The Quarantined Hippies Trapped in a Jungle Paradise
When COVID flared in Panama, 20 travelers from 18 countries holed up in this eco-village and shut the gates. Things in the outside world got worse, and now they might never leave.
Photos by Leygh Allison | Edited by Farah Mohammed
On February 26, a case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Brazil. At the time, it was the first known case in Latin America, though now it looks like COVID-19 may have been creeping through Brazil as early as January. Over the next few days, in Guatemala and Costa Rica, backpacks were stowed at the bottom of buses that headed over a long bumpy road toward Panama. Flights from Los Angeles, New York, Mexico and Spain landed at Tocumen Airport in Panama City, disgorging carefree young travelers who congregated at hostels in the city’s old quarter. They introduced themselves to each other with warm hugs and shared stories of transcendent cacao ceremonies at Lake Atitlán in Guatemala, and DJ sets at the Envision Festival in Costa Rica the week before. They checked their email and Instagram accounts using the hostels’ Wi-Fi, but if warnings that a novel coronavirus from China was creeping closer turned up in their brief scrolling, they gave it lit…
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