beautiful bocas

Published: February 13th 2011
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What an absolutely wonderful 6 days I had in Bocas. This may or may not have been due to the fact I was in a stunning location, staying in a cool hostel, only minutes away to pristine beaches or perhaps the fact I was drinking 50cent beers most nights surrounded by wonderful company. Hmmm I wonder if I'll get through a blog without writing the word beer??!!
All beers aside, oh how I put a few beers aside (haha I can picture mum's face right about now!) No in all seriousness I absolutely loved Bocas del Toro and the time I spent there. As soon as I stepped off the boat onto this small island town I felt a good vibe. I felt welcome and I felt hot, bloody hot! With Noah, one of the guys from Puerto Viejo by my side, our backpacks and our jeans, socks and shoes (it was raining and cold in Puerto Viejo) we were keen to a. take some clothes off due to extreme heat and humidity b. eat something and c. find a hostel. We did things in the reverse order. Hostel, food and then finally the clothes thing. As I walked around accomplishing the three things that made my life all the more bearable I realised that I felt so comfortable in this place already that I may not want to leave....ever!
The hostel of choice was MOndo Taitu, an uber cool little tree house style hostel run by 3 guys from the states. They did everything right. Friendly laid back staff, on site bar that serves 50-$1.50 beers, $1 tequilla shots, $2 mixed drinks, power hours, funky dj's from New York, dress up nights and great accomodation. The gang and I were lucky enough to be placed next door to the hostel in our own cool little apartment. We had our own kitchen, bathroom and living room, lovely cleaning staff and our very own garden complete with a lovely gardener (larry you champ!). Add in a great location and brilliant weather and you get a very memorable 6 days in Bocas town!
After settling in to our humble abode, a four dorm bed with no windows nor air con but plenty of room, Noah and I decided to check out what the other islands in the area had to offer. 'Bocas' is made up of three main islands, Isla COlon; where we were staying, Isla Carenero and Isla Bastimentos. All islands are accesible by water taxi, cool huh?! You can get to any of the islands, if you bargain well enough, for at the most $8 return, not too shabby considering the amazing sights you see once you arrive.
Carenero was the first island we visited. I don't think it had sunk in yet. This whole 'island' thing. It was amazing. A five minute boat ride with postcard views and a dollar fifty later we arrived in what very well could be paradise. Carenero beach. Wow. A little cove with picturesque coloured waters, no waves, white sand and lots of shade. You know by now how I love my shade! What a way to spend my first afternoon in Bocas....I was off to a good start!
Heading back to the hostel we were greeted by some very friendly faces; two aussies and three crazy brazilians....let the fun begin!
As I opened my eyes I groaned and mumbled something along the lines of 'what time is it?' after a very lazy morning the gang decided to head to Red Frog beach on Isla Bastimentos. Crazy waves, hot sun, ball games, sleep, walks, sand and lots of water. This sums up my day at Red Frog, another very impressive beach. Postcard quality really. I don't know what the Panamanian equivalent of 'pura vida' is but life was definitely good! Oh and I almost forgot the best part....if you travel make sure you have a native speaker or someone who can bargain well with the locals! Thanks to carol and cata we got a great deal on the boat and an even sweeter deal by being given the chance to be dropped off at hospital point to dive off the boat and enjoy the perfectly emerald green waters. Thanks girls!
Another night, another day. Today's destination was Wizard beach. After making friends with one of the locals who happened to be waiting at the dock when we arrived, creepy much? we made our way to Wizard beach with our very own tour guide; Edwardo, what a champ!
After 20-30mins of trekking through ooey gooey mud and muck we arrived at Wizard beach. The pictures tell the real story, I can't really find the words to describe its beauty, but it was another wonderful day with wonderful company. Just wonderful! To top off the wonderfullness we were taken to a local pizza joint on the island by Edwardo. Now if you could see this island in its natural state as we were lucky enough to you would forever hold these images in your mind as will I. To be able to see a village and its people as they are every day, away from the tourists eye is something truly special.
Four ladies playing cards around a broken down shack, rollers in hair, cigarettes in hand, babies on knees, dogs at feet,drinks a plenty. This is the life of some. The innocent, wonderful life of the Bastimentos people.
Picture this: no more than 30 local children running around bare foot flying kites; of all colours of the rainbow, smiles on their beautiful innocent faces. CHildren playing by the waterfront, in the waterways, up trees, along the paths. These are the children just as we were all those years ago. In their natural environment, having a good time. For a second I wished oh so badly that I had my camera however now I'm so thankful, for I have such a strong memory of these pictures that will stay with me forever. I just wish you could have seen it too.
The next few days consisted of 'on and off' one day off, one day on. For even though it was amazing to go boating to remote islands and laze on the sand and frollick in the water, it wasn't all that cheap, so a few days at the hostel were definitely necessary, as hard as that was!
Sadly after four great days and 3 even better nights! it was time to say bon voyage to my two favourite brazilian girls, cata and carol were jetting back to brazil 😞 it just wasn't going to be the same

Monday was probably my favourite day. WE organised a snorkelling/beach day with one of the local guys. $!5 got us a trip to a snorkelling spot which I cannot remember the name of, amazingly clear water, super cool coral and fish, oh the fish, so cute and pretty! My first real time snorkelling in water deeper than 2 feet, a nice experience!
After swinging on a hammock and drying off we were on our way to Zapatia! That is the magical looking beach in my photos. WOrds can definitely not describe this place. It was our own little piece of paradise, with no more than 10 other people on the island at the same time as us it was ours to enjoy. BLESS!
To top off the night we enjoyed our first 50cent beers and oh weren't they all the more delicious given their price! Mondo, Iguana and the other place on the water, too many kebabs but all in good fun.
Carenero was lucky enough to be graced by my presence again on tuesday, a very very lazy day today after starting it off wonderfully with the bus! Oh the bus. The blue bus, sitting right next to the hostel. Pity we only discovered it today. It sells amazing food; wraps and burrito's and the likes and apparently, although I wouldn't know, delicious smoothies. SO back to my story, we spent the day talking and reading and sleeping at Carenero, no knife point incidents though Dora!
80's night! What a way to end my time in Bocas. I do love a good dress up. SO why not when the theme was 80's. With my mondo taitu cut off singlet, courtesy of the free barrel, and a head scarf I was ready, add into the mix some 50 cent beers, hour of power, great music and great friends around me, the night was young. Add into it the Iguana, bad music, very bad kebabs and sad farewells and you have my Sunday night/ Early Monday morning.
The gang left me on my lonesome at 6am Sunday morning and within 5 hours I was as sick as a dog; food poisoning. Just my luck when I had a ten hour bus ride to endure. You'll be happy to know I made it safely.
And here I am in Panama waiting to write my next blog, dreading reading over this due to knowing that I'll want to scrap it all but knowing too that I won't want to write it again, so having to accept this as my blog for Bocas Del Toro. I guess that's the beauty about photos and journals. They are merely a means to spark a memory, a time in your life that was amazingly fun or excruciatingly sad. They are a record of a time. A time which one day you can expand on and tell a toned down version of to your grandchildren.
This is my blog for Bocas. I hope you enjoyed, and if you didn't I at least hope it intrigued you enough that if you're ever in the Panama region you will do yourself a favour and visit Bocas.

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isla carraneroisla carranero
isla carranero

the 'promised land'

28th May 2011

Nice photography.
50 cent beers sound great. Wish you had posted a photo of them!

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