Panama

We disembarked from the cruise ship Symphony in Panama to more wonderful local music.

We could see plenty of ships getting ready to enter the canal.

We had rented a car to drive to the other side of the country for our standby flights out of Panama City.  Although there is a train that goes across, it was not going at the right time for us.  But it gave us a chance to see some of the sights better along the way.

Here is the airport, which has a nice restaurant upstairs.

And we were off!  It’s always nice when those standby seats are available for two of us at once!

 

 

For the Children

Our guide in Costa Rica took us to a banana plantation, which was very impressive to see.  We were not allowed to take photos of many of the areas, but we took those that we could.

My favorite moment was when Oscar asked to take some bananas to the  children in poverty at his church.  I loved this, and we willingly helped carry them to the trunk of his car.

Then we had another beautiful drive along the beach!

Costa Rica

Our next stop on the cruise was beautiful Costa Rica.  We started the day with salmon eggs benedict on the ship and watched our arrival at Puerto Limon.

As we disembarked we could hear music off the deck of the boat, and it was a welcoming marimba duo that was wonderful!

Once again, we had a driver to take us to various places for the day and he was very nice and helpful in many ways.

First we went snorkeling and saw some wonderful fish and corral.

Before leaving the area, Oscar pointed out a sloth in the tree.

It was a great start to our day!

 

 

Jamaican Cuisine

Our next stop in Jamaica was on a beach where we awaited our boat to go snorkeling.  It was certainly a beautiful area, and this is Paul sitting with our wonderful driver, Ainsworth.  We booked him and all our excursions each day–snorkeling, touring the Blue Hole, etc.–on our own, not through the cruise packages.  It was much cheaper this way and provided more variety.  It really isn’t terribly expensive to hire a driver or boat for the day or half a day if you prefer.

Our boat arrived and off we went for another fun snorkeling adventure!

Then Ainsworth took us to a special place for the best Jamaican lunch ever–jerk chicken, pak festival (similar to a hush puppy), fried plantains.  Delicious!

We also had an opportunity to sample various flavors of Jamaican rum.

This was my favorite.  They call it “BTB” — “Better Than Bailey’s.”

We also wandered about town a little and saw the colors of Jamaica.

Then we headed back to the ship.

Another great meal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Hole

We arrived at the beautiful “Blue Hole” high in the hills of Jamaica and were eager to explore it.

When you arrive a guide is assigned to help you navigate the rocks, pathways and waterfalls.  Ours was Morgan, and we had a lot of fun with him.

He pointed out some of the activities we would be enjoying shortly, like working our way down this rope.  I wasn’t so sure about trying that.

But Paul did.

I did follow Paul through this tunnel that comes out in the middle of the waterfall.  It was crazy!

And I took hold of the rope to swing out over the water, but I think I let go so quickly that they weren’t able to get a photo (after all these years of piano playing, my arms still aren’t very strong).

Over all it was really fun, and we were glad we got to see this beautiful area that few tourists see.

 

Island Life

After our snorkeling adventure on Grand Cayman we had some time to explore the island a bit.  We walked along the beautiful beaches and enjoyed the scenery.

At lunchtime we stopped at a resort for lunch.

Soon it was time to head back to the ship, which can be seen in the distance.  The Crystal Symphony is the smaller one.

There were lots of fishermen along the wharf cleaning their catch of the day.

I love some of the older homes on these islands.

Then it was back on the tender for return to the ship.

Here’s another peek at the excellent cuisine of the Symphony!