Talking about “sloths” in Panama!

Blog by Terry Richmeier

Most people either love them or think they are cute or they fear them and think they are ugly. My cousin Tiffany, absolutely loves them, so when her mom came to Casa de Montaña and shared on Facebook a video and photo it was all too much for her! She went crazy (not literally) with jealousy! Watch the video below to see Tiffany’s mom and what sent her through the roof!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtRAlAFvQ2E        (Take a look at the video of the event)

 

Excerpts taken from Wikipedia.

Sloths have a bad rap! First of all, they have been named “Sloth” from the 7 deadly sins. Because they seem slow and lazy. However, what is actually happening is that they are conserving energy. (Something I think we all should try from time to time.) When faced with a predator, you would be surprised how fast of a burst of speed they can become. They are also really good swimmers.

And just how big can these lazy, good for nothing, and so loving little guys get? Extinct sloth species include many Megafauna ground sloths, some of which attained the size of elephants.

Extinct sloths are medium-sized arboreal (tree-dwelling) residents of the jungles of Central and South America.

Though they have really long claws, which are for hanging in the trees and make it difficult to walk on the ground, they are so gentle. They like to sleep in a ball between the forks of two branches but can also sleep by hanging from their claws. They will leave the tree to poop and swim.

We here at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast, have been fortunate enough to know a special lady that rescues animals including sloths. Her animal rescue is named “Raquel’s Ark”. She is located in the town of Volcan, about an hour and a half drive from Casa de Montaña. She has the two sloths that she is currently taking care of (that you watched on the Youtube video. Along with two baby monkeys that remain on her body 24 hours a day. Raquel has an amazing love for animals and if you would like to go and hold a sloth or play with a monkey and see other rescued animals, we can help set this up for you. Just ask us when booking  a room with us!

 

Why are Panama Hats Called Panama Hats if they are made in Ecuador?

Blog by Terry Richmeier

In my last blog about Traditional Clothing. I came across a fact that bewildered me. The Panama hats are NOT made in Panama! What the….?

So, I dug in to find out some information about them. Here are the results:

Panama hats are Ecuador’s most iconic souvenir, yet their name is attached to the country whose strip of land connects Central and South America. The handwoven hats, made with straw from the toquilla palm plant that is endemic to Ecuador’s Pacific coast, have been made in Ecuador for centuries and can be traced back to the Incas. So why, then, are they called Panama hats?

There are several theories as to why, and it is probably true that each theory has contributed to its reputation in some way. One major factor was Panama’s position as a center for trade and transport, especially in the mid-1850s during the Gold Rush in the United States. At the time, Ecuador did not see much tourism or trade, so it exported its hats to Panama to sell from here.

Additionally, Ecuador did not have the technology to be able to mark the hats with a stamp or label that said “Made in Ecuador,” so people assumed the hats were made in the same country they were bought in.

“Panama Hats,” by capelle79 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/51252776@N04/5655872438/)

When thousands of North Americans on the east coast went in search of gold in California, many traveled by boat through Panama to get there, as it was a quicker option than traveling across the United States via land. Many of these American travelers bought the straw hats while passing through Panama and returned to the United States with their new accessory. When asked where they got their fine woven hats, people said Panama.

In 1881, the 23-year project to build the Panama Canal began. Many of the workers who constructed the Panama Canal wore the hats to fend off the strong sun, adding to its association with Panama. These hats were perfect for the job since they are lightweight and breathable. The Panama hat gained even more fame when President Theodore Roosevelt was photographed in one of the straw hats while visiting the Panama Canal in 1906. The photo was widely published in the U.S. and was mistakenly called a Panama hat; from that point on, the name “Panama hat” really stuck.

President Theodore Roosevelt in a Panama Hat

Others claim that the travelers passing through the Panama Canal over time who wore the hat gave it its name, rather than the canal workers or President Teddy Roosevelt. No matter what you believe the real origin or continued use of the term “Panama hat” for the Ecuadorian-made product is, there is no doubt that these hats are made in Ecuador,  primarily in and around Cuenca and on the coast in towns like Montecristi and Jipijapa (which is why the hat was actually technically called a Jipijapa hat).

I found this information on Vivatravelguides.com

So do as President Theodore Roosevelt did, come down, Stay with us at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast, Purchase your hats and enjoy the benefits of sun blockage, pass the Panama Canal and be a part of history! Just as we did!

Traditional (and not so traditional) Men’s and Women’s Clothing of Panama

Puttin’ on the Ritz! Where fashion sits!

Traditional (and not so traditional) Men’s and Women’s Clothing of Panama

Ropa tradicional (y no tan tradicional) Hombres y Mujeres en Panamá

Blog by Terry Richmeier

There has been a great interest in the blog written last year by our former staff Maria Isabel Zapata, http://www.casademontana.com/blog-traditional-costumes-of-panama-and-some-central-south-american-countries/ in which she strove to show you different dresses from all over the world. So we here at Casa de Montana Bed and Breakfast, thought I would narrow it down a bit and show you clothing that has been a part of Panama’s history and has lasted the test of time!

(The following description has been taken from an Embassy of Panama in Japan)

Starting with the Pollera:

Ha habido mucho interés en el escrito (del año pasado) realizado por nuestra colaboradora María Isabel Zapata, http://www.casademontana.com/blog-traditional-costumes-of-panama-and-some-central-south-american-countries/ en dicho escrito se esforzó por mostrarnos diferentes tipos de vestimenta alrededor del mundo. Así que aquí en Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast, pensamos en ir un poco más profundo y hablar un poco de la ropa que ha sido parte de la historia de Panamá y ha pasado la prueba del tiempo.

 

La siguiente descripción ha sido tomada de la Embajada de Japón en Panamá.

 

Empezando con la Pollera

POLLERA

“Pollera” is a traditional costume of Panama worn by women. It originally came from Spain during colonial times.  It is basically a blouse and long skirt, which in Panama acquired its own characteristics, differentiating itself from Spanish dress and other Latin American dresses of Spanish origin. Pollera is formed by multicolored cloth and embroidery. It can take around 8 months to make a complex design of Pollera. In addition, Pollera is also decorated with jewelry over the blouse, and the head of the woman is adorned by fish scale (peinetas) and beaded hair decorations (tembleques).

Women wear Pollera in special events such as Carnival, folklore events, and town festivities. It has received international awards due to the complex design. In view of its cultural importance, Panama celebrates the Pollera Day every year on the July 22.

Now, let us show you some photos so you get a better idea!

LA POLLERA

“Pollera” es un atuendo tradicional, utilizado por mujeres. Originario de España, llego en la época colonial. Es básicamente una blusa y una falda larga, en Panamá adquirió sus propias características, diferenciándose del vestido español y del resto de los vestidos latinoamericanos que tuvieron su origen en España. La pollera está compuesta por muchos bordados y telas multicolores. Puede tomar alrededor de ocho meses en confeccionar una pollera. Además la pollera es también adornada con collares que van sobre la blusa, y la cabeza de las mujeres es adornada con peinetas y tembleques (hechos de escamas de pescado y chaquiras).

Las mujeres utilizan la pollera en ocasiones especiales como el Carnaval, evento folclórico, en ferias y desfiles nacionales. Ha recibido premios internacionales debido a sus complejos diseños. Debido a su importancia cultural, Panamá celebra el día de la pollera cada 22 de Julio.

¡Ahora dejamos mostrarte algunas fotos para que tengas una mejor idea!

And for the men………

Y ahora para los hombres…..

FORMAL MONTUNO

 This traditional dress worn by men is used during town festivities, national celebrations, and particularly when performing Panama folk dances, together with women wearing Polleras. It consists of a white long-sleeve shirt and closed neck (Camisilla), black long pant, traditional straw hat with black lines (Sombrero Pintao), small bag hanging on the left side of the body (Chacara), and black and white shoes (Chinelas).

Again, let us show you some photos so you get a better idea!

EL MONTUNO

Este es una vestimenta utilizada por los hombres durante festivales pueblerinos, celebraciones nacionales y especialmente cuando están presentando los bailes típicos de Panamá, junto con las mujeres que llevan las polleras. Consiste en una camisa manga larga y cuello cerrado (Camisilla), pantalones largos negros, sombrero hecho de plantas tropicales con líneas negras (Sombrero Pintao), una pequeña bolsa colgando de su lado izquierdo del cuerpo (Chácara) y zapatos blanco con negro (Chinelas).

¡Una vez más déjenos mostrarle algunas fotos, para que puedan tener una mejor idea!

 

Another variations, you will find the following:

MONTUNO OCUEÑO

Montuno Ocueño is a more casual traditional dress worn by men, which is composed of a shirt (Cotonoa) and knee-length pant (Chingo). Montuno is well known for its colorful and beautiful embroidery, which is found in part of the neck, shoulders, front, cuffs, and around the lower edge of the shirt. The design of embroidery looks like geometric forms of flower and animals.
Chingo is also adorned with similar embroidery.
Other accessories include a white straw hat (Sombrero Tipico), sandals (Cutarras), and long knife wrapped by leather case (Machete).

Take a look at these….

Montuno Ocueño

El montuno ocueño es más casual, ropa tradicional usada por los varones, la cual es compuesta por una camisa (Cotonoa) y un pantalón a la rodilla (Chingo). Este montuno es conocido por sus colores y sus bellos adornos, que se encuentran alrededor del cuello, hombros, parte delantera, los puños y los bordes inferiores de la camisa. Los diseños de los adornos tienen formas geométricas de animales y flores. Los pantalones o Chingo también tiene adornos similares.

Otro accesorio es el sombrero blanco hecho con plantas tropicales (Sombrero Típico), sandalias (Cutarras) y un cuchillo largo en una funda de cuero. (Machete).

 

¡Mira esto!

That’s only the beginning, I wanted to show you what the indigenous men and women wear in different parts of Panama.  I will start with the NgäbeBuglé here in Boquete, Panama, and follow with photos of other regions in Panama.

Eso es solo el inicio, quiero mostrarte como los indígenas: hombres y mujeres se visten en diferentes partes de Panamá. Empezare con los Ngäbe Bugle aquí en Boquete y siguiendo con fotos de otras regiones de Panamá.

And, it’s very important that you have “the Hat” Panama is well known for, even though it originated from Ecuador,  they are amazing hats!

Take a look now

¡Es muy importante que usted adquiera “El Sombrero” Panamá es muy conocida por su sorprendente sombrero! Aunque realmente es originario de Ecuador.

¡Miren!

These “Sombreros” have become part of the fashion world and to this day you will see them worn all over the world! Oh, and you can pick up a couple when you come to Panama and stay with us at Casa de Montana Bed & Breakfast!

Estos sombreros se han convertido en parte del mundo de la moda, en estos tiempos se ven utilizados por todo el mundo! Oh, pueden adquirir algunos cuando vengan a Panamá y se queden con nosotros en Casa de Montana Bed & Breakfast!

Quiero compartir con ustedes algunos vestuarios de Panamá…

Look for our next featured blog on history of Panama Hats!

Este pendiente de nuestro proximo articulo sobre la historia del Panama Hat

And now I want to share a little “Costume” or two from Panama…..

Quiero compartir con ustedes algunos vestuarios de Panamá…

The fashion of Panama can be seen all over the world! Mattel’s Barbie is not immune!

La moda panameña puede ser vista por todo el mundo! Las famosas muñecas de Mattel: Barbie, no es inmune.

 

Beyond the clothing, which you can see for yourselves if you come and stay with us during the festivals and holidays, you can see so much more! From Horse parades to coffee farming. Send us an email to see when the best time to come and experience what YOU want to experience!. Book your room with us and let the live activities begin! See you soon.

Más allá de la ropa, que podrán ver por ustedes mismos si vienen a quedarse con nosotros, durante festividades o vacaciones, podrá ver mucho más! Desde desfiles a caballo a granjas de café. ¡Envíanos un correo para ver cuando es el mejor momento para venir y vivir una grandiosa experiencia! ¡Reserva tu cuarto con nosotros  y deja que la diversión te invada! Nos vemos pronto.

A Contrast of Boquete Before and Now

Blog by Omar Fuentes.

Boquete is one of the most famous places to visit nowadays in Panama. There are so many things to do here that you will want to stay here forever. But, how was Boquete like before it became so popular? Let’s share some history about this small town in the province of Chiriqui.

The meaning of Boquete is “hole or cavity” and was founded in 1911. Caldera River goes through the town and Volcan Baru is also part of this community.

Here are some pictures of was Boquete before and how is now:

Caldera River and its surrounding

Central Park

Bridge above the flower and coffee fair

Boquete Road

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boquete Town

Flower and Coffee Fair

Church

While Boquete is a small agricultural and retirement community, there is history and culture associated with it. Those who are looking for a slow-paced way of life will love this area. You can take a walk in the forest or enjoy a hike on the highest peak in the country. Stay with us at Casa de Montaña and we will provide you with all recommendations when visiting Boquete.

LGBT RIGHTS IN PANAMA, PART II

(Part One published on January 26th, 2017)

Blog by Omar Fuentes

It was back in 2014 when Gay Marriage was first presented as a bill by the government ministry to pass into law that would have allowed marriage between same sex couples.  Within a few days there was so much protest by church groups against gay marriage that the proposal was withdrawn before it made it to the legislators to be voted in.

 

Then in2016 there was a second discussion about the topic when a couple that was married in another country wanted their marriage to be recognized in Panama as well. Registro Civil (courthouse) denied their petition stating that Panamanian laws don’t accept this type of marriage. The couple didn’t agree with this decision and decided to file an official complaint to the Supreme Court and argued against an article from the Family code in the actual constitution stating that it has discrepancies. No action has yet been taken on their petition.

 

In April 2017, another complaint to the Supreme Court was submitted to legalize Gay marriage, this time by a law firm against the article 26 that says “marriage is only allowed between a woman and a man”. According to them, the article 57 in the Panamanian Constitution states that “Marriage is the legal foundation of the family, it rests in the equality and rights of the couple and can only be dissolved by law”, so it differs within the two codes.  This is the second formal Complaint about Gay Marriage to the Supreme Court that looks forward to legalizing same sex marriage in Panama.

Panama’s New Men and Women Association, a non-governmental organization created in 1996, accuses the Panamanian Catholic Church, in a compromise with the Government, of encouraging legislation to prevent gay marriages.

The argument set forth by the proponents of the bill states that Panama should adopt the most modern standards of inclusivity and diversity and gives examples of other countries in the Americas and the Latin world who have already passed legislations legalizing gay marriage. Some of the examples of the countries quoted that recognize this freedom are:  Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Mexico, Spain, Colombia and the United States.

These countries all allow gay marriage and full legal rights to their LGBT citizens. The last two countries are the two most recent ones to pass the legislation.

 

The Panamanian vice president and chancellor, Isabel De Saint Malo, stated that she is in favor of marriage between same-sex couples. Isabel shared her public support on her Twitter account of the original post by a Twitter user who wrote in favor of gay marriage. “I share my opinion. We must all have the option of joining our life to a loved one. Sexual orientation is not chosen, it is born with it. ISMA”

It is important for gay marriage to promote a law for non-discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, because today the Panamanian State does not recognize this as subject of law. Many people think that the only problem the LGBT community has is that there is no “gay marriage” in Panama and most issues stem from that.

Regardless of how this judicial battle is resolved, the debate over homosexual marriage has once again taken the pulse of our small country, which boasts of being tolerant and cosmopolitan but increasingly influenced by religion and conservatism. We will keep you posted about any future developments as they unfold.

At Casa de Montaña we keep you updated with the latest information about LBGT community and other communities. Whenever you visit Boquete stay with us and we will make sure that you feel comfortable and you can be yourself and share your ideas with us about the progress in the LGBT Community of our wonderful nation. You can book your stay directly from our Booking Page .

Boquete Continua siendo un destino de establecimiento para extranjeros!

Blog por Manzar Lari

 

El otro día estaba hablando con algunos amigos sobre las personas de todas partes del mundo que se hospedan en Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast. Muchos de ellos están buscando una nueva aventura o un lugar para retirarse y son traídos a Boquete por su belleza, clima primaveral, personas muy cordiales y el gobierno estable panameño, requerimientos de visa nada complicados, entre otras razones. Si, Boquete (y Panamá en general) tiene sus retos y la transición de mudarse de diferentes partes del mundo puede llegar a ser un poco difícil para la mayoría de las personas, pero las recompensas superan con creces los inconvenientes.

Como cualquier otra ciudad en cualquier parte del mundo, Boquete está tratando de ajustarse a la afluencia de personas, mejorando sus infraestructuras en la ciudad y sus alrededores. Esto ha creado algo de estrés para los residentes y algunas personas han estado comentando al respecto. Es cierto que en Panamá las cosas toman más tiempo en realizarse, estamos contentos que el gobierno asigno fondos para el mejoramiento del sistema de distribución del agua del centro y comunidades vecinas.

En la otra mano, la construcción de casas está en incremento de nuevo desde hace ya 2 años. Nuevas casas y negocios se están surgiendo a lo largo de la carretera de Boquete-David. Muchas casas nuevas son construidas en barrios privados (como Los Molinos y Boquete Canyon Village.) la construcción de casa en tierras privadas también está en incremento. Muchas personas optan por comprar casas ya existentes o construir sus propias casas en Boquete y ciudades vecinas. Definitivamente podemos sentir la diferencia desde hace dos o tres años hasta ahora. Mientras que la demanda por renta se mantiene, la primera opción de muchas personas por mudarse aquí es la adquirir una vivienda propia. Las personas con mascotas son las que tienden más a esta opción ya que es difícil conseguir lugares para rentar donde acepten mascotas. Hay muchos Bienes y raíces en la ciudad y “venta por propietario” también es una buena opción.

Buscamos sobre el turismo y establecerse de Panamá y esto fue lo que encontramos. En el 2016 en general el turismo en Panamá incremento 7-8% sobre el año pasado. Estas tendencias han variado entre 5-8% (incremento) en turismo cada año sobre el anterior. El aproximado en gasto turístico ha incrementado en general 4-5%. En proporción el número de personas a establecerse continúa creciendo, especialmente en Coronado y Boquete.

Muchos de nuestros huéspedes más recientes han estado preocupados sobre la política y otras condiciones en sus propios países y se han mudado al área de Boquete recientemente o están contemplando la idea de mudarse en un futuro cercano. Rutinariamente recibimos correos electrónicos de huéspedes tratando de obtener más información sobre Boquete (y Panamá) y hacemos lo mejor en responder con información o conectarlos a diferentes recursos. Mi “Boquete Overview Tour” (diseñado para personas que deseen experimentar la belleza del área), continua siendo un tour popular entre los huéspedes que se quedan en Casa de Montaña y otros que visitan Boquete. Visítanos y quédate con nosotros en Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast y haremos lo mejor para ser de sus experiencia una que recordara siempre.

Boquete continues to be a relocation destination for expats!

Blog by Manzar Lari

The other day I was talking to some friends about the people from all over the world who stay at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast. Many of them are looking for a new adventure or a retirement destination and are drawn to the Boquete area because of its beauty, spring-like climate, welcoming people and stable Panama government, easy visa requirements, among other reasons. Yes Boquete (and Panama in general) has it’s challenges and transitioning and settling here from different parts of the world can be a bit difficult for most people but the rewards far outweigh the inconveniences.

Just like any other town anywhere in the world, Boquete is trying to adjust to the influx of people by upgrading its infrastructure downtown and nearby areas. This has created some stress for the residents and people have been voicing their concerns. While it is true that things take longer in Panama, we are glad that there is funding allocated by the government to improve the water distribution system of the downtown and the nearby communities.

Home construction is on the rise again in the past 2 years. New homes and businesses are popping up along the Boquete-David road. Several new homes are being built in the gated communities (such as Los Molinos and Boquete Canyon Village). Home construction on private land is also on the rise. Many people are opting to either buy existing homes or constructing their own homes in Boquete and nearby towns. We can definitely feel the difference from two-three years ago to now. While the rental demand stays strong, home ownership is now being considered as the first option by many people moving here. People with pets tend to prefer this option since it is more difficult to find a rental home where the owners allow pets. There are many realtors in town and “For Sale By Owners” is also a great option.

We looked into the tourism and relocation trends of Panama and this is what we found. In 2016 the overall tourism to Panama increased by 7-8% over the previous year. The general trends have varied between 5-8% (increase) in tourism each year over the previous year. The overall tourist spending has also increased each over, generally 4-5%.  Proportionately, the relocation numbers continue to rise, especially to Coronado and Boquete areas.

Many of our recent guests are concerned about the political or other conditions in their own countries and have either moved to Boquete area recently or are contemplating a move in the near future. We routinely receive emails from our former guests regarding Boquete (and Panama) and we do our best to respond to them with information or get them connected to different resources. My Boquete Overview Tour (designed for people who are contemplating a move to Panama) and the Boquete Scenic Tour (designed for people who would like to experience the beauty of the area), continue to be popular tours with our Casa de Montaña guests and others visiting Boquete. Please come and stay at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast  and we will do our best to make your experience a memorable one!

 

Casa de Montaña- Comprando Víveres y Utensilios para el Hogar en Panamá

Para traerles las habitaciones mas limpias, el desayuno mas refinado y el tiempo mas relajante, nosotros compramos en todo Chiriqui, Panama, la mejor calidad, precio y productos!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iniciando con el desayuno, compramos en mercados locales! Desde el Mercado de los granjeros en el pueblo con frutas y vegetales locales, hasta el “Tuesday Market” para esos articulos mas dificiles de encontrar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Periodicamente, visitamos “Organica” aqui en Bajo Boquete por productos libre de gluten, pan de grano germinado y otros productos naturales/organicos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pero esto no termina aqui! Semanalmente vamos a la ciudad de david donde visitamos Pricemart (Equivalente al Costco), Super 99 y Rey (Equivalente a Krogers) y el Super Baru (Equivalente al SuperValue).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Y siempre estamos buscando mas lugares donde se pueda ahorrar y encontrar calidad. Recientemente una nueva tienda por departamento que abrira dentro deun mes. Se llama ‘Xtra” (equivalente a Aldi solo en precio) que esta garantizado a ser el precio mas bajo en Panama. La ciudad de Panama ya tiene algunas de estas tiendas. Estamos emocionados en visitar cuando abra!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tambien esta pendiente por abrir un Nuevo centro commercial llamado “Federal mall”. No estoy seguro de cuando sera abierto. Este tendra mucha tiendas deparatmentales y todos los restaurantes favoritos. Tambien, se espera que sea la nueva terminal de transporte para viajar a traves de Panama.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aquí en Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast continuamos buscando lo Mejor! Desde comprar vasos en Conway o Novey, hasta comprar muebles y electrodomésticos de Panafoto y Arrocha parea su comodidad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

También para estar al tanto con la información actualizada, de nuevas aperturas de tiendas y nuevas propiedades y negocios en el mercado. De esta manera podemos sugerir y mantenerlos informados en nuestra comunidad. Si este interesado en adquirir una propiedad en Boquete accede nuestra página web en la sección “Relocation”.

Talking about new, here in Boquete, Panama, a brand new Deli Baru will be opening soon which will provide competition for two of the other grocery stores, Romero and Mandarin.

Hablando de cosas nuevas, aquí en Boquete, Panamá, un nuevo Súper Baru estará abriendo pronto el cual pondrá competencia a las otras dos tiendas Romero y Mandarín.

También una nueva escuela fue inaugurada por el presidente Varela, que abrió hace ya un mes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hace un par de meses atrás, la nueva Compañía cervecera de Boquete abrió frente a la calle principal en la locación original. No solo pensamos que es grande sino que mejor que la anterior. En un buen lugar para pasar rato con los amigos, hay conciertos en vivo con buena música. No olvides de pedir tu comida del menú ofrecido por el camión de comida estacionado en la parte trasera.

En cuanto se den mas cambios, los mantendremos informados a medida que nos enteremos. Nos vemos pronto!

Casa de Montaña – Shopping for groceries and household goods in Panama

Blog by Terry Richmeier

So, to bring you the cleanest rooms, the finest breakfast and the most relaxing time, we shop all over Chiriqui, Panama, for the best quality, price and product!

Starting with breakfast, we shop the local markets! From the farmers market downtown with local fruits and vegetables, to the “Tuesday Market” for those harder-to-find items.

Periodically, we head to “Organica” here in Boquete downtown (Bajo Boquete) for Gluten Free products, sprouted grain bread and other natural/organic products.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But we don’t stop there! Weekly we run into the city of David where we will go to PriceSmart, (Our equivalent of Costco), Super 99 and Rey (Our equivalent of Krogers) and then onto Super Baru and Song (Our equivalent of SuperValue).

 

 

 

 

And we are always looking around for more places for savings and quality. We recently discovered a brand new store opening 1 month from now. It is called “Xtra”(equivalent to Aldi only in price) which is guaranteed to be the best cost value in all of Panama. Panama City already has some of these stores. We are excited to check it out when it opens!

Also due to open in David is a new mall called “Federal mall”. Not sure when it will be finished. It will have many specialty stores and a food court with all the favorite restaurants. Also, it is expected to house a new bus station for travel throughout all of Panama!

Here at the Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast we continue to look for the best! From buying bar glasses at Conway or Novey, to buying furniture and room equipment from Panafoto and Arrocha for your comfort!

We also try to stay on top of all the latest information, from new stores opening to newly listed homes, properties and businesses on the market. This way, we can make suggestions and get you connected in our community. Interested in a purchase, take a look at our “Relocation” page.

 

 

 

 

Talking about new, here in Boquete, Panama, a brand new Deli Baru will be opening soon which will provide competition for two of the other grocery stores, Romero and Mandarin.

Also new is the school, just finished and blessed by President Varela, that opened one month ago.

And a few months back, the new Boquete Brewing Company pub opened across the street from the original location. We think that it is not only bigger but better than the other one! It is a great place to hang out, people watch and even listen to some live music. Don’t forget to order your food from the limited menu offered by the Food Truck that is parked outside!

Want to check out these stores and more, come and stay with us and we will get you on your way to shopping and visiting some new and interesting businesses!

As more changes happen, we will keep you updated as we find out. See you soon!

 

 

15 Cosas que tal vez no sabías sobre Panamá!

Blog por Omar Fuentes B.

La población de Panamá es relativamente joven.  Un tercio de la población tiene 14 años, mientras que el seis por ciento tiene 64 años. Sorprendentemente Panamá tiene una población muy diversa, el resultado de grupos indígenas intactos y la inmigración continua alrededor de los últimos años. Su rol como punto de transito comercial jugó una parte importante en este hecho. Las personas vinieron (en muchos casos fueron traídas) aquí a construir el canal o las vías del tren y hacer negocios en la capital. El grupo más grande de inmigrantes vino de China y África, pero hay grupos  sustanciales de la India, Europa, Caribe y Norte América. Es difícil obtener un estimado correcto de las etnias en Panamá, pero la mayoría de los reportes establecen que entre 65-70 por ciento son mestizos (mezcla de Amerindios y caucásicos), 8-10 por ciento Amerindios, y el resto con ancestros Africanos y Europeos.

Aquí hay 15 datos interesantes sobre Panamá:

  1. La ciudad de Panamá, la capital más grande del país, es la única capital en el mundo que tiene una selva en los límites de la ciudad.
  2. Panamá celebra dos días de independencia, el primero es la separación de España en 1821 y el segundo la independencia de Colombia 82 años tarde en 1903.
  3. Panamá fue el primer país de Latinoamérica en adoptar el dólar estadounidense como su moneda oficial. La moneda oficial es el balboa. Un balboa equivale a un dólar estadounidense.
  4. Panamá está localizado al sur del paso de los huracanes, so rara vez se afecta por tormentas tropicales o huracanes.
  5. Panamá tiene más de 976 especies de aves, siendo más que Estados Unidos y Canadá combinados.
  6. Panamá cultiva uno de los cafés más finos del mundo, los cuales pueden ser probados en tiendas selectas alrededor del mundo.
  7. El senador John McCain nació en Panamá, en la zona del canal, el cual en ese tiempo era considerado territorio estadounidense.
  8. Panamá es el único lugar en el mundo donde se puede observar la salida del sol en el pacifico y la puesta en el atlántico desde el mismo lugar. En el lugar más estrecho del país, solo 80 kilómetros separan el atlántico del océano pacifico.
  9. Panamá es casa de 10,000 plantas de diferentes especies, incluyendo las 1,400 variedades de Orquideas, 678 helechos y más de 1,500 variedades de árboles.
  10. A 11,397 pies, la elevación más alta de Panamá es el Volcán Barú, un Volcan que está localizado cerca de la ciudad de Boquete.
  11. Panamá tiene la fauna más diversificada de los países en Centro América. Es casa de especies de Norte y Sur América.
  12. El Canal de Panamá genera casi un tercio de los ingresos del país
  13. Panamá tiene la segunda zona libre más grande del mundo.
  14. Panamá es tropical, pero las temperaturas varían de acuerdo a la ubicación y altura. Mientras la ciudad de Panamá, Colon y David son calientes y húmedas, el área montañosa es un clima tipo primavera durante todo el año.
  15. Tranquilo es una palabra que escucharas mucho cuando viajes a través de Panamá. significa que todo está calmado o pacífico y puede ser aplicado a una persona u una situación. Es un buen ejemplo de la percepción del tiempo para el panameño.

Si desea descubrir algunos de estos hechos por usted mismo, lo invitamos a que reserve directo por nuestra página web en Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast. Aquí en Boquete tiene acceso al clima fresco, ver hermosas flores, visitar el Volcan, experimentar la diversidad en la fauna, observar las aves más hermosas, probar el café más fino de Panamá, experimentar quedarte en uno de los mejores hoteles en Panamá, y mucho más por hacer. Visita nuestro website en la opción “exploring Boquete” para obtener más información sobre la variedad de opciones que tenemos disponibles para ti.

Te esperamos pronto.

15 interesting facts about Panama.

Blog by Omar Fuentes B.

Panama’s population is relatively young. One-third of the people are under the age of 14, while just six percent are older than 64. Panama also has a surprisingly diverse population, the result of intact indigenous groups and steady immigration over the last 500 years. Its role as a commercial transit point played a huge part in this. People came (or in many cases, were brought) here to build the canal or railroad, and do business in the capital. The largest number of immigrants came from China and Africa, but there are substantial groups from India, the Middle East, Europe, Caribbean and North America. It’s tough to get a reliable estimate of the ethnic breakdown in Panama, but most reports put it at somewhere between 65-70 percent mestizo (mixed Amerindian and Caucasian), 8-10 percent Amerindian, and the rest with African or European ancestry.

Here are 15 interesting facts about Panama:

  1. Panama City, the nation’s capital and largest city, is the only capital city in the world that has a rain forest within its city limits.
  2. Panama celebrates two independence days, the first from Spain in 1821 and the second from Colombia 82 years later in 1903.
  3. Panama was the very first Latin American country to adopt the U.S. dollar as its official currency. Panama’s official currency is the balboa. One balboa is equal to one US dollar.
  4. Panama is located south of the hurricane alley, so it is rarely affected by tropical storms or hurricanes.
  5. Panama has more than 976 bird species, which is more than the United States and Canada combined.
  6. Panama grows some of the world’s finest coffee, which can be tasted at select coffee houses worldwide.
  7. Senator John McCain was born in Panama, in the Canal Zone which was at that time considered U.S. Territory.
  8. Panama contains the only place in the world where you can see the sun rise on the Pacific and set on the Atlantic…from the same spot! At the country’s narrowest point, only 80 kilometers separates the Atlantic from the Pacific Ocean. 
  9. Panama is home to 10,000 different plants species, including 1,400 varieties of orchids, 678 ferns, and more than 1,500 varieties of trees.
  10. At 11,397 feet, the highest elevation in Panama is Volcán Barú, a volcano which is located near the town of Boquete.
  11. Panama has the most diversified wildlife of all the countries in Central America. It is home to North as well as South American species.
  12. The Panama Canal generates almost one-third of the entire country’s revenue.
  13. Panama has the second largest duty free zone in the world.
  14. Panama is tropical, but temperatures vary according to location and altitude. While Panama City, Colon and David are quite hot and humid, the mountain areas are spring-like climate all year long.
  15. “Tranquilo” is a word that you may come across while traveling in Panama. It means calm or peaceful and can be applied to a person, place or a situation. It’s also a good example of the Panamanian perception of time.

If you want to check out some of these facts for yourself, we invite you to book directly with us at Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast. Here in Boquete you have access to experience the fresh weather, see beautiful flowers, visit the volcano, experience the diverse wildlife, observe the most beautiful birds, taste the finest coffee in all of Panama, experience staying in one of the best B&B/Inns in Panama, and so much more to do. Visit our website under the tab “exploring Boquete” to get more information about the variety of options we have available for you.

Hope to see you soon…

 

 

Celebrando Semana Santa en Panamá

Blog por Andres Lay

Traducido por Omar Fuentes

Panamá no tiene religión oficial, aproximadamente 82 por ciento de la población panameña se identifica como católica romana. Tomando esto en cuanta, te podrás imaginar que la pascua, el día de la conmemoración de la resurrección de Jesucristo, es una fecha muy importante aquí en Panamá. El domingo de pascua es celebrado el 16 de Abril este año. Pero esto no inicia aquí, antes del domingo de resurrección hay 40 días de ayuno, oración y penitencia. La última semana es llamada la semana santa que inicia con el domingo de ramos y culmina con el domingo de resurrección. Durante este periodo hay tres días de oración: el jueves santo conmemorando la última cena; el viernes santo conmemora la crucifixión y muerte de Jesús; y el sábado santo, el último día de cuaresma.

Para muchos católicos, la cuaresma es el momento litúrgico más significante del año. No es el tiempo de recordar a Jesucristo de manera triste sino, un periodo de devoción, oración y reflexión de los misterios de la pasión y muerte de Jesús. La semana santa es el tiempo para orar, sacrificar, arrepentirnos de nuestros pecados y renovar la fe cristiana. También es tiempo de celebración para muchos panameños, ya que muchos optan los días libres para relajarse y viajar.

La Pascua es un tiempo oportuno para los panameños para viajar a visitar sus familiares alrededor del país. Muchos se dirigen a playas o pueblos con montañas (Como Boquete), pasan tiempos con sus familiares, o disfrutan de alguna otra manera de entretenimiento. También hay cierta cantidad de católicos panameños que se congregan y participan en actividades que se dan en la iglesia.

Ayuno y abstinencia durante cuaresma

Como anteriormente mencione, cuaresma es el periodo de 40 días de ayuno, oración y penitencia… Pero qué significa esto?

  • Ayuno significa comer una comida cada día
  • Abstinencia significa no comer ningún tipo de carne
  • Miércoles de ceniza y viernes santo son días de ayuno y abstinencia
  • La abstinencia es requerida en creyentes mayores de 14 años, y el ayuno desde los 18 hasta los 59 años de edad.

Similar a cualquier otra festividad en Panamá, durante estas fechas las reservaciones en hoteles se agotan rápido. Si está deseando viajar a Boquete durante esta época, asegúrese de hacer su reservación en Casa de Montaña pronto. Ya estamos recibiendo reservaciones y muchas preguntas para estas fechas de Semana Santa, contáctenos pronto. Esperamos compartir están fecha especial con usted.

 

Celebrating Holy Week in Panama

Blog by Andres Lay

While Panama has no official religion, approximately 82 percent of the population of Panama identify as Roman Catholic. Therefore, as one would imagine, Easter — the holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ — is an important time here in Panama. This year, the Easter holiday is celebrated on Sunday, April 5th, though it doesn’t begin there. Preceding this is Lent, which is a period of forty days of fasting, prayer and penance. The last week of Lent is called Holy Week (aka, “Semana Santa”) which begins with Palm Sunday and culminates with Easter Sunday. Within this period is the Easter Triduum, a three-day period of prayer: Holy Thursday, commemorating the Last Supper; Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus; and Holy Saturday, the last day of Lent.

For many Catholics, Easter is the most significant liturgical moment of year. It is a time not for sadly remembering Christ’s sufferings, but rather a period of devotion to prayer and reflection on the mysteries of the Passion and Death of Jesus. Holy week is a time to pray, sacrifice, repent for one’s sins, and restore one’s Christian faith. It is also a time for celebration, and for many Catholic Panamanians it has become a holiday for relaxation, travel, or both.

Easter is an opportune time for Panamanians to travel within the country to visit relatives. Many sojourn to beaches or mountain towns (such as Boquete), spend quality time with family, or enjoy one form of entertainment or another. There is also a significant amount of Catholic Panamanians who congregate and participate in activities they perform with their church.


Fasting and abstinence during Lent

As previously mentioned, Lent is a period of forty days of fasting, prayer and penance… but what does this mean? It breaks down like this:

– Fasting means to eat only one main meal each day.

– Abstinence means not eating any meat.

– Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are the days of abstinence and fasting.

– Abstinence is required of believers older than 14, and fasting is required of those from age 18 to 59 years old.

Similar to many other holidays in Panama, accommodations during this time tend to be a hot commodity. If you are desiring to travel to Boquete during this time, be sure to make your reservation at Casa de Montana soon. We are already getting inquiries and bookings for Holy Week, so be sure to contact us promptly! We look forward to sharing this special sacred occasion with you.

Así hablamos en Panamá

Blog por Omar Fuentes.

Los panameños tenemos una manera muy distintiva de hablar. Hay muchas expresiones que quizás no tengan sentido para ti. Pero en realidad tienen un significado.

Aquí hay una lista de las expresiones más populares que escucharas en la calle o cuando viajes en transporte público. Así podrás tener una idea de lo que está pasando en tu entorno.

 

 

 

 

Palabra utilizada Significado real Significado para los Panameños
Mantequilla Grasa de la leche separada por agitación o mezclado. Algo irrelevante o de poca importancia
Marear Sentir nauseas Molestar a alguien, o mentir para evitar pagar una deuda.
Fresco Moderadamente frio Lazy person
Chilea De la palabra en inglés “chill” Tomalo con calma
Goma Pegamento Resaca
A otro nivel Pasar a otro estado de donde estaba. Mejor de lo usual!
Ayala vida! Palabra utilizada para demostrar asombro. Dios mio!
La botaste Tirar algo Hacer algo que llama la atencion y es gracioso
Chuleta loco Chuleta se refiere a la carne del cerdo y loco a no estar cuerdo Que problema!
Que xopa! Es una inversion de la palabra que paso Que pasa?
Meto! Palabra que demuestra asombro en algo, utilizada en la provincia de Chiriqui. Es como decir “ayala vida”
Offi! De la palabra en ingles “Off course” Seguro! Si.
Eres una botella Se refiere a tener forma de botella Persona que recibe salario sin trabajar.
Cuara De la palabra en inglés “quarter” Moneda de 25 centavos
Cojelo suave Agarrar algo con calma Calmate!
Pinta Medida para liquidos Cerveza
Transar De la palabra en inglés “transaction” Robar
Gial De la palabra en inglés “girl” Mujer
Plata Metal Indica dinero
Guaro Esta palabra es proveniente de lationamerica Licor
Chiquillo Diminutivo de la palabra chico Para referirse a un niño
Buco De la palabra en francés  “beaucoup” Mucho
Parkiar De la palabra en inglés “park” Reunirse en un lugar y divertirse
Chantin De la palabra en inglés  “Shanty” Casa
Chance Oportunidad Billete de loteria
Vaina Algo que cubre Para referirse a una cosa a la que usualmente no saben el nombre.
Gringo Del ingles “Green go!” Esta palabra se utilizó para pedir que las tropas Americanas salieran del país.
Estoy salado Tener sal en el cuerpo Tener mala suerte
Fren De la palabra en inglés “Friend” Amigo

Algunas de estas palabras son originarias de la construcción del canal de Panamá con la llegada de personas de Estados Unidos y Francia.

Aparte del idioma de español en Panamá, existen 5 grupos indígenas que tienen su propio lenguaje, los cuales no están relacionados en lo absoluto con el idioma español.

Nicolás es parte de nuestro equipo de limpieza y mantenimiento en Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast, pertenece a la comarca Ngabe Bugle. Él dice que él aprendió a hablar español cuando empezó a ir a la escuela. Cuando él era niño muchas Ngabe Bugle no hablaban español, pero hoy en día solo pocas personas no saben hablar español. La mayoría ya son bilingües.

Espero hayan disfrutado de esta información. Hay muchas otras expresiones que compartiré en futuros posts. Así que cuando escuchen a un panameño usar alguna de estas expresiones, tendrán una ideas de lo que está pasando. Cuando estes en Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast, puedes acercarte a hablar con Nicolas o conmigo (Omar) ya que crecimos en este país y podremos compartir más información interesante contigo!

Panamanian Language – Fascinating Spanish Slangs and Expressions!

Blog by Omar Fuentes.

Panamanians have a very distinctive way of speaking, there are a lot of expressions that might not make sense to you, since they actually have an alternative Panamanian meaning (slang).

Here is a list of some of the most popular Panamanian expressions that you will hear whenever you are walking on the streets of Boquete, around Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast, other hotels in Panama, or going on any public transportation. We have created a short list so you can have some idea about what they are referring to.

 

 

 

 

Spanish Word

True Meaning   Panamanian Slang Meaning
Mantequilla Butter Means that is not that important, irrelevant.
Marear Get somebody dizzy Bother someone, lie just to avoid paying a debt.
Fresco Fresh Lazy person
Chilea Chill Take it easy
Goma Glue Hangover
A otro nivel To another level Better than usual
Ayala vida! Oh Life! Oh my God!
La botaste You threw it Do something that calls the attention and is funny.
Chuleta loco Pork chops crazy What a problem!
Que xopa! What’s up What’s going on?
Meto! N/A It is an expression that shows amusement on something. Most likely used in Chiriqui
Offi! Off course Sure!
Eres una botella You are a bottle Person that receives a salary without working
Cuara From the word “quarter” Twenty five cent coin
Cojelo suave Take it slow Take it easy!
Pinta Pint Beer
Transar From the word “transaction” Steal
Gial From the word “girl” Woman
Plata Silver Indicantes money
Guaro This word comes from Latin America Liquor
Chiquillo From the word chico (small) To refer to a kid
Buco From the French “beaucoup” that means a lot. A lot!
Parkiar Park (Like Parking a car) To get together and have fun
Chantin From the English word “Shanty” To refer to their home
Chance Chance Lottery bill
Vaina Sheath To refer to a specific thing
Gringo Green go! This word was used by the natives to take out any American military from their territory
Estoy salado I am salty To have bad luck
Fren Friend To refer to a friend

Some of the words that are used come from a different language that has had influence in the country during the Panama Canal construction like France and United States.

Besides Spanish, there are 5 different indigenous groups that also have their own language, which is not related with Spanish at all and most Panamanians do not know the languages.

Nicolas who is part of the team at Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast is from the Ngabe Bugle tribe (Pronounced No vay Boo glay), he stated that he learned to speak Spanish when he went to School. When he was a kid not many Ngabe Bugle spoke Spanish but nowadays only few people there do not know how to speak Spanish, most of them are bilingual.

I hope you enjoyed this post. There are some more expressions that I will share with you in future posts. So now whenever you listen to a Panamanian using any of these expressions you will have an idea of what’s going on. When you stay at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast, come and talk with Omar and Nicolas about their growing up Panamanian and their languages.

Pensando en mudarse a Boquete? Flexibilidad es Crucial para adaptarse al nuevo país. (Ya no estás en Kansas!!!)

BLOG por Terry Richmeier

Así que has estado investigando, leyendo y escuchando mucho acerca de retirarse o mudarse a Boquete, Panamá. Te emocionas a medida que aprende más sobre vivir la vida de un extranjero! Escuchas que el costo de vida es menor y tu dinero puede ir más lejos. También que el cuidado de la salud es económico y te gusta lo que escuchas. Lees sobre el clima perfecto y el estilo de vida tranquilo de una comunidad pacífica. Cuanto más lees, más te emocionas y planeas tu viaje para visitar Boquete. Vienes con más preguntas e incluso después de todo lo que lees, su mente sigue produciendo más preguntas…

Así que aquí en Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast queremos hacerte una pregunta. ¿Cuán flexible eres? ¿Eres consciente de las diferencias culturales y puede adaptarse a esas diferencias? ¿Qué hay de la vida nocturna de Boquete, y la disponibilidad de productos que están acostumbrados? Queremos crear una conciencia de que puede que tengas que hacer algunos ajustes y seas capaz de ser flexible cuando te mudes aquí.

Lo más probable es que el primer ajuste que puedas tener que hacer es sobre la barrera del idioma. Ahora, a menos que usted sea lo suficientemente bendecido como para haber tenido clases de español o haber crecido aprendiendo español, puede experimentar ansiedad y estrés simplemente tratando de comunicar sus necesidades. Manzar y yo tomamos una verdadera clase básica de español para los viajeros ofrecidos por el centro de educación comunitaria donde estábamos viviendo en ese momento. Eso fue todo. Entonces tuvimos que lanzarnos a aprender un nuevo idioma tan pronto como llegamos. ¡Es un ajuste pero muy trabajable! Aquí en Boquete, hay un montón de extranjeros de habla inglesa que están registrados en las clases ya sea en: Habla Ya, español por el río o contratan tutores privados para aprender español. Obtendrás lo que necesitas y la competencia del idioma español llegará con el tiempo. Aquí en Boquete, Panamá, muchos lugareños también hablan algo de inglés y mientras usted trata de hablar español, los lugareños están realmente impresionados y trabajan duro para entender lo que estás diciendo. Las palabras que necesita son más fáciles de acceder y, por supuesto, los teléfonos inteligentes ofrecen Google Translate, que siempre ayuda. Aprendí sobre la comida en primer lugar ya que sentí esto como el aspecto más necesario a la hora de aprender español!

La siguiente lucha para mí fue conseguir los elementos que necesitaba. He aquí un ejemplo: yo uso un cepillo de dientes Sonic Care y para mi sorpresa, los cepillos de dientes de repuesto no estaban disponibles en Panamá. Bueno, como ustedes saben, estas pequeñas “molestias” son oportunidades para encontrar una solución. Yo, como muchos otros, compran en Amazon.com y envían las cosas que no podemos encontrar aquí.

Algunas diferencias culturales que pueden tomar un ajuste de su parte, se resuelven fácilmente si quieres experimentar un cambio. Adaptarse a la cultura y la práctica de la comprensión. Estamos en el ambiente Panameño y somos nosotros los que tenemos que adaptarnos a la vida aquí, no al revés. Aquí en Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast hemos luchado para tener una “vida tranquila y pacífica”. Esto parece realmente grande en la medida en que usted puede ver con su corazón, ¿verdad? El problema ocurre cuando se le dice que vendrán y conectarán el cable o Internet mañana, lo que puede significar en cualquier momento entre mañana y un mes a partir de ahora, ¡NO HOY! Esto es parte del estilo de vida tranquilo y debe ser capaz de adaptarse a esto.

En Panamá la gente es pacífica y no confronta. Boquete tiene perros que hablan entre sí todo el día y la noche. Hay gallos que cantan todo el día y la noche. Panamá celebra en voz alta sus vacaciones e independencias (de España y Colombia). Los panameños están orgullosos de su patrimonio y se nota!

Puede que tengas que ir a 5 tiendas diferentes para encontrar lo que está buscando. Y tendrás un tiempo duro encontrando estacionamiento en frente de la tienda que desea visitar. Estos son todos los ajustes que usted puede enfrentar y hacer una resolución de aprendizaje y pacífica. La aceptación es la clave. Aprender a preguntar precisamente lo que necesita reemplazará las confrontaciones. Use tapones para los oídos al intentar descansar con ayuda de los perros ladrando y los gallos. Cuando hay una gran celebración, tomar el tiempo para vacaciones en otro lugar. Pase sus vacaciones con su familia y amigos. Tómese un día entero para ir de compras y no tener prisa. Haga que alguien espere a que la gente aparezca para que no esté encerrado en sentarse y esperar.

Cuando vinimos aquí a Boquete, Panamá, nos enamoramos de él de inmediato y comenzamos nuestro viaje a la construcción de nuestro Bed and Breakfast. Y nos lanzaron en el proceso de ajustes casi inmediatamente! Es realmente factible, sólo tiene que ser flexible y listo para hacer ajustes también.

¡El viaje vale la pena! Si tiene más preguntas o siente que le gustaría conocer más sobre la cultura aquí en Panamá y en Boquete, por favor envíenos sus preguntas  y programar un tiempo mientras usted está aquí para venir a visitar. Echa un vistazo a nuestra Tour Boquete Overview mientras estás aquí mirando su potencial nuevo hogar!

Te veo pronto.

Moving to Boquete, Panama? Flexibility is crucial in adapting to the new country (You are not in Kansas anymore!!!)

BLOG BY Terry Richmeier

So you have been researching and reading and hearing a lot about retiring or moving to Boquete, Panama, and you are getting excited as you learn more about living the life of an expat! You hear the cost of living is less and your money can go farther. You hear healthcare is economical and you like what you hear. You read about the perfect weather and the tranquil lifestyle of a peaceful community. The more you read, the more you get excited and you plan your trip to visit Boquete. You come down loaded with more questions and even after all you read, your mind continues to produce more questions…

So we here at Casa de Montaña bed and breakfast want to ask you a question. How flexible are you? Are you aware of cultural differences and can you adjust to those differences? How about the night life of Boquetenians, and the availability of products you are used to? We want to create an awareness that you may have to make some adjustments and are you able to be flexible when you move here.

Most likely the first adjustment that you may have to make is about the language barrier. Now, unless you are blessed enough to have had Spanish lessons or grew up learning Spanish, you may experience anxiety and stress just trying to communicate your needs. Manzar and I took a real basic class of Spanish for travelers offered by the community education center where we were living at the time. That was it. Then we had to throw ourselves into learning a new language just as soon as we arrived. It is an adjustment but very workable! Here in Boquete, there are a lot of English speaking ex-pats who are registered in classes either at Habla Ya or Spanish by the river or they hire private tutors in order to learn Spanish. They are getting what they need and Spanish competency will come eventually. Here in Boquete, Panama, many locals also speak some English and as long as you try speaking Spanish, the locals are really impressed and work hard to understand what you are saying. The words you need become easier to access and of course, smart phones offer Google Translate, which always helps. I learned about food first and foremost as I felt this as the most necessary aspect of learning Spanish!

The next struggle for me was getting the items I needed. Here is an example: I use a Sonic Care toothbrush and much to my surprise, the replacement toothbrushes were not available in Panama. Well, as you may know, these little “annoyances” are opportunities to find a solution. I, like many others, shop on Amazon.com and have the stuff delivered that we cannot find here.

Some cultural differences that can take an adjustment on your part are easily resolved if you let yourself undergo a change. Adjust to the culture and practice understanding. We are in the Panama world and we are the ones that have to adjust to the life here, not the other way around. We here at Casa de Montaña bed and breakfast struggled and still do with the “tranquil and peaceful life”. This seems really great as far as you can see with your heart right? The problem happens when you are told that they will come and hook up the cable or internet tomorrow, which can mean anytime between tomorrow and a month from now, just NOT TODAY!  This is part of the tranquil lifestyle and you must be able to adapt to.

In Panama the people are peaceful and non-confrontational. Boquete has dogs that talk to each other all day and night. There are roosters that cock-a-doodle-do throughout the day and night.  Panama celebrates loudly their holidays and independences (from Spain and Colombia). Panamanians are proud of their heritage and it shows!

You may have to go to 5 different stores to find what you are looking for. And you will have a hard time parking in front of the store you wish to visit. These are all adjustments that you can turn around and make a learning and peaceful resolution. Acceptance is key. Learning to ask precisely what you need will replace the confrontations. Wear ear plugs when trying to rest with help with the barking dogs and the rooters. When there is a big celebration, you take the time to vacation somewhere else. Spend your holidays with your family and friends. Take a whole day to shop and don’t be in a hurry. Have someone wait for the people to show up so you are not locked into sitting and waiting.

When we came down here to Boquete, Panama, we fell in love with it right away and we began our journey to building our bed and breakfast. And we

were thrown into the adjustments process almost immediately! It’s really do-able, you just need to be flexible and ready to make adjustments as well.

The journey is worth it! If you have more questions or feel you would like to know more about the culture here in Panama and in Boquete, please send us your questions  and schedule some time while you’re here to come and visit. Check out our Boquete Overview Tour  while you are here looking at your potential new home! See you soon.

LGBT Rights in Panama

Blog by Omar Fuentes

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Panama may face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Even though both male and female same-sex sexual activity is legal in Panama, same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for the same legal benefits and protections available to opposite-sex married couples.

 

Homosexuality was legalized in Panama relatively recently, when the 1949 law prohibiting homosexuality was repealed in July 2008. Although there is a growing gay community in Panama, gay couples have no official rights and same-sex relationships, marriages or unions are not recognized. This means that gay couples are not eligible for some of the protections and civil rights as heterosexual couples.

Recognition of LGBT Rights

There is no recognition of same-sex couples. A proposal that would have provided for same-sex civil unions was defeated in 2004, mainly due to pressure on the government from the Catholic Church. Only about 12% of Panamanians support same-sex marriage to be recognized in the country.

On May 8th, 2014, the Code of Private International Law was approved. The code prohibits same-sex marriages in Panama and clarifies that the country will not recognize the legality of these marriages if performed in another country. Article 40 specifies “same-sex marriages are strictly prohibited in the country.”

Adoption and parenting

Same-sex couples are unable to legally adopt in Panama. However, IVF and artificial insemination are available to lesbian couples in the country.

Gender identity/expression

Since 2006, transgender persons in Panama can change their legal gender and name on their birth certificates, but only after having undergone gender reassignment surgery.

 

In May 2016, a 22-year-old Panamanian transgender woman was allowed to change her name, so that it matches her gender identity, without having undergone surgery. This was the first time a transgender person in Panama could change their name without first undergoing surgery.

Discrimination protections

There are no laws protecting gays from discrimination. Article 39 of the Constitution forbids the creation of “companies, associations or foundations” that are contrary to moral or legal order. In the past this has been used to refuse registration of gay organizations. In August 2015, a bill to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, was introduced in the National Assembly.

LGBT rights movement in Panama

In Panama, where most of the LGBT reside, one can see small lights of hope, heroes who fight against a powerful and unjust system to support the LGBTI collective in Panama. It is therefore worth noting the commendable work of various foundations:

Asociación Hombres y Mujeres Nuevos De Panamá (AHMNP), whose work focuses on improving the quality of life for the LGBT population by providing comprehensive preventive health services, education and guidance, setting a tone of trust, support and solidarity with the people.

PFLAG Panama, Parents, family and friends who want to share their experiences on “homosexuality” in a respectful and confidential space.  It is a group that promotes the health and well-being of gay, lesbian and transgender people through support to deal with a society that discriminates. It promotes openness and without prejudice, it fosters mutual understanding, respect, and willingness to listen, express your feelings and emotions and motivate one another to overcome, improve and thus feel like a member of a group, a new family.

New Horizons Association, an active and important support group, focuses on issues related to HIV / AIDS prevention, follow-up support for people with the disease, and strong activism in the face of inequality and respect for the human rights of Gay people. Union of Diversity is a pioneering foundation in Panama City whose goal is to achieve a change and unite the LGTB community by defending their rights. Since May 2016, its

commitment is directed as an international NGO consultancy to support the LGBT community throughout Latin America, especially in Brazil and Colombia.

The defense of the rights of the LGBT collective is a work of all, if we understand the world as a free, tolerant and supportive place. In my opinion, we must speak up against unpleasant and intolerant situations whenever we encounter them in Panama. There is much to do! Little by little, the injustices suffered by the LGBT community will gradually be eliminated until freedom and social normality are achieved.

We must seek cooperation that seeks a comprehensive and attentive approach towards addressing the various causes and consequences of violence, with special attention to the most vulnerable groups.

LGBT Celebrations & Places to go

Gay Pride is held annually in downtown Panama City, usually in June. The parade is sponsored by Asociación Hombres y Mujeres Nuevos de Panamá, Panama’s first and only lesbian and gay association. Along with thousands of citizens and prominent figures showing their support including Panama City Mayor Jose Isabel Blandon and the US ambassador for Panama, John Feeley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Panama City Carnival the LGBT community participates in the Panama City Carnival on Tuesday of the Carnival week. There is a queen chosen every year to represent the community in the carnival.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LGBT Night life

Here is a list of the most popular places for the LGBT community:

Xscape is an upscale gay disco bar in the El Dorado Shopping Center next to a Pizza Hut, a taxi ride away from the city center, it has an intimate atmosphere but a small dance floor.

The Bellini Club turns into a gay disco Wednesdays 10 pm to 3 am, but the nightclub has other themes Thursday through Saturday. On Avenida Aquilino de la Guardia, it has a lounge bar, disco, VIP area and a stage for live shows.

Distincion is a private club with a rumba beat and the most centrally located gay disco in town in Plaza Paitilla Mall across from Multicentro Mall. Thursdays it’s an open bar all night with free cover from 9 pm to 11 pm and then from $5. Fridays and Saturdays feature a premium open bar for 10 pm to midnight, bottle promotions, $8-10 cover and live shows. Goes until 4 am.

BLG is the oldest and most upscale bar on the Panama gay club scene and draws men, women and straight couples. A $5 cover most nights, it features drag shows, electronic music, special events and comics. Look for the BLG sign and Colpan Ford agency on Via Transistmica. From 10 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

XS Club bar The Largest Gay Discotheque in Panama with the best show of lights and lasers, the best artistic productions and the best quality and ambiance of Panama City!

HamMan Sauna & Spa This gay sauna/bathhouse with gym, labyrinth Turkish bath, VIP relaxing rooms, massages is located near the National Lottery Building in Bella Vista.

Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast: We embrace diversity and welcome everybody.  Casa de Montaña is owned by Terry and Manzar a married gay couple. When you Book with us, you are free to be you.  We embrace diversity and welcome everybody!

At Casa de Montaña in Boquete we are cooking up a storm!

Blog by Terry Richmeier

 

picture-1So why did we choose international style breakfasts for our guests here at the hotel? Well, it all started with a dream that we both shared of owning our own B&B business and our enjoyment of flavors from all over the world. We have been fortunate enough to get to travel from Canada to Colombia and many places in between. And during our travels, we enjoyed many different cuisines and international foods.  One might ask, how many different ways can you do breakfast? Isn’t breakfast just eggs and toast and some juice and coffee? Our answer to that is a resounding “NO”!

So we sat down (while still living in Minneapolis) one day several months before the opening of Casa de Montaña and began to dream about what we enjoyed the most in food. Thinking specifically about the breakfast flavors we would choose. picture-4The choices in the beginning were somewhat different then what is being served now. picture-2 picture-3This evolution may be because of the ability for us to get certain items here in Panama that we might need. Also, originally we were thinking of breakfasts that included meats. We ruled that out pretty quickly since more and more people are vegetarians or vegan these days. Also, even if someone eats meat, they would gladly skip having meat for breakfast. We decided to do an informal survey of our friends and family about meats versus having a vegetarian breakfast. The vegetarian breakfast won out by far! So, we went back to the drawing board and started again!

picture-5We were fortunate to have Manzar and his sisters take part in learning to cook from their mother! She was an amazing cook and this led us to our first international breakfast (from Pakistan) of Puri, Chana Masala and Kolonji Potatoes.  It is eaten more as a brunch in Pakistan and has been one of our most flavorful and complimented breakfasts! We usually serve it on Tuesdays.

During the time we were developing our breakfasts, Manzar’s oldest sister Rakshinda was visiting in Minneapolis and we decided to make and taste all of the recipes that we had developed. Of course we started with the Pakistani breakfast first and Manzar and his sister made the recipes look so easy. This was a week-long trial period in which we said yes to all of our choices. The joy and fun we had that week was amazing! Who knew this could turn out to be more of an act of love than a challenge!

We made all of the fabulous and vegetarian breakfast that are listed on our website. Starting with Sunday here are the following picture-6breakfasts: Panamanian, Italian, Pakistani, Belgian, American Western, Mexican, and French!

You can take a look at the reviews of our breakfasts on our TripAdvisor page.  as well many reviews telling you about other services we provide and the amenities we have at our Bed & Breakfast.

We started with diverse breakfast choices but why stop there? Here in Boquete, Panama, even the hotels and restaurants do not have many international dining choices for lunches and dinners. So, we wanted to share what Manzar, his mother, sisters and sister-in-law all know in cooking up and preparing Pakistani/Indian cuisine. picture-7We started to share this skill with many of the Boquete residents and guests of Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast. We had our first Pakistani/Indian cooking class almost three years ago and it went very well with a full class of incredibly talented people! That was the start of many different classes to come. We are now in the process of repeating some of these incredible cooking classes so that others can learn and enjoy amazing international dinners. By the way, neither David nor Boquete has a single Pakistani or Indian restaurant! You can see photos, menus, and the recipes of these classes on our website.

There is more to come. We have had guests ask if we can schedule a cooking class while they are staying with us. We gladly accommodate if we have enough advance notice. Our next class is this coming Wednesday, January 11th and we are planning to have cooking picture-8 classes in the coming months as well. Who knows, we may do some Thai and Mexican cooking classes next? The possibilities are endless when it comes to what we can come up with. Here in Boquete we are only limited by our own imagination.

When you come and stay at Casa de Montaña ,  talk with Manzar about the secrets that make the International cultural food taste the best. Talk to him about how to cut and fry up the  onions (for example) when cooking Pakistani food or what order to add the ingredients picture-9to make the amazing flavors of the spices blend to create the greatest tasting food! He is full of secrets passed along to him from his mother. And who knows, maybe you too can request cooking class be set up during your stay here at Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast!

And if cooking is not for you, then come and enjoy our breakfasts while you are relaxing and resting. After breakfast, we can set up an in- room massage or a tour or two. Take a look at our current specials. See you soon!

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Saying Goodbye to guests and staff at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast, Boquete

Blog by Terry Richmeier

1Over the past three years we here at Casa de Montaña have had the pleasure of getting to know our guests and each one of you have made such an impact on us.

We opened with the very first guests. A couple that was from Holland and the wife had just finished her degree to become a doctor. They needed a break and choose Casa de Montaña as that place of respite. Along with them, we had a lovely couple that has a home here in Boquete, Panama, already. The husband wanted his wife to see the bathroom and open shower concept that we introduced to Boquete. She was quite pleased and they took several photos of the shower concept to share the idea to their contractor. We genuinely smiled incredibly proud that we made an impact! This impact started from an open house that we had in order to introduce ourselves to the new community that we fell into and in love with.

From there we continued as we spent the time during our social hour talking with all of 2you, our guests, getting to know you, getting to know more about the world in which you live. The stories of places you visited and your experiences. We learned about Germany, Holland, and cities within them. We learned about Ukraine, Russia, Australia, Israel and South Africa! And the list will go on and on…..

We enjoyed hearing the stories of your adventures here in Boquete, Panama, as you learned about the many steps to getting a cup of coffee to your table. And as you went on the Canopy Tour and you zipped speeding down the track hanging far above the trees! And your whitewater rafting trip to the Costa Rican border! It’s as if we took the adventure along with you!

During this time we had the opportunity to grow. We grew in staff so that we had people here that could speak to you both in Spanish and English. We grew in popularity through TripAdvisor and booking.com.  It is so heartwarming to read what you experienced during your stay here with us. We still to this day go back and read them. Remembering you and your time spent with us. And most importantly, we felt a kinship with each and every one of you, our guests, our hearts were and are still filled with love and happiness! Our lives will never be the same.  The energy, blessings and gratitude we receive do not end!

3What does end is the time you, our guests are here with us. Just before you leave, many times we stop and ask to take a picture with you. Our hearts step up to our throats making it difficult to speak. We act like nothing is wrong and we smile for the shot. Still inside, we are struggling to let you go. You have taken us by storm and we are left with that photo and a small piece of your lives.

As Terry has said, “I can imagine that most parents experience this feeling as their children, now adults, go off to college, or get married and move onto their adult lives.” It is difficult for us to say goodbye, however, you have shaped our lives so tremendously and you have energized us so incredibly, that we are renewed and ready to receive new guests and open our hearts to them and all who stay here at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast!

Along with our guests, we have had several employees that have moved on in their lives as well. We also have to say goodbye to them. Sometimes it feels like we are attending a funeral and for days, the remaining staff and all of us are affected.

Just real recently we said goodbye to Debra. Debra decided, after having experienced Casa de Montaña, that she was ready to open a bed and breakfast with her boyfriend in Quito, Ecuador. It about broke our hearts into pieces. Veronica created an exquisite thanksgiving dinner and we all sat together and quietly said how much we loved Debra, some of us could not verbalize it. It was a rather quiet meal until we found humor and all of us, laughed almost too loudly as it was forced.

This is not an isolated incident. It happens every time. And now, it’s happening again. Our wonderful Maria Isabel has decided that at this point in her life, she wants to be with her children. It’s always tough to work when you’re a mother with children and Maria Isabel has an opportunity to be a stay home mom! We can’t fault her for that and what a blessing for her and her children. Maria has this to say shortly before parting from Casa de Montaña:

4I have worked at Casa de Montaña for only 8 months, and I have made great friends. From Veronica whom with her motherly care takes care of all of us, along with Nicolas who is always on top of all the little details on the house maintenance. Natalia who is so detailed on the cleaning and can swiftly clean a room, and Junior who takes great care of our garden. Terry and Manzar have always been so fun to work with.  It’s sad to leave, and it feels like I am leaving my family, not just coworkers. I am sure I will be coming back to visit and bring cupcakes! (Otherwise Terry would not let me in hahaha).

 

So if you see a tear or two running down our eyes, we are ok, we just had to remove our heart from our throats one more time.

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For those who have not been here yet, or who have not stayed with us yet, please do contact us as we have a place in our hearts that only you can fill!

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