Update on the Beach House Auction Near Capira (30K)
Sunday, October 07 2007 @ 04:53 PM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
After That It's a Straight Shot: You will pass through Cermeño and then the next small village of Monte Oscuro. You can get this far in a Yaris, but after Monte Oscuro you should probably be driving something with a little higher clearance . I was in my Jeep Cherokee which is a 4x2 and we never got into any real terrain that would require a 4x4 to get through, but it was still rougher than what you would normally put a small sedan or rental car through. Any SUV would be fine. After Monte Oscuro, you only have about five miles to get to the fishing village of Las Cruces.
What A Nice Drive: Even if you're not into buying a beach house in Las Cruces it's a nice weekend driving trip to check out this part of Panama. I have never had reason to venture into this patch before, and it was a nice drive through some very pretty country. This area has been cattle country for probably more than a century, to the point where in some areas huge trees grow over the road to form a natural shade canopy. There are pastures and bright green grasslands for grazing cattle. All along this road people have put in very nice weekend getaway fincas, most of which were occupied on this Sunday afternoon.
The End of the Road: The road ends in the fishing village of Las Cruces, and basically if you drive to the point where you can no longer drive another inch, you've arrived. The house is the blue house on the left. The ocean is on your right. Welcome to Las Cruces. You can park under the carport that is to the left of the house.
A Bunch of Pictures: I took a bunch more photos, but I have to download them from the camera at the office and I'm going to do that tomorrow. It was a really pretty day with bright sun, blue sky, white clouds so they should look pretty good. Also, it was high tide and I got a lot of pictures of the fishing boats at anchor.
The Nice Part About Fishing Villages: While I was wandering around and taking pictures several boats came and went. One of them was a group of guys who had spent the morning gathering clams (almejas). One of the guys came over and asked if we wanted to buy any. He had 22 pounds of clams and wanted .30 cents a pound, so I gave him $7.00 bucks and took the whole load. They are in the pot right now getting the stewed with garlic treatment. Also, the fishing ban on shrimp gets lifted on Thursday this coming week, and most of the guys in the village make their primary living as shrimp fishermen. The government of Panama enforces shrimp fishing bans at specific times of the year when the shrimp are reproducing to protect the resource. That ban gets lifted this Thursday, so next weekend will be a great time for the "all you can eat" shrimp feast.
Boats Galore: About half of the fishing fleet is based on trusty old wooden cayucos and the other half on fiberglass pangas. Luis, one of the fishermen there explained that the pangas are more stable, but the cayucos, which are made from hollowed out tree trunks, will float even if they flip over or get swamped. He said "in a panga you can take one bad wave, fill up the boat, and once she sinks she's gone forever." He said that anyone using a panga should make sure to add enough flotation to keep the hull on the surface if it swamps. "All of the guys know this, but most of them don't do it anyway." Luis is a die-hard cayuco fan for this very reason.
"You Bring the Food, I'll Cook: There's a lady who lives in this village who is kinda like the village cook. There are several little houses that people have built over the years which they use as weekend getaways. What they all do is simply bring in the raw materials and hand them over to this woman, who cooks for the whole crowd - fishermen, kids playing in the water, guys hanging under trees in hammocks, you name it. It's a great system because you don't have to worry about spending any time or effort cooking. You just supply enough raw materials to feed your troop (raw chicken, rice, plantains, whatever) and she turns it into dinner while you're swimming or fishing or goofing off. This system developed primarily as a service to the fishermen, who just want to eat when they get back from fishing. The whole place as a very friendly "community" feeling.
Panama's Best Beach, Right Around the Corner: The guys there told me about a beach they described as "wonderful, fantastic" which is just around the point from the house. Many of the people that want to spend the day at the beach drive down to Las Cruces, and then they pay one of the boat drivers to take them "around the corner." There's no road to that beach, and the only way to get there is by boat. It must be very nice because it's a popular destination for the locals.
A Small Stream There is a small fresh water stream running down out of the hills into the ocean at Las Cruces. I say its a small babbling brook now because it was not raining when we were there. But if you stand back and examine the geography you can see that this little stream has carved the valley and the flats down to where it meets the ocean. It was running clear when we were there but of course this little stream will swell in a downpour.
About the House The existing structure is pretty simple - cement block construction, "zinc" sheet metal roof, three rooms. There is one "large" room that runs the entire length of the structure from front to back on the left side (if looking at the building from the front.) On the right side there are two rooms of equal size which basically divide that half of the house. The whole house sits on a concrete slab, and there is a front porch area with an overhang. There is a carport to the left of the house, and plenty of land and room to build just about whatever you want.
The Link to the Auction: If you're interested please check out the auction page and place a bid. I will be adding some more photos to this article, the slide show tomorrow. Now, it's time to eat some almejas.. Salud.