November 22 to December 2, 2013, Panama
Here is the final post of Wren and Laura’s recommendations for and photos of Panama.
11. Become even more of a coffee connoisseur.
Experience coffee snobbery at new heights in stunning, mountainous Boquete.
Coffee country: View from the Visitors’ Center, Boquete.
We signed up for a highly recommended tour of the Kotowa plantation and coffee processing facility. The tour was hosted by Hans van der Vooren, of Coffee Adventures. It was a private tour, talk, and tasting for the three of us. The weather was dreadful, cold and wet, so we didn’t spend much time outdoors, but it didn’t really matter. Hans is a fascinating guide, and we really enjoyed our tour.
Hans tells us the story of coffee.
We saw the original water-powered coffee mill, founded by a Canadian-born Scot: Alexander Duncan Maclntyre who came to Panama in 1913.
Jane studies the colors of the light, medium, and dark roast beans. The test roaster is behind her. The roasters really have to know their stuff: the difference between the light roast and the dark roast might only be 30 seconds.
Geisha coffee grown in Boquete is considered the coffee in the world by some. It is very good — lighter, more delicate and complex than the dark (burnt! says Hans) roasts that we usually drink. I tried not to like it too much — it is expensive.
The tour ended with coffee tasting. Hans explained to us how the professionals “cup” coffee. We sampled light, medium, and dark roasts, plus, as a special treat, the organic blend which we liked best.
Laura and Wren showing off their Weavers-of-San-Rafael coffee tee-shirts in Boquete.
12. Take in the views.
On Delay from the Amador Causeway: the Las Brisas anchorage — gleaming boats with Panama City skyscraper panorama.
On Delay at anchor in Las Brisas.
White-misted cloud forest cloaking Volcan Baru, Panama’s highest mountain:
Cloud forest view towards Vulcan Baru, the tallest mountain in Panama.
Howler monkeys napping from Gamboa rainforest treetop lookout:
Is there a monkey in this tree?
Panama City from the Panama Viejo church tower:
A wonderful view of the new Panama city from the ruined cathedral tower of the old Panama.
Freighters waiting to cross the canal:
Parking lot in the Pacific. Freighters waiting to transit the canal.