As we further journeyed into the Los Santos province, we made a quick stop in Las Tablas district. Las Tablas district has small towns not commonly listed on tour guides. Our first stop was La Villa de Los Santos. Located south of Chitre and left end of the Villa river, this small town remains a very important part of Panamanian history.
La Villa de Los Santos is where the journey for independence started for the country. On November 10, 1821, the town’s residents wrote a letter to Simón Bolívar asking to join his revolution. This letter was called the the Primer Grito de la Independencia (First Cry for Independence) and was essential to gaining Panama’s independence from Spain. 18 days after the this letter was created, Panama became independent from Spain. The Primer Grito de la Independencia is now preserved at El Museo de la Nacionalidad (The Museum of Nationality).
As we went further into Las Tablas, I was fascinated by a beautiful park that appeared to be in the middle of nowhere. Known as the Belisario Porras Park, this park is named after the Panamanian journalist and politician Belisario Porras Barahona. Barahona served three terms as president of Panama between 1912 and 1924. The Panama Canal was completed during his first term as president. The park is centered in a town square surrounded by bar, grocery stores, restaurants and a beautiful Catholic Church.
Directly next to the Park is very fascinating church. This church is known as St. Athanasius Church which still holds 5 altars or altarpieces of the colonial period which are made of wood carved, polychrome and golden and have a fine own baroque style of the 18th century. This church is very mysterious and hols secrets behind its walls which have yet to be discovered. Its parish holds records that date from the first part of the 18th century but access to them are blocked from everyone due to dispositions of the priest of the place.
We turned into a hidden alley and discovered a small family ran restaurant called La Bruja. It was actually a business ran by my cousin’s friend. This was my favorite part of the trip.
The food was extraordinary! I had coconut rice, shrimp, plantains and many delicious beers. Panama has several different beers and I was having so much fun the we all started dancing and cracking jokes. This was one of the best places that I ever ate in Panama. It is a hidden gem ad very inexpensive.
As we explored the beautiful country of Panama, I was ready to see more hidden and unknown places that not many tourists or even Panamanians get to see.
Thank you for reading. Much love and safe travels!
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