World’s Best Weekend Escape

I admit it. Panama City gets to me.

It’s hot. Sticky. Unbelievably noisy. The digging and blasting commence about 6:30 a.m., and the heartiest party-goers on the balconies surrounding ours sometimes don’t call it a night until after 3 a.m. That doesn’t leave a lot of undisturbed sleeping hours.

Every weekend we’re able, therefore, we throw our swimsuits in a bag, picnic-makings in a cooler, and we beat it out of town, across the Bridge of the Americas, speeding west on the Pan American Highway. We turn left at Santiago, in Veraguas, at the head of the Azuero Peninsula, and we follow that road nearly to its end.

Here, on the edge of nowhere, we unpack our picnic on the sand.

Jack swims in the cove, where the waters of the Pacific are calmed and warmed. Harry hikes the low hills of the island just offshore that you can reach on foot when the tide is out. Lief scouts building sites.

I sit on the beach, watching them all, waiting for them all to make their way back to me (and the cooler) when they’re hungry or thirsty or tired…

We listen to the monkeys. Chase the crabs. Stalk the pelicans.

Just before sundown, we repack the SUV and head north a few miles to Torio. Here, we join the handful of other escape artists who’ve likewise made their ways to this outpost of civilization for a couple of days of peace and quiet. We gather on the patio of Robby’s cabanas for home-cooked, fresh-caught seafood and salsa. We sip Aubuelo rum and Balboa beer and tell tall tales of our day’s adventures that sometimes in fact resemble our day’s adventures.

We say good-night to the caimans (there are two living in Robby’s pond) and to each other and adjourn to the rustic cabanas Robby rents for about US$25 a night (including air conditioning and, a recent addition, hot water).

We fall asleep by 10, and we sleep undisturbed until the sun wakes us.

Kathleen Peddicord

P.S. Robby’s website is here:

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