Precios Económicos de Habitaciones de Hotel y Cómo Encontrarlos!

En este blog hablaremos sobre cómo encontrar o negociar precios de habitación de hotel económicos para su próximo viaje.

Cuando la mayoría de las personas hacen un viaje de vacaciones o negocios, necesitan realizar una reserva en un hotel para quedarse mientras están fuera. La forma más fácil de hacerlo es encontrar un OTA (Agente de viajes en línea) como Booking.com, Expedia.com o uno de los muchos OTA para reservar una habitación.

Algunas personas llegan incluso a buscar hoteles, bed & breakfast o algún otro tipo de alojamiento en un sitio como Tripadvisor.com antes de realizar la reserva para ver imágenes reales de las habitaciones, instalaciones ya sean piscinas u otras, servicios ofrecidos y demás antes de tomar una decisión sobre dónde alojarse. Es muy prudente hacer todo esto, pero antes de presionar el botón de reserva para arrendar su habitación, hay una manera menos costosa de viajar.

Por favor, permítame unos minutos para explicar la mejor manera de ir!

Cuando los hoteles están enlistados en las OTA, el propietario del hotel tiene un costo por hacer esto y el costo del negocio del propietario del hotel es bastante alto. Verá, Booking.com cobra una comisión al propietario del hotel del 18% del total de la venta por el derecho a incluir su propiedad en el sitio de reservas. Del mismo modo, Expedia.com, Hotels.com y otras OTA cobran más del 15% del total de la venta al propietario del hotel por el derecho de enumerar la propiedad del hotel para los vacacionistas y otros para reservar habitaciones en sus sitios. Números bastante asombrosos, sí lo digo yo mismo, y debido a esto, los dueños del hotel deben subir sus precios para obtener una ganancia.

Teniendo en mente esta valiosa información, ahora le diré cómo puede ahorrar en su próximo viaje. En primer lugar, use Tripadvisor.com para investigar dónde le gustaría quedarse. Cuando haya tomado una decisión sobre la ubicación de sus sueños, escríbala en el motor de búsqueda Google.com y busque el sitio web de su alojamiento deseado, o incluso simplemente su número de teléfono de contacto y llámelos directamente (no reserve a través de su sitio web como usted usualmente haría, tendrá que hablar con alguien del alojamiento directamente para obtener un mejor precio).

Al reservar directamente en el alojamiento deseado, sabiendo cuánto tendrían que pagar a las OTA por comisión, encontrará que puede negociar un buen ahorro de 10% o menos para usted,  menos de lo que pagaría en el sitio de OTA. Incluso puede descubrir que el hotel que está mirando tiene una promoción o un especial mensual que le ahorrará aún más, pero nunca lo habría descubierto si hubiese reservado en una OTA. ¡Esto también le dará al propietario del hotel un ahorro del 5-8%! Estarás contento con los ahorros y el propietario del hotel también estará contento de no tener que pagar las comisiones. ¡Esto es un “gane y gane” para ambos lados! ¡Se dará cuenta que el descuento puede ser un ahorro suficiente para pagar una comida en la ciudad para usted y su familia mientras está de viaje!

En Casa de Montana Bed & Breakfast siempre tenemos especiales y recompensamos a nuestros huéspedes por reservar directamente con nosotros. Visite nuestro sitio web en www.casademontana.com o llámenos directamente entre las 8 am y las 8 pm todos los días al (+507) 730-9427 (Panamá) o 952-931-9770 en los EE. UU. para ver cuánto puede ahorrar con nosotros en su próxima visita a Boquete, Panamá.

Sé que le costará un poco de trabajo reservar su próxima habitación de esta manera, pero creo que el ahorro que obtendrán les provocará sonrisas a usted y a los demás, ¡incluso antes de comenzar su viaje!

“Pruébalo… te gustará!”

 

Ed Crupar- Co-propietario de Casa de Montana Bed & Breakfast 

Traducido por: Generoso Guerra.

 

 

 

Affordable Hotel Room Prices and How to Find Them!

In this blog we will talk about how to find or negotiate affordable hotel room prices for your next trip.

When most people take a trip for vacation or business they need to arrange for a hotel to stay in while they are out and about. The easy way to do this is to find an OTA (Online Travel Agent) such as Booking.com or Expedia.com or one of many other OTAs to reserve a room.

Some people even go as far as research hotels, bed & breakfasts, etc. on a site like Tripadvisor.com prior to booking to see actual pictures of rooms, facilities like pools, amenities offered and the like, before making their decision on where to stay. All this is very wise to do, but before you press the reservation button to purchase your room, there is a less expensive way to travel.

Please allow me a few minutes to explain the better way to go!

When hotels list on the OTAs there is a cost to the hotel owner for doing this and it is quite a sizeable cost of doing business for the hotel owner. You see, Booking.com charges a commission to the hotel owner of 18% of the total sale for the right to list their property on the Booking site. Likewise, Expedia.com, Hotels.com and other OTAs charge upwards of 15% of the total sale to the hotel owner for the right to list the hotel property for vacationers and others to book rooms from on their sites. Pretty staggering numbers, if I do say so myself, and because of this the hotel owners must pad their prices to realize a profit.

Keeping this costly info in mind I will now tell you how you can save on your next trip. First, please use Tripadvisor.com to do your research on where you would like to stay. When you have come to a decision on your dream location, type it into the Google.com search engine and find your location’s website, or even just their contact phone number and give them a call directly (do not book through their web site as you will need to talk to someone directly to get a better price).

Reserving directly with the location, and knowing how much they would have to pay to the OTAs for commission, you will find that you can negotiate a nice savings of 10% to you, or so, less than what you would pay at the OTA site. You may even find that the hotel that you are looking at is running a Special Monthly Promotion that will save you even more, but you would never have found this out if you booked on an OTA. This will also give the hotel owner a savings of 5-8%, too! You will be happy with the savings and the hotel owner will also be happy not to have to pay the commissions. This is a “Win-Win” for both sides! The discount that you will realize may even be enough of a savings to pay for a meal out on the town for you and your family while you are on your trip!

At Casa de Montana Bed & Breakfast we are always running Specials and rewarding our guests for directly booking with us. Please check out our Website at www.casademontana.com or call us directly between 8AM and 8PM daily at (507) 730-9427 (Panama) or 952-931-9770 in the US to see how much you can save with us on your next visit to Boquete, Panama.

I know that this will take a little work for you to book your next room this way but I feel that the savings will give you and the others with you smiles, even before you start your trip!

“Try it… you’ll like it!”

 

By: Ed Crupar – Co-Owner of Casa de Montaña

 

 

 

Mi Experiencia en una Barbería de Boquete

Blog por Terry Richmeier

Traducido por Generoso Guerra

Cuando nos mudamos inicialmente a Boquete, Panamá, y fui a mi primer corte de pelo en la peluquería, la experiencia fue muy diferente de lo que esperaba. Y por qué fue eso?

En primer lugar, antes de entrar a la tienda, fui recibido con música latina y un grupo de hombres de pie. Cuando entré por la puerta, aún más hombres sentados, otros de pie y echando unas risas mientras esperaban su turno. Inmediatamente pensé, esta es una mala idea y comencé a darme la vuelta para irme. En ese momento, el Barbero me llamó la atención, me hizo una señal y señaló un sofá. Allí en el sofá, un joven cortésmente se puso de pie y me ofreció el sofá.

Entonces empezaron los muchos asentimientos de aceptación de mi presencia, y sonrisas de cortesía, un gringo entre el mar de los panameños. Las conversaciones en español se reanudaron y me senté allí, como si fuera una mosca en la pared, esperando mi turno en la pila de comida en el medio de la habitación!

Cuando miré a mi alrededor, pensé: “Todos estos hombres ya tienen el pelo corto y realmente, esto debería ir bastante rápido”. Y luego empecé a darme cuenta de que esta es una experiencia que necesito aceptar y absorber. No es para nada como en los Estados Unidos. Donde usted es un número el cual entras y sales, pagar rápidamente y pasar al siguiente. Este no es un lugar para obtener ganancias a través de los cortes típicos de línea de montaje. ¡El proceso fue más sobre un club de hombres! Lejos de sus mujeres y mucho hablar mientras te preparan. El tiempo promedio para el corte de pelo real es una media hora habitual. Incluye el corte, la conversación, el pelo en el cuello es recortado y las cuchillas afiladas recorren el vello facial para limpiarlo y crear una atmósfera relajada.

Junto con eso, te rozan con talco y salpican con lo que creo que es la loción de después del afeitado. Y cuando todo está dicho y hecho, recibes tu factura. ¡Una solicitud para pagar $ 3.50!

 Esta experiencia me dejó desconcertado y no agradó mi reloj interno que me dice “Debes apurarte y debes hacer esto”. ¡Esa pelea ha terminado! Ahora soy capaz de apagar ese reloj de sangrado interno de la vida!

Mi estilo con mi cabello y las calvas que de repente aparecieron este año pasado ahora requieren que sea más específico con mis necesidades. Además de tener una barba completa que se redujo a nada, yo, junto con el anterior Gerente de Casa de Montaña, presenté un esquema que transmite el mensaje a mi peluquero permanente permanente. ¡Mi corte de pelo me parece perfecto cada vez! ¡Por supuesto que el costo ha aumentado! Ahora pago $ 7.50 por mi corte de pelo y barba.

Que incluye un suavizante que se coloca en mi barba. En los Estados Unidos mi costo nunca fue menos de $ 25.00 con propina. Aquí, les doy una buena propina, creo que necesitan un salario digno.

 Y, lo que es sorprendente para mí es que estos Barberos están al día con las tendencias que desean jóvenes y mayores. Recientemente, el Gerente de la Oficina de Casa de Montaña Generoso recibió un corte de pelo bastante nuevo. ¡Algo de los 80 que está siendo revivido! Echa un vistazo y cuéntanos lo que piensas?

Lo único que falta de mi corte de cabello aquí en Boquete, Panamá que tuve en los Estados Unidos es un vaso de vino o cerveza mientras te cortas el pelo. Pero, puedes tener eso cuando vengas y te quedes con nosotros ya que le ofrecemos una copa o una cerveza gratis por día! Mientras estés aquí, ¡ven y planea visitar el Barbero!

 Para ustedes, mujeres, también hay muchos peluqueros aquí, desde el nivel más alto hasta inglés. Tu experiencia será igualmente grandiosa. Y, aunque no conozco el costo, ¡puede completar los espacios en blanco para nosotros!

Hazte el corte de cabello mientras está de vacaciones en Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast, puede quitar esa sensación de “Tengo que hacer esto y seguir con mi día” Apague su “conferenciante interno” y disfrute de un corte de pelo durante sus vacaciones en Boquete, Panamá!

The Barber Shop Experience in Boquete

Blog by Terry Richmeier

When we initially moved to Boquete, Panama, and I went for my first haircut at the barber shop, the experience was far from what I expected! And why was that?

First of all, before I even entered the store front, I was greeted by loud Latin music and a bunch of men standing around. As I entered through the door, even more men sitting and standing and having a laugh or two as they waited for their turn. I immediately thought, this is a bad idea and began to turn around to leave. At that moment, the Barber caught my eye and nodded at me and pointed to a sofa. There, on the sofa, a young boy politely stood to his feet and offered me the sofa.

Then began the many nods of acceptance of my presence, and smiles of politeness, a gringo amongst the sea of Panamanians. The conversations in Spanish resumed and I sat there, as if I was a fly on the wall, waiting for my turn at the pile of food in the middle of the room!

As I looked around I thought, “All these men have short hair already and really, this should go quite fast”. And then I began to realize that this is an experience I need to soak up and take in. It’s not at all like it is in the U.S. Where you are a number and to get you in and out and paid quickly and onto the next. This is not a place for making your profit through assembly line haircuts. The process was more about a men’s club! Away from their women and much talk while you are being groomed. The average time for actual haircut is a customary half hour. It includes the cut, conversation, the hair on the neck is trimmed, and sharp blades run across your facial hair cleaning you up and creating a relaxed atmosphere.

Along with that, you are brushed with talcum powder and splashed with what I think is after shave. And when all is said and done, you get your bill. A request to pay $3.50!

This experience left me bewildered and it did not quite please my internal clock that is telling me “You need to hurry and you need to get this done”. That fight is over! I am now able to shut off that internal life bleeding clock!

My style with my hair and the bald spots that suddenly appeared this past year now require me to be more specific with my needs. Along with having a full beard that is cut down to nothing, I, along with Casa de Montaña’s previous Manager, have come up with a schematic that relays the message to my Now Permanent Barber. My hair cut seems perfect to me every time! Of course the cost has gone up! I now pay $7.50 for my haircut and beard trim. Which includes a softener that is placed on my beard. In the U.S. my cost was never less than $25.00 with tip. Here, I tip well, I feel that they need to make a living wage.

And, what’s amazing to me is that these Barbers are keeping up with the trends that are desired by young and old! Recently Casa de Montaña’s own Office Manager Generoso (Meaning Generous) received a fairly new haircut. Something from the 80’s that is being revived! Take a look and let us know what you think?

The only thing that is missing from my haircut here in Boquete, Panama that I had in the U.S. is a glass of wine or beer while you are getting your haircut. But, you can have that when you come and stay with us as we offer you a free glass of either one daily! While you are here, come and plan on checking out the Barber!

 

For you women, there are many hairdressers here as well, from high end to English speaking. Your experience will be equally great. And, though I don’t know about the cost, you can fill in the blanks for us!

Having your haircut while on vacation at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast, can actually take away that feeling of “I have to get this done and get on with my day” Shut down your “internal lecturer” and enjoy a haircut while vacationing in Boquete, Panama!

Boquete’s Tuesday Market: Something for everyone!

Blog by Terry Richmeier

When you come and stay with us here at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast, you will be served a different International Breakfast daily with most of the products coming from the Tuesday Market vendors. Along with that, if you are here on a Tuesday, we will encourage you to go to the Tuesday Market and check out all the different locally made and grown products it has to offer! The market is open from 9 AM to 12 Noon and is located across the small bridge downtown in the building known as the BCP Teatro. The market offers something for everyone. Our special favorites are baked goods by Mort’s Bakery, Gluten Free goods from Gluten Free Gold Bakery, designer “Chox” chocolate and Anna’s fresh produce.  While you are at the market, see what “Tuesday Talks” are about! Below is a story of Joyce Kinnear’s experience with the Tuesday Market and Tuesday Talks:

One of the things we like about living in Boquete is the Tuesday market. For us, it fills our need for a Farmer’s Market—enabling us to purchase organic produce, bagels, hummus, freshly made food from Germany, Hungary, and the Caribbean, and also filling our Trader Joe’s requirement for premade frozen food that we can whip up during the week. The fact that said food is tasty Thai, spicy Creole, or wonderful Indian is even better, since we lack restaurants for those and other spicy foods in the area.

We also enjoy most of the Tuesday talks. One of the women in the community spends a lot of time finding interesting speakers on a variety of topics of interest to expats in Panama, from attorneys discussing changes in laws, to geologists describing the potential actions of our local volcanoes, to so many other topics. Today, we listened to four Peace Corps volunteers in small villages between here and the Costa Rican border.

Two of the volunteers are with the part of the Peace Corps that works in education and English language education. Two others work on environmental issues. They all had interesting discussions about how they live and develop projects in small communities to enable people in those areas to access available assistance and increase community interactions.
Of particular interest to us was one young man who is working to improve the quality of home cooking fires among the indigenous. He has gotten grants from the Panamanian government to construct 14 units (and
is working on 20 more) that will reduce the amount of smoke put off by cooking fires in the home and thus reduce asthma related diseases, as well as improve local air quality.

Another young volunteer is working in a school of 700 students in Volcan, a town of about 15,000 near the border. She is doing many things, from teaching English, to teaching Science classes to leading student clubs and groups. Her school gave her a room and some assistance in developing the first library in that town or school. With funds she was able to get from her own meager stipend and local teacher’s equally meager funds, they have been able to start a library with about 20 books in a school of 700 elementary students.
She told us that among these low income (and many indigenous) students, reading comprehension is extremely low. Families are mostly illiterate, books are not around, and students never learn comprehension. The majority fail college entrance exams, because they are unable to pass tests at a fourth grade level. This volunteer is working with the local government, teachers and community to try to increase reading comprehension and improve future life potential for these students.

It was inspiring. Listening to the talks gave several people in the audience ideas for ways to assist the volunteers and local communities to help to enhance the lives of these students and their families.

This small town surrounded by the Mountains of Boquete, Panama is a wonderful place to gather anything from souvenirs to intellectual stimulation! Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast is extremely proud of our community, volunteerism, and the Tuesday Market. Come and stay with us and experience this special place!

Cobertura de telefonía celular en Boquete, Panamá

Blog por Terry Richmeier

Traducido por Generoso Guerra

Cuando nos mudamos a América Central por primera vez y nos quedamos en la ciudad de Panamá, pensamos: “¡¿Qué hemos hecho?!” ¡No teníamos ninguna comunicación con los EE. UU! Dentro de las 24 horas de la llegada, corrimos hasta Albrook Mall y compramos un teléfono económico, una tarjeta SIM y algunos minutos de teléfono. ¡Me sentí como Navidad a principios de agosto! Nos convencimos de que ahora estaríamos bien.

Sin embargo, mientras estaba sentado en la cama en el condominio que alquilamos y enchufamos el teléfono para comenzar a cargarlo (tuvimos que quedarnos en la ciudad de Panamá para terminar nuestro proceso de residencia), me di cuenta de que este es un teléfono local. Sin forma de llamar a mi mamá y a mi papá o a mis amigos en los Estados Unidos, lo cual necesitaba desesperadamente hacer. Me sentí solo y asustado. Entonces comencé a buscar diferentes formas de comunicarme con Wi-Fi limitado. (Nuestro condominio solo tenía un pequeño dispositivo para Wi-Fi.) Bueno, no fue fácil, sin embargo, terminamos en Skype haciendo videollamada con nuestra amiga quien se haría cargo de llevar su computadora portátil a mis padres y decidimos hacer una llamada semanal con ellos. Boom, conectado de nuevo!

Entonces, mi pregunta es, “¿Es solo un problema aquí en Panamá? ¿O en todo el mundo? ¿Es mi experiencia una experiencia aislada basada en mi propia falta de conocimiento?

He aquí otra historia de un reciente transplante en Boquete Amy Kinnear y su experiencia con una empresa operadora de teléfono en EE. UU. Antes de mudarse aquí a Boquete, Panama:

Las alegrías de la comunicación en el extranjero. Antes de obtener un nuevo operadora de teléfono celular, me aseguré de comunicarles que era extremadamente importante que tuviera un teléfono que funcionara en Panamá. Me prometieron que cuando fuera a Panamá tendría texto e información ilimitados, además de poder hacer llamadas. Simplemente sería más caro. Yo estúpidamente los creí. Unos meses más tarde decidí mudarme a Panamá y volaría a la ciudad de Panamá para reunirme con mis padres, para nuestra conexión con David, Panamá. Solo había estado en Panamá una vez y estaba nerviosa porque mi español es horrible. Al principio no estaba demasiada estresada porque mi operadora me aseguró varias veces que mi teléfono funcionaría en Panamá. Simplemente llamaba y avisaba a mis padres cuando llegué a la ciudad de Panamá, para poder reunirnos antes del vuelo a David. Apenas el avión aterrizó, los llamé. ¡Sin señal!Mi corazón se desvaneció. ¿Qué iba a hacer si necesitaban contactarme? “No te preocupes”, me dije. Seguiría sus instrucciones sobre cómo llegar a mi próxima puerta. Tenía la intuición de que no iban a hacer nuestra conexión. ¿Cómo diablos iba a llegar a Boquete? ¿Qué iba a hacer una vez que llegue allí? No tenía forma de entrar a su casa sin las llaves, y necesitaba un lugar donde quedarme. Si mi teléfono hubiera funcionado como lo prometieron, podría haber llamado a mi gente. Ni siquiera tenía datos como me dijeron que lo haría. Así que tampoco pude enviarles mensajes en Facebook. Pude pagar para usar el Wi-Fi del aeropuerto. Traté de contactar a mi madre en Messenger, pero su teléfono no funcionaba. Tuve que enviarle un mensaje a mi ex novio, para que pudiera enviar mensajes de texto a mi madre para ver cuál era el plan mientras yo también estaba enviando mensajes a todas las personas que había conocido en Panamá el año pasado para ver si podía llevarme de David a Boquete una vez que aterrizaba. Finalmente, a través Facebook llamé a Manzar para ver si Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast tenía una habitación disponible y si conocían a alguien, para pedir un taxi. Todo funcionó al final, pero no hace falta decir que estoy muy molesta con mi ex proveedor. Pasé algunas semanas sin un teléfono local, pero me sentí incómoda solo podía llamar si estaba conectada a Wi-Fi. Los teléfonos son muy asequibles aquí. Tengo un teléfono local muy básico, pero es bueno saber que puedo comunicarme con la gente mientras estoy fuera, ¡y solo cuesta alrededor de $ 20!

Entonces, hay varias opciones disponibles para ti aquí en Panamá. Primero, si solo está viajando aquí, puede obtener cobertura internacional contactando a su propio proveedor de telefonía celular. O puede comprar un teléfono de uso mundial. Y otra opción es comprar una tarjeta SIM a su llegada para que tenga un número de teléfono local y luego comprar minutos a través de una tarjeta de prepago de teléfono celular. Y también recuerde que puede comprar un plan de datos mensual que tiene un uso ilimitado de datos. ¡Esto sería bueno para usar en cualquier lugar donde haya WiFi y puede conectarse con su familia y amigos en su casa a través de WhatsApp o contactar a un Uber o taxista sin que le cueste más dinero!

 Ahora, si planea mudarse a Panamá, aparte de las opciones enumeradas anteriormente, puede traer un teléfono de Vonage y conservar su número local. ¡Podrás mantenerte en contacto con toda tu familia y amigos! Aquí en Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast sabemos lo importante que es estar conectado. Hacemos nuestro mejor esfuerzo para mantenerlo conectado y podemos ayudarlo a contactar personas cercanas o lejanas. Por lo tanto, venga y quédese con nosotros y relájese sabiendo que puede contactarse nuevamente en su casa.

Cell phone coverage in Boquete, Panama

Blog by Terry Richmeier

The first month that we moved to Central America and stayed in Panama City, Panama. We thought, “What have we done!?” We were without communication to the states! Within days of arrival, we ran up to the mall, purchased some in-expensive phones and minutes, along with a phone number! Now, we thought, we will be ok!

However, I sat on the bed in the condo that we were renting and plugged in the phone to start charging it. (We had to stay in the City in order to finish up our residency.) And realized, this is a local phone with no way to call my Mom and Dad or my friends back in the states! Which I desperately needed to call! I felt lonely and scared!

So, I began to look for different ways to communicate with limited Wi-Fi. (Our condo only had a small phone device for Wi-Fi.) Well, it wasn’t easy, however, we did end up Skyping to our friend who would take over her laptop to my parents and we had set up a weekly. Boom, connected again!

So, my question is, “Is it just a problem here in Panama? Or all around the world? Is my experience an isolated experience based on my own lack of knowledge?”

Here is another story from Amy Kinnear and her experience with a U.S. carrier before moving here to Boquete, Panama:

The Joys of Communicating Overseas. Before getting a new cellphone carrier, I made sure to let them know that it was extremely important that I had a phone that could work in Panama. They promised me that when I went to Panama I would was have unlimited text and data, as well as be able to make calls. It would just be more expensive. I stupidly believed them. A few months later I decided to move to Panama and would be flying to Panama City to meet my parents, for our connection to David, Panama. I had only been to Panama once before and was nervous because my Spanish is horrible. I was not stressing much at first because my carrier assured me multiple times that my phone would work in Panama. I would just call and let my parents know when I got to Panama City, so that we could meet before the flight to David. A soon as the plane landed, I called them. No signal! My heart dropped. What was I going to do if they needed to reach me? “No worries,” I told myself. I would follow their instructions on how to get to my next gate. I had a gut feeling that they were not going to make our connection. How on earth was I going to get to Boquete? What was I going to do once I got there? I had no way to get in their house without the keys, and I needed a place to stay. If my carrier would have worked the way they promised, I could have just called my folks. I did not even have data like I was told I would. So I could not message them on Facebook either. I was able to pay to use the airport’s Wi-Fi. I tried to contact my mom on messenger, but her phone was not working. I had to message my ex-boyfriend, so that he could text my mom to see what the plan was while I was also messaging everyone I had met in Panama last year to see if I could get a ride from David to Boquete once I landed. Finally I Facebook called Manzar to see if Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast had a room available and if they knew anyone I could call for a taxi. It all worked out in the end, but needless to say I am very upset with my ex-provider. I went a few weeks without a local phone, but I felt uncomfortable only to be able to call if I was connected to Wi-Fi. The phones are very affordable here. I have a very basic local phone, but it is nice to know that I can communicate with people while I am out and about, and it only cost about $20!

So, there are several options available for you here in Panama. First, if you are just traveling here, you can get International coverage by contacting your own cell phone provider. Or you can purchase a worldwide usage phone. And another option is to purchase a SIM card upon arrival so you have a local phone number and then purchase minutes through a purchased cell phone minutes card. And also remember that you can buy a monthly data plan which has unlimited data use. This would be good for use wherever there is WIFI and you can connect with family and friends back at home through WhatsApp or contact an Uber or taxi driver without costing any more money!

Now, if you are planning to relocate to Panama, outside of the options that are listed above, you can bring with you a Vonage phone and keep your local number. You will be able to stay in touch with all your family and friends!

We here at Casa de Montaña bed and breakfast know how important staying connected is! We do our best to keep you connected and we can help you with contacting people close or far! So, come and stay with us and relax knowing that you can get in contact back at home!

Ha mejorado el arte perdido del reciclaje en Panamá?

Escrito por: Terry Richmeier.

Traducido por: Generoso Guerra.

Aquí en Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast hacemos nuestro mejor esfuerzo para proteger el medio ambiente a toda costa. Nosotros reutilizamos, reducimos y reciclamos todo lo que podemos.

Cuando por primera vez llegamos a Panamá aterrizamos en el Aeropuerto Internacional de Tocúmen en la ciudad de Panamá. Habíamos ordenado un taxi para que nos recogíera y nos trasladaría hasta nuestro hotel. En el camino pudimos apreciar pilas de basura alrededor de la ciudad y aumentando al llegar a las barriadas de la parte noroeste de la ciudad. Cuando nos mudamos a Boquete, Panamá notamos el mismo patron de basura en el área. También nos llego la noticia de que en la ciudad de Panamá las playas tenían el mismo aspecto cubiertas con basura. Sorprendentemente, la mayoría de estas pilas de basura no existen hoy en día!, Así como la basura en camino a Boquete. Se aprecia un mejor futuro en relación al reciclaje y control de basura en las calles de Panamá. Hay mucha más conciencia y esfuerzo en marcha a limpiar los alrededores, están apareciendo programas de voluntaries cada día. Aquí les dejo un mensaje de nuestra ex huésped Joyce Kinnear:

En la mañana del domingo previo a Halloween, Me desperté a las 5:30 a.m. para unirme al grupo de reciclaje “Boquete Recycling” y comenzar nuestra tarea de “limpiar Boquete” a las 7 a.m.. El grupo entero se dividió en al menos 4 grupos. Recogímos basura por al menos 2 horas (7 bolsas con nuestro pequeño grupo), también una bolsa de metals reciclables y botellas de plástico reciclable. Pudímos quedarnos más tiempo pero teníamos otro evento al cual asistir.

 Boquete está intentando de que la “reutilización, reducción, reciclaje y limpieza” sea una parte más de la vida diaria. Ha sido difícil obtener el servicio de reciclaje en pueblo tan lejos de todo en Panamá. Siempre hemos dicho que en Boquete estamos al final de la línea de distribución y eso incluye el reciclaje.

 Fue muy alentador el ver muchas personas reuniendose tan temprano en la mañana para recolectar basura y reciclarla a lo largo de la vía principal del pueblo. Tuvímos muchas personas ayudándonos y agradeciendo; Una joven se quedó con nuestro equipo por una hora ayudando a recoger basura justamente antes de salir del pueblo y continuar con su travesía.

Ahora solo nos queda averiguar como devolver las botellas de agua y cerveza a su debida empresa para obtener una remuneración a nuestros esfuezos de reciclaje dado que sus productos son la mayoría de desperdicios. ¿No sería eso significativo?.

Otro ex huésped llamado Colin el cual vive en la Ciudad de Panamá, junto a un grupo de amigos han empezado a recoger basura de las playas. Dicho suceso fue descubierto por los ciudadanos y se ha convertido en un esfuerzo mutuo de limpieza. Las playas empiezan a parecer playas nuevamente.

Aquí en Boquete como podrás ver los esfuerzos están dando resultados. Quizás algún día tendremos nuestra propia compañía de reciclaje en acción.

El Gobierno Nacional de Panamá recientemente firmó una nueva ley que dará inicio en el año 2019, no habrán bolsas plásticas permitadas en los comercios de Panamá! otro gran avance.

Estamos aquí en Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast, continuamos con la reutilización, reducción y reciclaje con lo que podemos. Desde recoger la basura de nuestro jardín hasta la reducción de uso de recursos valiosos y reciclando al compartir con los programas de la comunidad.

 

 

Ven y hospédate con nosotros, dejanos saber que te gustaría que hicieramos para salvar nuestro medio ambiente. Detalles como dejar una nota en la puerta dejandonos saber que te gustaría reutilizer las toallas o dejar la señal de no molestar en la puerta. Cualquier manera que prefieras ayudarnos a reutilizar, reducir y reciclar.

 

 

 

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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Cloud Forests of Boquete, Panama

Blog by Debra Harwood

Cloudforest at around 1,600m in Macaya Biosphere Reserve on the Massif de la Hotte, Haiti

Here in Boquete we are fortunate to have some incredible cloud forests where you can spend hours hiking in what truly is a beautiful and breathe taking place on our planet. A cloud forest, also called a fog forest, is a generally tropical or subtropical, moist forest characterized by a persistent, frequent or seasonal low-level cloud cover, usually at the canopy level. Cloud forests often exhibit an abundance of mosses covering the ground and vegetation, and why some people call them a mossy forests. Cloud forests usually develop on the saddles of mountains, where moisture introduced by settling clouds is more effectively retained.
Typically, there is a relatively small band of altitude (500m – 4000m) in which the environment is suitable for cloud forest development. This is characterized by persistent fog at the vegetation level, resulting in the reduction of direct sunlight.  Within cloud forests, much of the moisture available to plants arrives in the form of fog drip where fog condenses on tree leaves and then drips onto the ground below.

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Cloud forest are extremely important in our world. They are very delicate and dependent on local climates and are strongly affected by global climate change. Results show that the extent of environmentally suitable areas for cloud forest in Mexico will sharply decline in the next 70 years and would lead to extinction of up to 37 vertebrates specific to that region. In addition, climate changes can result in a higher amount of hurricanes, which may increase damage to tropical mountain cloud forests. So the results of climate change will be a loss in biodiversity, altitude shifts in species ranges and community reshuffling, and, in some areas, complete loss of cloud forests. In 2004, an estimated one-third of all cloud forests on the planet were protected which shows that we realize their importance and I do hope that as of 2016 we are protecting well over one-half.
These rare ecosystems are valuable for their beauty and biodiversity conservation, but they also have value to those living around them. They maintain water cycles, provide food sources, and are often attractive centers of tourism and because of that provide many people with their livelihoods.
Important areas of cloud forest are in Central and South America, East and Central Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua-New Guinea, and in the Caribbean.

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If you have never experienced a cloud forest please make sure that while you are here in Boquete you take advantage of Mother Nature’s beautiful gift. So pack a light lunch, your camera, rain jacket and take your time and just breathe in the sights and sounds.  I make sure I am out hiking several times a week and I never get tired spending time in the cloud forests here.
Here at Casa de Montana we would be happy to assist you in setting up hikes depending on your hiking level during your stay with us. Nobody should miss out on this great experience!!!

Bird species of Panama – Boquete seems to have all 978 of them!

Blog by Manzar Lari

The picture below is taken in the back of Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast!

1We live in such an amazing part of the world! One of the most important things that makes this small Central American country of Panama truly amazing is the incredible varieties of birds – big, small and colorful, we have them all!

Recently, we had some guests stay with us at Casa de Montaña who came especially to check out the birds in this area. Allan (our guest) had a camera that had lenses that spanned about two feet in length! I had never seen anything like that before. You could tell by talking to him that he was a real bird enthusiast and he already had a lot of knowledge about several of the bird species of Panama and Costa Rica. Allan informed me one morning that there were probably more species of birds around the back part of our home, by the breakfast terrace, than any other place around Boquete! I was surprised to hear that. As a bird enthusiast I am sure he is much more keenly aware of the surroundings and I am sure the zoom lenses on his camera really help him spot and identify these birds. I offered to have him borrow our book on “Birds of Mexico and Central America”, which he finally did on their last day at our Bed & Breakfast. He probably didn’t even need to borrow the book and did so just to make me happy?!

2Allan promised to send us some of the photos of the birds once he returned home to International Falls, Minnesota, USA. He did exactly that today. I am truly blown away by the images of these beautiful and majestic birds of Boquete area. As I am writing this blog, one of these amazing birds is tapping on the office window. It has been doing that for a while today. Wondering if it is looking for a job as an office assistant?! By the way, we are still looking to replace our former employee Andres who worked for us for almost two years. We think we have found the right person but she is moving to Boquete from Panama City, hopefully soon! But I digress! Back to the topic at hand – birds!

So what do some of these birds look like? Check out the following link from a blog written by blogger Jim O’Donnell who is also an amazing photographer:

http://www.aroundtheworldineightyyears.com/birds-of-panama/

As Jim writes, “Panama is literally the bridge between North and South America. That puts it in a very special place being THE meeting point of species from both continents. Not to mention the Caribbean and the Pacific ecosystem.”

Here are some more photos that Allan shared with us of birds he captured through the lenses:

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6Each day at Casa de Montaña is a brand new day of appreciating our 7surroundings and learning things we never learned before. Bird watching as a hobby has been around for centuries but it is totally new to us. We appreciate what knowledge, experience and passion each of our guests brings to the Bed & Breakfast and we are open to embracing it all! What is your passion? Are you ready to come down and tell us your story? We would love to host you this year. Now I better go and “study” the birding book before Allan comes back to visit again!

 

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