Tag Archives: vacation

panama, the first half

#colorful #cargo #ship #panamacanal #ciudaddepanama #panama #igerspanama #pacific #ocean #water #boats #sky

Stop whatever you’re doing and book a trip to Panama. Don’t pass go, don’t collect $200, don’t ask if you can have the week off, just DO IT and hope it all works out. Seriously. Start in Panama City.

Our digs in the city, beautiful views... #interior #cascoviejo #cascoantiguo #panamacity #centralamerica #panama

Book an apartment at Casa Antigua. Try to reserve one on the second or third floor; they have balconies overlooking Casco Viejo and the presidential palace (police everywhere!) and the newer, fancier Panama City skyline. The other apartments boast private roof access but then you don’t get to see the life going on in the streets below. Regardless, the views are both amazing. The units come with a full kitchen, living room, dining room and bedroom.

#drinks on the #balcony with a beautiful woman... @urbancasita #dusk #panama #centralamerica #ciudaddepanama #igerspanama #cascoantiguo #cascoviejo

Balcony view.

#rooftops #cityscape #city #ciudaddepanama #panama #centralamerica #birds #igerspanama

Rooftop view.

After you check in, head to Relic for a drink. If it’s a weekend night prepare for crowds and loud music but quick service at the bar. You can wear flip flops with cutoffs or a cocktail dress and fit right in. Drink a lot of water with your beer.

Strolling #cascoantiguo #cascoviejoStrolling through #cascoviejo #cascoantiguo to find @urbancasita her morning caffeine fix

Wake up late and stroll around the amazing neighborhood that is Casco Viejo/Cacso Antiguo. We were in this area of the city for three entire days and I never got tired of simply walking around and looking at all of the buildings.

Typical #cascoviejo #cascoantiguo #architecture #panama #igerspanama #ciudaddepanama #turqouise#colonial #architecture #cascoviejo #cascoantiguo #panamacity #centralamerica #panamaBalcony #cascoantiguo #cascoviejoCan I please live up there? #cascoantiguo #cascoviejo#cascoviejo #cascoantiguoPink #cascoantiguo #cascoviejoBeautiful #colonial #architecture in #cascoviejo #cascoantiguo #panamacity #centralamerica#colorful #fence #cascoviejo #cascoantiguo #panama #panamacity #centralamerica#colonial era #church in #cascoviejo #cascoantiguo #old #architecture #panamacity #panama #ciudaddepanama #centralamerica

Eat dinner at Ego y Narciso, a cute little place on Plaza Bolivar where you can sit outside and drink delicious sangria.

Wake up early on day two, stroll the area some more and have coffee at Casa del Horno. Then find Braulio from Truly Panama and have him take you to the Miraflores Locks at the Panama Canal. He’ll point out all of the sights on your way there with a lot of history thrown in. If you’re a boot-in-the-ass-American who doesn’t want to hear about our country’s sore spots, just take a regular taxi. We have an interesting history down there and Braulio is a wealth of information.

#boat #ship traversing the #panamacanal...being lowered via the locks. #engineering #panama #centralamerica #igerspanama#ship moving through the locks at the #panamacanal #panama #centralamerica #motion #pacific #atlantic #amazing #igerspanama

The canal is bananas. To imagine such a feat of engineering back in 1914 is crazy. As The Mister put it: a marvel of human ingenuity, engineering, and exploitation.

You’ll be pretty tired when you get back to Casa Antigua, so have a bite downstairs at Ay! Carmela, the proprietor’s little restaurant. You can sit outside with a glass of wine and talk about all that you saw.

Dinner: Rene Cafe. Delicious, prix-fixe, lots of courses, outdoor seating.

The next day, take a walk down the waterfront at the edge of Casco Viejo. There is a beautiful promenade that stretches all the way downtown.

#sky #red #symmetry #pattern #geometric #structure #architecture #color #colorful #colour #panama #centralamerica #panamacity#panamacity #centralamerica #panama #embarcadero #architecture #pattern #geometric #lines #blue #colour #color #colorful #skyline #pacific #water #ocean#embarcadero #centralamerica #igerspanama #panamacity #panama #sky #structure #lines #green#colorful #color #colour #red #blue #yellow #lines #geometric #pattern #architecture #panama #centralamerica #panamacity#colorful #architecture #highrise #panama #centralamerica #panamacity #igerspanama #modern

Then catch a taxi to Panama Viejo, founded in August of 1519 and the oldest settlement on the Pacific coast of the Americas.

@urbancasita on the grounds of #panamaviejo, the first city settlement (1600s)... #ruins #ruinas #historical #panama #igerspanama #centralamerica #wife#vista #tower #ruins #ruinas #historical #panamaviejo #igerspanama #centralamerica #ciudaddepanama #panama #vegetation #tree #flowers#flowers #vegetation #ruins #ruinas #panamaviejo #historical #panama #igerspanama #centralamerica#wife @urbancasita walking towards the #ruins #ruinas #panama #ciudaddepanama #centralamerica #igerspanama #panamaviejo #historical
#vista #tower #skyline #ciudaddepanama #panama #centralamerica #vegetation #trees

Find a taxi back to Casco Viejo and walk over to Tantalo, a hotel, restaurant, and rooftop bar that we visited on its 74th day open according to a manager. I really wish we had stopped in on our very first night in Casco Viejo. The cocktails were fantastic and the service was the best we had on our trip. The view from the roof was stunning.

LightsCocktails!

A month to explore Panama City would have been better but it was time for us to move on to Isla Contadora. That will be part two.

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tamarindo!

March in Chicago. While most of the country seems to be enjoying some spring-like weather, the City of Big Shoulders is still getting flurries every few days. Ugh. To avoid all of that, we headed down to Costa Rica for some real-life Vitamin D last week. It was our second visit in two years and I started writing this whole long post debating the merits of the east coast versus the west coast and Puerto Viejo versus Tamarindo and then it was getting really long and I was getting impatient because I wanted to share some photos with you because I love them so much and my impatience prodded me to shelve the epic Costa Rican coast showdown and just post some damn photos. Whew, that was a long sentence.

We touched down in Liberia, Costa Rica around two in the afternoon. At this point, we had been awake for more than thirty hours if you don’t count the three hour nap we took before departing our apartment for O’Hare at 4am. Fairly exhausted but with that certain travel adrenaline you feel in a new place, we passed through customs and met our taxi driver for the ride to Tamarindo, a small town about an hour from the airport. After a quick stop at the grocery store, he dropped us at Casa Cook, home sweet home for the next few days.

That hammock? That beach? Oh, yeah, those were in our front yard. Casa Cook is a tiny, boutique-like hotel with four rooms: two stand-alone cabinas, a studio apartment and a casita off the pool. We dropped our bags in one of the stand-alone cabinas, grabbed a few cold beers and beach towels and went right into the water. 4pm and it was still over ninety-degrees. My kind of town, ya know?

Let me tell you this: no one was on the beach. For the whole trip. No one.

OK, that’s exaggerating. When you’re used to the over-crowded beaches of St. Thomas, a dozen people on a humongous beach feels like no one. I was shocked– this is high season, after all. On each of our beach visits we were at least 100 yards away from anyone else. I like people and all but this kind of private relaxation was amazing.

I think we went to bed around eight or so that first night. Woke up to monkeys in our trees and took a nice walk down the beach for Bloody Marys and vodka tonics.

We took the street way back.  Lots of little restaurants and shops, bars and hostels.

The majority of our trip was spent on the beach with Walter Mosely for me, iPod for he, taking long walks and grilling.

There was lots to see no matter where we were; even on a simple walk back from the grocery. The swimsuit choices, por ejemplo.

The one excursion we took involved crocodiles, hand feeding monkeys (or rather, having them take bananas out of our closed fists), petting a calf and even letting it gnaw on our fingers (totally weird), and lots of practicing Spanish.


Is that not the cutest little animal ever? Come on. You know it is.

Overall: A++.  This was truly one of the best vacations we have ever taken. And guess what? I want to go back in June!

See all of our pics on Flickr.

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