Chapter XX
Punta Chame in Panama

Chapter XX

After more than 2 months together with our friends and family in Switzerland, our adventure continues in Central America.

Sunset in Punta Chame, Panama

The trip

Despite the storm on the day of our departure, we had a smooth journey. No stress at all with the new kite luggage and also the airport in Amsterdam was still open. Fortunately it got closed the next day because of the storm.

Jose, the brother of a friend of Jessica, was waiting for us at the airport in Panama City and drove with us to Punta Chame. First we drove through the capital and passed the canal until we arrived at a town called “Chame”. From there, our trip continued for more than half an hour on a shady road with several potholes, through dense forests and uninhabited area until we reached the peninsula of Punta Chame.

View of Club Bahía in Punta Chame, Panama

Our new home

Punta Chame is a small and relaxed fishing village in the south of Panama City. With the exception of two mini markets and a handful of accommodations and restaurants, you won’t find that much more.

Fishing village of Punta Chame in Panama

In Club Bahía we have found our new house, right next to the sea. A small apartment with kitchen and living room, bedroom and bathroom. Everything we need. We had many neighbors. On one hand a few tourists and on the other hand Panamanians, who come from the city to spend the weekend or public holidays in the quiet Punta Chame.

Park of Club Bahía in Punta Chame, Panama

Our neighbours

Already on the first day we met the Canadian Kitesurfer, Quin. He provided us with all the lifesaving tips, such as: where to buy fresh fish or what time the vegetable truck passes by. A few days later, we also met his lovely wife Elle. We miss the interesting conversations and cool games with you guys.

Elle & Quin at the beach in Punta Chame, Panama
Farewell evening from Elle & Quin

Shenta & Gary, a musical Canadian couple, spoiled us with tasty food and also gave us private concerts where they played their nice songs backed by the rythm of the guitars. Jessica accompanied Shenta to the stores and waited with her for hours for the veggie truck. Andres and Gary went kitesurfing together almost every day.

Shenta & Gary
Music night with Shenta & Gary

But not only Shenta & Gary are musical, also we’ve met the famous Russian pianist Natalya, who happened to be in Punta Chame on holiday with her husband Albert. Our lovely surrogate parents provided us almost every day with delicious specialties and lots of interesting stories from and about their lives.

Natalya & Albert at the beach of Punta Chame, Panama

A group of kitesurfers, also known as “Los Kiters” in Club Bahía , rented the house in front of our apartment for the entire kitesurfing season. The majority were Venezuelans, a German guy and a Colombian and a Ecuadorian girl. We had some barbecues, kited and spent a great time together. Pasenlo bien, maricos! Nos vemos :)

Grill with Los Kiters in Punta Chame, Panama
Andres and Javier after the night kitesession
Hermes & Paulina at the beach in Punta Chame, Panama

The beach

During low tide, you can enjoy the long sandy beach in front of Club Bahía and basically around the entire peninsula. At high tide there can be no beach at all. There are practically no waves, but the water is a little bit choppy. The wind blows reliably side-on shore with 15-25 knots.

Beach of Punta Chame, Panama
Jessica & Andres at the beach of Punta Chame
Chill at the beach of Punta Chame

There are many rays close to shore in the shallow water. Even though, there are many swimmers and of course kitesurfers. Obviously many people got stung. Luckily, Andres managed to spend the whole time without a scratch. But a few jellyfish got in his way in February, when the cold currents brought a massive amount of them to the beach. One of those jellyfish got in contact with his nose.

Oh, and there were also many birds...

Birds in the bay of Punta Chame

Excursion to Panama City

The boat trip

On an early Saturday morning, we drove together with Jose and his wife Kimberly to Panama City. First we went on a small boat tour through a part of the Panama Canal. There we could see the huge container ships and some big ports. After we navigated along the coast, past a few islands until we reached the coastline of the capital. What a spectacular view!

Container ship and bridge Las Americas at the Panama Canal
Jose & Kimberly with Jessica & Andres on a boat trip in Panama City
Harbor in the Panama Canal
Panama City from the water
Group photo from the excursion to Panama City

The city

After the boat trip, the two Panamenians guided us through Panama City. We first drove along the coast, then through the most dangerous district of the capital and finally we could do some sightseeing in the lovely old town.

Kimberly & Jose in the old town of Panama City

For lunch we enjoyed a fried fish with rice and plantain and a traditional “ceviche” - raw fish, prepared with lemon and lots of onions.

The Panama Canal

We went to the museum of Miraflores, where we’ve learned all about the interesting history and importance of the Panama Canal and how its locks work. Later at the observation gallery, we could experience how two ships passed through the locks of Miraflores, coming from the Pacific Ocean - going into the Caribbean Sea.

Miraflores floodgate from the Panama Canal
Container ship on the floodgate of Miraflores from the Panama Canal

Trip to Taborcillo island

Jessica and her colleague Yamileth went to the island of “John Wayne” by boat. The island can be seen from Punta Chame and is about 10 minutes away.

There is an abandoned hotel on it. The only inhabitants are 4 dogs, 3 monkeys, a few goats and a night watch. The hotel was built like a small western style village with bank, church, jail, post office, museum and much more. Each room has the name of a well-known actor. Although a lot has been stolen and destroyed, many of the rooms are still furnished. A cool place to discover...

Abandoned hotel on the island Taborcillo in Panama
Room of the abandoned hotel on the island Taborcillo in Panama
Abandoned hotel on the island Taborcillo in Panama
Church on the island Taborcillo in Panama

When there is fullmoon and thus extreme low tide, a long sand bank appears, pointing from the island towards Punta Chame. The water around this sand bank is very flat and shallow. Many kitesurfers head the long way out to the island to enjoy this natural phenomenon.

Kiting on the island Taborcillo in Panama
Kiting on the island Taborcillo in Panama

Excursion to El Valle de Anton

Another trip together with Yamileth and Luis & Agata took us to the mountains. Taking several buses, we travelled from Punta Chame via Bejuco to Las Uvas, until El Valle de Antón. After a short break from the bus rides and a delicious meal, we made started our journey to La India Dormida, a mountain peak with a breathtaking view.

Another bus left us in the middle of nowhere and the driver told us: “go up there”. The hike was steep in the beginning and took us along the top of the mountain. We were lost and did not know where to find La India Dormida, but it was still very impressive :)

Market in the Valle de Anton in Panama
Start of the hike in El Valle in Panama
Hike in El Valle in Panama
Hike in El Valle in Panama
Hike in El Valle in Panama
Hike in El Valle in Panama
Hike in El Valle in Panama

Engagement of Chris & Anke

Towards the end of our stay, we met the German couple Chris & Anke. We got along very well from the beginning and spent a short but great time together.

On a random night we got invited to a dinner at Casa Amarilla, one of the few well known and good restaurants in Punta Chame. Anke & Chris got engaged at sunset and we were the first to celebrate with them!

Engagement of Anke & Chris

We wish you all the best for your new future together! 

Jessica & Andres eating hamburgers in machete kite in Punta Chame

Well, that’s all for now from the exciting 45 days in Panama. We have already traveled to Cartagena in Colombia. In the next chapter we will tell you more about our experiences around here ;)