On my last visit to Isla Palenque, I paid a visit to John Spragge, a farmer on Boca Brava. On this Chiriqui island, you find a fascinating group of people hanging out in an unknown little corner of the world. I don’t know if he’d like the term, but the best way I can describe John Spragge is as a “tropicalized British gentleman farmer.” Spragge had been living in Colombia for a long time, but bought a huge chunk of Boca Brava in the early 1990s and has been living there since. His son Carlos runs a boatyard and small diving operation out of Boca Chica and he took us over to his father’s place for a tour.
It was fascinating to see his highly self-sufficient and sustainable operation: bricks made on-site, a solar-powered freezer, pond-based water collection, etc. Buying here 15 years ago might have a been a bit too early from a pure investment point of view (things only really took off here in the last 5 years or so), but John definitely seems very prescient right now.
Here’s a photo from the end of our tour. Clockwise from the left: Spragge’s son Carlos (looking like he’s making monkey sounds), John, myself, and Cedar. The cold beers we’re drinking came from John’s solar-powered freezer.