This is our second trip to Panama. Three years ago as we left William said he never wanted to return. It had been a hot and buggy experience and he had had enough. What changed his mind? Well, the opportunity to spend time with great friends was a big draw. The fact that we would be in Boquete some of the time, which was a favorite location during our first trip was another factor. Lastly, we had not yet explored the Caribbean side of Panama and the idea of kicking back was appealing.
These past six weeks we have been very happy to reconnect with friends, make new friends and meet interesting people.
This time we skipped Panama City except for the time in the airport. It's a busy big city with some amazing new buildings. Instead smaller towns (Boquete and Bocas del Toro) known for their natural beauty and outdoor activities were our destinations.
Our 10 days in Boquete were very nice, and our friends(new and old) made it a wonderful stay. Valle Escondido where we stayed was very lovely (and clearly upscale and significantly owned and/or occupied by expats). The town of Boquete is a mix of locals, expats and tourists and has a fair amount of activities for a small town. At an elevation of 1,200 meters the temperatures are cooler (temperate) than much of Panama - but with it comes the light mist known as bajareque. Our conclusion is that Boquete is a nice place to visit for a month or so, but would not be somewhere we would want to spend 6-12 months.
We stayed in Bocas del Toro for four weeks. The area is primarily locals and tourists, but there is a small group of expats mostly from Canada and the US. Activities center around sand, the sea, and eating and drinking. Toward the end of our stay we were a little bored and definitely too hot unless we were sitting by the Caribbean or in our air conditioned bedroom. Our conclusion is that two weeks in a beach setting is about the maximum for us. Other people, I'm sure would love 3, 6 or 12 month visits. To each their own!