Occasional Traveler

A collection of my thoughts and photos on travel.

Archive for the ‘Panama’ Category

Embera Village Tour

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November 28, 2009 | On the second to last day, I arranged for us to go on an Embera Village Tour with Anne Gordon de Barrigon. I’d read some great reviews about her tours and booked the day tour online. I’m glad that we went on this tour, as it was one of the most memorable things about this trip.

Anne had an interesting story about how she ended up as a tour guide in Panama.  She started off as an animal trainer for tv/films– her repertoire includes Legends of the Falls and Practical Magic!  One of her movies, End of the Spear, brought her to Panama to film the Embera people portraying Ecuadorian natives.  In a nutshell, she ended up getting married to one of the tribesmen (who’s waaay younger than she is, by the way) and they now run the tours together!

After a breezy yet relaxing dugout canoe ride, we visited Embera Puru where the village people greeted us with some music and dancing.  The villages are located in the Chagres National Park and interestingly enough, the villagers’ primary income is from tourism.

Anne encouraged us to support the village by purchasing one of their many homemade goods, as pictured below:

The crafts were pretty cool.  I ended up buying one of the woven baskets for $25.

Some of the visitors brought gifts for the children.  It was fun watching them divvy out the toy/games/coloring books as all the kids gathered around eagerly.

The villagers wore traditional clothing (very little clothing, but I guess with such tropical weather, it’s expected), the women’s chest just covered by festive beaded necklaces, which they normally only wear for special occasions.  Talk about culture shock, haha.

More images to follow…

Written by Jessica

March 1, 2011 at 12:12 PM

Posted in Panama, photography

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Panama Viejo

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November 27, 2009 | We took a morning flight out of Bocas del Toro back to Panama City.  After checking in to our hostel (we had a private room with a private bathroom), we took a cab to Panama Viejo to see the ruins of Old Panama City.  After going through the museum (there were some English-speaking guides as the museum is completely in Spanish), we continued outside to see the ruins.

Through the remains of an old building, you can see the blur that is my sister walking down the sidewalk.  The area outside of the ruins is supposedly a bit sketchy so we didn’t wander outside of the area.

Some of the ruins have had some additions for some structural support.  I also snapped a shot of some local kids playing across the street (that’s not creepy, right?).

Written by Jessica

February 8, 2011 at 8:58 AM

Sloth-sighting

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November 26, 2009 | Yes, I know, I am TERRIBLE about updating this blog but I’m not giving up.  In any case, here’s another picture from the J&J Transparante Tour. Trying to zoom in on a sloth in a tree while on a drifting boat was not easy!

Here’s an idea of how far we were (and I’m pretty sure I used some zoom on this too).  The sloth-sighting was a little bonus for the tour!

Written by Jessica

February 7, 2011 at 10:51 PM

Dolphin Caye

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November 26, 2009 | We had pre-scheduled a snorkeling tour with J & J Transparante Tours in the morning to see Dolphin Caye, Crawl Caye, Red Frog Beach, and Hospital Point.  Our group consisted of 28 people, all tourists of course.   The first stop we made was Dolphin Caye.  I was doubtful we’d see any dolphins, but after a little while, we found ’em!  It was rather difficult getting a good shot– this isn’t the best picture I’ve ever taken but it’s the best I got of one of the dolphins out of the water!

Also, I could recrop the photo so the waterline is horizontal but I’m feeling lazy now.  Anyway, at one point, some of the dolphins were following behind our boat and jumping in the wake!  The tour was $92 total for the 4 of us– very affordable!  I actually was very impressed with the tour but I’ll write more about that in following posts.

Written by Jessica

September 9, 2010 at 11:35 PM

Bocas del Toro

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November 25, 2009 |  Just down the street, there’s a great open view of the water.  I snapped a few (blurry) shots before dinner as we were losing sunlight.  This one was the most clear shot I got–

I like the composition of this shot better though. Shoulda brought my tripod!

Written by Jessica

September 9, 2010 at 10:19 PM

Gran Hotel Bahia

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November 25, 2009 | Almirante isn’t a particularly beautiful place, but it’s where the water taxi place was to take us to Bocas del Toro.  It’s roughly a 30 minute or so ride to Bocas del Toro by water taxi and cost us $4 per person.

Bocas Towne is on Isla Colon, the largest island in the Bocas del Toro archipelago, located in the Caribbean.   When we arrived, it was immediately apparent that the climate was much warmer and typical of the Caribbean.  I got pretty sweaty in the 10-15 minute walk to our hotel, Gran Hotel Bahia.

The hotel looks pretty cool from the outside but my parents were less impressed with the inside. It’s an older place and feels like it.  I didn’t mind so much but *shrugs* ya know, parents.   We paid $116 per night for 2 nights for the 4 of us.  At least we had AC.  Bocas del Toro was very touristy and good for surfers.

Written by Jessica

September 9, 2010 at 10:05 PM

Fortuna Dam

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November 25, 2009 | Esteban made a stop at Fortuna Dam, where we paid $1 to use the restrooms and bought some pineapple from a nearby vendor.  We learned from our driver that the dam is the sole source of electricity for all of Panama.

It was really nice having our own driver actually.  He stopped or slowed down whenever we asked him to, which was nice for me– I could stop and take pictures!

Written by Jessica

September 9, 2010 at 9:37 PM

Posted in Panama, photography, travel

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