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Published: April 11th 2012
Our Complementory 'Wheels'
One of the perks of staying at Panama Paradise.....
Our first experience of the Caribbean ....
Arriving in style in the water taxi is somewhat reduced in glamour factor by the town of Almirante, the gateway to Bocas. It's quite grimy a fact that was intensified by the very dull weather. Don't get me wrong, it was really hot but there was still drizzling rain!!!
The crossing itself from the mainland, saw me leave my black fleece in the taxi, so those who are fed up of seeing it in every picture along with my second most worn item, my pink rain jacket, you'll be pleased to hear unless you visit Boquete anytime soon, you've seen the last of it.... But after all that's what everyone thought when I had the identical black bench fleece lets call it 'mark one' stolen by some random girl in a bar in Oz when I went with work in 2006!!!! So for all those who buy me Christmas prezzies please start looking for one for me please....
Anyway...a bumpy crossing of about 40 minutes and we were pulling up on Isla Colon our home for what was to be the next 9 days...All the taxi's on Isla Colon are 4x4
The view from our Hammocks..... Don't be fooled these birds maybe small, fast and beautiful but no one ruled the garden like them... Even the vultures were shooed away....
as we later found out they needed to be in order to not get caught out and stranded by high tide when moving from Playa Ponch to Playa Bluff!!! We took a taxi out to Saigon where we were staying and arrived at our new home... 'Panama Paradise'.... The location of our Cabinas sounds a lot better than it actually is... Saigon is a residential area away from the main strip and noisy night life but be warned the locals do like their bass..... Even on Wham's Careless Whisper... Lol!!!! It's also close to the beach, however that beach just happens to be covered in sand flies...As for the Cabinas themselves..... They are wooden huts, that are battered by rain, so have seen better days, they have no windows just wooden shutters and mosquito shields....However Jenny the owner could not have been nicer and if you needed anything she'd get it for you... From a bedside lamp to a tin opener she really went out her way to be as much help as possible and do what she could... We had our sheets and towels changed practically every night, mosquito coils, and she even sent us our adapter and plug
Infamous..... We could all think of worse things than a bar with a water play ground and resident fish to snorkel with in between beers....
on the Caribe Shuttle to Costa Rica as we'd forgotten them... We had a night free for staying over a week and despite being in a Cabina with 2 rooms which meant sharing a bathroom and kitchen, for four of our nine nights we were by ourselves with a lovely Panamanian family next door.. the absolute best bit though we're our free bikes!!!!! For 9 days we have had wheels!!!! And have cycled to town and back at least twice everyday, gone out to tea and haven't had to worry about drink driving.... Not had to take a taxi anywhere as even Playa Bluff, which is a desolate beech up the coast, was only 5.5kms away!!! Plus these bikes cost $10 per day, so with that on top of any other accommodation, it would have made it more expensive for a much worse place to stay....
So what have we done here in Bocas...Well..... It has rained, and rained and rained and rained!!!! In fact we have only had two nice days really and one of those we were in school..So we both took the opportunity to do some activities as well as our second week of Spanish, which
Sorry for the poor pic....
We do have better pics of them.....
They were everywhere.......
we had in the mornings.....Jon's befriended everyone at Mono Loco... The local surf school and after a week of surfing is pretty good as you can imagine!!! And I've done the same at La Buga the local dive school and completed my advanced divers course.. Bargain at $225 for 7 dives and despite everyone saying the visibility would be poor and the diving here is pants, we saw lots from sting rays, to jelly fish, crabs, lobsters, barracuda, toad fish, lion fish and a really cool black fish with spots, which was lovely and I must find out the name!!! Not to mention the fact the water, at 29 degrees, was significantly warmer than the air temperature on most days.
Like I say we biked loads and twice up to Playa Bluff which is lovely and very peaceful... On the way to Bluff at Playa Ponch, where the surfers play in the insane waves, there is a great beach bar where you can sit on comfy posh loungers and pay $2 for a beer and just laze the afternoon away!!!
Thankfully the sun came out to play for our one excursion on the Saturday to Cayo Zapatillo, which
is a Robinson Crusoe type island about 90 mins away from Isla Colon. We went with the school and there were 14 of us in total including Adrian the School Director, who has to be the best principal ever!!! We saw dolphins on the way, munched on Empanadas and even had the sun come out for us when we arrived at the island, where we played in the sea, played volleyball on the sand, drinking cervezas at $1 per can as we did both.... Before we headed back to one of the local islands where we had our preordered fish feast at around 3.30pm
, watched the starfish and headed back... With a boat full of sunburnt people in tow and one exhausted Rosie (the school's puppy) Great day!
We decided to stay on a bit as the weather here and in our next destination Puerto Veijo is similar- RAINY!! .....yet Panama is about twice as cheap and we could dive and surf a bit more.. We've also decided to do some volunteer work in Costa Rica with a turtle reserve, which will be fab and we're really looking forward to it...Jon saw a small advertisement on the notice board
in the school advertising it in Panama but the next day it was gone, so we asked Adrian who explained a bit more and arranged for the lady in charge of the project in Panama to come in and talk to us about it.... Her two locations are on Playa Larga in Bastimentos, which is the prettiest island of Bocas or in Saropta, which is almost at the Costa Rican border... We would have loved to do it but unfortunately the dates didn't quite stack as we need to start heading north or we'll never get to Belize for the whale sharks.... However it did spark us to do a bit more investigation as it had made us really want to do it and as luck would have it they have a third reserve in Costa Rica, near Tortuguero ... Our next stop after Puerto Viejo....
So onward we are planned and ready to go....vamos...Catching the Caribe Shuttle out at 1pm on Tuesday
.... Costa Rica hear we come.... Our third stamp in the passport!!!
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