Since the friend of mine whom we were staying with lives in Panama, I figured he knew what the best sites to see would be. And because I can’t get my wife to do anything like scuba diving or zip-lining, I was stuck with sight-seeing.
We started the first full day with a boat trip to Taboga Island. This Pacific island is only a half hour boat ride from Panama City (pick up the boat next to the Balboa Yacht Club for $20/ person RT), but a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city .
The ramp to the ferry and a shot of the beautiful marina you depart from. The bridge shown behind my beautiful bride is the bridge of the Americas which literally connect North and South America. Beyond that starts the Panama Canal.
You can still see Panama City’s high-rises off in the distance as we approach the sparsely populated Taboga Island.
The hillsides are dotted with local homes, vacation homes, and a few small hotels and bed & breakfasts. Note the lovely sand beach stretching out on the right side of the town.
You can buy Rum & Coke in a can. Is this a great country or what?!
So my friend being, well the kind of friend I tend to have, is not content to lie on the beach. He decides we are going to conquer the 500 foot high knob of rock at the harbor entrance. This island was a former coaling station back in 1860 and had a U.S. naval base for many years. There are many traces of it at the bottom near the shore, but the jungle has reclaimed everything else. We did find the grave of a 39-year old Captain at the summit. He must have really been an important guy for them to haul his body way up here. Be prepared to sweat if you try something adventurous!
On the other end of the island is their Catholic church. They claim this church is the oldest in the New World. My friend says he knows a half dozen other churches who claim the same thing!
On the ferry over, there was a nice lady handing out flyers for her restaurant, the Calaloo. We tried it and while my fish & chips was OK, my wife really enjoyed the fresh caught fried whole fish. The ambience was great with it being open air and overlooking the harbor.
Panama is apparently home to the world’s last remaining phone booths. It has been years since I saw these anywhere! As we departed, I took a picture of that knob of rock we hiked. At the bottom, it says it was the R&R location for the men working on the Panama Canal. I can believe that Taboga Island must have seemed a world away to those poor souls toiling away on the project!