Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Papiro Y Yo, Panama

Panama is full of colors. You can't turn around without spying turquoise blue waters, lush green palms and pastel houses lining the streets.

I was lucky enough to recently visit this vibrant country where I discovered a community of dynamic people, places and things.

After arriving along with the sun, my guy and I settled into some restless sleep before bounding out of bed a few hours later, brimming with excitement. Anxious to finally get a glimpse of Panama after a full night of traveling, we stepped onto our hotel balcony and discovered this view:



We were thrilled to spot hundreds of seemingly tiny (but actually massive) boats waiting to pass through the canal. Needless to say, we quickly threw on our bathing suits and headed downstairs to explore the rest of our vibrant new home. We weren't disappointed.


At breakfast we met a local hanging out in the flower box by our table.


We then settled ourselves under the lush green trees, framed by a powdery blue sky.


Eventually, after hours of soaking in the sun, we lumbered over to the most incredible blue tiled pool and plopped ourselves on lounge chairs to indulge in some tropical drinks.


Finally, after enough relaxing by the water, we decided to venture out of the hotel grounds and into Panama City.



Downtown we discovered an exotic oasis of colorful homes, local wares, vibrant clothes and decadent food. Red, pink and orange flowers decorate the city, bursting out of flower boxes hanging from trellised porches.


At the local market in the city square, you can find any number of jewel toned items, including the eponymous Panama hats.


After strolling through the markets, we stopped for some necessary sustenance at an adorable cafe serving the most decadent espresso. Once we were properly refueled, my fellow and I decide to check out some of the local stores, and happened to pass by the wonder that is Papiro Y Yo.



A small jewel box nestled in a quiet street in the old city, Papiro Y Yo is brim-full of wares made by local women using recycled materials.

Here you will find the most incredible craftwork including woven bracelets, baskets, hats, purses and rugs. The pieces are all handmade using materials such as local palm leaves, and are created by talented Panamanian women in need of a source of income.


We walked in and were absolutely transfixed by everything we saw, calling each other over to view our discoveries.


Naturally, I fell in love with this beauty and had to take it home. Perhaps it was something in the Panamanian air, but I couldn't resist indulging in such a bold souvenir (which I justified by knowing I was supporting local women in their skilled trade).


By the time we were done browsing, it was fully dark out, and we headed over to the bar next door for some tropical treats.  Banana yellow daiquiris and hot pink or green wicker chairs awaited us, of course.

Stumbling across Papiro Y Yo was definitely one of the major highlights of the trip. Every item in the store is beautifully crafted and clearly excellent quality. You can learn more about the impact the store makes on the lives of local Panamanian women by clicking here.

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