This weekends adventures have resulted in what we have predicted; the huge uncertainty of the area around us has vanished.
Friday, we hired a guide Jo (a Canadian ex-pat now living in the area) to take us to nearby Puerto Lopez. Having a guide to show you this stuff right off the bat is insanely beneficial and quite affordable. For $10/hour you have a private driver and personal tour guide… who says you need a CAR down here?
Huge eye opener! She showed us the bus stops, washrooms that wouldn't give me nightmares, where the ATM is, good restaurants and even stopped for some touristy photo ops.
Some things we learned this weekend:
- Stores can charge an additional % for using credit cards here. Cash is KING!
- If you ARE using a credit card, you must present ID like your passport. So in our case after a HUGE cart of groceries had been checked through….. yeah…. thank goodness our driver/guide also lent us cash to finish our transaction (Thanks Jo!)
- The market in nearby Puerto Lopez is a GREAT place to get the fresh fruit and veggies that are VERY hard to find in our smaller Puerto Cayo town.
- The .25 cent pay washrooms at that market cannot be beat!
- The bus between Puerto Lopez and Puerto Cayo is around $1 and about 40 minutes.
- We have a good ol' fashioned comfort food PIZZA place here in Cayo, which we gorged at last night.
- We have a TON of ex-pat neighbours!!
So all in all, we had a massively beneficial ‘educational' weekend and we feel more at home than ever because of it. There is more to our sleepy town than we had thought, and access to bigger/busier things are not a ver far, nor expensive, journey away.
The other ex-pats here are extremely welcoming as well. We were walking down to Bamboo to indulge in some Pizza when we were called into the home of some neighbours who recognized us from Facebook. Super sweet Americans with an absolute DREAM HOME that have now become friends and a connection for us here in town. (But seriously… her CLOSET… I want to live in it forever and ever)
Breakthroughs were even made online as we contacted some local restaurants and hotels asking about hours and prices. Everyone sent over their menus, a friendly welcome to their town and a gesture that if we wanted something not on the menu, to inquire if it can be made anyway. You can't get that very often in North America!! Not only that, there are many local Facebook groups we joined that give us a better sense of community through information of local events, volunteering opportunities and just friendly banter.
Isolated no more and as optimistic as ever,
-Trevor and Kashlee
Here are some shots we took from this weekends adventures through Puerto Lopez and Puerto Cayo