Loma Partida Island, Panama

The island is appropriately named "split hills," as an outlet of the vast Chiriquí Lagoon slices right through it. There are only 225 inhabitants, and many of them are from the indigenous Ngöbe-Buglé community, the largest of Panama's indigenous peoples. 

I met Eduardo, a farmer and native of the island, who walks the thick jungle brush barefoot and can haul tree stumps on his back. I also met Christaedom as she was washing clothes in the stream. She is a young mother of two and of the Ngöbe-Buglé.

I fell asleep each night in front of a large open (screened) window, to the lull of waves lapping the dock and an expanse of darkness before me full of flickering stars. I haven't felt peace like that in a long time.