Search Results for: panama

Today the Cabalgata in David

For me the Cabalgata in David, a parade of thousands of horses, is annual event I hate to miss. This year I plan head to David after the Tuesday meeting and to be in the heart of the parade chasing pickups that hand out cups of rum and blare loud music. If you plan to ride I hope to see you there, if you plan to watch please see if I m sitting straight in the saddle or need more rum.

If you plan neither, this is a good day to avoid David since traffic will be epic as the horses dominate everything. This is the biggest horse parade of the year in Panama and is great fun. Below is a map of the route, the parade starts at 3PM Panama time and expect the streets near Dolegita to be snarled for hours before as the horses and riders assemble.

cabalgata David Panama 2013

cabalgata route David Panama 2013

Here are some photos of previous Cabalgatas in David, 2009 and 2010. You might see a few familiar faces.


[img src=http://www.boqueteguide.com/wp-content/flagallery/cabalgata/thumbs/thumbs_cabalgata01.jpg]120
[img src=http://www.boqueteguide.com/wp-content/flagallery/cabalgata/thumbs/thumbs_cabalgata02.jpg]90
[img src=http://www.boqueteguide.com/wp-content/flagallery/cabalgata/thumbs/thumbs_cabalgata03.jpg]90
[img src=http://www.boqueteguide.com/wp-content/flagallery/cabalgata/thumbs/thumbs_cabalgata04.jpg]110
[img src=http://www.boqueteguide.com/wp-content/flagallery/cabalgata/thumbs/thumbs_cabalgata05.jpg]100
[img src=http://www.boqueteguide.com/wp-content/flagallery/cabalgata/thumbs/thumbs_cabalgata06.jpg]100
[img src=http://www.boqueteguide.com/wp-content/flagallery/cabalgata/thumbs/thumbs_cabalgata07.jpg]90
[img src=http://www.boqueteguide.com/wp-content/flagallery/cabalgata/thumbs/thumbs_cabalgata08.jpg]80
[img src=http://www.boqueteguide.com/wp-content/flagallery/cabalgata/thumbs/thumbs_cabalgata09.jpg]80
[img src=http://www.boqueteguide.com/wp-content/flagallery/cabalgata/thumbs/thumbs_cabalgata10.jpg]80
[img src=http://www.boqueteguide.com/wp-content/flagallery/cabalgata/thumbs/thumbs_cabalgata11.jpg]90
[img src=http://www.boqueteguide.com/wp-content/flagallery/cabalgata/thumbs/thumbs_cabalgata12.jpg]80
[img src=http://www.boqueteguide.com/wp-content/flagallery/cabalgata/thumbs/thumbs_cabalgata13.jpg]70
[img src=http://www.boqueteguide.com/wp-content/flagallery/cabalgata/thumbs/thumbs_cabalgata14.jpg]70
[img src=http://www.boqueteguide.com/wp-content/flagallery/cabalgata/thumbs/thumbs_cabalgata15.jpg]70
[img src=http://www.boqueteguide.com/wp-content/flagallery/cabalgata/thumbs/thumbs_cabalgata16.jpg]70
[img src=http://www.boqueteguide.com/wp-content/flagallery/cabalgata/thumbs/thumbs_cabalgata17.jpg]90
[img src=http://www.boqueteguide.com/wp-content/flagallery/cabalgata/thumbs/thumbs_cabalgata18.jpg]80
[img src=http://www.boqueteguide.com/wp-content/flagallery/cabalgata/thumbs/thumbs_cabalgata19.jpg]80

Royston Knight, again

I was notified by a local attorney, Julio Espinosa Brown, that he has filed still another criminal complaint against Roy Knight. Here is a link to information about the previous claim, LINK.

“Three weeks ago we filed a complaint for real estate fraud and for sales of a corporation that does not exist against ROYSTON MARTIN KNIGHT and MARIA JULIA GIRON HERNANDEZ (Roy engineer) for the sum of $90,000.00 local D.A.

Facts: Roy and his engineer sold to my clients some lots at the beach of Puerto Armuelles for the sum $90,000.00, after a little research we realized that the lots do not exist and no corporation of Roy´s owned those lots.

My clients deposited the money in the accounts that Roy has or had in USA.”

Roy bought his way out of the last complaint, which was remarkably similar, by paying the amount he was alleged to steal. Since he is in Panama and this a a criminal fraud complaint,  he is guilty until proven innocent or pays the claimants, who can then drop the proceedings.

Royston Knight

Do business with Roy at your own risk, he has many claims against him by unwary expats who allege he bilked them of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

If you have a claim against Roy you might want to contact Julio he has gotten blood out of this turnip  before.

Edificio Don Alejo, Oficina No. 8
(Edificio de la Caja de Ahorros y El Constructor),
Boquete, Chiriquí, República Panamá,
Télefax (507) 720-2941 y Móvil (507) 6677-5077
Skype: juliojulio19741

Weights and measures and loss of hectares of native vegetation

Panama is a small country and changes can be made rather quickly, when desired. It usually it takes forever to change things because the average Panamanian like all people everyplace resists transitions unless there is a force pushing hard. The change to the metric system has been fast because the government has leverage with businesses and the people need to adjust. First it was weights, no more pounds, now grams and kilograms. Romero, in an effort to dull the effect shifted their signs from pounds to 454 grams, leaving prices the same. In time they will follow other businesses and move to grams and kilograms, it takes time for the public to understand change.

Between now and some time in April the gallon will go extinct in Panama. Some gas stations are already making the change.

Prices in Liters

Prices in Liters

This Delta station is not selling discounted combustibles, they have switched to liters, there are about 3.7 liters in a US gallon. The gallon, the mile, the yard, the foot, and the acre are going extinct in Panama. Panama is joining most of the rest of the world in abandoning the imperial system of measurement for the much more logical metric system. Will the United States realize it needs to make the change too, or will people refuse the change saying it is being dictated by the outsiders, a plot to internationalize?

Speaking of acres or really hectares, I took this photo of Volcan Baru this morning in a clear moment. You can see some of the areas of deforestation on the slope facing Jaramillo. We need to stop the destruction or whether it is measured in gallons or liters we will not have sufficent potable water for much of anything.

Volcan Baru

Volcan Baru deforestation

Searching for a sea mans lunch in David? Sedimar might be perfect

Questing for good seafood? I often look for a place to eat in David and am surprised David does not have a larger number of Seafood restaurants. Mayra’s daughter Karina works for the Maritime Authority and is based in Pedregal. I asked her were she and her workmates go for lunch. The answer Sedimar. We decided to visit Sedimar and see why.

To get to Sedimar drive to the airport in David and keep going into Pedregal. This is a spot for lunch, Pedregal is considered a Red Zone, not safe at night. Before you get to the port where the road ends you will see Sedimar on your left side. It is worth stop is you are hungry and want fresh seafood at reasonable prices. This is a Sea Food greasy spoon, not Red Lobster not elegant, good food, reasonable prices and no atmosphere.

Sedimar David Panama

Sedimar David Panama

Sedimar David Panama


Our lunch is pictured below, we ordered one order of Arroz a la Marinara. It cost $9.50 and two of use surrendered before finishing the plate. Yes that really is crab on the pile of rice and seafood. Think enhanced Paella.

One order was enough for two

One order was enough for two

Sedimar David Panama

Sedimar David Panama

Boquete hug your local tree hugger, they are saving your lifestyle

In late 2012 there was a meeting held with ANAM organized by a few local people with claims on land in Volcan Baru National Park. The intent of the meeting was to have ANAM, the environmental protection agency of Panama, rezone parts of Volcan Baru National Park to allow deforestation and agricultural use of land. Fortunately for all of us, a small group of environmentalists also attended the meeting and made enough impact that ANAM stopped and decided to listen to reasons this should not happen.

Volcan Baru before much of the clear cutting

Volcan Baru, look at the treeless patches

For those not familiar with Volcan Baru, walk outside and look West, it’s that big mountain with the antennas and clouds on top. If you look at the slopes you will see that some farms have been established within the park. You will see the clear cut brown areas where trees were removed. Now you can yawn and say who cares, that’s good capitalism, take the unused land and make it productive. You would be wrong on many levels and two effect all people living in this area.

Volcan Baru is the upper watershed for almost a half a million people. I know that because today I attended a meeting with ANAM and some of those environmentalists at the Chamber of Commerce in David. A biology professor from UNACHI in David has done extensive watershed research on Baru.  He stated that if the logging does not stop now, the water will stop within five years. That simple, the trees hold the mountainside and hold the water from seasonal rains. Eliminate the trees and you eliminate the roots that hold the soil and the entire ecosystem that holds and gradually releases the water we all need to live. Clear cuts and farms do not act the same way as forest ecosystems.

The Mayor of Boquete was at the meeting and it was decided that since the watershed effects more than just Boquete District that the mayors of all of the other effected districts also need to be involved to stop the destruction. There is a chance we can save our valley.

This simples analysis below is from a similar crisis in Jamaica


1.2(a) Causes of Watershed Degradation

The environmental factors contributing to watershed degradation in Jamaica have been intensified by the following types of human activity:

  • Unsuitable hillside agricultural practices such as over cultivation of steep slopes, indiscriminate slashing and burning, and cultivating without soil conservation or engineering works;
  • Deforestation due to illegal removal of trees for fuelwood and charcoal production, yam sticks and lumber;
  • Illegal settlements on hillside lands;
  • Improper construction and lack of maintenance of roads;
  • Forest fires caused by individuals;
  • Unapproved quarrying and sand mining.


1.2(b) Effects of Watershed Degradation

While the impact of human activities on watershed are many and varied, some of the main ones may be summarized below:

  • Reduced tree and vegetative cover;
  • Reduced water availability and quality;
  • Reduced productivity of land, increased siltation of rivers and reservoirs due to soil erosion;
  • Increased marine and coastal contamination and degradation adversely affecting the tourism industry;
  • Increased flooding resulting in loss to human life, property, roads and agricultural crops;
  • Loss of habitat for important flora and fauna.

National Environmental Planning agency

And you thought a shaking from a small temblor was significant, consider an unsupported mountain side, soaked by seasonal rains, without trees followed by a few seconds of the earth shaking. Watch parts of the mountainside slide down into your house like some people in Valle Escondido did a couple of years ago.


If ANAM is allowed to make the changes we will all suffer economically as a few people pocket some short term gains.

Volcan Baru National Park was created by   DECRETO No. 40 (de 24 de junio de 1976) . You can download the PDF of the Decree here. LINK

Article 2 says,

Homeowners with surrounding land titles Baru Volcano located more than in 1800 (1,800) meters high and included within the limits described will not be affected in their rights by the establishment of the National Park, however, shall adopt the provisions on land use arising Forest Service National Directorate of Renewable Natural Resources, aimed at protecting soil, water regime, wildlife and flora of the area being able to prohibit any activity detrimental to them.

That means those who had title to land cannot do things destructive to the water, soil, wildlife and flora. That might be interpreted to mean they cannot clear cut land to plant onions. It was also pointed out that ROP claims have even fewer rights within the park and since 1976 no ROP land could be titled within a national park.

The law is already in place to prevent development which is why they want it relaxed even as it is ignored by developers and law enforcement alike.

As Boquete’s economy shifts from agriculture to tourism and residential tourism for it’s economy, saving the park takes on a second significance, income for more than a few farmers.


Tourists are more valuable to Boquete than a few more onions. Our watershed is more important than either onions or tourists. As we notice on days where there is no water we need it to live.

There are other meetings on this coming and community support is important. I spoke at this meeting, I spoke about the water issues echoing the biologist from UNACHI, I spoke about the lack of enforcement of the current laws and the price of deforestation. Come to the next meeting and let ANAM know you want to look up and see trees on Volcan Baru and be able to drink the mountain fresh water we have come to enjoy here. I will post on Boquete Ning when I know about the next meeting.

The road to Pedasi and a taste of reality

After hearing about the excitement and the growth down the Azuero Peninsula I wanted to see it with my own eyes, not those of the people selling or trying to sell sand castles. Mayra and I visited two years ago when I was writing for Live and Invest in Panama, this was a return to relax and see all the changes.

The new four lane highway from Divisa to Las Tablas is moving along and the ride down the peninsula is much faster than before. One massive credit to the current government is that the investment in infrastructure will at least in theory propel growth, it is certainly enticing private investment.

We passed through Chitre, Los Santos to Las Tablas on new and improved highways. There are an extraordinary number of new businesses and developments in the Chitre region. I always liked Chitre as a very traditional Panamanian town, like much of Panama it has a new flavor; the flavor of investment and growth.

Mayra and I arrived in Pedasi near sundown, about five and one half hours from David. We did run into one half hearted Indigenous road obstruction on the road between Tole and Santiago. There were fewer then ten people there and more than that number of riot police waiting down the road. We and all the traffic passed through unmolested.

We stayed with some good friends who have a small secluded  B&B about 30 minutes west of Pedasi near Playa Venao. I do recommend staying there it if you wish to make the trip and want to be close to both the surf camps and the pueblo. Goeff and Caroline are former Boquete residents now living the beach life. This is a link to their website, LINK.

This the view from their back porch, it is not a golf course but could be a putting green.

Playa Lifestyle Pedasi Panama

Playa Lifestyle Pedasi Panama

On Saturday we spent the day following up on our prior trip two years ago. On that trip we met with some of the developers of beach front property who arrived from Israel to turn the sea coast into lot line to lot line developments. The number of houses in each development has doubled in two years. Then you could count them on one hand, now after two years you need two hands.

Beach front development in Pedasi Panama

Beach front development in Pedasi Panama

It seems every pasture near Pedasi is either for sale or has been sold to a developer. All that is missing are the buyers of the lots they created. Pedasi has a new hospital under construction and an airport completed in December 2011 that  has just opened. We visited the airport and took a walk onto the runway because only us, some cows and a wind sock were there. There are currently no flights scheduled into Pedasi. My political corruption curiosity wondered who might have been the prior owner of the pasture which is now an airport with no staff, fuel facility or parking.

Pedasi Panama Airport terminal shot form the runway

Pedasi Panama Airport terminal shot from the runway

Like so many stories in Panama I think the pitch on Pedasi is a speculation on the future. The beaches near Pedasi are fantastic, some literally deserted, tourists do come, surfers love Playa Venano and fisherman love the waters off the coast.  I asked  who is buying in Pedasi and heard interesting things, the most sales in the area are coming as Panama’s middle class is investing in vacation houses in the beach area, houses selling for a bit over $100,000. It is really refreshing to see that the economy of Panama is allowing Panamanians to make the same mistakes that were made in North America a decade ago. I was told that the beach properties are selling slowly and are often back on the market rapidly as people discover there is nothing to do in Pedasi beyond surfing and fishing. The beaches have not flooded since the projects started but local memories go back further than the developments.

There is a demand for rentals, as in Boquete, that might make for some good long term investment. Despite frequent failures of urbanizations there is little doubt in my mind that this area will eventually develop into the French Rivera of Panama. The only question is will either I or my children live to see it; perhaps my grandchildren.

Beach near Pedasi Panama

Beach near Pedasi Panama

The local restaurants on the beaches like Playa Arena are still affordable and great fun. You can buy lunch for four with a few rounds of beer for under $35, I did.
Pedasi is a beautiful, remote place to visit and spend a few days on the beaches. Enjoy it while you can because like all things in Panama the times they are a changing and the things that made Panama attractive to many are evolving into the things some of us fled.

Primary Day today for the PRD

If you noticed lots of trucks and cars shuttling people to schools today, a Sunday it was not for classes it was a get out the vote campaign within Panama’s largest political party, the PRD.

PRD Primary


Barring divine intervention we will hear that the PRD candidate for President of the Republic of Panama for 2014 elections will be Juan Carlos Navarro.

Juan Carlos Navarro ” received his A. B. from Dartmouth College (1983) and a Master of Public Policy from Harvard University(1985). He is one of the founders and former head of the National Association for the Conservation of Nature (ANCON), Panama’s leading non-profit environmental NGO, in 1985 and established it as the top independent environmental group in Panama and one of the most important in Latin America.”

“He joined the PRD in April 1998 and was elected to the nine-member National Executive Committee, the PRD’s top governing organism, in August 2002. Mayor Navarro was awarded the International Award for Excellence in 2001 by the prestigious Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT), in recognition of his global environmental leadership. Navarro is fluent in Spanish, French and English.”

Wiki Pedia

Personally I have given up hope for incorruptible politicians but maybe if elected he will provide a more balanced approach to the environmental destruction created by the current administration. Time will tell.



Power yes, Internet, no but the iPad still works

I am going to make a confession, I am an addict, an Internet addict. Some people cannot live without a drink or a smoke, I like both of those but I am truly addicted to the Internet. The Internet is my lifeline to friends and family in other lands, it is my source of news, entertainment and education. I survived a few days without electricity. Thanks to my iPad I am not totally disconnected from the world, but I live online and the iPad is not versatile enough, I need my WiFi back, maybe tomorrow, maybe not.

If not for the Internet I could not live in the mountains of Western Panama. Without the Internet I would not have Skype, my voice line to the world. Without the Internet I would not have access to Facebook, Panama’s replacement for jungle drums. Without Internet I could not do my business, my banking, my writing, I might need to regress to growing tomatoes or worse chicken husbandry.

Remember those days before the Internet? Some of you can remember before the Internet, before cell phones, before fax machines, before Netflix and maybe even before laptops, iPads and smart phones. The time before news was instant and when life moved at a pace slower than the speed of light.

Alas there is no regression, I miss my Wifi connection.

Hugo Chavez has passed on to places unknown

Now we will need to wait and see the ripple effect. Many are probably relieved, others, in particular the poor of Venzuela saddened. But Mr. Chavez had influence far beyond his borders. Bolivia, Nicaragua, Cuba and Ecuador were all at least partially subsidized by oil from Venezuela.

The law there suggests an election must be held within thirty days. Even if his chosen successor, the current Vice President prevails that does not mean policies and priorities will stay the same. This unfolding drama will effect us in Panama. Many Venezuelan immigrants have invested huge sums in Panama, will they stay? What will happen in those countries that rely on low cost oil from Venezuela? This will effect much more than Venezuela.

TCM: Dr. Ted Harrison on Stem Cell Therapy, no Snake oil here

As an avid reader my book list includes a lot of Science fiction. One of my favorite authors years ago was Robert Heinlein, recently I reread many of his books, including the Lazarus Long series about life extension. It is nice to see that despite the obstacles placed in the way of embryonic stem cell research in the United States, there has been growth in the knowledge base in the rest of the world. There is both research and practice that is making some of the fiction I read into reality. Modern medicine is now  investigating some of Heinlein’s fantasies, like growing new organs in a laboratory and using them to replace failing body parts. It can be done in a lab today and  in time, hopefully  be done on a practical basis in a hospital, but not yet.

I expected a full house for this presentation, one by a doctor, not a snake oil salesman. Once again I was disappointed, it appears that snake oil, pseudo science and it’s electronic derivatives sell better than reality to many people in Boquete. I do believe those who came and listened are better educated for the experience.

This was a presentation about advances in an area of medical research that can even now in it’s early stages can enhance your life if you have any of a number of serious medical issues.

Stem cells are the undifferentiated cells that when developed and differentiated can become any part of your body. Over the last few years medical science has learned how to use stem cells from non embryonic material which has opened many new lines of research without legal restrictions. As Dr. Harrison explained your own body can now be the source of the stem cells that can be used to heal your ills. A new play on physician heal thyself.


If you want to know more about what a Stem Cell is, this is a link to a tutorial done by the University of Michigan. LINK

We learned that there are currently therapies using stem cells that can resolve some health issues. Some of the areas that are well established are cosmetic procedures, others can eliminate the need for more drastic surgery like a knee replacement. The research continues in many other areas and in time as the knowledge grows Stem Cell Therapy might be the root of a medical revolution; one not encouraged by big pharmaceutical companies.

Dr. Harrison pointed out that Stem Cell Therapy in the US, where he is a licensed doctor, has been limited by the FDA. By the nature of stem cell therapy the FDA considers it a drug therapy and has refused to approve the use. His theory being the multibillion dollar pharmaceutical industry, which does provide much of the FDA budget, has much to lose when your body can generate what you need to cure your ills.

Other countries have no such restrictions and clinics have opened in other venues, including Panama. In Panama City you can find the Stem Cell Institute and Dr. Harrison said they have treated about 1,800 patients to date. This is the LINK to their website.
Their website has a trove of information for those who want to know more about the present and hopes for the future.

In summary, real medicine is advancing faster than the laws that regulate it. There are new solutions to old health issues and they should be investigated before traditional intrusive treatments are used. It is also critical to investigate the claims of doctors and clinics and be sure they are no selling false hopes today for technologies that have not yet been tested in double blind studies on humans, not lab rats.

Quakery abounds in medicine with miracle cures based on pseudo scientific mumbo jumbo being offered by people who sell fantasy cures to those who need real help. Stem Cell Therapy is real, but beware of someone at the Tuesday Market offering a magic stem cell pill that when swallowed will fix all your ills. That pill does not exist, yet.

%d bloggers like this: