I’m excited to be moving on today. The beds at the Manglar Lodge offered me little sleep both nights and the mosquitoes have been ferocious. Am I silly to hope that we don’t get eaten alive at the next place? Probably…
After another yogurt parfait breakfast, we packed up and made our way toward Pedasi (PEH-duh-see.) Goodbye, Manglar Lodge! Hello, Pedasi!
leaving for Pedasi
Drive to Pedasi
This is the longest drive yet, about 3 hours, through rolling hills and pastures. We’re heading into the Azuero Peninsula which is Panama’s farm country. Having lived in the country in Texas for the past few months, I’m looking forward to some scenery that reminds me of home.
But first we saw some unusual things, one of which I didn’t catch on camera: 3 saddled horses tied up at a restaurant. It was obvious that they had been ridden there to get lunch!
Above: string of houses that went on like this for about a mile!
pedasi drive 2
Above: a bus stop, and proof that gas is very inexpensive here!
pedasi drive 2
Above: men in a truck, cows in a truck (which ALMOST tipped over when he tried to turn off the road!
pedasi drive 3
Above: the variety of cow that is everywhere here, pasture
pedasi drive 5
Above: stray horse, cluster ‘o palms, what does the 2nd picture on the blue sign mean anyway?!
pedasi drive 4
Above: the biggest houses we’ve seen since arriving, burnt tree
About halfway to Pedasi is the city of Chitre. According to the guidebook, Chitre has a few interesting things to see including a very large cathedral, and since it was going to be lunch time when we arrived, we also decided to try out a recommended restaurant. The non-existence of street signs is really starting to rub me the wrong way. WHY!?! Why are there no street signs?! I’m so glad the guidebook has maps with a ton of landmarks. There is no way we could have found anything so far without it. In Chitre, we fail at even using landmarks to find the restaurant. Oh, we found the cathedral, but it was next to impossible to get to since there was a rained-out street fair meant to happen down the main drag. Closed-off streets. No streets signs. Chitre in 3 words? No thank you. Larabars and trail mix for lunch today.
Next, we came into a town called Las Tables. What is this we see? STREET SIGNS! I was so excited that I had to take a picture.
pedasi las tables
Las Tables was really cute, too. It was raining, but all the store fronts were open and the main street was bustling with umbrella-clutching people. I wanted to stop, but we really needed to get to Pedasi before dark.
An hour and a half later, we finally arrive in Pedasi. Upon entering we immediately see 2 of the 3 B&B’s we want to check out before deciding where we’ll stay. The first one is rated #1 on Trip Advisor, but we’re not sure why. The place is small, dark, and offers no amenities aside from breakfast and free internet. We move on, but keep it in mind since it’s almost half the cost of what we’ve been spending (maybe that’s why it’s #1?). The next place is rated #3, and upon entering, I wanted to stay immediately. The house and grounds are so beautiful, peaceful, inviting… and they have a pool. But of course, they are completely booked. Moving on…
Tummies are growling after our tiny lunch, so we decide to stop at The Bakery right there on the main road. It’s so charming, I simply must see all the goody persuasions. Kristian orders what he describes as the best tres leches he’s ever had, Kole and I had a chocolate chip cookie and Karter had a sprinkle-covered cake ball. Kristian and I also order a cappuccino which is what they call a latte. By the way, the coffee here is always good. These Central Americans know their coffee.
While we’re ordering, Kristian strikes up conversation with another “gringo” who turns out to be from France. Bridget and her boyfriend, Josh, are really pleasant and we sit outside and talk about their travels from France, to California, to Australia, to Bocas del Toro, and now here! They’ve been trying to start a business in a place where the cost of living is less and the taxes are much less. Sounds like the idea that Kristian has. We enjoy our chat with them and purpose to hook up again at the beach in the next few days.
Before hitting our last B&B option, we decide to head down one of the side streets to check out the beach, Playa Toro. It’s beautiful. It looks like a scene from “Survivor” with woven palm branch awnings that offer shade, and large pieces of driftwood washed up here and there. It’s really cool. We’ll be back.
On the way down to the beach, we passed a hostel that Bridget had mentioned had good rates, so on our way back to the main road, we stopped in to check it out. It’s simple, but nice. Problem is, they don’t have electricity. Hmm… It’s not meant for us tonight because Karter is having asthma issues and we may need to plug him in to a breathing treatment tonight.
Cafe Limon – Pedasi
OK. Last stop: Cafe Limon (LEE-mone), rated #2 on Trip Advisor. We’ve talked to the owner on the phone, Devin, an American who’s lived here now for many years. He’s very outgoing and we’re drawn to this place because of his perspective, having come from Pullman, Washington (GO, HUSKIES! That was for you, Devin.)
Cafe Limon is just south of Pedasi about 5 minutes. It’s a B&B and cafe and appears beautiful from the outside. Devin’s wife, Neymi, a native Panamanian, kindly lets us in the gate and we stepped in for a look-see.
pedasi view off balcony
The view from our balcony: on the left in the distance is where the monkeys hang out! (but we have yet to see any)
Cafe Limon is so warm and inviting, I immediately feel like I’m home. The room that has been offered to us is comfortable and modest, very roomy with a big ol’ balcony off the double doors, complete with a couch, table and chairs, a sling chair and a hammock! There is another man named Ron staying here with his little dog, Daisy, so between the Jack Russell Terrier and the hammock, the boys are begging to stay. We’re staying.
When we were settled, we sat down with Devin and he told the story of how he went from a die hard Pullman-ite to Panama resident. It’s a very interesting story and Kristian was soaking up every minute of it, dreaming of following a similar path. We’ll see about that…
It’s getting late and our options for dinner are narrowing by the minute since many restaurants are not open on Monday. We raced out the door to one of Devin’s recommendations: Tiesto Pizzeria, for pizza (the kids) and chicken tacos (for us.) Everything was tasty and fresh! While waiting for our food, we met another American traveler from Chicago. We asked her about her 3 week vacation here, exchanged information, ate, and headed back to Cafe Limon.
After getting settled in a bit, we sat down with Devin and Neymi and exchanged stories for quite awhile. They’re a hospitable and easy-going couple, so I think we’re going to enjoy our stay here.
On the itinerary for tomorrow: Isla Iguana for snorkeling and wildlife? Or a jungle walk on Devin’s property? This is yet to be decided…