Sunday in Altagracia

We had taken the bus through Altagracia and thought it looked interesting. And, since it is the other biggest town on the island we thought we would go check it out. There are buses that go there about every hour so we walked to town and hopped on one.

The drive was pretty, as was the entrance into town. It was Sunday though so most places were closed and the town was pretty quiet. We decided to walk around a bit though and see what the town was like.

We had also heard that the water was nearby so we headed out to look for the beach. A couple locals said it wasn’t far, and it was a bit farther than I would describe as “not far” on foot but it was an interesting walk.

We stopped for a really nice lunch and then made our way back to the park to catch a bus home, just in time to see a bus leaving town on the other side of the park. So, we asked around and learned at on Sunday there are no more buses, not until mañana. We set out walking knowing it would be a really long walk back, but hopefully some other option would present itself besides the $30 we were told it would costs for a taxi.

We walked along and had one of the most interesting experiences of the day. We passed this house with a yard full of beautiful flowers, and the lady was outside so I told her that I thought her flowers were beautiful. She was so happy that we liked her flowers that she invited us to come sit in the shade with her and her husband in front of the house. Conversation led us to her family and children, and she invited me inside the house to see the photos of her children! I have been very curious to see inside a typical Nicaraguan house.

I wish I was more comfortable and confident putting my camera in people’s faces and private spaces so even though she told me it was OK, I only snapped one quick picture and it isn’t as clear as it could be. Even so, you can see that the house has a dirt floor, brick walls, and a metal roof supported by wood beams. There was minimal furniture, only a small table and a few chairs, all but one that had been taken outside for us. There was a small shelf on the wall with some mementos and a few hair ornaments, and pictures on the wall of family along with some other decorations. The back wall is only a partial wall and I imagine the bedrooms are behind it. There was a storage area at the end of the room and I could see a couple bicycles there. I didn’t see any running water, bathroom, or cooking area inside the house.

She told me that she was born here and lived here all her life. They had eight children and a number of grandchildren but only a few of the children had pictures on the walls. She told me that most of them had gone to Costa Rica for work. One daughter had earned enough to come back and build the house that was next door. I tried to get a sense of what they did for a living but all I could determine is that he can’t work because of some problem in his back and neck that leaves his arms too weak and painful to work.

People are like that in this part of the world. You say a few kind words and you are invited into their homes and lives. We have had so many people here be so friendly and kind, and a surprising number have told us that we should buy some land and come live here. Anyway, I digress and these ideas will be addressed in future posts.

Meanwhile we had to get ourselves back to the house. We walked on for about 45 minutes until we reached the next town. A lady by the side of the road told us that a “busito” would be along soon. Sure enough, it wasn’t long before a van came by, told us he would take us to Moyogalpa for $4, so we hopped in very glad that we weren’t walking all the rest of those miles.

Another successful day and we made it home! I am glad we saw the Altagracia area. I heard it was another area to consider but we prefer the Moyogalpa area. There is a bit more going on in the town, the ferries are here if you want to leave the island, and it is on the west side where you can see the great sunsets every evening.


About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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8 Responses to Sunday in Altagracia

  1. I am also too shy to make photographs of people and private spaces. But I enjoyed your post and the description of the home. I love to see pictures from different places and I am glad that you put up so many!


  2. Anonymous says:

    Best story yet!!! Loved all of it.


  3. Jerry says:

    Fantastic adventure and we wish we could experience it with you guys. We do miss you and wnat you to come home though. We have been in David so much we are starting to get comfortable driving in it. Hope to see you soon.


  4. kelly says:

    It is so interesting that you got to see inside a house! It really makes one look at life in the US differently. The poor in the US have running water, electric, inside plumbing, many times AC, TVs, cable etc. Going to Nica completely changed my outlook. One curious question – did they have beds or hammocks?


    • So true! It really makes you think about what you really need to live and to be happy.
      I only saw the room in the photo. I believe the bedrooms were behind the wall but I don’t know what was in them. I did go in the house of the women who make the nacatamales but their house was a bit more upscale, tile floors, more stuff, etc. They had beds. The rooms were small and quite a few people live there so there wasn’t a lot of room but they had beds.


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