We started out the day by taking our car back to Cowboy Dave's and getting a different one. It was making too many strange noises and we weren't confident it would make it to Volcan and back. So now we are driving a Nissan Xtrail, a small SUV, which seems much better. It is also an automatic, which makes it much easier to drive on all the hills.
So we set off for Volcan, which is the town on the other side of the volcano from Boquete. There is a new road cutting across the flanks of the mountain so it's not necessary to go down to the main highway. It was a great road, very smooth, although still with lots of curves and ups and downs. Beautiful country, orange groves, sugar cane fields, dairy farms and so many lovely views. From up so high the land just falls away and you can see forever!
We got to Volcan around lunch time and had lunch at Burricos, a Mexican restaurant. It was very good food and we had a helpful English speaking cook. Then we drove off to Barriles, which is an archeological site just outside of town. It was interesting, with lots of stone artifacts and trails that wander by the stream thru the property. The artifacts discovered there show people living there since 1000 BC. And as the statue with Don shows, they think people of African and Chinese heritage lived there at one time.
We returned to town and found our hotel, Hostal Victoria. We have a room separate from the others, just a tiny casita big enough for two. We left our stuff there and went off to find "Las Lagunas", the highest natural lakes and wetlands in Panama. Don had read about the bird watching there, so away we went. The road was awful, mostly rock with a few sandy patches, so we crawled along. We found a sign and turned into a very narrow trail. After meeting a truck, that had to back up and move over so we could get past it, we finally parked and walked in along the trail. We did see a few birds, but nothing too spectacular. Whether that was because we didn't know where to look or because of the location or the day, we will never know.
These little lakes are located on private land owned by the Janson Coffee Company and apparently you can arrange birding or kayaking or other tours with them.
We managed to get back to town and after a visit to our hotel room to decide on where to eat, we went off to La Carbonera, an Italian restaurant. It had wonderful food with excellent presentation and a very cute waiter who worked very hard to use his English. He was a sweetie and even Don thought so too!