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  Within a few days there was so much protest by church groups against gay marriage that the proposal was withdrawn before it made it to the legislators to be voted in.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…

 

 

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!

Boquete Video Festival Sponsored by Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast

Blog by Veronica Pitti

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There is an exciting new festival coming to Boquete very soon! This festival is called Boquete Video Festival (BVF). The festival has been developed by some of the expats who are currently living in Boquete. Dozens of people have registered to submit their short videos to the organizers of the festival who will then post the video on You-tube for people to watch and “Like”. The cost for registration is only $10 and that includes free classes to learn how to use your cell phone to make and edit the video before submitting it to be judged.  There are five judges who have been carefully selected. These are people who have expertise in films and video production. The judges are current residents of Boquete. All the videos have to show a story about Boquete in one of six different categories. The six categories are: Documentary, Comedy, Commercial/Promotional, Drama, Adventure and Musical. The festival is a good way to show people around the world the natural beauty of the Boquete area and the people who live here.

Right now several professionals are involved in helping the contestants in making of their videos. Some of the contestants have experience in making videos and others do not. It is hoped that people are able to make a good video once they have some training and personalized help. The goal is to have fun, be creative, get recognition, and hopefully win prizes!  The contestants have until December 31st, 2016, to submit their video entries. All the videos are being uploaded to the You-tube website of Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast.

There are Boquete Video Festival t-shirts for sale at the Tuesday Market (BCP Teatro) 2every Tuesday from 9 AM to 11:30 AM or they can purchased from Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast between the hours of 8 AM and 5 PM daily.  These t-shirts come in many sizes and are all blue with the festival logo in the front and a design in the back. See the photo to the side: Our friend Gabrielle


The big “gala” award ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, January 28th, 2017, from 5 PM to 7 PM at the BCP Teatro. The tickets will be on sale soon at the Mailboxes Etc and at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast. This awards ceremony will truly be a “red carpet” event. Everyone will be dressed up in nice clothes and have their picture taken by professional cameramen as they settle down in their seats and take part in the ceremony. The top 20 videos will be shown at the event. There will be a total of 8 awards and prizes given to the contestants, one for each of the six categories and then two additional “special” awards. There will be “Oscar Awards” made out of chocolate, two-night stay at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast, restaurant gift certificates from Retrogusto and Seasons Restaurants.

Even though I am not submitting a video for judging, I plan on attending the award 3ceremony in January because some of my friends are entering their videos in the contest. Hope my classmates are able to attend the event as well!

Veronica Pitti

 

Celebrate your Special Occasion at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast.

Blog by Maria Isabel Zapata.

Great moments sometimes do not come from creating a scenario they come from sparking a long-lasting memory. At Casa de Montaña we strive to create long lasting memories for all our guests. Sometimes they come prepared knowing exactly what they want and sometimes we go the extra mile to create that memory for them. We have created several special memories for some of our guests and it has gone to be a great experience for all of us to cater to these special needs.

Before moving to Boquete, I had a small bakery and catering business I was running from home so I could take care of my family, and it turned out be a perfect addition to those special moments our guests require.

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So you may wonder what it takes to make this special occasions possible. A few weeks ago we had two very special occasions we participated on and we want to talk about them.

Will you marry me?

Boquete is not only perfect to get marry, but also for a proposal. The beautiful mountains views, the access to wonderful gardens along with the weather makes everything romantically perfect. There is no way your partner won’t say “I do”.

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As you might now, beautiful flowers can be found in Boquete easily. Our guest pre- ordered the arrangements and   we made sure everything was looking romantic by their arrival.

 

 

Debra took some rose petals  and made a heart with them. Isn’t it beautiful!?

The Birthday celebration:

Our guest wanted to do something special for her husband`s birthday, something simple but romantic. Every time I make a cake, I take a lot of things in consideration, as to how many people is going to be eating the cake, their favorite flavor and if they have a theme in mind.   I  can decorate with fondant or just a classic frosting decoration. I like to use the best quality products, they might be a little more expensive but it goes a long way when it comes to something you are supposed to enjoy, and my sweet tooth thinks there is nothing like a very good cake to seal a special occasion.

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This time I made one of the favorites of all times:  a chocolate cake filled with rich chocolate ganache, covered with whipped chocolate ganache and Twix chocolate bars and  decorated with chocolate ganache rosettes. The room was decorated with helium balloons, which I found on our local party supplies store (Boquete has it all!), wine, two “tres leches” shots and off course the cake, which was a complete success! The face on her husband when they entered the room was priceless and obvious it was a big surprise. He was thankful to her for thinking about how to make his day special.   Its little joys like that which make us feel great.

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It makes me so happy to see the faces on my clients when they enjoy a good sweet treat. Same here at Casa de Montaña as we love the way our guests smile when they are here and how genuinely  sad they are when they are leaving. We take pride in everything we do and always try to make you feel at home, even more if it means celebrating with you all those wonderful and unique moments in life.

Whether it is a proposal, an anniversary, a birthday or just a romantic getaway, a little detail as roses or wine is always a plus. Come and stay with us at Casa de Montaña and contact us if you wish to arrange a special celebration!

 

So, you want to buy, build, rent or restore a business in Boquete, Panama?

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We here at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast began to think about what it took to move to Boquete, Panama, construct a building for the business, create the business and make it number 1 on TripAdvisor in our region. Then we thought, let’s talk about it to others and tell them just what it takes.

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So, whether or not you are thinking about buying an existing restaurant or B&B or creating a brand new business of some kind, let us walk you through the joys and challenges of making money here in the paradise called Boquete!

Let’s start with the joys:

  • You are your own boss. You have independence from the corporate world.
  • You set and establish your work hours
  • You have much more flexibility
  • You get to meet new people from around the world
  • You can be more creative
  • Panama makes it easy to establish a business
  • We are here to answer your questions and make your dreams come true. (Contact us)
  • Your investment can go a long way
  • Boquete has the highest number of Ex-pats living here in all of Panama
  • There are tax breaks and tax exclusions depending on what you buy. (We can get you in contact with accountants) Contact us

Here are some things to consider:

  • Do your research about where you wish to relocate. You can check with International Living https://internationalliving.com/countries/panama/boquete/ and Best Places in the world to retire. https://bestplacesintheworldtoretire.com/questions-and-answers/1001-what-are-the-expats-like-in-boquete-panama , for example.
  • Once you narrow your search to Boquete (and we know you will!), take a look into the laws around residency.
  • Then you can begin to look into websites that carry the business, land and spaces for rent for the kind of business you are looking for. (You can also contact us  we may have some leads for you).
  • Next you should contact a lawyer to make sure s/he help you with the legal matters of setting up a new business or the transfer of an existing business. (We can also help with this as well contact us. .
  • Consider the culture and what it would mean for you to have a business in a Latin culture.
  • Are you going to have the challenge of needing a loan to equip you properly for your business? (Loans in Panama are difficult to get. Contact us for some possibilities of banks.).
  • Will you need employees to help you run your business? Panama has many requirements for you to employ Panamanians such as paying “Decimo”, “Payroll”, and “Social Security”. We can help with contacts to get you started in the correct direction. Contact us .
  • Take the time to talk with business owners both those that are selling and those that are not. Ask pointed questions.
  • Check out the reviews on the business that you are buying. (This could be a negotiation tool.)

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These are just a handful of things that you will need to do when you begin your journey to your business. We are here for you in any way we can be. Come down and stay with us. Call  us up to let us know that you are looking at buying a business and we can give you the best possible price during your stay. Take a Boquete Overview Tour or the Boquete Scenic Tour that we offer. You can read more about this by clicking on Specials). And ask us as many questions as you have. We can help you in your decision making by our contacts, and ex-pats that live here. You will not be alone in your journey to a fantastic new life! Call Manzar now, let him know what kind of a business you are looking for and even get more information on possible businesses that are available for sale!

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Panamenian Typical Costumes and Peasant Week.

Blog by Maria Isabel Zapata.

(second part of the blog Traditional costumes of Panama and some Central & South American countries)

As the Peasant week of Panama comes closer I find myself looking for traditional costumes for my kids. And I realized Panama has one of the most complex and elaborated costumes of the world! No wonder they are also one of the prettiest and most expensive costumes. Only the “Pollera” (dress) can cost up to 6 thousand dollars, and when you add up all the accessories and jewelry that can be around 300 and 500 dollars more.

Now that is if you purchase fantasy accessories and jewelry. The tradition dictates that the “tembleques” (hair accessories) are made of pearls and the jewelry pure gold, for a total of up to 50 thousand dollars! There is also different kind of Polleras depending on the region and type of festivity : Pollera Montuna Santeña, Pollera Coquito, Pollera tireada, Pollera blanca and Pollera de Lujo.

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So it was time to decide the kind of pollera I wanted my daughter to wear for their “Gala tipica” at school and Veronica, the Chef here at Casa the Montaña, offered to help me making her dress. I was so excited! I went looking for all the accessory’s and my son’s costumes around the town of Boquete, and found this little store with tons of different dresses, tembleques and shirts for my son.  This is where I found out I knew nothing about these traditional dresses as the owner told me each dress has rules of how many tembleques and jewelry should each of them wear, the color and type of the shoes and how should I style my daughter’s hair!

So I decided to investigate a little deeper and this is what I found:

Pollera Montuna Santeña

This is one of the most valued skirts and most appreciated by the people of Las Tablas and its surrounding areas, precisely because of its bright colors and the delicate touch of the work done in the shirt, which always match the color of Pollerón. Even though this is not considered a Pollera de Lujo this beautiful style for sure captivates the looks of the people.

The Montuna Santeña or Zaraza is complemented with earrings, a flat chain, the Guachapalí chain and the Tapahueso with a gold medal, for the head a set of combs with a tortoiseshell frame with a thin gold blade with pearls and bright stones inserts, a pair of buns and a pair of Colored Tembleques known as Pimpollos.

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Pollera Montuna with Basquiña

When I saw this Pollera, which is so simple yet beautiful I decided this was the one I was going to do for my daughter.

This Pollera is an stylized model of the Pollera  Montuna Santeña, it uses a solid color or pattern skirt with a white shirt called Basquiña.  The headdress for this pollera could be a set of colored tembleques on one side of the head with hair combs.

The jewerly for this Pollera as opposed to the Pollera de Lujo does not need too many colors, one or two colors is fine, but you can add pendants (Zarcillos).

I almost cried of joy when I saw my daughter all dressed up. My son went also as a Montuno which consist of a off-white shirt, jeans and “cutarras”, sandals originally made of leather.

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The white Pollera (Pollera Blanca)
This pollera is made with fine white fabric embroidered with designs and also in white thread. La Pollera Blanca is within the category of Luxury Polleras and is made in similar way. For its white elegant color is usually used for weddings.

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The hair is decorated with fine” tembleques” usually white . The jewelry for this Pollera is unlimited and can be used with all the items that you can get but avoiding saturation so they can be appreciated.  In the head the combs that are used are the “Balcony”, the “Thoughts” and the “Large-comb” at the back, and a ” Pajuela”, which is a leaf form comb.

The earrings can be “tendrils” and in the neck you can use the “Tapahueso” or a fine “Golden Necklace” in its replacement. The chains you put on the chest are made of gold and are usually seven of them.

The shoes used for this Pollera are lined in silk or satin matching the grating and streamer color.

Luxury Pollera (pollera de lujo o gala)

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The Blouse  consists of a basic frame of a shirt that covers the sleeves. On the outside is composed by the top opening of the shirt adorned with braids and two roundabout pieces, a top and bottom one slightly gathered together  and worked with different labors, braids and lace.

 

These Polleras carry a special work made by national artisans that are sewed directly to the white fabric.  Among the names of these techniques we can find “Talco en Sombra”, “Sombreado”, “Calado”, “Zurcido” and Talco al Sol.  When these parts are finished they are assembled together with a type of lace that is handmade called “mundillo.

Because most of the parts of this Pollera are handmade it will take between 6 months to one year to be completed which is reason why that makes this pollera a very expensive one.

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There are a lot of photographic companies where you can rent this pollera and take pictures with it without the necessity of buying one. Here at Casa de Montaña we have amazing gardens where you can arrange to take beautiful outdoor pictures!

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It’s not Hollywood. It’s not Bollywood. It’s the “Boquete Video Festival”!

Blog by Terry Richmeier

It all started with a vision and a thought! We here at Casa de Montana Bed & Breakfast in Boquete, Panama saw the vision and immediately jumped on board!

The vision came from a Boquete resident who we shall call Patrick. He has been in several different movies and commercials and also has a passion for photography and noticed while out on his daily walk all the different people from young to old using their phones and creating videos.

So, the thought occurred to him, we should have an academy awards done up Boquete style! And thus, the vision was created!!!!!

A few days later, Patrick and his wife, we shall call her Gabrielle, were over visiting at Casa de Montana Bed and Breakfast and mentioned his vision. We LOVED it! Terry & Manzar right away said that they wanted to be involved and would be happy to host the Boquete cell phone video’s on their website.

Soon, a committee was started and we right away got the video juices rolling! We decided that there would be 6 categories that a person could sign up and register their video for. After much discussion, the following are the categories:

  1. Adventure/Travel
  2. Commercial/Promotion
  3. Documentary
  4. Comedy
  5. Drama
  6. Musical

Check out the flyers below:

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We decided that this may be a little scary for those of us that don’t know how to video from our smart phones and so the classes were formed. We will be including three classes when you sign up and you will never feel unsupported.

It was decided that we needed to have the theme or contents of the video be Boquete, Panama based or something to do with Boquete.

Within days of our discussions, the idea came along to us that seemed so simple. We must have a full blown Academy Awards Ceremony and make this a Black-tie event! The lady that makes chocolate and has a store of chocolates here in Boquete, we shall call her Debra, has created an award that is now called the Choxsar award and we will be giving these out to the winners of the best video in each category. Along with the Choxsar other prizes will be awarded.

So, I was wondering if I could really make my own 1-5 minute video?  I decided that a commercial to advertise our Boquete Video Festival would be the best way to kick this off. I had no skills in acting, videoing, splicing or editing at all. Well, I want you to see the outcome! I’m happy and astonished at how good it came out!      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivPxi4pp9JM&list=PLwz-744OmrNMrEeav1lSw7hw7LjEUl6Gv

You can also, starting soon, view the videos in each category and vote on them by hitting the “like” button for the ones in each category you really like! It’s great!

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There are so many ways to participate in registering, learning and creating a video by using your cell phone. You don’t have to be living in Boquete, Panama to do so. It just needs to be about Boquete, Panama.  If you don’t have the time to put a video together, still participate by voting. And, make your plans to book & stay with us at Casa de Montana http://www.casademontana.com during the Gala event in January 2017! You will have the time of your life!

Update: beyond the huge response that we have already had, we have added 5 judges that are residence of Boquete that have worked in the movie and film industry….Who knows what this can do for your video! From Boquete Video Festival to Broadway and beyond! Think big!!!!!

 

Hiking in Boquete, Panama…..are you ready??

Blog by: Debra Harwood

Hiking in Boquete, Panama with Casa de Montaña’s expert guide Israel

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We are pleased to have joined forces with Israel to offer our guests the opportunity to explore the nature around us with someone who has the training and knowledge to ensure you have a great experience.

A little bit about Israel.  He was born in David and raised here in Boquete.  He graduated from College with a degree in Science and Tourism.  Not only is he certified in first aid and is bi-lingual he also spent 3 months in 2015 in Japan taking an intense course on survival and rescue.  So you know you are in good hands while out on an adventure with Israel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xsgb_fANRuM

 

When we asked about the most challenging hike he has taken here he replied the “Camino Culebra” aka Snake Trail.   It is a 4 day hike over the continental divide which takes you to Bocas del Toro.  Don’t worry he understands not many people want to sign up for this hike!!

Taking a qualified guide like Israel to hike here is important as the trails split many times, some are just animal trails, and one may get disoriented and unsure if they are 2really on the trail they believed to be on.   It gets dark here around 6pm and even faster when under the canopy of the cloud forest.

People always ask Israel what kind of animals they may see on the trails here.  Well from small ants, bugs and frogs too many different species of birds to even possibly a panther or jaguar.  Again making it a good choice to take a guide along.  If you are out alone and it gets dark the jungle can become a very scary place.  You are unable to even see your hand in front of your face and the temperature drops many degrees. Chances of survival depends on you keeping  calm and remember if you are near a river or small stream follow the direction it is flowing and  it will eventually lead you to safety.  3

When scheduling a hike with Israel he will make sure you know what to bring as in a rain jacket, closed toe shoes, extra clothing in case you get wet but you can be confidant that he will have along all the necessary emergency supplies that may be needed.

He offers many different hikes for all levels of hikers ( put in link to all the trails here) so we are sure you will find one that suits you.   When booking more than 3 nights with us at Casa de Montana you will receive 15% off of the cost of hikes with Israel that you choose. ( scroll down in the link to Boquete Outdoor Encounters to see all the available hikes). http://www.casademontana.com/specials-savings/5

So come and stay with us at Casa de Montana and spend some quality time hiking and learning about the cloud forest, animals, birds and the Eco-system Boquete is so well known for.

The 10 Must-Do activities while visiting Boquete, Panama!

Blog by Terry Richmeier & Manzar Lari

Ok, so, here at Casa de Montaña we have been talking a lot about taking some time out – a respite from life and a tranquil vacation from the daily stressors of life. It suddenly dawned on us that not everyone wants to sit around sipping wine while lounging in their room!
So if you are seeking some thrills as well as create life-long memories of a vacation full of adventure, we have the best options for you!

1) Boquete Overview Tour

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Let’s start with our very own Boquete Overview Tour! You inspired us to create this unique experience of Boquete – see the beautiful landscape, precious people, and to help you decide if Boquete could be a future home for you. This tour gives you an overview of Boquete from the comfort of the van while you enjoy a bottle of water and a snack. This is a half day tour and is full of information about Boquete and the surrounding areas. It’s our number one must do for a reason! Whether you are looking at a possible re-location or you just want to see the magnificent and amazing place we call home, this tour is designed just for you. There is a charge for this tour but check out our specials to look for discounts here .

2) Coffee Tours

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There are a couple of coffee tours that we highly recommend. The first one, “Café Ruiz” picks you up here at our hotel and takes you to the finca (farm) where they grow and pick coffee beans and do the initial processing of the coffee beans. Later on they take you to the plant where they roast and taste test. During this truly entertaining tour you learn a lot about the history and the current state of the coffee business in Panama. You also get to smell and taste different variety of coffee and you even end up bringing home your own bag of coffee! This is the perfect tour if you have never been on a coffee tour before. Just let us know and we can get this set up for you. And if you have been to a coffee tour before, Dos Jefes (Cafes de la Luna) is a great option for you. Remembering your knowledge on how the process works to put the great tasting coffee on your table, Dos Jefes details the process of winning the world’s best coffee awards. You will become the expert yourself as you pass through taste testing and talk about the living environment of the indigenous people that work the farms as well as why organic coffee is fast disappearing and much more. Unique to this tour is the chance to taste the new tea that is being produced from the Cherries of the coffee bean! This is a second tear/level of coffee tours. Note: We have information about a special and unique program where you can buy a portion of a coffee farm through “International Coffee Farms” (ICFC). If you are interested, you would be welcome to join their regularly scheduled conferences that is chock-a-block full of information about how you can be part of the Socially Responsible way of producing coffee by giving back to the community. Let us know if we can assist you in getting connected to ICFC or other coffee tours. Click here for more information.

3) Zip-Line

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For some real thrill and adventure we can get you scheduled for a Zip Line/Canopy Tour where you ride sky high from tree to tree looking onto the rivers, suspension bridges and the cloud forest below. This amazing adventure is not for the faint of heart! You may want to put this onto your bucket list! Contact us to schedule here.

4)Whitewater Rafting

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Another must do for the enthusiastic adventurists is to take scheduled whitewater rafting trip which is about 1.5 hours away at the Costa Rican border. This tour is particularly thrilling during the rainy season with the river rafting level going up to Level Four in the months of August-October!  The tour guides take in a van to the river, provide all the equipment and instructions and provide the adventure of a lifetime! They even break for lunch that is included in the fee. Click here to request more information.

5)Island Tour

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With tours that take you into the deep rivers with “White Water Rafting” (above) to zooming across the ocean in a water taxi on your way to a remote island, life couldn’t get better! Along the way to the Pacific island of Bolaños, you will get to experience whale and dolphin watching as well snorkeling when you arrive at the island.  And, when you are hungry, eating a lunch of sandwiches, fresh vegetables and fruit while you are sprawled out across the sand is definitely in order! Don’t forget to bring your swim gear! Click here for more information.

6)Cloud Forest Hikes

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Your thrilling adventure can continue upon your return to Boquete when you hike through the many more easy to difficult hiking trails (and everything in between) that Boquete has to offer! Start with “The Pipeline” trail, the easiest trail for those who want to see the animals, sloths, Quetzals (see bird watching) and Panama’s oldest and biggest tree as well as a beautiful waterfall at the end of the trail. Another great hike is “The Lost Waterfalls” hike, it consists of three different waterfalls. This is a moderately difficult hike. As you see nature at its finest don’t forget to jump into the middle waterfall, get wet and cool off! The “Il Pianista” hike and “Volcan Baru” are two of the most challenging hikes and we strongly recommend that you go with an experienced local guide to do these. There are so many more hikes that you can do. Our Manager Debra has done many of them herself. Contact us and she can give you more information.  Contact us here.

7)Caldera Hot Springs and Gualaca Mini Canyon (Cangilones)

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Don’t forget that we also have amazing Hot Springs and Canyons! You can sit in the Caldera Hot Springs as you relax in the hot water so natural and healing or you can dive into the water in the Gualaca Canyon. Really exhilarating! This tour is usually a combination all-day tour. Let us know and we can get either (or both) of these set up as well.

 

8)Horseback Riding

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You continue your nature adventures by taking a “Horseback Riding” tour throughout the mountains and canyons of Boquete! There is not a better way to experience all the senses with the sounds of the birds the touch of the horses and the sites of the amazing and ever changing landscape of Boquete, Panama. Click here to schedule.

9)Bird Watching

And speaking of the sounds of those birds, if you are a bird watching enthusiast you have HIT THE JACKPOT while visiting the province of Chiriqui! Panama is home to 978 species of birds. Grab a book on Panama birds, take a journey on the Los Quetzals or the Culebra trail (for example) and snap those pictures! We even have guides available to help you spot them. Contact us for setting up a guide for you.

 

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 10)Relaxation: Massage and Yoga

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Ok, now that you have done the top nine things, it is time to pamper and rejuvenate yourself! All the Must-do’s have been accomplished and you are feeling great about your bucket list! One of Terry’s most favorite and highly rated must-do is to have a Massage or take a morning yoga class. Both melt away the soreness and allow you to relax and re-align yourself. Contact us for more information and to schedule here.

 

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We at Casa de Montaña know that vacation time is so short, we want to help you make it your most amazing trip possible! We will do our best to assist you in setting up your “Must-Do’s” creating the perfect vacation for you. We are available by email: info@casademontana.com or by phone, Panama: 507-7309472 or U.S. 952-931-9770 or just contact us by clicking here  and get your “Bucket List” checked off!!!

 

Traditional costumes of Panama and some Central & South American countries

Blog by Maria Isabel Zapata.

I am a fashion lover.  It is my passion and everything about it lights my world and gets me so excited that I can’t get enough! I believe that the way we dress is the way we present ourselves to the world. It shows our personality, and our culture. Clothes really say a lot about us, and they can say a lot about a country too.  Which is why I think our traditional costumes are so important, they are our heritage and how the world sees us. Also, they are the easiest and most fun way to learn our history.

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Being here in Panama has exposed me to even more varieties of traditional costumes. Panamanians are so proud of their “Pollera” that they take every opportunity they have to put it on and walk around proudly in it. They even get started at a very young age – my kids are having “baile tipico” classes at school right now and they look so cute!

So I thought, why not talk about the traditional costumes of the Americas?

This was a hard decision for me, since Europe and Asia have amazing traditional costumes, I would love to talk about them all! But it would turn out to be a book! So I will focus on the countries near Panama. Also, most of the countries have different type of costumes depending on the region (Caribbean, Andean, etc) so I picked the ones I found most interesting:

Honduras

Honduran typical dress is really different because they have colors that vary a lot. It is their design that is able to make it unique and different from any other country. The colors of the costume of the woman vary a lot. You can choose from strong shades to soft and pastel combined with decorations that are present in both the skirt and the shirt. The fabric is highly decorated achieving a completely perfect and detailed look. Necklaces are a very important accessory for women of Honduras because they give tham a look characteristic of Central America. Women usually get a flat hat the exact size of their head to finish off the ensemble.

The men wear a completely white outfit that is characterized by being a little loose. The shirt can be decorated with some colored embroidery. Men wear elegant black shoes that highlight the contrast between the white embroidered outfits and the shoes.

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Nicaragua

Nicaragua’s “mestizaje costume” show the ostentatious Spanish influence in the garments of the villages. The woman wears a colorful skirt and sequined suit that fits the body, nicaraguawhich is also known as “luxurious Indian costume”. This is accompanied with a hat crowned with arrangements of feathers and a fan also of feathers. The man wears a white shirt with a dark coat decorated with sequins; a hat with the wing folded in front and with a red flower, plus several strips of colors falling backwards, and embombado underwear, white stockings and slippers.

nicaragua2The Peasant costume of Nicaragua is very different. These costumes depict two characters representing a man and a hard-working woman in the North of Nicaragua. The woman wears a skirt fitted snugly to her body, with a handkerchief in the waist, long sleeves cotona, handkerchief on the head, earrings and a pot of black mud in her arms. The man wears white long trousers, white cotona (or other light color) and a neckerchief, as well as a gourd for water and a Northern hat.

 

 

 

 

Costa Rica

The traditional costume for women of Costa Rica consists of a multi-layered dress. It is wide and with vivid colors. The hairstyle has braids and is decorated with flowers. Women wear sandals on their feet. As for men, there is generally a suit of basic finishes and without much adornment but in vivid colors. They use a scarf and a belt of the same color to finish off the ensemble.

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Mexico

Charros Mexicanos: The typical charro wears a tuck borough shirt with buttons, a bow tie, suede or Casimir pants, a sack, buttons made in alpaca and a “gala” hat. The pants have some variants: chaps, calzoneras, tapabalazos which are made of pelt or jargon. The more formal attire is tighter with silver buttons.
Sometimes they carry a short sack made of suede or casimir with frog closures of silver and a cotton shirt, usually white. Knitted in palma, the hat is lined with felt and is wide-brimmed and medium crown with four slits called “stoned”. In addition to this outfit, the charro carries also a belt, a sword, a gun, a rope, and spurs. The charro is covered with a striped wool zarape of many colors.

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Chiapas:
I particularly love his one. It is really beautiful and colorful and it looks like it has a lot of work done on it! The costume is eye-catching and elegant. For example, at the capital of the State, Tuxtla, you can admire all the variety of costumes that are used throughout the territory. An example of gala is the dress with wide skirt which is filled with flowers of different colors and they are hand embroidered with silk thread. Hand embroidery on black tulle, is completely handmade by Chiapas women who take pride in making their creations.

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Colombia:

This is a special one for me since I am from Colombia off course! I remember when I was a kid and we had a beauty pageant at my school and I had to dress in the traditional costume. I also remember my school dance where we danced cumbia which is the traditional music of Colombia (plus vallenato and porro).

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Colombia is a big country divided in 6 regions due to their climate, therefore the typical costumes can vary in every region. I am from the Andean region also known as “zona cafeteria” (coffee state), Antioquia to be more specific.

Theantioqueño” typical costume comes directly from the muleteer men, colonist of the XIX century and from the coffee picker women.

Male costume consist of the “sombrero antioqueño” which Is a  white hat with black ribbon; also the poncho or ruana depending on whether the climate is cold or hot; the “carriel”(man purse used by the peasants) , machete and “alpargatas” (espadrilles).
The female costume of the typical Antioquia consists of a long black skirt with some colorful prints, a white blouse and hat, all decorated with many flowers and embroidery.

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Chapolera:

 

This dress’s name comes from a species of butterfly known as the Chapora, which migrates to the coffee farms in times of collection.

The woman’s usual attire is a scarf knotted to the head. The blouse has great Hispanic influence, it has ruffles in the chest, is white, with high collar and adorned with pleats, ruches, lace and embroidery. Blouses are usually short sleeves with lace at the fist; when the sleeve is long it has lace at the elbow. The skirt can reach 20 cm above the ankle, and is made of flowered cotton fabrics. At the bottom it has one or two ruffles and always uses petticoats and an apron.  The footwear is called espadrilles. Typically a woman has her hair in braids and tied with ribbons, with long earrings and a large flower in her hair. A basket complements the dress and is fastened to the waist. The basket was originally used to transitionally hold the coffee grain the chapolera collects directly from the branch of the coffee plant. The apron protects the dress of the friction of the basket and the humidity of the honey flowing from the ripe coffee grain.

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Peru

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Peruvian men often wear the poncho and it has bright colors. There are many different kinds (depends on the region) and are used depending on its purpose. Although there are men who use it every day, typically they use it for special events.  It is also very common in Peru for men to wear hats with some special bands called “centillo”. They are colorful and very festive. The most popular hat is chullo which is handmade. It is knitted with lappets and tassels. The hat is made of alpaca, llama, vicuña or sheep’s wool. Pants are simple and made of alpaca, llama or sheep’s wool as well. The shirts are colorful and often have geometric ornaments and designs printed with animal drawings.
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The main parts of the clothing typical of women in this country are ponchos, dresses, blankets, skirts, coats and hats. Each costume or piece of clothing differs greatly between one region and another, because this way they can show the peculiarities of each city or town. For example, people ascertain if a woman is from a village or town by looking at her hat or if she comes from a rich or poor family. Women tend to wear cloths in the shoulders, which are rectangular pieces of hand-woven fabric. Both men and women wear ajotas (shoes made from recycled truck tires) which are made at home and are very cheap

Panama:

Panama’s typical costumes are some of the most elaborated and rich costumes. One such costume is called “Pollera”. It has several variations, depending on the region and the kind of festivities.  Here is a photo of it. Since Panama deserves its own blog, it is to be continued in a future blog…………..!!!

Here at Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast you get to know so many cultures, come and stay  with us and begin your cultural adventures!

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Getting on my last nerve – Finding some healing in Boquete, Panama!

Blog by Terry Richmeier

1It all started back in October of 2015! Although in reality it started a lot earlier, January 2015 to be more precise! I had a car accident and was hit in the back side of the van by a speeding, inattentive driver. I and my van flung across in a complete circle and it hit another car on the opposite side. This really jolted me. Thank God nobody was hurt, or so I thought at the time.

Although I was fine for nine months, suddenly in October I woke up and could not stand up straight. I had to hold onto the end table, then reach out to grab the dresser, then reach out to grab the walls and anything that I could hold onto in order to get to the bathroom. I thought I was going to need a wheelchair! This was just the first day of many months of falling down, having weakness in my legs and arms and hands. 2Every step was exhausting and I needed many naps throughout the day. Walking our guests upstairs to their room completely took all the energy I had! I finally got to the point that I just wanted to crawl into bed and not get up again. I gave up on Zumba class and I gave up on life as I slipped into a depression.

 

3I went to the doctor. I went to the Chiropractor. I went to the acupuncturist. I loaded up on different vitamins. I had massages often. I purchased a back rest. I took muscle relaxers. I took advice from absolutely everyone. I practiced yoga from Youtube. I did stretches daily. Nothing seemed to completely cure me. Yes, I had a pinched nerve for sure!

 

What is a pinched nerve? And why does this happen? This is what I learned from the Mayo Clinic http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pinched-nerve/basics/definition/con-20029601 A pinched nerve occurs when too much pressure is applied to a nerve by surrounding tissues, such as bones, cartilage, muscles or tendons. This pressure disrupts the nerve’s function, causing pain, tingling, numbness or weakness. 4

A pinched nerve can occur at several sites in your body. A herniated disk in your lower spine, for example, may put pressure on a nerve root, causing pain that radiates down the back of your leg. Likewise, a pinched nerve in your wrist can lead to pain and numbness in your hand and fingers (carpal tunnel syndrome).

With rest and other conservative treatments, most people recover from a pinched nerve within a few days or weeks. Sometimes, surgery is needed to relieve pain from a pinched nerve. Pinched nerve signs and symptoms include:

  • Numbness or decreased sensation in the area supplied by the nerve 5
  • Sharp, aching or burning pain, which may radiate outward
  • Tingling, “pins and needles” sensations (paresthesia)
  • Muscle weakness in the affected area
  • Frequent feeling that a foot or hand has “fallen asleep”

 

6The problems related to a pinched nerve may be worse when you’re sleeping.

A pinched nerve occurs when too much pressure (compression) is applied to a nerve by surrounding tissues.

 

 

In some cases, this tissue might be bone or cartilage, such as in the case of a herniated spinal disk that compresses a nerve root. In other cases, muscle or tendons may cause the condition.  7

In the case of carpal tunnel syndrome, a variety of tissues may be responsible for compression of the carpal tunnel’s median nerve, including swollen tendon sheaths within the tunnel, enlarged bone that narrows the tunnel, or a thickened and degenerated ligament.

A number of conditions may cause tissue to compress a nerve or nerves, including: 8

  • Injury
  • Poor posture
  • Rheumatoid or wrist arthritis
  • Stress from repetitive work
  • Hobbies or sports activities
  • Obesity

This pressure causes inflammation of the nerve and disrupts the nerve’s function. If a nerve is pinched for only a short time, there’s usually no permanent damage. Once the pressure is relieved, nerve function returns to normal. However, if the pressure continues, chronic pain and permanent nerve damage can occur.

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For me, I’m 95% better but still suffer from some weakness and my depression has lifted. I’m currently doing ARPWave/Therastim treatment. And this seems to be working for me. What is this you ask? The Therastim (also called “ARPwave”) uses conductive electrode pads to provide neuromuscular stimulation. It treats the neurological origin of soft tissue conditions, not just the physical symptoms.

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  • The Therastim features a state-of-the-art electrical mechanism designated as a class 2 medical device by the FDA. Treatment includes unique Therastim protocols and testing techniques.  Therastim has been proven to be an effective treatment for those who have been told they need surgery and for those who have already had surgery.
  • By increasing range of motion and decreasing pain, Therastim can be a highly effective way to prepare for physical therapy.
  • Therastim is used by many elite athletes and teams throughout the world.
  • Therastim dramatically reduces recovery time for ankle sprains and strained tendons or ligaments.
  • Every year, thousands of patients receive Therastim treatment, it has proven effective on all types of chronic pain including RSDS and FibromyalgiaWhat is amazing to me is that all of this is available right here in Boquete! Plus, this is not all that is available here in Boquete. Many more options such as Yoga, botanicals, energy healing and much more…  So whether or not you’re traveling to Boquete or looking to move here, give us a call and we can get you connected with any one or all of these service providers while you stay at Casa de Montaña for your recovery!

    Contact Us at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast

 

Special invitation for Lunch with Chef Craig Jacobs and the Lucero Group in Boquete

Blog by Terry Richmeier & Manzar Lari

 

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During Sandeep’s (owner of Lucero) last visit to Boquete, Panama, recently we had the opportunity to get to know him better. Now, who is this man? Well, he is the President of the Lucero Golf Community. He has been working extremely hard at getting ready a fitness center, club house and a gourmet restaurant located in the Lucero community.  Recently Lucero finished two tree houses, tennis courts and new housing projects from Duplexes to Condos and many other homes.

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With the restaurant planning to open toward the end of July, Sandeep brought onboard Chef Craig to create an extensive International menu. Chef Craig has had several restaurants in Boquete in the past including Fish House, and Las Ruinas. Chef Craig has returned to Boquete after a three year adventure in which he lived in Guatemala  for 2 years and for the last one year in the mountains of Thailand. During his stay in Thailand, he spent many hours learning from the cooks there to prepare authentic and amazing Thai food. Chef Craig is constantly learning and we were told that he has placed an order for products and spices directly from Thailand for some amazing Thai food on the menu! He is also attending Casa de Montaña’s Pakistani/Indian cooking class (time permitting, since he is REALLY busy right now as you can imagine!). Chef Craig is eager to continue to learn ethnic and cultural dishes. Perhaps some Indian/Pakistani dishes may just end up on the menu as well?

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We had the opportunity to tour the kitchen, the bar and the new restaurant. Along with the up and coming fitness center. What an amazing place this is going to be! Beautiful furniture created locally by the Panamanian carpenters! With a bar area, amazing restrooms, and tons of special touches, the restaurant promises to deliver!  There is going to be seating for around 78 people and some additional seating also available on the large outside terrace for special occasions.

How did Manzar and Terry get this opportunity to have a special invitation for lunch? Well of course it started when we met Sandeep. Manzar and Sandeep connected right away with cultural ties to South Asian culture and language! But even more than that was the love of Indian/Pakistani food. Manzar spoke about his love for cooking this delight! During the conversation, plans were made for Sandeep to come over to Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast to see our home. Also Sandeep had his staff come over to tour CDM as well. During Sandeep’s visit, Manzar and Terry spoke with Sandeep about placing Lucero Community on the Boquete Overview Tour that CDM offers for those looking at Boquete as a possible relocation opportunity. Sandeep and his staff themselves took the Boquete Overview Tour and were able to get a better feel for how diverse of spread out Boquete really is.

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So then it was our turn. We received a special tour of Lucero, the golf course and the tree houses. We toured the fitness center, club house and new restaurant! And even beyond that! We received a special exquisite and amazing luncheon from Chef Craig Jacobs himself!

The luncheon had taken place in one of the Duplexes that was recently finished and furnished! We felt like we were part of the Lucero “family”! We had amazing food, met and laughed with the staff. We thoroughly had an amazing time.

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We at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast invite you to take our Boquete Overview Tour. Look at our Specials for savings and we will indeed stop off at Lucero, have a cup of coffee with the staff and you will really enjoy your experience! We are confident that you will enjoy the breathtaking views of Lucero as well as all of Boquete, Panama! Just let us know that you would like the “Boquete Overview Tour” and we will make sure you have an amazing informational filled experience!

 

 

What you may see, smell or hear in Boquete, Panama, that you most likely won’t anywhere else!

Blog by Terry Richmeier

So, I was sitting in the office today and heard the sound of hoofs clanging! I paid no attention as this is a normal and frequent ritual that happens in front of Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast. Then it occurred to me that this is NOT a normal daily occurrence in most people’s lives. So, I thought I would write about the different things you may encounter here in Boquete, Panama.

Now that I’ve heard the hoofs of the horse coming down the road, I jumped up and headed directly for the door to snap a photo. Darn it, too late!  I will have to be ready tomorrow and try again. Several days have passed before I could capture the horse and rider but here they are:

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In Boquete, Panama, horses are a way of life and owners seem to take great pride and care for their horses. It’s not unusual to see horses riding up and down in front of the bed & breakfast. Nor is it difficult to spot riders downtown either. In fact once a year, there is a horse parade of over three hundred horses and this takes place in downtown Boquete, Panama. And you can see little ponies every weekend for kids to ride.

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Another bit unusual item in Boquete neighborhoods is the sounds of Rooster’s starting their serenade all hours of the morning! Once you w4are here for a while, you become immune to the sound.  Many people in town raise roosters and hens in order to have food on their table. The roosters can be sold for $9.00 a rooster and the sounds can be heard from near and far throughout the valley!  Roosters are a source of income as well as a way to fertilize the hens and are a major part of the ambiance of Boquete!

Then there is the indigenous butterfly that has see-through wings. An amazing creature that is small in stature and is quite w5unusual.  An amazing snapshot to capture with your cell phone or camera! In order to see these butterflies, you may have to walk up a mountain or two but you will find it all to be worth it.

While you are out climbing the mountain, keep an eye out for the resplendent Quetzal and a sloth or two. There is also the Cotamundi  and a Howler Monkey that you may encounter. In fact the country of Panama is home to 218 mammal species, 226 species of reptile, 164 amphibian species and 125 animal species found nowhere else in the world. Panama also boasts 940 avian species, which is the largest number in Central America.
Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/panama/wildlife/animals#ixzz45F9MnZX4

 

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Now, I want to tell you about the smells in the morning and afternoon here in Boquete and at Casa de Montana Bed & Breakfast. As the bed & breakfast is located just 6 houses away from the roasting plant of Café Ruiz, you will come across the smell of fresh roasted coffee w7twice a day. Once in the morning and once in the afternoon. I’ve been around a lot of people who tell me that they don’t like coffee but love the smell of coffee being roasted! It is an amazing smell and for myself, I find that I’m drooling from the smell of the roast. This makes me want to have another cup of the rich coffee that we serve for breakfast!

Another smell that we get here at Casa de Montana Bed & Breakfast is the smell of wood burning in the evenings around dinner time. Many people here in Boquete, Panama, do not have a stove or even electricity and so they start a bonfire and get to cooking up their dinners. The smell is never too strong but just a slight reminder of times of camping and sleeping out w8under the stars! I get nostalgic about days gone by of my childhood in Colorado.

We have never lived in a place (or even visited one) where there are huge rainbows on a daily basis! Boquete is one of those places. Usually the day starts out bright and sunny. Suddenly a light misty rain develops (called Bajareque by the locals) and it sweeps the whole valley. The rain is so soft and misty that one can walk out in it and not get wet! Shortly afterwards a rainbow (sometimes two!) starts to develop across the valley. Within half an hour there is a huge rainbow with beautiful vibrant colors visible across town from all different vantage points. I have taken dozens and dozens of photos of the rainbows over the years and I never get tired of them. Our guests find this phenomenon mesmerizing. One day my partner was driving along the Bajo Mono loop and saw that there was a rainbow very close to him. Before he knew it, HE WAS DRIVING THROUGH THE RAINBOW! This kind of stuff doesn’t happen every day. And no, in case you are wondering, he did not find a pot of gold!

 

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You will also hear many different sounds of birds that you don’t normally hear elsewhere. One of my favorites, and at first most confusing, is a bird that sounds like he is whistling at you because you are so gorgeous! You know that sound your loved ones makes when you dress up really nice and they are stunned at how nice you look?!  For me, at first, I thought someone was whistling at me. I would look out the bedroom door and window and wonder who the heck that is. Not seeing anyone. It took me a couple of days before I knew that it was a bird!

Have you ever watched a couple of great big ox’s walk in front of your home with a farmer behind them taking them to the field to work? Or have a hen run across the road, jump your fence and end up walking right into your bedroom? Well, we have! And it’s a joyous thing to get these extra sights, smells and sounds along with the usual, daily, neighborhood children playing and people just stopping by to say hi!

We really look forward to you coming and staying with us at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast to experience these extra sights, smells and sounds for yourselves!

 

 

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