7 Ways to Pass Time in Panama Like an Absolute Gringo

As you may have guessed (and as I elaborated on in a previous post: “What it’s like to be Illegal in Panama” – truly great, give it a read!), I am not a Costa Rican resident.

That means I have 90 days inside this truly fantastic country, but after that am illegal and may be fined loads of money… and that just doesn’t sound fun. In order to remedy my short-stay, I (and other volunteers with me at the Farm of Life) must venture 4 hours to a secluded town right on the border of Panama.




Incredible scenery spoils us throughout the drive, but once we get to the actual ‘crossing’, there’s not much there.


See what I mean? Above is Costa Rica.


And this side is Panama. It’s pretty difficult to get through – obviously.

But we don’t complain, because at this lesser-known location…let’s just say that we’re not forced to stay out the minimum requirement as most places would demand.


But what do you do for 3 hours in a quiet, cute Panamanian town while you wait for your Visa? Well you explore it like any Gringo would. And here’s what we did, and what you could probably do too:


1) Check Out the Internet Café

Partly because we were required to print new plane tickets, and partly because we  would most likely have stumbled across this place sooner or later anyways, we went to the town’s internet café.


It was like sitting in cardboard boxes – but hey, there was wi-fi!

(Below: Just minorly claustrophobic)



2) Go Shopping – for SHOES!

The US invaded Panama in 1989, and in effect their stores and economy are both very different than Costa Rica’s. So most of the stores you go into are packed with cheap US crap, but at least are overflowing with items that could be of value for those that live in that town… I guess.


We spent some time shoe shopping. Which pair do you think I went for? (Hint: Think ‘croc’).


3) Hug a Tree and Appreciate Nature

Life’s just not right if you can’t enjoy being outside and appreciate the beauty that abounds. I’ll let pictures convey this experience:





4) Have a (Disgusting) Coffee

Warm, syrupy, and old. “Nuff said.


5) Try Not to Piss off the Locals

I nicely asked for this picture – I swear. But it was either a) sacrifice my love of capturing indigenous locals and their beauty or b) deal with annoyed / confused energy.


I chose the latter.

6) Stroll in the Park


Hey look ma, no swings! Oh well.


7) Indulge in Great Conversation

I’m so happy I made this trip with my friend Jacalyn and Bryan from Finca de Vida… They’re both great teachers to me, and a lot of our conversation dealt in spirituality, love, acceptance, and plain ol’ humor.

We choose how we react and deal with what life hands us – and all is beautiful. Truly wonderful conversation makes time pass anywhere, and in a really joyous way.


Bryan showering his crystals with the sun.


3 hours later, we stamped our passports out of Panama and back into Costa Rica. For me, this will be the last visa run from this country – at least for a while.

At the beginning of July I leave the incredible farm and those I’ve called family for the past year and set out on a new journey… But that’s another story, and one that is best explained at “Nourishing Roots”.

Thanks for taking the time to explore this one with me! Subscribe and get the e-book “12 Ways to Travel the World on a Budget” FREE! (Psst – right hand side).

Namaste all,

Amanda Froelich






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