Sure, why wouldn’t we spell it that way? It’s kind of exciting, after
clearing through a very comfortable customs process we entered on to a fantastic road. Far from the clutches of doom (exaggeration) in Costa Rica, the Panamanian route from Rio Sereno to Volcan was awesome. The pavement was nearly perfect, little to no traffic and beautiful vistas and fincas everywhere. Maybe it was the combined package but this stretch on that day was one of the better rides we’ve had, definitely in the top 10. After Volcan the road becomes average, not much to say really. Prices in Panama are almost half of Costa Rica and the country seems more advanced, did I say that already?
The beach cabins at Las Lajas costs 10 bucks a night and were very simple but we had access to washrooms, showers and a restaurant. The food was well priced and we decided to sample some Panamanian beer before heading onto the beach for a swim. The food was excellent for the price, the beer is very light but refreshing and the surf is shallow and only mediocre but the beach is long and impressive.
The next day was an easy ride to Panama City; it was raining
Panama is an impressive centre of activity, the Canal sets the pace for this small country and suggests a feeling that things can get done down here. It is very modern and far more advanced than the Central American countries we have been in. It’s also very nice as far as large cities go, on the ocean with the impressive Canal at its centre the city is connected to islands that are a definite tourist stop and promotes the expansion and development of foreign business. There are so many banks here I’m sure you will be able to find at least three that you have used before every few blocks. We checked out the Canal and learned about its impressive history and the work that has been done to improve the standard of living for residents since the Canal was repatriated from the US in 1999. The average cost to traverse the Canal is about 300k and about 14000 cargo ships travel it per year.
So far I would say that Panama is my favourite Central American country. Even though Costa Rica has Pura Vida, which I have a particular fondness for, I would pick Panama if I had to choose. The interesting point to note is that Panamanians do not consider themselves a part of Central America, some of this ideology comes from history and their own independence. It is however a critical area for trade and commerce and key zone connecting North, Central and South America.