For our third day in Panama, we started off with a traditional Panamanian breakfast. In my opinion, steak/beef for breakfast is always a fabulous idea!
Afterwards, everyone gathered to get on the bus to head into town where we would meet our guides for the hanging bridges and hiking tour.
Our bus driver dropped off everyone and we went and got our wristbands. Then, we loaded up onto a vehicle with benches to drive to the hanging bridges and hiking.
Because the Sol coordinators told us the hike was “very difficult,” I was expecting to go on a strenuous walk. However, I soon found out the hike did not even compare to my previous weekend at Cerro Chirripó. There was some slight uphill hiking, but for the most part the “very difficult” hike was a leisurely and scenic walk through the woods of Panama.
My favorite part, hands down, were the hanging bridges which traversed rivers and provided amazing scenic views of Boquete.
After the tour concluded, everyone had free time to explore and change before we boarded the truck transport to go back to Boquete.
When Audrey, Hannah, and I had stayed at Casa Mariposa in San Gerardo, we met a couple from England who had recently been in Boquete. They recommended checking out a honey tour.
The bus dropped those of off at Boquete Bees and Butterflies before heading back to the hotel. Our whole group bought our $7 tickets and settled in to learn all about the different types of honey and their flavors. Interestingly enough, a change in elevation and temperature influences the taste of honey. I tried a few different cream-based honeys, which I had never seen or heard of before. Everyone had so much fun sampling the honey!
After killing our teeth with a ton of sugar, our plan was to go to the nearby strawberry castle restaurant for some strawberry dessert because Boquete is known for its strawberries. Of course, our beautiful sunny weather disappeared and a torrential downpour ensued. We found the strawberry castle closed sadly. However, everyone wanted to eat a late lunch/early dinner, so we continued into town before splitting up.
Hannah and I decided we would explore some other streets of Boquete that we missed our first day in Panama. As we wandered, Hannah and I made note of local restaurants that looked like they may be great for lunch/early dinner. It was so fun to watch the locals out and about and chatting with one another at fruit stands and artisan booths.
Eventually, she and I reached an intersection which took us back to the area of the town we had previously explored. By chance, we saw Audrey, Kyrek, and Catherina sitting down at a table. Hannah and I stopped by to say hello and have a peak at the menu. Both she and I came to the conclusion that the food was too expensive and we wanted to eat Panamanian food one last time, but invited our Sol friends to join us if they desired.
In the rain, we headed back to the local restaurant we had seen. The menu was VERY basic. Our lunch choices consisted of soup or “food of the day.” Hannah and I both opted for the “food of the day,” which allowed us to select hour our chicken would be cooked. After ordering, Audrey, Kyrek, and Catherine sat down at our table to join us for our mystery meal. Our Sol friends had the brilliant idea to ask about fruit juice, so I ended up ordering a fresh blueberry juice to go along with my mystery lunch.
The food and blueberry juice was fantastic! For a drink and this huge plate of food, I spent $4.50. When traveling ALWAYS eat where the locals eat! Not only is the food inexpensive, but absolutely delicious.
Hannah after lunch wanted to search for strawberries as she had been the most excited out of the honey-tasting group to go to the strawberry castle. Alas, she and I were not successful in this endeavor, so we piled into the taxi with Kyrek, Audrey, and Catherine.
For a few hours, Audrey, Hannah, and I relaxed. Eventually, though, Hannah messaged me while in the same room (Audrey was sleeping.)
“Do you want to go to a different strawberry restaurant with me?” she asked.
I internally was laughing at the fact that she texted me while in the same room and still wanted to get strawberries. Of course, I said yes.
We said farewell to Audrey who was hanging back to prepare to head out with the other Sol students for Ladies Night at one of the local discotecas.
When Hannah and I got into the cab and told our driver where we wanted to go, he replied, “I am going to take you to a different strawberry restaurant that is closer and cheaper.” Hannah and I replied, “Okay!” Who doesn’t want to got to a local restaurant that is cheaper?! Our driver pointed out where he lived during our drive and eventually dropped us off where there was not one, but TWO strawberry restaurants across the street from one another!
Hannah and I headed into the first restaurant that had a cute little strawberry guy out front. Then, we headed inside to select what we wanted to order. The menu was huge and we eventually settled on strawberries with whipped cream and strawberries with chocolate. Funnily enough, the strawberries with chocolate ended up being Hershey’s chocolate syrup…not what we had envisioned!
After our two strawberry desserts, we decided we may as well check out the other strawberry restaurant across the street because we had invested in a $6 USD cab ride. Hannah and I both decided the decor at the second restaurant was more fun. Visitors signed the walls and surfaces. The strawberry dessert too was a lot better! We ended up ordered a strawberry frozen yogurt-type dessert.
However, the workers at restaurant number one were much kinder so we headed back over there to get the WiFi password, so we could contact the taxi driver.
The irony of this whole strawberry adventure? Our strawberry desserts were double if not triple the cost of our mystery lunch during the day AND Hannah and I both had upset stomachs the following morning from the strawberries. Thank goodness for medication! Otherwise, our 7-hour+ bus ride back to Heredia would have been miserable.
Panama (both literally and figuratively) was super sweet! The people were very kind, the food incredible, and the views magnificent! I will treasure the memories forever.
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