After spending a wonderful day with E and C in Las Lajas it was time to head to David for a 5 night stay at Zen Pool Villa. When booking our itinerary we thought that David would be a good center point for exploring Las Barqueta, Boquete and the city of David to see what it had to offer. We found the Zen Pool Villa through the VRBO website. D and I have booked other vacation getaways through this site and have never been “burnt”. However, this time we werent so lucky :(.
We arrived in David about 5:30 PM and had no problem finding the Zen Pool Villa. This private villa is advertised to make the traveller believe that they are staying in a relaxing private oasis with their own private pool. Well let me tell you there was nothing zen about the Zen Pool Villa. The first thing we noticed upon arrival was that there was some filtering, vacuuming equipment in the pool. The water in the pool was so cloudy/murky that you couldn’t even see the bottom. What a disappointment! D and I were looking so forward to going for a swim to cool off after spending a full day in the 32C heat and sun. The property manager apologized and explained to us that he had been having problems with an iguana who had been defecating in the pool. He had it filtering for a few days now and proceeded to say that at least we were lucky because it was a lot clearer now than it was for the guests who stayed before us. Lucky? You call that lucky?
We did not hesitate to express our disappointment to the property manager and then proceeded to check into our villa. Upon entering our “oasis” we noticed a funky smell in the room. After the property manager gave us a quick tour of the property D and I discussed the issues we were having. Our first thought was – if an iguana defecates in a pool, should you not drain the pool and refill it??? That’s definitely what we would do. Especially a salt water pool where they don’t use any chemicals for cleaning/filtering – yuck!!!! Now for some people maybe not having a pool to swim in isn’t a big deal but D and I especially booked this villa so we could have this luxury and there was no way we were ever going to step into the pool let alone swim in it! So between the problems with the pool and the funky smell in our villa, we decided that we were NOT going to spend another minute there.
We then proceeded to tell the property manager our concerns and about our decision not to stay at the villa. He was very understanding and, being that it was now late and dark in David, even escorted us to the Hotel Cuidad De David, where we decided to relocate for the night. He gave us the email address of the owner so we could request a refund. Unfortunately for us, she was not being very cooperative, stating that the pool was suitable for swimming according the property manager and the previous guests. What an outright lie!! At any rate, we decided to not let it ruin our trip and would continue to pursue this issue once we returned to Canada. (In the end we were unable to get any kind of a refund, but we did get satisfaction in posting a very negative review on VRBO – along with some previous guests who also complained about the pool – which resulted in the ad being pulled from VRBO and, after a little more research, finding out that the villa is now for sale – a small victory for us!).
Well now we were in a bit of a dilemma….. where were we going to stay for the next four days. We had heard many great things about Boquete and were going to take a day trip to visit this area while staying in David so we decided to just spend the next three nights there and we were not disappointed! According to Wikipedia, “Boquete is a small town on the Caldera River in the green mountain highlands of Panama in the western-most Chiriqui Province. Because of its altitude some 1200 meters above sea level its climate is cooler than that of the lowlands. Its scenic location, temperature, and natural environment make it extremely popular with Panamanians and attracts tourists from all over the world.” After surfing the net and making a few phone calls we were booked for our three day stay at Isla Verde in Boquete.
The drive to Boquete from David took about 1 hour. There were a couple of detours along the way due to the twinning of the highway. When we were first pulled into Boquete, it literally took our breath away. No wonder so many expats choose Boquete and area as there retirement destination!
Our first day in Boquete we spent exploring the different villages in the area and just walking through town, getting a few groceries and driving through the mountains to take in the beautiful scenery. Prior to leaving Canada D and I had been corresponding with another couple who had recently relocated from the USA and decided to give them a call and as luck would have it they were home. So a dinner date was set up. We met Holly and Scott at Big Daddy’s Grill for some fish burgers and seafood tacos and the food did not disappoint. We had a wonderful evening of chatter and set up a date for the next day to go for a hike to some nearby waterfalls.
The next morning, however, we woke up to rain and after talking with Scott and Holly, decided to do a tour of a coffee plantation instead (please see earlier blog by Holly and reblogged on this site). I just want to take this opportunity to again thank Holly and Scott for taking us for a tour of the mountainous area of Boquete and surrounding areas and for suggesting the coffee plantation tour. It was truy interesting and the owner/host was very entertaining ….. and this is coming from someone who doesn’t even drink coffee!!!
Our three days in Boquete went by very quickly and then it was time to check out and meet E once again in David to see some properties in Las Barqueta and although we found Boquete to be absolutely stunning…… alas, the ocean and hot weather were calling us ……. and realized that ultimately the sand and beach was where we needed to be…….!