Maven Kina’s Family Vacation in Panama

Every year for the past 8 years, I have visited my grandparents in Panama.

How did they wind up in Panama? They lived in Florida for a while – until my grandfather’s beautiful fruit trees were killed by frost.

Wait, what? Frost in Florida!? 

Pineapple in Panama

​No frost here! These grow in my grandparents' back yard. Fun pineapple fact: Besides fruit salads and tropical drinks, pineapples are also used to make wine. (​Fun fact stolen from Huff Post's "17 Mind-Boggling Facts About Pineapples")

​My grandparents decided to head further south, and they chose Panama for its more predictable climate. 

Panama clouds and mountain landscape

​My grandparents made their home in Sorá, Distrito de Chame, Panamá. As such, they wake up to this gorgeous view of ​"Cerro Picacho" (Picacho Peak) every morning. 

Flower in Panama

This winter, my husband couldn't get the time off work, so I traveled solo with our two kids. ​

Here’s the thing I like to remind my family and friends – this yearly trip to Panama is not entirely a vacation. 

As an artist I really love my work. My ideal vacation would involve spending time alone at a secluded cabin with my paints and thoughts, and maybe a guitar. 
Maven Kina on Beach in Panama

My daughter took this photo! She did a great job, don't you think? This is the man-made beach at Playa Blanca Resort​. I'm not sure how she did it, but ​Baba (my grandmother) pulled some​ strings with her local contacts, and we are able to access this incredible resort​; it's a perfect place to spend​ a sunny day with kids ​while you're in Panama.

​When I’m visiting my family in Panama, I’m not actually kicking back with cocktail at a resort! I’m hanging out with family doing normal family things like grocery shopping, running errands, cooking, and cleaning. We just get bonus of temporarily ditching winter.

So, traveling solo with the kids was good. They were ​troopers on the airplane, knowing the routine. And guess what? Being in Panama didn't eliminate the struggle of "what are we going to do to entertain the kids?" Because yes, even in paradise, all kids seem to want to do is binge on electronics. I did my best to drag them to a few beaches, markets and even managed a visit to a hot springs & spa. Somehow, they managed to enjoy themselves!

Kids on Carousel in Panama

​​We took a day trip out to ​El Valle de Antón​, ​ a cute touristy spot with little restaurants, accessible nature walks, and a produce market​ that also sells handicrafts like colorful molas and jewlery ​made by local Kuna Indians.​

Girl on Bench in Panama
Girl in the Market in Panama
Kids in Mudbath

​I highly recommend checking out these low​-key kid-friendly mud baths ​as a way to relax after a day of adventure in ​El Valle de Antón. The price of admission includes a handful of mud for your mud mask! 

I optimistically brought watercolours, sketchbooks, acrylic paints, a travel easel and canvases. Over the course of two weeks, I managed to get about two hours of painting in. The rest of my supplies remained untouched for the duration of our trip. The good news is that I did manage to consume three hefty novels on the beach between sun-screening, serving snacks, building sand castles and taking photos.

Girl with table made by Maven Kina

​*editor's note: Maven Kina made this beautiful table! (and this beautiful little lady.)

Kids swimming in Panama

Photography seemed to be my main creative outlet in Panama this year. I hope you enjoy my photos as much as I enjoyed taking them!


kina-ink and Extra Muffins at Ottawa Comicon

​​Kina and Sarah (of "Extra Muffins") team-up to form this colourful booth at Ottawa Comicon.

Meet Kina this weekend!

This weekend, May 11-13 2018, Kina is working her vendor booth at Ottawa Comicon. Go buy her art!

Can’t make it to Comicon? Didn’t see this post in time? You can still own your very own “kinaink”.

​Below is a sampling of Maven Kina's incredible talent and some fun things you can buy ​on​ the kina​ink Etsy store

Prints of her paintings are available (sorry, most of the originals go fast), but if you ask nicely she might put you on the list for commissioned pieces.

Maven Kina's Art

  • Kina
  • May 11, 2018