Chilling in Chilibre

The Republic of Panama is hidden treasure with a variety of landscape and different areas and regions. Since I was a young kid, I didn’t relate to the tourist areas that make the country look like Miami or a party place for Americans. The Panama that I am used to is a pueblo in the deep interior side of the country. My pueblo is known as Chilibre and it is a corregimiento in the Panama province. It borders the Colon province and can be reached using the North Corridor bus or the Metro buses that are marked as Chilibrillo.

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Entrance of Chilibre, Panama. Photo Courtesy of Tony Polanco.

This is one spot that many tourists do not see because it is off the radar far away from the man area of the city. It is a small town with about 50,000-60,000 people tucked away in small slums in the jungle.

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Chilibre is a poor pueblo but growing up, I learned to appreciate it because this is where I got to spend time with my father’s side of the family. I would come here every December for a month.

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Photo Courtesy of Tony Polanco.

My favorite childhood memories are in Chilibre. Life is very simple here and that is what I love about it so much. I would come and watch the variety of stray animals. Roosters and chickens roam the streets alongside cats and dogs. Sometimes you might see packs of bats fly by (don’t worry bats are harmless and friendly).

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Photo Courtesy of Tony Polanco.

My Grandma used to raise chickens and use the eggs for food. She would also take in stray cats and remind me that we are apart of nature. She was a cinnamon colored mulatta with beautiful soft hair and an outspoken demeanor. She was very spiritual and I remember us having many conversations about culture, history, and our roots for hours.

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My grandfather is also a character. He loves his old Ford truck and although he no longer drives, he talks about his old Ford truck and how he used to be the man the back in the day (you are still the man abuelo!). My favorite moments in Chilibre have always been the family gathering s for Christmas. These are moments that I realize that it is the people in your life that makes you rich. My father would be drinking and dancing. My uncle would be cracking jokes about my other uncles.  With nothing but our love for one another, we are abundant with happiness and joy.

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With my cousin, Monchito, in Chilibre. Photo Courtesy of Tony Polanco.

Many people who visit Panama never get to see the hidden impoverished areas like Chilibre. So next time you are in the beautiful country, try to explore outside of the main areas and venture off to the smaller pueblos. You might just catch me chilling in Chilibre sipping on some Agua de Pipa.

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Thank you for reading. Much love and safe travels!

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19 thoughts on “Chilling in Chilibre

  1. Nice post! It’s really nice seeing the non-tourist parts of Panama. My family is from Colón and I’m trying to plan a trip there this summer for the first time.

    Liked by 1 person

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