Wheels up in Ft Lauderdale and wheels down at Panama’s Tocumen International Airport in just under 3 hours. The skies are overcast with a hint of drizzle, which is indigenous to the tropical climate that Panama is well known for. We cleared Customs, retrieved our luggage and found our ride to Coronado, Panama which will be our home base for the next thirty days.
The ride on the Pan-American Highway was a bit rough in parts. This intra-continental roadway is approximately 19,000 miles of pavement and connects the mainland Americas border-to-border. Both lanes of the highway leaving Panama city were very busy. What was to be an hour commute turned into a slow moving, mass exiting, bumper to bumper traffic jam. We finally got to our destination in just a little under two hours. This was taking into consideration that it was the beginning of a very important four day holiday. Lots of Panamanians where exiting the city and were heading north to enjoy time in the countryside.
On the way to our condo we crossed over the Panama Canal (pictured, above right). Hopefully a tour will be in our itinerary of this incredible manmade landmark. We reached our destination, but not before stopping to stock up on some groceries. The ‘Rey’, which is one of Panama’s major grocery chains can be found in most towns and cities.
We finally arrived at the complex and unloaded our backpacks and rations for the week. Once we were settled into our 4th floor beachfront view condo, we relaxed on the “S” shape balcony and took in the ocean air and spectacular views.
The coastline that we have access to everyday was absolutely beautiful. The blend of sparkling black and off white sand makes the beach a gallery of natural art. The vining flame like patterns created by washing sands are some of natures most artistic creations.
The 23 story tower that we are staying in has a rooftop terrace that labels itself as “The Social Area”. The 360 degree panoramic view it provides is nothing less than breathtaking. We can see mountains on one side and the sea on the other. Panama’s landscape appeals to many visitors, snowbirds and expats because it combines lush forestry terrain that flows from the mountains to the beautiful crystal blue waters.
A walk along the beach provided us so many traditional experiences. We watched a fisherman repair his net for the next early morning affair with the ocean’s bounty. The beach shore fishing camp included rows of wooden tables and shanty like out-buildings tethered to solid ground.
The Pacific’s subtle waves splashing against exposed rocks that appear during low tide, adds a bit of character to the mostly smooth sandy shoreline. I took advantage of photographing several ‘Kodak’ pictorial moments that occurred with every surge of surf.
Panama is home to various types of wildlife. While walking on the beach one morning, we came across a Brown Hawk (pictured, below left). It was perched on a railing and seemingly looking for its morning meal. This reddish-orange in color bird of prey was known in the older days as a common Buzzard, but eventually gained their status as a hunter and not a scavenger.
Panama has a laidback attitude with an accompanying atmosphere to boot. This tropical paradise has something for everyone. If you are looking for a beautiful shoreline, lush vegetation, mountainous terrain, blue glistening water with gorgeous skies above and near perfect climate, then you have found your utopia. This is not to mention the added warm-felt welcome we received from the expat and Panamanian communities. There is one more important advantage to Panama and that is you can drink the water straight from the faucet in most places. In my book of travels, this is a big positive!
Author: Anthony Scopel
Photographer: Anthony & Maureen Scopel
Associate Editor: Maureen Scopel
Technical Mastering & Support: Matt Kemper