunity to hear lots of REAL DEAL, no hype, no fluff, no sales pitch, and no rose-colored glasses stories from expats.
And we show the vast variety and diversity available in Panama. Among the various mountain towns, there are many differences. Among the many beach communities, there are many differences. Among the large cities there are many differences.
By being exposed to all of this during the tour, our guests will be able to make an informed decision about moving to Panama… or not.
Panama is not right for everyone. After the tour most people know if it is a go or no go.