Tuesday, September 17, 2013

#ThankYouMiami for Being The Gateway to the Americas - La Puerca, Panama 2013

Miami is the perfect home-base for people who love to travel by plane, especially to the Americas. We have two international airports in close proximity, including Miami International Airport (MIA) which currently serves 56 domestic destinations and 77 international destinations in Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean (MIA, 2013). While our access elsewhere is much more limited, we make the best of it. Because, why go elsewhere when the universe has handed Miami a skeleton key to the Americas?

Since I arrived in the 305, I have taken full advantage of our easy access to that which lies beyond our borders. My latest travel exploits took me to Panama for the second time this year - this time, as the only female in an all-male surf and exploration quest along the Pacific Coast. Unfortunately for the guys, we arrived during the only week this surf season that didn't have particularly enticing waves so the trip was more exploration, less surfing.

The highlight of our trip was our one-night stay at Reserva Ecológica Privada Cerro Hoya, a privately-owned ecological reserve in the Azuero Peninsula of Panama. Locally known as "La Puerca", this 70 hectare paradise is one of only a handful of private properties inside the limits of Cerro Hoya National Park and is literally in the middle of nowhere.

Redefining remote. "La Puerca" is a private nature reserve located within the limits of Cerro Hoya National Park on the Pacific Coast of Panama and is a 6-hour drive and 2.5-hour boat ride from Panama City. Credit: La Puerca

Our 8-hour journey to "La Puerca" was purely a labor of love, fueled by a moment of insanity. The trip started with us renting a car with four-wheel drive at Tocumen International Airport and ended with a guy named Chichín beaching us in his panga on the shores of "La Puerca" in between sets of head-high waves.

Our adrenaline-fueled arrival at "La Puerca" set the tone for the entirety of our stay. Every moment of our two-day trip was riddled with danger, excitement, and adventure - everything I imagine a National Geographic exploration to be. And, while I don't enjoy fearing for my life so many times in one day, I loved every minute. Check out some of my favorite moments below.

Living with nature. Reserva Ecólogica Privada Cerro Hoya is in the process of reforesting its 70 hectares, which were previously used for grazing and agriculture. The humble accommodations, shown above, are further testament to their commitment to conservation and minimizing their environmental footprint.
Awe-inspiring discoveries. Even though the hikes were rough, every step was worth uncovering the beauty of the Panamanian rainforest and its many waterfalls.
Managing small miracles. Even though we were in the middle of the rainforest during the peak of rainy season, one of the guys managed to build a fire to dry my soaking clothes.
Rainforest necessities. Willy Palm, the manager of "La Puerca" was the only one in our group properly outfitted for the hikes we took around the property.
Bravery or foolishness? Chichín and his panga frequently take on Mother Nature to deliver visitors and supplies at "La Puerca".

Where is your favorite place to travel in the Americas? What was your favorite or most adventurous trip there? Is there somewhere in the Americas you would like to go, but have not had the opportunity to visit? Leave a comment below or send me a tweet @ThankYouMiami!

1 comment

  1. I have been to Miami just a couple of years ago with my colleague but never use to visit the Coiba Island National Park because we just spend there one week. In the short time period of one week we could jsut visit the Miami Zoo, Miami Seaquarium, Art Museum Miami, Oleta River State Park and Miami Biscayne Marina however we enjoyed there a lot. Now after visiting this informative blog I am planning to go for miami sightseeing again but this time I must visit the Coiba Island National Park because it sounds a cool place to explore the natural beauty.


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