I created a bucket list before going to Panama. How well did I live up to/achieve my goals?
- Learn Spanish
Well, I know more than I did when I left. By virtue of finding that the majority of my interactions with Panamanians were by necessity in Spanish, I understand more than I can communicate. I did have a handful of lessons, which helped, but I didn’t get very far because then we went to the States and upon returning began preparations to leave. So this was not accomplished, but given the situation, oh well.
- Visit South America (my fourth continent!)
Not so much. Not even close. But, again, considering the trip was 10 months shorter than expected, oh well.
- Check out Casco Viejo in Panama City
Did this on multiple occasions. Apart from the smaller towns/suburbs near where we lived, this is where I spent my time in Panama City.
- Go hiking in the rainforest
Checked this off on my birthday and saw monkeys, woot 🙂
- Try surfing
I went to the beach twice. This did not happen. (And couldn’t have happened at the beaches I went to)
- Take a whitewater rafting trip down the Chiriqui
- Capture the Bridge of the Americas on film (…ok, memory card)
Did this on multiple occasions – never a great shot though. More adventurous though, was driving over it. It’s high, the lanes are narrow, there are buses, and everyone goes 20 km over the speed limit.
- Catch a fish
Didn’t go fishing (and the water was gross)
- Explore the canal
I visited it, and that was enough for me.
- Go swimming in the Caribbean and Pacific
“Swimming” might be a bit of a stretch for my Caribbean adventure, but I did wade a bit. Outside of Bocas and the San Blas islands, I don’t think the Panama Caribbean is really known for its beaches.
- Eat amazing food
I never took a picture, but the empanadas were delicious. And I ate octopus on multiple occasions. So, by amazing I think I mean different than what I would usually find in the States.
- Visit an Embera Village
- Feel incredibly out of place at a disco
This was kind of a lame goal to begin with, so I’m not heartbroken that I didn’t follow through.
6/13 isn’t bad in two months. What else did I do that didn’t make it on to the list but I might suggest to other Panama adventurers?
- Ride a bus – public transportation is possibly one of the ultimate cultural adventures, and however intimidating the buses may look, I had a positive experience. I would advise knowing where you’re going and/or being able to communicate in Spanish…or don’t be afraid to get lost. 🙂
- Panama Viejo – if you like old places and ruins, this is definitely a spot to check out. Knowledge of Spanish would be helpful if you want to read the signs (it was too humid for me to even bother trying).
- Ancon Hill – okay, so I didn’t really make it up Ancon Hill – but if I had, the view would definitely have been worth it.
My two months in Panama did not amount to a great feat in tourism. I was there to work, and between the job not facilitating extensive adventures and my own disinclination to make the effort, I didn’t see as much as I would have liked to (San Blas Islands!). But I am thankful for the introduction to Central America (if in a country that is perhaps unsure which continent it belongs to), and although I don’t see myself returning, anything is possible, and I would be excited to see more of the country beyond Panama City.