Panama birdwatching: some shots made by a guest

A regular guest comes specifically to Santa Fe for birdwatching. Sante Fe is hardly the only place in Panama to go birdwatching, but nature is still quite abundant in the particular spot, with primary forest reaching from low elevation (600 feet) up till about 3600 feet. Another hotel owner in town is composing a list of bird species known to this region: the number is currently stands at 300.

Our guest was kind enough to share a few shots of some sought after birds: a lattice tailed trogon and a black crowned antpitta.

How to treat a LLLadah

Our company car is a Lada Niva – a tough little 4×4 which, with proper care, will go places where other terrain vehicles won’t. A great car for the countryside and perfect for off-road tours. The Lada Niva is made in Russia, the first one being produces in 1977 and, with little changes to the design, still being made up to this date. Prior to the fall of the Soviet Union, Niva’s where being exported worldwide including to Canada, western European countries and Panama. During the Jeltsin years, Lada exports fell drastically and tougher emission regulations prevented sales in many countries. Since 2010 however, Niva’s are available again in western Europe, with a revised engine but with unchanged exterior and no changes to its successful drivetrain. To boost sales, Sweden’s Lada importer had this viral video made:

Santa Fe fair 2013

No Spanish required pn the Santa Fe fairThe Santa Fe fair, from January 30 until February 3, is the largest happening in this quiet little town. Roughly 5000 people and many more day-trippers will flock to the Santa Fe fair to enjoy the spectacle of local agriculture, artisans, food, loud music and probably most of all, to get wasted. I don’t want to ruin any idyllic romantic thoughts you might have, but the fair is first and foremost a big party with a countryside fair theme. But there is something for everyone: during the day when the party-goers are still overcoming their hangover from the previous night, you can watch rodeo, typical music, learn about local organic farming practices, watch street art, police demonstrations and so on. It is certainly something you can’t miss.

For the younger crowd, Panamanian partying might lack sophistication but you can surely have a good time. You won’t need Spanish to get to know the locals, due to the loudness of music everyone communicates in sign language.

beer catbeer dog Beer increases creativity Hooter beer

What is sustainable

Global warming?Sustainability, eco/environmentally friendliness and organic products have become very fashionable in the last decade or two. But definitions are vague and criteria for labelling yourself eco-friendly are not self evident. Just like 5 star hotels in Panama, anyone can claim to have an ecolodge. Moreover, even in those countries that do have official organizations for eco-lodging, the scientific basis is hardly sustainable at all. (more…)

What are the chances

Angkor What?So you have been told you’re the only Cambodian in Panama. Then you move to a tiny village far out in the countryside. What are the chances of meeting other Cambodians, who are not even allowed in their neighbouring countries without a visa? You’d be surprised. In the three years that we live here we met two Cambodians, one Laotian and one Thai. On the other hand we never had any tourist form Brazil, Portugal or Turkey.

Strange how the world can sometimes be so small: the Cambodian staying with us right now is from the same town as my wife and even knows some of her friends. If it ever was a good time to come to our restaurant it is now: special Asian dishes are being prepared every day.

Yes we’re open!

After a several rough weeks filled with long working hours and little sleep we’re finally open. The website still needs a lot of work, most notably there’s a lack of pictures. The reason for that is that there is still unfinished paintwork and overall lack of furniture. I guess that in spite of this I will have to take pictures anyway, for without it, you lose credibility. It’s like serving a warm soda when the guest insists that it is OK. It isn’t, but hey, the customer is always right.

On the plus: the rooms are big and pleasant, the beds are comfy, the basics are there, and of course the food is to die for.