Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Stroke of good luck on the way to Santa Clara, Panama.

Sunday was my departure day from El Valle and I had decided to head to the beach for a few days on the Pacific Coast. After looking at all the towns nearby, I decided on Playa Santa Clara, about an hour or 2 from El Valle on the Interamerican Highway. The owner of Residencial El Valle gave me directions on getting a public bus, where to get off and find the second bus, it sounded easy enough. After waiting at the bus stop for 45 minutes with my friends from the Netherlands, who were allowed to get on a bus for Panama City, I was very frustrated. There was some reason every bus could not take me where I wanted to go. I went back to my hotel, hot and bothered lugging my suitcase and backpack. Then a stroke of good fortune! 
The driver of a private bus overheard where I wanted to go and asked his group if they would take me with them, and they very kindly said yes!! The group was a wedding party finishing up their celebrations of the nuptials of Mike from Boston and Carolina, originally from Venezuela. What a great group of people, they were so friendly and took me all the way to Santa Clara in style.  I am so thankful to them for helping me out.

The wedding party bus, nice and big.  I sat next to Graciela, also from Venezuela, who spoke English well and I hope to be friends with on facebook.

They dropped me off at Las Sirenas in Santa Clara, a family on the bus was going to spend a few days there before heading back to their home in Tucson. I met the mother, black and white dress, on the beach the next day!

A lovely place to stay, great location on the ocean and beautiful villas. I wanted to stay here but there was no restaurant nearby, the family brought their own food as there are full kitchens in the villas.  The woman in the white sundress is the bride's sister who lives in Panama, and the one who invited me to join them and found me a seat with another sister, Graciela.
The bride and groom, Mike and Carolina from Brookline, MA.  Small world!

I stayed at XS Memories, right off of the Interamerican Hwy, on the non ocean side. It was the most expensive place I stayed at the entire time I was in Panama, and the worst in terms of upkeep, ambience, and attitude. $55 per night for one person, no breakfast. It's saving grace was it had a restaurant on the premises and wifi. 

The door to my room.

Low quality sheets, inexpensive beach towels for towels, plastic chairs everywhere and low budget feel. There were no bugs, some hot water and the air conditioning worked.

One of the outdoor areas where I used the wifi.

The bigger picture.

View outside my door and window.

I found it very disturbing to see the many, many large birds in small cages that received no attention while I was there. 

The sports bar area.

This is where I got the taxi the next morning to the beach. But first I bought some good oranges from this roadside vendor on the Interamerican Highway.


  1. Wow Amy! What an amazing trip! Such a small world it truly is!
    Was that burning rubber or trash outside of your window?

    What a crazy experience! Have you heard any mentions of politics? I'm studying central american civilization so I'd love to hear any tidbits you pick up! Have a great time!

  2. There were posters all along the main highway of people running for office in 2 months time. I'm not really sure what the political situation is, things were peaceful around me!

    The burning is mainly brush and yard waste, thank goodness no rubber!

  3. Thank you for the info. It sounds pretty user friendly. I guess I’ll pick one up for fun. thank u

    Beautiful villas