“A Day in the Neighborhood” Series
Once you have made the decision to move to Panama you will need to know where to go to satisfy all your daily needs. From the best grocery stores and work out places, to the top spots to meet people, dine out, and have a few drinks with friends. Panama is a new and undoubtedly different place than what you’re used to; those who move here with the notion that it will be “just like home” are not allowing themselves to fully embrace their new life in Panama and all the wonderful benefits it offers. To become acquainted with Panama and the lifestyle, you must truly be ready to open up to everything Panama has to offer.
An important part of moving abroad is the day-to-day lifestyle. For those who move to Panama with a blind eye, it can take a while to understand the ins and outs of Panama and its culture. We will use our current, intimate knowledge of Panama to arm you with the information necessary to best utilize Panama’s vibrant areas and their benefits.
A Day in the Neighborhood: Boquete, Panama
Life in Boquete is at a much slower pace than in Panama City. You could simply relax and spend half your day sitting in one of the town’s cafes sipping rich coffee from local farms like many retirees. But, there is also plenty of nature to explore throughout the hillsides in the area, as well as business opportunities for ex pats, beaches close by, and more. A day in Boquete typically starts with the sound of the roosters crowing around dawn depending on where you are living. Many like to stay in the hillsides or gated communities in Boquete because of the infrastructure, activities, and friendly neighbors that you see every day.
For this day in the Neighborhood series, we are staying in a home stay in Boquete with a nice family; about 10 minutes walk from the center of town.
The morning consists of a Panamanian Breakfast cooked by your host mom. The meal isn’t the healthiest of meals but she does cook some eggs, a thick corn tortilla, and because you asked, had a big plate of local fruits on the side (pineapple, papaya, and banana).
After filling up on your most important meal of the day, you ask your host family’s children to take you for a walk around the mountain side to see some of the sights. One thing Boquete is famous for is their beautiful gardens within and around the town. The kids get very excited and tell you to vamos to the closest of the gardens named, “Mi Jardin Es Su Jardin (My Garden is Your Garden).” You and the kids spend 2 hours walking around this gorgeous free garden. You are amazed at the fantastic flowers, trees, mountainside clouds, sunshine, rainbows, and more. The breeze is magnificent while running around with the kids learning many Spanish words about nature.
Next, you walk a little further up the mountain and treat the kids to a strawberry shake at the little Strawberry shop along the road. Each delicious and fresh shake costs you $1. You look at the time and it’s nearing noon. You must walk the kids back and head to Habla Ya (Spanish Language School) for your afternoon session.
Walking down to class you pass by the Canadian bake shop along the way and pick up some treats for your class. The Canadian couple that started the bakery there along the road makes fresh muffins, cookies, pastries, and more each day.
In class you play a few vocab games, have plenty of conversational Spanish, and participate in a few more activities. The day ends around 4 and you decide to end the afternoon with some coffee at the Kotowa Coffee shop right next to your language school.
The awesome staff at Habla Ya (Spanish Language School) invites you out that night after dinner with your host family to enjoy some cocktails and live music at the bar up the hill called “Zanzibar.” This wild and exotic venue is owned by a couple of ex pats that fell in love with Boquete and saw opportunity to add some excitement to the once sleepy town of Boquete.
Now, because of all the expat communities and eco travelers that come to explore the wildlife and nature in Boquete, there is actually a small nightlife scene that on the weekends gets pretty lively.
You accept their invitation and walk back to your host family’s house. You spend the next hour with the kids kicking the soccer ball around the yard a bit before dinner. The time is 6:30 and it is completely dark so you head inside, wash your hands, and help your host mom finish preparing dinner.
Dinner inside is a delicious Panamanian dish called Arroz con Pollo. Your host mom assigns you to mix up the concoction on the stove as it is being prepared. You all sit down for dinner and talk about your day in Spanish using the new vocabulary from the day.
After dinner, you freshen up and walk the 5 minute walk to “Zanzibar” to meet your friends from school. You have some great cocktails, laughs, and listen to some awesome reggae music until midnight and head home.
Reflecting back on your day, you have a huge smile and can’t wait to do it all over again tomorrow.