Introducing Bocas Shorts

Sometimes we capture some pretty cool little clips that we would like to share with you, but we are not ready for a full video.  So, to pass on the cool stuff, we are introducing Bocas Shorts – a video series that is well under a minute yet gives you a quick glimpse into some thing uniquely Bocas del Toro, Panama.  Here is episode 1 where we show you how a Ngabe woman begins processing the leaves she uses to ultimately make a chacara.

Native Panamanians: Photo Series

Ngöbe-Buglé Comarca

Panama is home to nine different ethnic groups of native Panamanians.  There are seven indigenous cultures:  Kuna, Ngobe, Buglé, Emberá, Wounaan, Talamanca, Bokata, Teribe and Cricamola.  Many of the tribes live on comarca indígenas, which are administrative regions for an area with a substantial indigenous population.

Three comarcas (Comarca Emberá-Wounaan, Kuna Yala, Ngöbe-Buglé) exist as equal to a province, with two smaller comarcas (Kuna de Madugandí and Kuna de Wargandí) subordinate to a province and considered equal to a corregimiento (municipality).

Cayuco on Zapatillas

Bocas del Toro is home to three different indigenous cultures:  Ngobe, Buglé, Teribe and Cricamola.  The Ngöbe-Buglé have come together in a comarca in parts of Bocas del Toro, Chriqui and Veraguas.  This group amounts to over 60% of the country’s indigenous population (5% of the country’s total population).

Ramon and Natalia have pulled together a number of photos for us to share with you.  At Tranquilo Bay we have employees from both the Ngöbe-Buglé and Teribe cultures, but we meet people of all the different cultures throughout our travels here in Panama.

Panama Indigenous Culture

Oreba Chocolate Community

We went with a family over to Oreba Chocolate’s tour in March. The family was so taken with the experience they wanted to send something back for the community. We asked the Peace Corp representative what would be a good gift for the community. He told us that the kids were really into playing baseball. The family sent a set of gloves for this community and for another community where they kayaked here in Bocas del Toro. This video is from Adam, the peace corp representative, showing a few of the kids playing catch with the gloves. It was perfect timing – we brought the gloves back in our container in early July just in time for the children to begin their baseball season. The village in conjunction with several other indigenous villages has a league for the children.

For more information about Oreba Chocolate and its tours, check them out on Facebook.

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Books for a Better World

We all know what a difference a book can make to our own lives. Imagine if you didn’t have easy access to good quality books for yourself. Would you be willing to do something about it? The local island schools down here have very limited access to books.

We have a container scheduled to deliver some goods to us in Panama in July. We know how difficult it is to acquire good quality children’s literature in Spanish at reasonable prices here in Bocas del Toro. So, I contacted Books for a Better World to see about how we might be able to sponsor a library for one of the local public schools. Fortunately, Alice Finn Gartell, President of Books for a Better World thought it was a great opportunity to send books down to Panama.

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We have worked out a sponsorship rate for a small 50 – 60 book library for these schools. Normally, Books for a Better World requires a $350 donation to support this size library. We were able to get a reduced amount because Tranquilo Bay will be providing the transportation from the USA and out to the individual locations to deliver the books.

You can make any contribution toward sponsoring one or more of these libraries. We will group the donations together until we reach the reduced sponsorship amount. Tranquilo Bay will be donating the transportation of up to ten of these libraries from the USA to Panama. We will work with a variety of people to deliver the books out to the individual communities. Please contact me at info @ tranquilobay (dot) com if you are interested in sponsoring one of these school libraries and I will give you the details on how to move forward.

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!