We headed out of Boquete bright and early. Because it was a weekday, there was, of course, construction. This time the only detour was right outside Boquete (starting right after the tourist agency building at the top of the hill as you leave town), and it was never more than 1/4 mile or so from the main road.
We had an uneventful trip into David, and stopped for a morning break before heading out on the Interamerican Highway (the local name for the Pan American Highway). I had our wonderful map out, and we tooled along the road.
At one point, we were slowed by a demonstration. There were a group of protesters walking along the road. They appeared to be Ngöbe-Buglé and were chanting and singing. All along our trip that day we saw some roadside gatherings, and places where the road had clearly been blocked at one point. The first group had a police escort. I will search some, but I am interested in understanding the reason for their upset.
One of my goals for this trip was to visit the Pacific beach. I had originally thought to go to the beach nearest David, but the beach was towards the Costa Rican border rather than towards Panama City, so I gave up that idea.
I looked at the map, and about an hour or so from David saw Playa Las Lajas marked on the map. We read the guide books (well, Miss R read while I drove), and since we had plenty of time, we decided to give it a go. We turned off the main road, and drove a few miles towards the ocean.
I noticed the change in the light, and the terrain as we got closer to the sea. I don't know if it is my imagination, but it sure seemed like the light was that on the Cape (or as you get close), and the trees were sparser, and it just felt like we were getting to the salt water.
All I can say is WOW! The area was definitely not upscale, but there was a very sandy access road which I pulled into (and was grateful again to have an SUV). We got out, and it was much warmer and nicer than in Boquete (cool in the mountains) and David. The beach went out for miles....and it went on in either direction for miles. And it was essentially deserted. (Look at the pictures!)
Here is the link to the set on Flickr. Playa Las Lajas photos are not the last 3, but the four before that.
We got back on the road, and drove. The Interamerican goes inland for a bit, and cuts across a peninsula with some hilly country. It was funny, at times it seemed like we could have been driving in the high desert country of New Mexico or West Texas, or the high plains of eastern Colorado.
After a while, we started to look for a place to stay for a couple days. The guide books recommended one place which was (unfortunately) full -- even mid-week! We wound up at a large resort near Playa Santa Clara. It was a fun couple of days, and then home.
Because I was driving, and the road signs were not even minimal, there are no photos from driving across the Panama Canal, or through Panama City. Suffice it to say, we got to the airport safely, and headed back home.