Blogs from Isla Colon, Bocas Del Toro, Panama, Central America Caribbean


Sun 9-Mon 10 December - Day 44 to 45 - Bocas del Toro My next story is very’ interesting’. Leaving our San Jose, Costa Rican hotel at 5.30am to catch the 6.00pm bus to Panama we travelled through some mountainous area through the fog before coming out the other side onto rural plains. We travelled for 5 hours to the boarder where we were required to pay a departure tax of US$8 and to enter Panama, we only had to show our departure arrangements from Panama before getting our tourist stamp in our passports. Australians don’t need visas to visit Panama. All was going well as we got off the bus and was walking to pay our $$ to leave Costa Rica. We noticed that the whole area was a building site. Backhoes, cranes, trucks, you ... read more
Dinner at El Rerata Bocas Town on Colon Island Panama (5)
Star Fish Beach on Colon Island Panama  - Tom loving the beach
Star Fish Beach on Colon Island Panama  (8)

A rather smooth bus- and a short boat ride brought us to Bocas Town, the main town of the Bocas del Toro archipelago, on Isla Colon. Here we wanted to spend some time to take our Spanish to the next level. We booked five days of Spanish lessons for the next week and another quick water taxi to get us to Isla Bastimentos, another island of the Bocas del Toro.Everything at Isla Bastimentos is a bit more Caribbean than Panamanian, the creole people, the mixed language, the Caribbean food, the very loud music, the speed of life in general. We stayed in a wooden house above the water, which was really perfect, relaxing and had a ... read more

I'm currently sat at the airport waiting to say goodbye to Panama, so this is perfect time to catch up with my blog. Before coming on this trip all I knew of Panama was Panama City and the canal. In my mind it was a bit like Singapore - a big city, the impenetrable Durian gap and nothing much more. I was not expecting the beautiful islands, the dense rainforest and the abundance of animals on offer. First up was the border crossing - I don't know why but the Central American borders all seem to be stuck out in stupidly hot places, and usually involve a bit of a walk with all your stuff. This one was no different! After almost a month in Costa Rica where they have no army, I knew we'd got ... read more
Sunset in Bastimentos
The start of our hike

My typical underestimation of how much time I had and the stubbornness of my search for silk boxer shorts in the Albrook Mall (do they not make them anymore?! Why?) meant that I didn’t have enough time to have a shower before getting on my overnight bus to Bocas del Toro. Which is a little bit of an issue in Panama since walking around all day in hot and humid Panama City works up quite the sweat. I can’t sleep well if I am feeling disgusting but I think in this case it was more to do with the fact that this was the COLDEST BUS EVER. I asked the driver to go easy on the air-con but no dice. This was how it had to be. Some bullshit about needing to balance the temperature inside ... read more
Cayo Zapatilla
Cayo Crawl

Today might just be my first day in my 10 months of travels, that I am truly homesick. The first day that I really wish I had my family and my city. My internet is too shotty at my hostel to be able to FaceTime my family or to send out a text that doesn't take forever to send and receive without them thinking that I'm ignoring them or that I'm dead. But, I don't realize that Christmas is but five days away unless I look at the date on my phone. There are no Christmas trees here in Panama, and if there are, you don't recognize them on people's lawns. Being surrounded by heat and palm trees completely throws off the feeling of the massive family holiday that approaches, the one that I can't wait ... read more

We ventured to the Caribbean side this week to the archipelago of Bocas Del Toro. It is a 4 hour bus ride from David to the town of Almirante, at this point you take a taxi to the water taxi that takes you to Isla Colon where Bocas town is located. It is a pleasant half hour ride on the Caribbean. Water taxis are inexpensive as are the buses and taxies. The trip from David to Bocas takes you high over a mountain range, it is quite scenic. Jungles with some steep mountains and waterfalls. We saw quite a few pastures with quite a grade, no wonder the beef is tough here. Very poor dwellings sometimes on stilts, must be some flooding. The roads are full of deep crevasse, pot holes with some areas washed out ... read more
Bocas Del Toro
We found Chinese food
Definitely different

Well we just wrapped up 6 days in Panama. We began our 12 hour journey from San Jose to Bocas deal Torro last Saturday. On our way Kev and I joined up with a bunch 21 year olds that were studying abroad that we met on the bus. It was the first time for both of us crossing over a border by foot. We were greeted on the other side by many people.... Kev had to fight off a couple of little kids that were trying to steal his bag. Going through "customs" was laying out all of our bags in a shack while a dog sniffed for drugs. The dog went crazy sniffing my bag but I swear I didn't have any drugs! After taking 3 buses, 2 taxis 1 shuttle and a water taxi, ... read more

We ended up missing out Costa Rica as firstly we didn't have time and secondly I think that it has gone through its tourist boom and won't change much, so I think that I can always come back and visit the country in the future and when I have more money! Our next and second to last stop is Bocas del Toras or “mouth of the Bulls”. This is a province as well as a collection of islands on the Caribbean side of the country. It took us 25 hours, 3 buses, 2 taxis and a boat to get here from Granada but it was definitely worth it. We travelled via Tica buses, which provide a solid network over Central America. The main island in Bocas Del Toros is Colon island which has the main town. ... read more

My stay in Costa Rica was over and it was time to cross the border to Panama. Initially I wanted to stay in the NorthEast on the islands of San Blas, however that was a 24 hour journey and would lose me a lot of time which was running out. I instead decided to go to Bocas Del Toro, a well-known destination in the NorthWest just across from the border. The journey to Bocas on the shuttle bus was confusing. At first I was on the bus with a number of other travellers going to Panama, some to Bocas and some elsewhere. At border control shortly after, the driver waited for us to get our passports stamped. I had read that you aren't allowed entry into Panama unless you prove you have an exit ticket out ... read more

The title here is shrouded in enigma, though I am referring to an enclave of islands off the Caribbean coast of Panama collectively known as Bocas Del Toro or 'mouths of the bull' to cite its English translation. In this instance, the journey to get there was as memorable as could have been expected, as a tiny prop jet carrying a total of passengers barely in double figures got us to the airport at Bocas Town, seemingly, an airport and runway which the town proper seems to have moulded itself around. Initial impressions were colourful ones, largely due to the striking colours which characterize the main town, and a choice of a condo a short-ish drive from the centre was, in this case, an inspired one, simply because hustle, bustle and noise is best avoided when ... read more
Typical scene in Bocas Town (Bocas Town; Panama)
The seclusion of Bluff Beach (Bocas Del Toro; Panama)
Lodgings on Isla Carenero (Bocas Del Toro; Panama)

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