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...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

31 December 2013

Last bit of mammal-watching

30th December 2013

Maureen much better, we rented a car for the day and went out to explore. First stop being the famous Milaflores locks on the Panama Canal. I have to admit, it’s a jolly big canal and those are jolly big ships going through jolly big locks! An impressive piece of engineering and presumably the reason why Panama’s city has a more American-style skyline of skyscrapers than other Latin capitals we’ve seen.

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At night the canal looks even better, with huge floodlights at the locks and enormous ships still plying along the rainforest waterway with their superstructures lit up like Christmas trees. I’ll bet a lot of visitors miss out on this nocturnal view – it’s not visible from the city and we only saw it because we were driving back from night spotlighting in the forest.

Yep, one more stab at mammal watching, since there doesn’t seem to be anything else worth doing around Panama. Maybe I’m being unkind, but even the guidebooks seem to struggle with their “Top Ten Things To Do” here.

After a leisurely (albeit rather lacklustre) lunch at Gamboa Rainforest Resort, where at least we saw Lesser Capybaras on the lawns, we went to the Pipeline Road; an access road that follows a water pipeline through the rainforest, but now beloved of wildlife watchers because it is a rare clear trail through very rich rainforest! We walked for two hours in daylight, and two hours after dark. It was hot and sticky, which feels like the state I’ve been in for 90% of these two weeks. Happy to accept that, as this is where the wildlife is, but I’m not sure this is the right part of the world for what I’d call a relaxing break. Anyway, we saw coatis and monkeys, an unidentifiable rodent and a charming Common Opossum in the night.

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Dinner was an entirely unsurprisingly crap meal at a restaurant not far from our B&B, and tomorrow we head home! Looking back on these last few blogs, there’s been quite a bit of downbeat to them. I think that’s probably a fair reflection. We’ve seen some cool wildlife and stayed in a couple of lovely places, but overall I don’t think Costa Rica or Panama would appear on my Top Twenty list of travel destinations. But hey, you’ve got to visit a place before you can find out what it’s like. : )


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