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Tonosi, Azuero Peninsula, Panama

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Written by Matt   
Friday, 22 December 2006 14:03
For some, ask the small Azuero town of Tonosi is known to be the subject of travelers remorse—this far away and seemingly-imaginary community near the bottom tip of the peninsula that is not nearly as exciting as it could be. For me though, ampoule a trip down to Tonosi is a charming jaunt back in time. As you meander down the eastern coast of Azuero your tension can't help but build. Certain curves in the road reveal smashing coastlines and thundering valleys, the kind of disclosures that make you go, “woah” whether you're a fan of the country or not. As you enter Tonosi, you'll realize it's an extremely small town all settled around one main drag called, as best I can imagine, main street or calle principal. Most of the buildings are one story and the road is dusty which makes for this time-warped feeling of the wild wild west. Certain saloons even have the archetypical swinging doors, through which you want to see Billy The Kid come staggering out.

There's a hardware shop, several small restaurants, a fairly endowed grocery store, and a pool hall which tends to get the most attention at night when locals gather to play pool and watch the Panamanian equivalent of American Idol. Beers are cold and like $.30 which makes buying a round for your new friends inevitable. There's also a small bar with blue color scheme, surf boards hanging on the walls and semi-trendy lights hanging from above. The locals here though, are not the type to gawk or make fun of visitors, so put on your best shoes and go meet a few new friends.

The town is nice because it's not overrun with beeping cell phones or car horns. People work during the day, then relax and socialize at night. There's none of this, “my boss wants me to stay til midnight” and that's something I admire. There's no hidden beltway snipers or ecoli spinach scares to worry about. Hell, people here don't even like spinach!

Banco Nacional has a branch here if you're running out of loot and need an ATM and there are two gas stations, one near the supermarket and one in the back right hand corner of town.

There are two places to stay in Tonosi to date: the first one, on the right hand side when you walk in is—in my opinion—not nearly as good as Hotel Boame, towards the back left-hand corner of town, past the police station. The owners are very cute and welcoming and you'll leave having felt like they really enjoyed your visit. A room is something like $25 a night and that gets you hot water, clean beds, and air conditioning. The restaurant below is also far better than it looks.

Tonosi is a good starting point to venture south towards Cambutal or north back up to Venado. It's not by any means a party town or really much of a town at all. What it is, is rural Panama: *censored* fights, rodeos, moonshine. People smile brighter and life moves at a slower pace. Everyone seems to know each other there, which isn't all that surprising considering the town's population could probably fit in my fanny pack. Chances are, you'll get some funny looks your first time there, as Americans do not venture down that way all that often, but once you settle in, make a few friends, you'll have the whole village waving your way.
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Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 September 2008 13:53
 
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