Back to Costa Rica


This past border crossing went by like a pleasurable dream. Who would have thought our past vehicle permit had been saved electronically? The border patrol found it in a matter of seconds! All we had to do was to reactivate it, get a couple signatures and a stamp, and we were good to go! Our insurance from before was still valid, hence we did not have to figure out where to go and get it. Less than an hour after leaving Panama, we were in Costa Rica. Definitely a new Central American border crossing record!


We have spent the last couple of days and nights in Dominical. It is a pretty chilled out beach town with some surf, fun and lots of Americans (much like all of Costa Rica). The beach line is stunningly beautiful due to Costa Rica’s restrictions on building by the beach. Good thing!


We are now in the process of packing up our Honey. We are heading up the coast!



Funlovingliving er Norges 5. beste reiseblogg!!!


Magasinet Reiselyst har kåret Norges beste reiseblogg og jeg kom på en fantastisk 5. plass! Silje, som står bak bloggen “Den afrikanske farmen” vant velfortjent med sine flotte bilder og skildringer fra sitt liv i Namibia. De andre bloggene på topp fem listen er “Bobleliv” som skriver om reising med fokus på dykking. Birgit og Anders er to spreke folk som er på en to år lang sykkeltur i Europa og Amerika. Nina og Mads reiser jorden rundt og er for øyeblikket i vakre Argentina. Jeg er utrolig takknemlig og veldig stolt for å bli nevnt i dette eksklusive selskap!

Stor takk for oppmerksomheten til Magasinet Reiselyst med redaktør Torild Moland i spissen, sammen med blogger, fotograf og journalist Johnny Haglund, samt markedssjef i Solia AS, Cecilie Gilhuus Jørve!

Til dere som har fulgt med oss på bryllupsreisen så langt, tusen takk! Til nye lesere, velkommen ombord! Vi er bare halvveis (på denne turen), så følg med videre!

Norges beste reiseblogger

Siri Kyler Honey

Funlovingliving has been voted Norway’s fifth best travel blog by the Norwegian travel magazine Reiselyst. I am very thankful and honored to have made it to top five! To those of you who have been joining us on our honeymoon so far, thank you! To new readers, welcome onboard! We are only halfway (on this adventure), so keep following!

Wedding Present Extremo Surpriso


Since Kyler and I got married in our love celebration fiesta last July, Ellie has been holding off on her present, awaiting our traveling times together.


A couple nights ago, while Kyler and I were watching the last couple football games before the Superbowl, she came bursting with excitement into the pub. The present had been decided on and was to take place here – in Boquete! The following night, the gift was revealed: We were to scale Volcano Baru, Panama’s highest peak, not by foot, but by a specially outfitted Jeep the very next morning! What-a-Whaaaat?

4:30 am the next morning, the alarm goes off and four excited travelers rise to the adventure! Our only previous four wheel drive experience was 90 mile beach in New Zealand. Even though that was fun, this was about to blow our minds.

Early morning 4WD

As is obvious from the picture above (as well as the early start), it was dark for awhile after departure. The very first part of the trip was on paved road. As we neared the volcano, the speed came to an abrupt halt and the adventure began. What had been a road turned into what I would consider a poor path for hiking on. I did not believe that any vehicle could make it’s way up there. I was wrong…

Bumpy road volcan Baru

The Jeep been through a few minor modifications in order to perform like the star it did. I wish I could say I rembered the details, but I don’t. Mainly, it has some higher clearance than original, as well as different tires with only 20 psi to really grab hold of the rocks. Steven, our great guide and a Canadian expat, told us that the off roading up to the volcano is challenging because it consists of several different types of off roading. There are (many and massive) rocks, there is potentially very slippery mud (especially in the rainy season), it is steep and tight. Occasionally, one must use a winch to get make it up. Let me tell you, I am happy I was not driving!

After a couple hours making our way up (while passing some hikers on our way – Ouch – we were the assholes today!), we eventually got to the top of Panama! 3475 meters above sea level in a car. Mind blowing! (However, I am happy most hikes cannot be driven…!)

The summit of Volcano Baru is one of few (if not the only one?) places where one can see both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean sea. When we first got up, it was rather cloudy on the Caribbean side, but after a bit of hiking around, a warm coffee and some jumping photos, Bocas del Toro started peeking out from underneath the clouds!

Volcan Baru summit

Siri Kyler at the top of Baru

View from Baru

Siri top of baru

Kyler moque baru

By now you might have thought to yourself: What the heck is on Kyler’s head??! Some of you might be familiar with this longtime favourite of his, the moque. For the rest of you, let me introduce the mask-toque, the moque. Kyler found unique piece of accesorie in a market in Ecuador a few years ago. It is a mask on side and a toque (Canadian word for a beanie, hat, lue) on the other. In addition to these two qualities, it has two handles for easy carrying purposes, it keeps the neck warm, and it is of course, very stylish. Hopefully that would have answered your questions.

Group jumping on Baru

The road down was no less bumpy than the way up, except we could really see the lack of road we were on! I have huge respect for 4WD vehicles and their operators. It obviously takes a lot of concentration, skill and focus. It does happen that vehicles tip over on this trail, and appearently four vehicles have driven completely off the trail! Luckily that was not us!

Ellie Jeep Volcan Baru

Group Jeep Volcan Baru

Todays adventure was unlike any other heart beating adventure I have done in the past. It was a blast! Thank you for the wedding present, Ellie!

Boquete Flower & Coffee (+ free vodka) Festival


With a stop and a night in Santa Catalina on the coast, we continued on to Boquete in the highlands. Boquete’s claim to fame is its stunning nature, exquisite coffee and outdoor activities, as well it’s numerous North American and European retirees. The climate is cooler than most other parts of Panama, making it a rather exotic destination for Panamanians. They come to Boquete to sport their winter apparel and buy gloves and fancy toques. However, Norwegians and Canadians would agree that Boquete’s climate does not qualify as glove weather!

We sort of rushed to Boquete to make it in time for the annual Flower and Coffee festival in town. We rolled in on Saturday afternoon and went straight to the festival area, where we mingled among flowers and drank some coffee.

Siri pink jacket

Siri Kyler pina drink

Siri Kyler Todd view tower

As we got deeper into the festival area, we saw a big structure ahead. It was quite obviously a Latin American portable club blasting the tunes. Out of curiosity (and the fact that it was free), we peeked in. What was inside was a massive, daytime dance party! Some drink producer was promoting their new invention and was quite literally throwing the drinks at us! For free! Yay! At 7pm the party was over, we had drank our share of pre-mixed cranberry vodka vodka and were invited to continue the party with a group of our new friends from David. With 80 free cans in tow, we found the closest agreeable spot to hang out. Somebody rounded up glasses and Kyler went and got two bags of ice, and the party continued. We tried our best to keep up, but around 9pm, we were obviously no match for the Panamanians! After some meat on a stick, we called it a good day and returned to Casa Honey.

party time

Siri Ellie at the party

Group shot

Destination: Waterfall, The Panamanian Highland


From fun in the sun at Playa Venao for the past week, we decided to head for the hills. Santa Fe is a smaller mountain village boasting stunning nature, hikes and a cooler climate. The drive was a mere 233 km North.

Playa Venao Santa Fe map

Cowboy and cattle on road

Kids in the backseat

Mountain road

In order to really see the area, we decided to go on a medium length (5-6 hrs) hike through nature and a few villages. The ultimate destination was a waterfall called Bermejo. It can be viewed at the very top of the Santa Fe map below. The area is off the main tourist trail and we were therefore four out of very few visitors in town. On our hike we only met locals, and they are as friendly as can be!

Santa Fe map

Siri Ellie hike

Ellie mud crossing

Cascada Bermejo was a beautiful waterfall with several smaller pools below. The water was definitely what can be considered frisk, but made for a refreshing dip after hiking in the sun. Kyler and Todd explored what could be explored, including scaling down a cliff with a bat flying between Todd’s legs at the end!

Kyler Todd monkey business

Siri Todd Kyler testing the depth

Siri Ellie laxin

Santa Fe hike view

Plants close up

Hike horses

Panama house

A lone star

Flowers close up

On our way back to Santa Fe, we met these two kids who really wanted our attention. First, they showed us a dead snake in the stream by the road. When we had looked at that for a while, you could tell they were trying to think of something else to show and tell us about. Oh, look at the chicken guts over here! We came and we saw, before we said our goodbyes and continued on.

Looking at

The road back was very hilly. We slalomed down the hills for a while.
Towards the end, the hills were so steep we walked backwards. It helped!

Last hill to Santa Fe

As we arrive in Santa Fe, we found the one and only bar in town and had one, two, three, four well deserved beers. Not bad when the beers are 65 cents each! Cheers!

Deserved beers

A Very Little Horseback Ride


For a change in scenery, activities and climate, we drove from the coast to the mountain village of Santa Fe.

We have been wanting to ride horses for a while. When we arrived at our hostel in Santa Fe, Hostal Qhia, we read that tour guide Cesar offered to take people on rides in the area. The tourist information folder stated that Cesar is a little man, and so are his horses. If you are very tall, or very big, this might not be the trip for you. With two Western sized men in our group, we had to make sure whether or not this applied to us. When asked, we were told we would be good to go, and so we did!

At nine am sharp, little Cesar arrived at our hostel with five horses in tow. Three of the horses could be considered small to medium sized. I got little Canelo. Definetely a x-small to small size horse. I felt bad for just getting on top of little Canelo, let alone knowing that he would have to haul me around for the next four hours. Kyler’s horse, Chocolate, was not keen (in general) and at times we wondered whether Chocolate should have been riding Kyler in stead of the opposite. Todd was given the horse in charge, Campion. He mostly kept a steady pace and would lead the troops. Ellie’s horse was Carolina. As it turned out, Canelo and Carolina were the slow and steady ones.
The trip took us up close to the peak of Mount Tuto overlooking Santa Fe. The path went up and down and up and down. It is a stunning area with mountain tops and lush nature all around.

Santa Fe little horse ride

Santa Fe Kyler crushing horse

Todd on a horse

Santa Fe Kyler Todd horses

Santa Fe Siri lost her horseLooks like Canelo ran away from me. If it was not Cesar tightening Canelo’s saddle while holding on to him, he might have given it a try…

Santa Fe horseback riding

Santa Fe horseback riding Ellie Todd

Santa Fe horses Siri posing

Santa Fe horse charging down the hill

As we were getting close to town, the horses found some energy deep within. They could not wait to finish! Chocolate, in particular, could not wait to get Kyler off his back and galloped back to our hostel. It was a great day. We all survived, including Canelo, Campion, Chocolate and Carolina. Now, we are all a little saddle sore, but some jell-o and hammock time cure most ailments!

Horseride jello

Santa Fe after horseride

The Panamanian Pollera


In spite of the name, it does not have anything to do with pollo – chicken. The pollera is the traditional Panamanian dress. It is a spectacle of colors, fabric, beads and ruffles. The look of the pollera depends on the geographic origin of it’s wearer – much like the Norwegian bunad.

While lounging on – and around – Playa Venao, we heard about a festival that was to take place in Las Tablas, about an hour or so away, on Saturday. Nobody seemed to know exactly what the festival was about, but mentioned that it would involve dresses. We debated back and forth whether it was worth the drive. In the end we figured we had already spent sufficient amount of time on the beach (for now) and decided it would be great with some cultural input.

After packing up Honey; taking down the pop-top, rolling in the awning, driving off the leveling wooden block and moving stuff from the front seats to the back, we got on our way. The kids in the back (Ellie and Todd) fell asleep a little past Pedasi. Still wondering if the drive would be worth it, we trucked on. As we rolled into Las Tablas an hour and twenty minutes later, we were pretty quickly, pretty certain az the drive was worth it. The town was absolutely packed with colorful and happy people! We found great parking close to the action, right next to the paddy wagon. From there it did not take long to find the festivities. An enormous parade, involving more people than there were spectators, soon began. Each town had put together a group consisting of girls and women, boys and men to dance with them, a band to play music to dance to and occasionaly a rather spectacular float, for the parade. The girls were wearing the pollera and intricate, fancy head pieces. The original head pieces used to be made of fish scales and pearls. The newer ones are more commonly made from plastic beads and fabric due to the lower price and lesser labor involved. The boys and the men were wearing pants and different types of fitted shirts. Some of them had an excess amount of colorful buttons on them. They ran all along the front and some also had them all along the back. The typical head wear for the men was a certain type of straw hat. The hats were small on top, sort of like a quarter gallon hat, as oppsed to a ten gallon cowboy hat. The brims could be bent up as the hat bearer pleased. Some wore them with only the front folded up, some folded up the front and the back, and some wore it as is.

Las Tablas horns

Las Tablas float

Las Tablas women portraits

Polleras head piece close up

Las Tablas trio

Las Tablas Gangnam Style

Las Tablas polleras women

Las Tablas polleras street scene

Las Tablas polleras girl

Las Tablas polleras woman portrait

Las Tablas parade street scene

The parade snaked its way through all of town and we walked around so that we could take it in from several different view points. We were four out of approximately ten foreigners in town for the occasion and people were very happy to let us in on the celebrations. Todd was asked to dance and swung a woman and her polleras around to much applause. In the heat of the festivities Ellie became in dire straits of a handheld fan and got one for a dollar. I had enough work keeping my (fairly short) dress from flying up and decided it would simply be too much to keep track of. That was until Travel Panama handed them out for free and I could no longer resist. We finished off our cultural travel input with a refreshing glass bottle, real sugar Coca Cola, some meat on a stick, fresh batidos (fruit smoothies) and a dance outside the van, before returning to our camp spot at Playa Venao.

Las Tablas polleras Todd dance

Las Tablas polleras Siri

Funlovingliving at Las Tablas

Playa Venao Funlovingliving Photo Sessions


Whenever Ellie is around, I tend to take (and especially be in) a whole lot more photos than when she is not around. Ellie is the master of jumping photos, silly faces and whetever photos I do not think to take. She used to travel with a disposable camera. Every single shot mattered and we put all our efforts into every attempt. Maybe that’s why we still manage to get some pretty kick-ass shots, even though Ellie has up-graded to the digital world. Add Todd’s waterproof camera to the mix and all our activities can be covered.


Surf Venao1

Surf Venao2

Surf Venao5

Surf Venao6

Surf Venao3

Surf Venao

Surf Venao4





A Little Paradise on Earth


Stoked to discover more of Panama than the city and the canal, we left Monday morning after a run and a hearty breakfast. We considered driving up to Colon on the Caribbean coast, but decided not to, as it is not known to be pretty, nor safe. Instead, we had our eyes set on Playa Venao on the Azuero peninsula. It is a funny feeling officially being on our way back to Canada, but who says it has to be done fast?

Map Playa Venao

On the way to the Azuero peninsula, we saw this sign and the joke of the day came out: “I guess it means the food goes down well!”

El Titanic

As we pulled into Playa Venao, we all agreed we had found our spot! It is small and completely chilled out, while still having a few amenities such as a tiny-tiny supermarket, a couple restaurants and internet. The beach is beautiful, it is lush, sunny and hot. Who knows how long we will stay?

Van set up Playa Venao

Playa Venao

ellie todd playa venao

Playa Venao blue skies

A Visit to The Panama Canal


The Miraflores locks is the part of the Panama Canal located closest to the Pacific Ocean and Panama City. There is a visitor center with a museum and multiple viewing platforms. Everything has been layed out for the visitors’ Panama Canal viewing pleasure.  It is widely referred to as an engineering marvel, no wonder why two keen engineers (and two general keeners) were overly stoked to see it in real life action!

ellie todd panama canal

The Panama Canal connects the Atlantic Ocean (via the Caribbean Sea) and the Pacific Ocean and was built between the years of 1881 and 1914. With the drilling performed during the construction, a hole could have been drilled straight through our planet plus another 900 kilometers! In order to save labor during construction, man-made Gatun Lake is utilized for the passing. The lake is 26 meters above sea level and explains the need for the locks.

The Panama Canal is the only canal in the world where the captain of a ship give the control of the vessel to a trained pilot. The Panama Canal pilots are marine officers graduated from nautical school, who are especially trained to transit vessels through the canal. The size of the Panama Canal locks dictate the size of most cargo vessels. The largest ships that can fit through the canal are called Panamax. Generally, the size of the vessels transiting through the canal must fit within the dimensions 32.3 meters by 294.1 meters. More than one million vessels have transited through the Panama Canal since the opening in 1914.

We witnessed two of these today. Both ships were boats carrying boats! Apparently 6% of the transiting ships carry boats, whereas the most common type is container cargo ships making up for 54%. The rest make up for a mix of various cargo ships and tourist ships.

Notice in the photos below how the first ship (the other one is behind in the right sets of locks) approach the last sets of locks, gets lowered down and then pulled forward by six trains before eventually arriving at the Pacific Ocean. The little hills for the trains are made to compensate for the height difference made by the locks.

ship panama canal1

ship locks panama canal2

sinking ship panama canal3

ship locks panama canal4

ship locks panama canal5

siri kyler panama canal

ship almost through the panama canal

siri ellie panama canal

ship locks panama canal6

We were not the only keeners on the viewing platform. That is where we spent most of our time. However, at 4 pm we realized the centre was closing at 5 pm and we had to spring into action to see it all. We went through the museum and learnt about the past, the present and the future of the canal. A third sets of locks are currently being constructed. They will be bigger than today’s, allowing for larger ships to pass though. After the museum, we caught the day’s last showing of the Panama Canal 3D movie. It was informative, and also highly entertaining. All 3D effects were being utilized. Containers went flying through the air, steel beams extended towards us with little movies inside them and so on. It was a great finish to a truly interesting experience!

panama canal viewing platform

panama canal movie

Panama Canal, it was well worth the drive!

siri kyler honey ellie panama canal sign