8. Get to know the three Panama cities.
Panama La Vieja, dating from 1519, was sacked in 1671 by Henry Morgan, a not-nice Welsh pirate. In the mayhem, fire destroyed the city. In 1673 inhabitants rebuilt the city as Casco Viejo in a more protected area. Over the centuries Panama City has grown and flourished, now a key Central American trade center.
The iconic tower of the cathedral in Panama Viejo, with Wren and Laura in the foregound.
The ruins of Panama Viejo sacked by Captain Morgan in 1671.
This is Casco Viejo, the second city, fortified with a wall. This is the view from Ancon Hill.
Inside the San Jose church, which contains the gold altar rescued from Panama Viejo.
A typical building in Casco Antiguo.
Doorway detail, Casco Antigua.
The skyscrapers of the new Panama, viewed from the tower of Panama Viejo.
9. Gasp at ginormous tankers inching through the canal.
A container ship leaving the locks.
‘Not much room to spare when there’s a big boat in the locks.
Guys on a tanker taking pictures of the tourists who are taking pictures of them.
10. Be heart warmed by local events.
Students from many schools converge in Boquete for Independence Day weekend parades. Kids ages 5-18 enthusiastically participate in school marching bands.
We saw children practising for the parade the day before.
The parade started in the town square in the rain.
The costumes were varied and mostly elaborate.
Though, the Catholic schoolgirls wore their modest below-the-knee school uniforms.
These girls probably don’t attend a strict Catholic school.
The parade continues down the main street, still in the rain.
Folk dancers in the parade.
Littler folk dancers in the Boquete parade. Don’t worry: there are loads of good and affordable orthodontists in Panama.
In Santa Clara the whole fishing village walks together with girls and boys in fine white clothing heading the processional. The fishermen place a female statue on a balloon-festooned boat, then all walk on the beach alongside the floating saint.
A religious procession at the beach.
The statue is loaded onto the boat.
Portrait of a girl in the procession.
Little girls with their mothers.
The balloon-decorated boat at the beach.
The final blog post with the rest of Wren and Laura’s top ways to play when on delay in Panama is coming soon.