In the Young Adult novel I am writing, some of the action takes place in Panama. I need a good hiding place....and I found one!
A few miles from the Costa Rican border is a sleepy, dusty little town called Puerto Armuelles with a population of 20,000. It is Panama’s only true mainland beach town. Few foreigners live here as it is off the beaten track, at least for now.
Puerto, as locals call their town, is hot. When I was there, the temperature remained steady at 36 C (96 F) during the day. So hot the dogs lie in the centre of the road in a patch of shade and refuse to move. Car drivers, blasting air conditioning if they are lucky to have it, merely direct their autos around them.
The town, founded by the United Fruit Company---later known as the Chiquita Banana Company---developed large banana plantations in the area in 1927. The company built homes for their workers and executives as well as schools, clinics and recreational facilities. Not only did employees have access to these amenities, they were among the highest paid workers in Panama.
With money tight amidst a failing economy, homes deteriorated. Many of these abandoned and decaying houses provide perfect hiding opportunities for the characters in my novel.
You can get a feel for Puerto from the photos on this page. Perfect setting for an adventure novel!