Christmas 2014 - Panama (Part 3 of 3)

Even though we considered Venao Cove 'nearly paradise' there were two things missing from high on the nice-to-have list...air conditioning and fast wifi. Fortunately we had planned for such luxuries at the tail end of our trip. We headed to Rio Hato to stay at the JW Marriortt Golf and Beach Resort. Yes, we were cashing in more Marriott Rewards points.

 Although Rio Hato is located half-way between Venao Cove and Panama City, the drive is at least double from Rio Hato to Venao Cove. We played pothole frogger on many of the roads. 

Although Rio Hato is located half-way between Venao Cove and Panama City, the drive is at least double from Rio Hato to Venao Cove. We played pothole frogger on many of the roads. 

On the way to the resort the kids talked us into stopping at McDonald's. No, this is not our norm but since we're on vacation we decided to oblige. Both kids got Happy Meals which included the regular nuggets and fries, but the triangular shaped juice box was something we had never seen. It was the juice flavor that threw us for a loop. Apple and Plantain? Seriously, kids in Panama like this? We've found that plantains are often a filler food and have found them in several juices and ketchup throughout Central America.

 80% Apple Juice, 20% Plantain Juice. It was nasty.

80% Apple Juice, 20% Plantain Juice. It was nasty.

We were talking up the resort with the kids. Online it boasted "a tropical oasis" with:

Lush gardens and a lagoon, spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, a golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus, a spa, on-site restaurants, beach butlers to ensure umbrellas and extra towels are always at hand, high-speed internet (CHECK), air conditioning (CHECK), pool with a swim up bar and 5 separate pools steps from the beach, whirlpool, jogging and fitness trail, large outdoor playground, and much more.

It sounded awesome and it did not disappoint. We spent two very relaxing days at the pool. We were pampered, had fast wi-fi, and slept in amazing comfort. The Marriott beds are worth writing home about. 

 The front reception of the resort.

The front reception of the resort.

 The fam chilin at the beach.

The fam chilin at the beach.

 View of some of the pools, with the beach in the background. No I did not take this. Courtesy of the resort's Facebook page.

View of some of the pools, with the beach in the background. No I did not take this. Courtesy of the resort's Facebook page.

 Tag trying to keep up with the fountain.

Tag trying to keep up with the fountain.

 We all loved the pools and hardly left them during our stay.

We all loved the pools and hardly left them during our stay.

 Lounging in our cabana while the fresh application of sunscreen sets in.

Lounging in our cabana while the fresh application of sunscreen sets in.

 Another perk in Panama....Goldfish poolside.

Another perk in Panama....Goldfish poolside.

 The playground was large, very nice and even had Mick's favorite - Big swings! We hadn't seen a playground like this since the US. We miss playgrounds!

The playground was large, very nice and even had Mick's favorite - Big swings! We hadn't seen a playground like this since the US. We miss playgrounds!

 Sometimes vacation is exhausting.

Sometimes vacation is exhausting.

Coming from Venao Cove this place was quite a shock to the system. We also knew that heading back to Guatemala would be another jolt, but we were ready.

 Man down...it's time to go home.

Man down...it's time to go home.