Las Lajas Beach Resort

¡Hola, mis amigos!  It’s been ages since I’ve blogged anything and I hope that you all haven’t given up on me. But I hit a point in my living here in Boquete where everything was just so everyday. I felt I had nothing interesting to write about. Recently my friend, Susan (who has an awesome blog about their travels here), suggested to me that the everyday stuff is what many people want to know about.

So I have been looking at my life here in Panama anew. With Susan’s encouragement and a different perspective, I have found that I really do have a lot to write about. Some of it will be everyday stuff, some will be new adventures. For this new beginning, I decided to tell you about our favorite get away.

Guy & I love living in Boquete. But when we need a break from our Mountain Tropical Paradise, we head to Las Lajas Beach Resort (LLBR), our Beach Tropical Paradise. We go as often as we can and are, in fact, leaving Thursday for a 2 night trip.

LLBR is the creation of Peter and Scott, 2 former California pizza parlor owners. They vacationed here, looked around, found some beachfront property and built the resort from scratch. It’s a 12-room resort with a pool, bar & restaurant, lawn area, covered sitting area and several palapas to sit under and gaze out over the ocean. The lawn area ends where the beach begins and depending upon the tide, the water is anywhere from at the grass to 2 hundred yards out. The hotel has perhaps 100 or so linear feet at the beach, but the beach itself goes off for miles in either direction. Often there are no other humans to be seen.

Sometimes we come with a large group of people from Boquete. Someone will send out an email saying they’ve booked dates and soon 8-10 couples are off to the beach. My friend, Robyn, has dubbed it Senior Day Camp. Sometimes, like our last trip, we are the only ones there.

Since we come often and turnover is fairly low, we have gotten to know the staff pretty well. They are a very cool group of people who take our happiness very seriously. They are friendly and hardworking. The last time we were at LLBR, Guy went out fishing with Julio, the night bartender, and had a great time. The way that Julio surf-fished was to prep the pole, walk/swim out into the surf beyond the waves, cast and then walk back to shore while letting line out. Once out on the beach he walked along keeping the line perpendicular to the coast as the bait moved with the current. It was different and fun to watch them. Unfortunately, no fish were caught, which according to the night receptionist, Jonathan, is par for the course with Julio.

The restaurant and bar are next to the pool and lawn area. The food is tasty and a good value. You don’t pay until you leave the resort, so you can leave your wallet in the room. Coffee and breakfast is available from about 7 a.m. And the bar is open until about 10:00 p.m.

Free activities include walks on the beach, reading and/or snoozing under a palapa or in a hammock, taking a dip in the pool or napping in your room.

For a small price you can rent a boogie or surf board (many people bring their own boards) or go horseback riding around the Las Lajas area with a local guide, Gama, who also works at the resort. You’ll know Gama as he’s the one in the blue LLBR t-shirt who always has a smile on his face.

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Our friends, Jane and David, riding with Gama

These 2 videos were taken in March and that day the waves were amazing. Guy and our friend, Bob, couldn’t miss a wave!

Every clear evening ends with a spectacular sunset. On the nights that there are clouds, lightning, thunder and wonderful rain are often the backdrop.

Las Lajas Beach Resort is a magical place, a must-see when you are here in Panama!

 

Bocas del Toro – Part 2 – Botanic Garden, Isla Bastimentos & Isla Colón

I am so amazed at the beauty that surrounds me in the tropics. I love the sea, the mountains, the jungle…all of it. And being on an island in the Caribbean may be the most beautiful of all. We spent time at the beach across the street from our friends’ apartment, bicycled in and around the town and explored the Botanic Garden.

BOTANIC GARDEN

Finca Los Monos is a property with a planned garden that is simply known as Botanic Gardens. The owners live on the 25 acre property and continually add to the already abundant flora on location. It was amazing to see all the different palms, flowers and trees and how beautifully it was all arranged. Guy, our friend, Alex, and I got to take a private tour of the property. It was simply amazing.

Even though this is a planned garden, much of the landscaping has the appearance of a natural jungle.

The variety of trees, flowers and other flora was incredible.

Even though it was raining when we first got there, it cleared up and we got to view some of the local wildlife.  Including, unfortunately, some rather nasty mosquitoes.

ISLA BASTIMENTOS

While in Bocas we were able to visit a couple different islands.  Isla Bastimentos is home to Red Frog Beach, a popular resort with a hotel, tent cabins, a restaurant and an amazing beach.  I wish I would’ve gotten more pics of the beach and grounds, but we didn’t stay long and were walking around & swimming a bit.  I was too chicken that I might get sand in my camera!

ISLA CARENERO

Our hotel room was directly across a channel from another island, Isla Carenero.  We grabbed a water taxi and for $1 each, we boated over to Carenero to hike around it. Walking through that part of town was interesting.  There is no pavement only a dirt path with high fences enclosing it.  Within a few minutes the town was behind us and we were walking on a path that went by a few homes and eventually past a few hostels.  Then just when we almost lost view of Isla Colón, we came upon a restaurant, Gigi’s.  Wow, what a cool place!  Food and drink was fabulous and the view was beautiful!

Our friends, Josh, Pamela and Alex left Bocas the same day as us and offered us a ride back to Boquete.  Josh has a vehicle so taking a water taxi wouldn’t work.  There is a ferry but it leaves late enough that we would have to get accommodations in Almirante, the port town on the mainland.  Accommodations in Almirante are less than desirable and the road between Almirante and Boquete is long, windy and unlit.  Not the easiest driving at night.

So Josh wrangled a deal with a local barge company.  They got us across the water in good time, at a lower rate than the ferry and in the morning.

Although Bocas del Toro is not my favorite place, I’m really glad that we went.  I saw some beautiful real estate and enjoyed the heat, humidity and sunshine.