In Coronado, Panama, you almost have to have a car if you want to get anywhere. Sure, there are buses and taxis, but what I mean is that you can't expect to walk. Everything is very spread out, and while a few of the restaurants are nestled in otherwise residential areas, what are the odds that YOUR residence is within walking distance of one of these restaurants?
I love walking, and I would be willing to take those longer hikes to get to my destination in cooler climes, but the truth of it is -- it's just too darn hot. Now, I'm no fan of winter, so believe me, I'm not complaining about the heat. I just don't want to show up for dinner or drinks looking like I just climbed out of the pool, hair matted to my head and water running down my neck.
Boquete brings the walking back.
It's a small, charming town, and it's totally possible to walk everywhere you want to go. Not only that, but the temperatures are generally cooler, making it possible to show up at your destination still looking (and smelling) fresh as a daisy. We parked our car at the hostel and never moved it until we were ready to leave town again. It's fantastic.
You always see more on foot than you do in the car, anyway. We thoroughly enjoyed Boquete's fantastic views as we wandered up and down the main street and back and forth through some of the side residential streets.
Do be a little careful, though. Once, we took a turn down a side street and stopped in our tracks when we saw a dog lurch against his chain. Realizing he was tied up, we relaxed again, but only took about another two steps forward before five of his best friends came running out of the same yard, barking and snarling aggressively. I love dogs and rarely feel in danger around them, but this was different, and serious.
They surrounded us and had us backed up against the fence. Mentally, I had reached a point where I realized I was going to get bit, and it was going to hurt -- I was focused on minimizing the damage rather than avoiding it, because I thought at that point that it was unavoidable.
My boyfriend, who is also a dog lover and has done a lot of work with dogs, had taken his knife out of his pocket! He managed to pick up some rocks and throw them at the dogs, finally scaring them away. As the dogs ran back in, their owner came out. My boyfriend scolded her a bit and we went on our way, unhurt but incredibly shaken.
So be careful on your walks. Panamanians often have dogs, and those dogs aren't always fenced in.
The other danger is the holes in the sidewalks! We came across one that was "grated" but barely -- my feet fit easily through the bars.
Otherwise, walking in Boquete is a safe, enjoyable experience. Soak it up, because it's back to the car after you return to Coronado.