We needed a break from working around the house and as luck would have it, we got a call from Sierra and Ryan saying that they had returned from Costa Rica and were heading to Torio to check it out the area. We had given them a number of our favorite places to visit and they were making the rounds. When we heard they were heading to Torio, we realized it had been way too long since we’d been there and decided on the spot that we wanted to go too. After picking them up in David, we headed towards Santiago (mucho construction on the new highway with lots of stops) and then down the western side of the Azuero towards Mariato and then Torio. The trip took 5 1/2 hours. We only made one wrong turn, and I was able to bust out my Spanish and ask for directions. I had a real conversation. Oh boy! My Spanish is improving. I never thought it would happen. Progress is everywhere and there were a few changes since the last time we were there. Not much though. There is a bakery and one other restaurant, although it is a 50-50 chance that the restaurant will be open. Rumor has it a pizzaria is coming. Still no internet, but a few more houses are dotting the hillsides and there is a very small expat community. Muy pequeno. You must love solitude to be in Torio. Known as the Sunset Coast, people come here to surf and fish (both are world class) There is a surfing community and each morning you will find them on the beach (mostly at Morillo and Mariato). What I liked about all the people there is how they respect one another’s privacy, but are quick to help out when needed. Because it is 90 min. from Santiago, everyone works together when necessary. After being there for 4 days, Boquete felt like the big city. It is breathtakingly beautiful there, and the people are delightful. There isn’t an indigenous Indian community as much as in Boquete and it is largely Panamanian. It is a simple life and everyone visits. On the road, on the patios, on horseback, on bicycles, at the bus stops, fondas and tiendas, etc. I love it. Most folks ride horses, although the road has been improved somewhat, and there seemed to be more work trucks than I remembered. We came in late, and a horse walking down the road literally staggered into our car. He was okay (we were too, in case you were wondering) We had stopped to let him pass and he just knocked into our car. Hello. Do horses sleepwalk? We got in some good visiting time with our friends Ted and Kathy and spent 2 days surfing, swimming, walking the various beaches, getting caught in a torrential downpour, drinking wine and catching up. Ted, Ryan and Dennis tore up the surf (hahahahaha). Then over to visit Robbie and Heidi in their gorgeous new home which is home base for their newest venture, a coconut plantation. Little Ariana is the newest addition to the family and is adorable. She loves to go up to people and ask, “Are you happy?” Wyatt is the doting older brother and is now in first grade. Both children are bilingual and their Spanish is way better than mine. Robbie took us on a tour of their place and it was amazing. Fruit orchard, petting zoo area with sheep, turkeys, ducks, geese, and 2 rescued deer named Bambi and Rudolph , 5,000 dwarf coconuts, a tilapia pond, a coconut manufacturing plant and more. Robbie has more energy than 10 men, and with a lot of vision, has created a paradise. A little note on accomodations. http://azuerosunset.com/western-azuero-restaurants-hotels/ They are rustic. There are several surf hostels ranging around $15-$20 per night, and Cabanas Torio is still running…sort of. Ludvig also has rooms and a restaurant, but we didn’t stop by there this time so I’m not sure if they are still operational. The restaurant where we stayed opens for lunch and dinner, and they opened for breakfast just for us. (all tasty) but the cabinas are minimal. The mattress was comfortable and we had a private bathroom (it’s the little things) , the power went out for part of the stay and the water also went out for 1 day. I showered at Kathy’s, so no biggie. I heard there is a newer and nicer place down the road for $60 a night, but we were happy with where we stayed and even got the jubilado discount ($30) without asking for it. In parting, I love visiting Torio and seeing my friends. I love the scenery, the secluded beaches, the people, the laid back lifestyle. Could I live there? Hmmm….probably not. I am spoiled here in Alto Boquete. I need a bagel every now and then, and most definitely my internet. The dogs are everywhere in Torio. The infrastructure is minimal and repairs take much longer when things go down. Garbage pickup is only now beginning to be on a regular basis. Burning is the best option. The folks that live there wouldn’t be anywhere else.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”