Working Definitions:
Tribe: A group of people who live in the same area and share the same traditional culture
Archipelago: A landform made of many different islands located near each other.


The Kuna are a tribe of people who live in an archipelago called the San Blas Islands off the coast of Panama. They are famous for a handicraft they make called molas, which are traditionally worth by the women on their shirts. I found the photos above and lots of information on molas at


Click here to learn how molas are made:

Quetzal Bird

Working Definitions:
Solitary: Likes to be alone
Anatomy: The parts of an animal’s body
Iridescent: Shiny
Diet: What an animal eats
Predators: The animals that try to eat it
Reproduction: How the animal makes babies

Here is some information I found on quetzals from


Quetzals are solitary birds that are poor flyers. There are four species of quetzals; they live in South and Central American rainforests, and are in danger of extinction. These brilliantly-colored bird were sacred to the Mayans, and figured prominently in their legends and art. Quetzals do not survive in captivity.

Anatomy: The male quetzal has tail feathers that are up to three feet (1 m) long. The female’s tail is much shorter.

Diet: Quetzals eat mostly fruit, but also eat worms, frogs, insects, larvae, and snails.

Predators: Predators of the Quetzals include the kinkajou, the gray squirrel, the Ornate Hawk-eagle and owls.

Reproduction: Quetzals nest in rotting trees. The female lays 1 to 2 light blue eggs. The incubation period is 18 days. Both parents incubate the eggs and feed the hatchlings. 


Draw your own quetzal, or print this picture out and color it in, using the colors shown. Then, teach a friends or a family member at least five facts you learned about quetzals from reading this blog entry.

Quetzal Trail

Working Definitions:
Hike: A long walk on a path
Strenuous: Challenging on your body
Steep: When the ground points up like on a hill or mountain
Although: But

Today I hiked the Quetzal Trail, a famous trail that goes from Boquete to a town on the other side of the Volcano called Cerro Punta. The hike is strenuous because in many places the trail is very steep and it is also about 10 miles long if you walk the whole way. The trail is called the Quetzal Trail because Quetzal birds live in the forest there and can often be seen by hikers. I didn’t see any Quetzal birds, but I did see other types of birds and some monkeys.


When I got to Cerro Punta at the end of the trail I met an old woman who lives on a farm. She was carrying a heavy bag of lettuce she had grown into town to sell so I offered to help her carry it. We walked together for a few miles and I got to learn a lot about her life while practicing my Spanish. It was a wonderful day, although now I am very tired.

Use conditional phrases: Make a list of ten things you might see on a forest hike. Then make a list of ten things you probably would not see. For the things you would not see, where is a place where you could find them?

Here is an example: If I was on a forest hike, I might see a snake. I would probably not see a hot dog stand. However, I would see a hot dog stand if I went to a fair.


Working Definitions:

Inhabitants: The people who live in a place
Population: The amount of people living in a place
Relative: Compared to
Career: Job, profession

According to the website below, Boquete’s population is about 19,000 people. That isn’t many inhabitants, especially when you compare it to the population of Cincinnati which has a population of about 2,000,000 inhabitants. If you divide the population of Cincinnati by the population of Boquete, you would get:

2,000,000 / 19,000 = 105

That means that it would take 105 Boquetes to equal one Cincinnati.

By doing the quick math, we see that Boquete has very few inhabitants relative to Cincinnati.

Look at the photos below. Notice how there aren’t any tall buildings on the main street, and in the photo taken from a hill above the town we can see that there aren’t many houses or stores at all in Boquete.

Click on the link below to help write a silly story about a city called Meatball Springs.

Then, learn about a career called city planning here:

Write about why or why not you think being a city planner would be an interesting job to have. Use at least three examples from the website to support your answer.



Chiriqui Gulf

Working Definitions:
Comprised: Made up of
Pristine: Clean, perfect
Body of Water: An ocean or sea
Kayak: A type of boat similar to a canoe
Wildlife: Animals that live in nature, not pets

Panama has two different bodies of water on either side of it; one is the Pacific Ocean and one is the Caribbean Sea. This weekend I took a bus to the Gulf of Chiriqui, an area on the Pacific Ocean side of Panama that is comprised of beautiful beaches and pristine jungle islands which are home to many animals including monkeys. I stayed on an island called Boca Brava.


While I was there I paddled around the islands on a kayak, hiked on trails to see wildlife, and slept in a hammock.


Quick quiz: how is an island different from a peninsula or a shore?


Working Definitions:

Traditional: Something that people have done for many generations
Generations: Children, parents, great-grandparents, etc.
Perform: Do something you’ve practiced in front go other people
Embroider: Sew designs on fabric

Today I had the pleasure of watching two dancers, dressed in traditional Panamanian clothing, perform traditional Panamanian dances. The type of dress that the female dancer is wearing is called a pollera. The pollera is very time-consuming to make; it takes about one year to embroider one dress.


Click on the links below to watch traditional Panamanian dancing.

Trying New Things

Working Definitions:

Aspects: Parts, elements
Opportunity: Chance
Vendors: People who sell things from stands
Produce: Foods that grow from the ground
Familiar: Already know about
Ship: To send

One of the great aspects of travel is having the opportunity to try new things. Today I went to the fruit and vegetable market where vendors sell their produce. I saw many types of produce that were already familiar to me but some that I had never seen or tasted before because they only grow in Central America and are hard to ship to the United States. Look at these fruits I tried. The first tasted very sweet. The second one tasted similar to a grape.




Working Definitions:
Emotions: Feelings
Experiencing: Going through

Tomorrow is my first day of Spanish class. I wonder what my teacher will be like, what my classroom will look like, and if I will become friends with the other Spanish students.

How did you feel before your first day of school? What Emotions were you experiencing? Write a response including at least three emotions and why you felt them. For example: “I felt curious because I wanted to know which books we would be reading.” Remember to use the past tense.



Working Definitions:
Flourish: Grow very well
Abundant: A large amount, lots of something
Vegetation: Plants

It rains every day here in the afternoon so plants flourish here. Flowers are abundant. I took these photos of some of the vegetation on my walk around the town this morning.

Click on this link to learn about the parts of a flower and how flowers grow:



Working Definitions:Dormant: No longer active

Here I am in Boquete, Panama where I will be living while I learn Spanish. Boquete is a small city located in the hills in Northern Panama at the base of a dormant volcano. There is a river that runs through the town.