Today I finally get to leave Panama City headed to the little fishing village of Pedasi' at the tip of the peninsula Azuero. To get there I had to take 4 different busses: Panama City-Santiago-Chitre'-Las Tablas-Pedasi'. I think I left the morning around 10 and got to destination around 4 pm. The bus connections were all very well coordinated, Infact I arrived to each terminal between 5 to 10 minutes before my next connection. The trip was not bad at all, it all went very smooth. I sat comforbly, some had ac some didn't, some were more crowded than others. The busses were mainly vans holding 15 and up people.
The idea of being away from big buildings, a lot of cars, tremendous heat and all the pains of a metropoly made my arrival to Pedasi' even more pleasent. This village sits a couple of Km from the ocean, it is very small and all developed around the main street (Avenida Central).
I had reserved a room at Hotel Dim. This place is a sweet little rustic B&B with few rooms and a beautiful garden surrounding a terracotta tiles roofed gazebo with hanging hammocks and swinging wicker chairs and tables where they served their breakfast. Every morning they set up buffet table with coffee along with bread (only white as everywhere in Panama), jams, butter, cheese (not the greatest type, I think they make it and it was quite strange), but most importantly, they put out a bowl of fresh cut up pinapple and papaya. They serve eggs the way you like them and they offer you the choice of freshly made pineapple, orange or papaya juice/puree made to order. The setting of the garden and the background lounge/jazzy panamaniam music make the whole experience very quite and enjoyable. The people working there are extremely sweet and kind.
The first morning at breakfast I chatted with Linda and Sarah and a group of young falks. Linda and I decided we'd go for the day to the beautiful Isla Iguana off the coast of Playa del Toro, which is the closest beach to the village of Pedasi'.
Linda and I hit it off very quickly, ran around town to get sandwiches to bring over to the island that has no restaurant, we borrowed a stereophoam cooler from Erica the housekeeper, got some ice and water. I rented phins, mask and snorkel and finally started our little day journey. To get there one needs to hire a boat which costs $60, I offered 50 and he accepted. Once on the island there is a $10 entrance fee for non Panamanians. The island is very small and has only 2 beaches, the one we went to is the biggest and calmest one.
I could not beleive my eyes when I saw the color of the sand: whiter than that one could not possibly find. The ocean was showing all the hues of blu, starting from the darkest one out at see and getting lighter while approaching the coast. From turquoise to ceruleian to aqua blu and finally crystal clear the closest we got to the shore. This place is like paradise, definitly worth while going to visit it. The snorkeling it's not amazing, there are only 3 types of fishes there and I can say I saw them all. I took a walk around the island and spotted many iguanas, small ones.
Pedasi' it's more of a place for expats and transient traveller, infact, being the closest town to the surfer's hot spot playa Venao, backpacker and surfers stop here to buy groceries and withdraw from the ATM, as the town is not equipped with hostels and dorm rooms. It has nothing going on at night, and it was fine by me, all I needed was a decent typical panamanian restaurant, have some nice fish and go back to my room to write, edit some photos and sleep. I spent 2 nights at Dim's and loved it. I would definitly reccomand it.
The 3rd I decided to get back on the road and go check out the most famous beach of the peninsula Azuero, the surfer's paradise Playa Venao. This beach is about 35/45 minutes from Pedasi. I thought I would stay at this backpackers/surfers eco-lodge. The lodge is on a big property spreaded in the hilss, almost in the middle of nowhere, no village close by walking distance, yet it is just 50 yards from the ocean reacheable just crossing the street. The dorm room was very clean and so was the bathroom.
The trees right behind the restaurant are inhabited by a group of howler monkeys, screeming like possessed everytime I'd hang around their territory. It is very peaceful and quiet.
I checked out the beach, I did not think it was great for what I like in a beach. Though the scenary is amazingly wild and rough, definetly for me an unusual sight to observe. Not the typical beach that I would chose to laid down on: dark sand, lots of branches and wood debris, big waves and the heat was incredible.
I sat at a bar terrace having a couple of beers, observing surfers ant taking photos. The next morning I was ready for my next destination. Off to another surfer's paradise: Santa Catalina. Why do I keep going to these places since I'm not a surfer nor a wanna-be one? Because the idea behind this trip is to discover this land and the variety of its landscapes. The traveling itself, though with all its discomfort, is another very interesting feature of this trip: researching about the places to visit, read about them, fantasize and then finally get there untill the next destination