Finally a Poison Dart Frog

DendobratesYou want the story to be like this: we were traveling through the jungle, it was humid, and 95.  Our 4×4 had gotten stuck in mud 4 miles back, and we were making our way on foot, machete in hand, and we saw the elusive D. auratus, a morph of the poison dart frog.

The story was actually like this, we were in our air-conditioned car, on the way to buy eggs, and who did we see hopping along the road – but this poison frog! Dendrobates

We also got a headless shot, as it hopped off the road.

It was on the road to Alto de Piedra.  I wonder if it is the Alto de Piedra morph or the Santa Maria morph.

Actually, once the Dendobrates auratus was very common in Santa Fe, but since the Chytrid fungus, their population has been believed to have declined dramatically.  Read more about the species here


Seven Years in a Bag

leaving 011Since our opening, Celestino has been working at our inn full time, while I’ve been working in the states going down every couple months.  I’m finally readying to move our household stuff down to Panama, and I got it down to A DUFFLE BAG!  No way, right?  I am a light traveler.  When I go to Panama to visit, I just take a back pack, but even this condensing surprised me.  Over the past month, I let go, sold and donated a household full of stuff, since our last move seven years ago.

So, what’s in the bag?  Ha!  Impractical things that make me happy (a lamp I love), memories (pictures, my grandma’s scarf), and practical legal stuff.

What would you take, if you were to condense your life to a duffle bag?





Stories from the Campo – If it’s raining fish, why don’t I catch any?

When Cele was a kid, he was told that it rained fish in May and June. During this time, he’d go to the local swimming holes, and no fish, but year, after year, and after the rain, the fish would suddenly appear! His dad, like many campesinos, thought the fish fell with the rain. (“And they fall fully grown!”) Well, in other places they talk about it raining cats and dogs. Anyway.

So, Cele was thinking, well, why can’t I just go outside and catch a fish. So, one day, he went out to check this out during a downpour, went down to the creek and, over a small waterfall, saw the fish swimming up, jumping up the falls to the pools. Ahh-so that’s how they get there. (His dad didn’t believe him when he told him either). His parents today, when it rains hard, say “It’s raining sardines today”.

Ecotourism Information Center – After two weeks

End of Week Two, Information Center, Santa Fe de Veraguas
End of Week Two, Information Center, Santa Fe de Veraguas
And after two weeks of starting – it’s looking great! The total built-out expenses will be about 12-13k, (materials, labor, electric, plumbing, septic connection, tiling, bath fixtures, windows, doors, and I think some furnishings etc…) but that’s with Cele donating a lot of time. He’s going to get reimbursed for gas and stuff, but still…

Who knew, a construction project ahead of schedule and within budget? So proud of him!

Cele and I are going to be in the states in the next couple weeks. He is hating to leave the construction.

Parecen que estan invadiendo tierra

United Nations Development Program Funds Ecotourism Information Center in Santa Fe

Centro de Informacion, Santa Fe
Centro de Informacion, Santa Fe

The UNDP is funding a couple of “tourism” projects in Santa Fe in collaboration with the Tourism Cooperative.  One is the recently approved information center, which will be next to the mayor’s office.  It will be the tourism cooperative’s responsibility to actually fund people working there, once the structure is built.  (And heads up for you watch dogs, there is also a funded “museum” …er house, to commemorate Hector Gallegos and a tourist center (er house once again) near Alto de Piedra.

Cele was asked to volunteer some time to provide technical advice and oversight in the construction of the information center.  Now, one thing about Cele is that he works hard and motivates those around him to work hard as well and gets things done quickly. (This can be a little tiring, if you’re on the receiving end of this motivation).


Cele and the team broke ground on Wednesday.  It’s Saturday. They’ve finished the foundation, and the walls are 10 blocks high. All work is by hand.

Because it’s going up so quickly, one of the locals passed by, saying, it looks like you all are invading land!  It’s a compliment, meaning the center is going up quickly.

In the past, prior to land titles, landless and homeless people would invade the large, rural farms, in groups to squat.  They go, usually at night, and under the moon, would rapidly construct a little city of dwellings on the empty land…and thus, claim, ah, we’re here, what are you going to do about it?