Many travelers look at Panama City as merely a gateway to other parts of Panama. Whether you’re off to explore Bocas del Toro, Boquete, or the San Blas Islands, there’s a good chance you’ll land in Panama City before you take off on another flight or bus to your final destination.
However, I highly recommend allowing yourself a few days in Panama City, rather than booking it across town to Albrook Station, where the domestic flights and buses depart from.
Even if you just reserve one day at the beginning of your trip and one at the end — assuming you arrive and depart through PTY — you will not regret taking the time to explore this amazing city. During my 11-day language learning vacation in Panama, I spent three days in Panama City, and I could have easily spent more!
“I am sweating!”
The park ranger and I called this phrase to each other in Spanish as we waved goodbye.
My recent trip to Panama was a collection of palabras, of words.
“Estoy sudando” or “I am sweating” was one phrase I eagerly collected as I made conversation with a guard at Parque Natural Metropolitano in Panama City. He spoke no English. I was on my first day of an 11-day language learning vacation.
As I lingered with the ranger, waiting for a taxi, all I wanted to say was that I was very sweaty after my hike through the park. Hard as it may be to believe, the word “sweat” was not one I knew in Spanish, so I tried to use my somewhat limited vocabulary to describe the word I was looking for.
“Como se dice cuando hay algo como agua en tu piel? Porque hace calor?” I asked. “How do you say when there is something like water on your skin? Because it is hot out?”
A blank look.
“Cuando hace calor y es como agua… Y tu piel es rojo…” I continued, motioning at my arms and face, making a fanning motion. “When it is hot and it is like water… And your skin is red…”
My attempts at circumnavigating the word fell flat until I raised my arm and made a circular gesture at my armpit to indicate where most people showed off their best sweat stains.
“Ah! Sudar! Estás sudando!” he exclaimed. And so my first new Spanish word was collected. (more…)
When was the last time you visited a state or national park? What did you do when you were there?
For many of us, the answer is probably something along the lines of: walked a trail, took some pictures, went home. We tend to enjoy these gorgeous, well-maintained, easily-accessed natural wonders without too much thought.
The National Park Service recently caught attention when it was banned from tweeting. People began calling park rangers the leaders of a resistance. Then other big news took over, wiping the entire ordeal from our minds.
But the problems facing our public lands and the overarching environmental and climate issues facing our planet aren’t going to go away.
We need to learn, we need to care, and we need to fight for awareness, attention, and change for issues that will have a significant impact on not just our own futures, but the futures of generations to come. (more…)
During my recent visit to Puerto Rico, I came up empty when trying to research a great walking route around Old San Juan. The same landmarks were mentioned in everything I read, but there was no mention of how to navigate between them.
Old San Juan really isn’t that big, and we found ourselves wandering around in circles. Based on that experience, I’ve put together what I think is the perfect walking tour of Old San Juan.
If you have all day, this will fill the whole thing nicely. However, you can easily cut one of the forts out or forgo the last part of the itinerary if you have only half a day to spend.
1) Grab breakfast in Old San Juan
I recommend Waffle-Era. Their waffles are to die for, and it’s a great location to start your day. After breakfast, walk a few steps down to the small park at the end of the street for some spectacular views!
Spending the summer working in Fiji was an eye-opening experience.
I explored secluded islands, ran across sandbars, visited a floating bar. I went hiking, kayaking, paddleboarding, ziplining, and skydiving above one of the most spectacular ocean views you can imagine.
I snorkeled with giant manta rays and swam under giant waterfalls. I witnessed more spectacular sunrises and sunsets than I can count. I jumped down sand dunes, lathered up in mud at hot pools, and led students in finding a little selflessness to work on local service projects.
All of that was incredible, but perhaps what I’ll remember the most about my summer in Fiji was the unique immersion of the experience, and the peace and joy I found in living simply.
Today I’m getting back to my travelin’ and work abroad ways. I’m spending the summer in Fiji working as a Global Communications Coordinator for Rustic Pathways.
I’m not sure how much updating I’ll be able to do while I’m on the ground, but you can follow along with my adventures creating future global citizens on Instagram at @rusticrachael!