Panama

La Jungla Experience!

Bambi enjoying her free, all you can eat pancake breakfast. #winning

We crossed the Costa Rican border at 20:35 and arrived in David, North-Western Panama, soon after and jumped straight into a cab. La Jungla Experience was our destination, a hostel on the outskirts of Boquete, an adventure district of Panama apparently, which had been recommended to us by Fabrice - The awesome French Canadian guy we met in Costa Rica and consequently hitched a ride around with for the following week.

Fabrice had told us how cool a place it was to chill out and that you can use it as a launch pad to hike up Volcan Baru, the roof of Panama, so we were obviously keen to check it out. And he wasn't wrong. The place is owned by an American couple called Greg and Mimi, though we only met Greg, who was a really friendly guy. Alexandro, a Brazilian volunteer who helped run the hostel, was also really cool and gave us some great recommendations about spending new years eve in Brasil.

Bambi enjoying her free, all you can eat pancake breakfast. #winning
Bambi enjoying her free, all you can eat pancake breakfast. #winning

The lounge at La Jungla, one of the many places to relax and chill out in/watch an entire season of the Walking Dead!
The lounge at La Jungla, one of the many places to relax and chill out in/watch an entire season of the Walking Dead!

 
A home away from home

Our last month at Raleigh had really tested us and drained us mentally, physically and emotionally. Our solution to recovering post-Raleigh was to park ourselves in La Jungla for 10 days and to try and get some semblance of normality back into our lives. Here we did some exciting things! We did our laundry, relaxed, played the Simpsons game of life board game more times than I'd care to remember (a Bambi favourite), and we watched the whole of season six of the Walking Dead - It was great! We got involved in Movie Mondays (free popcorn - winner), lazed about the place chilling with the cat and dogs, and we checked out Bouquette briefly (really very little to see in the town itself).

Best of all, we met some really cool people while we were staying there too. A Kiwi guy and Canadian woman that were slowly sailing a boat they'd bought in Florida back to New Zealand, an epic voyage and one I was instantly jealous of, and also a lovely, friendly German couple that we enjoyed talking to. We both found it revitalising to meet new people again and just chat and hang out with them, exchanging stories and some great travelling tips and recommendations (it was because of the Kiwi bloke that we visited Tayrona park in Colombia).

 
Adventure in Boquete

There was plenty to see and do around Boquete if you have money to spend (we didn't) - Ziplining. Climbing. Whitewater rafting. And too many hikes to shake a stick at. Volcan Baru was easily accessible from here too (the highest point in Panama), which we took advantage of and hiked to the top of the volcano one painfully long day. Besides this, however, we participated in very little as we had come to Panama to save money, as Costa Rica was bleeding our budget dry. This meant we spent our last few days at La Jungla in our tent in the garden, a fact Bambi wasn't overjoyed about, though her mood soon improved when Alexandro offered us a mattress to use in it, and we subsequently made it really cosy.

 

Us atop Volcan Baru, perhaps one of the longest days of Bambi's life as it involved a midnight start
Us atop Volcan Baru, perhaps one of the longest days of Bambi's life as it involved a midnight start

A tired Bambi, back at La Jungla, following the 13 hour Volcano hike to the roof of Panama
A tired Bambi, back at La Jungla, following the 13 hour Volcano hike to the roof of Panama

The outside garden chill out area, which we eventually moved to (in our tent) to save money
The outside garden chill out area, which we eventually moved to (in our tent) to save money

Ready for the next adventure

Our stay @ La Jungla Experience was just what we both needed post-Raleigh and pre-travelling. We recharged our batteries (literally and figuratively), met some really cool people and got some great recommendations about things to see and do in South America. All that was left now was to get on with travelling proper...

Bambi sad as we were leaving La Jungla and about to get back on the road
Bambi sad as we were leaving La Jungla and about to get back on the road

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