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Green Acres Chocolate Farm One

We have been blessed in having Dave & Linda Cerutti as our friends for some time now. We are sad to report that they have decided to sell the farm. It is time for them. Running the farm and keeping it in the state that they are accustomed has become difficult for them. As such, they are selling the farm in order to move somewhere on the mainland in Panama. We produced this video for them so that people might get a feel for how special a place the farm is. If you know anyone who might be truly interested in purchasing the farm, they can contact Dave Cerutti by email at greenacresfarm @ hotmail.com or by phone from the USA at 011- 507- 6638- 8961. We hope that the farm is transferred onto another special owner as it is an incredible place.

Coral Spawing Video

Here is a video that the Smithsonian put together about Coral Spawning Studies here in Bocas. This study was also referenced in the STRI October Newsletter referenced here. The coral is experiencing some bleaching here in Bocas del Toro over the past month. The local dive shops in conjunction with STRI are pulling together information to determine how many of the reefs here are affected.

Pre Columbian Artifacts – Sitio Barriles

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Don’t listen to your guidebook when it suggests skipping archaeological site Sitio Barriles located just outside the small town of Volcán. If you are in the Boquete or David area, I suggest making time for one of the most interesting archaeological sites I have seen in Panama. One can tour the area on their own, but I suggest paying $3 for a guided tour in English or Spanish by Edna Landau, whose family has lived on the property since they settled here from California in the early 1900’s to raise coffee. (The site is well kept by Edna’s family and not funded by the Panamanian government.)

While preparing the earth for planting, the family discovered stones with carvings, pottery, and tools that led to a larger exploration of the area by archaeologists. The area is thought to have been an important town and ceremonial site for a culture that flourished here between 300-600 B.C. From artifacts such as human sized statues that have been unearthed, the people who lived here are thought to have had African or Asian ancestors.

An ancient tomb has been discovered on the premises with urns that held cremated ashes. One can actually walk down three meters into the tomb and see pottery and urns still encased in the earthen walls. Many of the larger statues and ceremonial tables can be seen in the Reina Torres de Araúz Museum in Panama City, while a plethora of artifacts still remain housed in an on-site museum. One of the most fascinating pieces sits exposed to the elements as it has for thousands of years: a magnetic stone engraved with a map of the area. The map has been studied using GPS technology and shows to be an accurate diagrammatic representation of the site’s situation in relation to Volcán Baru, other ancient towns, and both coasts.

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The guided tour can last from 45 minutes to two hours. Edna is the granddaughter of one of the original settlers and gives a friendly and very thorough tour of the archaeological site as well as the grounds where tropical plants from around the world thrive. There is soon to be a restaurant on the premises, but meanwhile a nice offering of homemade cheese, lemon or papaya preserves, and duros are available.

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Today, metaphysical groups come to Barriles to experience its energy, which is said to be better than that of Machu Picchu. It is believed that this ancient culture was put to an end by several eruptions from Volcán Baru located just 16 kilometers away

The area is simply magical and holds a feeling of peace. Bring a swimsuit if you are interested in taking a dip in the cool spring that leads to a stream flowing uphill for over one kilometer to the Chiriqui River. Also bring a water bottle to fill from the spring that is the perfect temperature for drinking and is 99% pure water.

To get there, go through the center of Volcán on the road to Rio Sereno. There’s a blue sign on the left, just before the Ortega Panderia. Turn left and keep going for about 6 kilomenters. The entrance to Sitio Barriles is on the right.

Contact info for Sitio Barilles (open form sunup to sundown):
Edna Landau Telephone: 507-6575-1828

Jose Landau Telephone:  507-6607-5438

Native Children

One of the neat things that we really like about many of our excursions is the way that our guests have an opportunity to interact with some of the local children. It is a great experience for the children and a wonderful experience for our guests. We find that the native children LOVE to have their picture taken. We take photos of them each time we encounter them on an excursion. They like to see the photo on the camera’s display as soon as it is taken. They also love to get copies of their photos that we print out and return to them on one of our trips to their village. Here are photos of children from two different villages on Punta Valiente. We generally visit at least these two villages on our excursions to Punta Valiente which include both hiking and a trip to beach.

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Have a great weekend!

Field Trip

Tres, Scott, Gina, Jay, Jim and Jim’s older brother went on a field trip a couple of weeks ago. First they went to our friend’s chocolate farm. Tres and Scott have been there many times before and they love it every time. Then in the afternoon they went to Bahia Honda and into the Bat Cave. They had so much fun. Tres and Scott have been talking about it so much since then. Here are a few photos of the “field trip”. I never went on any such kind of trip. Pretty cool school.

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Sitting Pretty in Central America

My brother emailed me last week to let me know that we had been included in an article in Continental’s in flight magazine. I went online to look it up today. I must say that it is truly a compliment to be included in with such a great group of hotels. Take a look at the article. We are the last hotel listed for Panama and the only one of our size!

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Shucking a Coconut

Here is a short clip of a guy Jim saw on one of the islands shucking coconuts. It is so funny as Jim and Jay have been here in Panama for almost 9 years and up until a few months ago they thought you could only open a coconut with a machete. All of our employees and any other local we know use a machete to open a coconut. It takes lots of machete strikes to the coconut and then bending the machete across the coconut husk to get the nut out of the husk. And here is this guy with an ingenious little tool that lets him shuck multiples of coconuts in the time that it takes for anyone else to shuck one. This is all part of the fun of learning something new everyday!