Blogs from Isla Colon, Bocas Del Toro, Panama, Central America Caribbean - page 3


We said farewell to San Jose, thankfully for the last time and jumped onto our public bus that would take us to Panama border. Apparently there are only 2 land borders into Panama on the west side from Costa Rica and luckily we were taking the path less traveled. We had managed to download the latest episode of Game of Thrones this morning that aired in the US only last night. As I said yesterday, amazing wifi! It was done between 5am and 5.15am when we had to leave!! So we caught up on the latest from Westeros and that took us up to the first stop. We had 10mins to stretch our legs and use the bathroom. There was a random little fresh juice shop and we thought that would be the best option for ... read more

BOCAS BOUND: After three and a half weeks we're leaving our "home" at the lost and found for Bocas Del Toro. Bocas is made up of several islands, but only three of them are the main tourists destinations: Isla Colon (the main island), Isla Bastimentos, and Isla Carenero. We currently have reservations at the Mar E Iguana hostel on Isla Colon. They have given us an opportunity to volunteer there but we only have a little over a week before we need to start making our way to the Pacific side of Costa Rica. I wish the festival was in March so we could cover the Caribbean side of Costa Rica after Bocas. Looks like we'll have to go back through David one more time, ugh. The main island has a reputation for being a crazy ... read more

So we were looking for some balance in Panama...and after experiencing modernity of the capital, mild climate of the cloud forest and hills we were finally headed towards the coast. We did not expect much. In fact we were not even very excited. We thought Bocas del Toro will be well too touristy for us, too modern and too overcrowded. However, we wanted to be on the beach for a while and it was the best choice around. So far Panama had been very pleasant and we did not encounter any tourism-related problems i.e. scams, overcharging, theft etc. But the moment we got off the bus in the port town of Almirante we noticed different behaviour towards us. Suddenly the taxi driver wanted 5$ for a silly 1km journey and would not let go and follow ... read more
ahhh I missed this so much
we were here

Bocas del Toro - Panama's Jewel of the Caribbean... read more

We arrive in Almirante, Bocas del Toro Province, midday and we are ushered into a parking area by a man on a bicycle hollering back over his shoulder at me, “Sigame!” (Follow me!), which I did, because I was momentarily confused on the directions. (I never use the term ‘lost’ when driving.) The crossing to Bocas Town is a 20 minute water taxi ride that, on this September day, bounced through 2-3 foot swells. The 20 passenger boat powered by twin Yamaha 100 hp outboards makes quick work of the passage without regard for our spinal alignment. It turns out the best way to avoid rough seas is to cross early in the day – not always an option following a three hour drive. Our hotel, Bahía del Sol, is a mile or so from town ... read more
Bahia del Sol Hotel
Feria del Mar
Local handicrafts

In my last entry I completely forgot to add that the town of Changuinolo is where Chiquita Bananas come from. I might have omitted it because I am swearing off bananas for quite a long time but I thought it was an interesting fact. Back to the island... There are many islands to see around the Isle of Colon where I am staying but the one beach I needed to get to before I leave is Star Beach. After class, I found out you can grab a bus at the park in town. The bus only comes every other hou,r which I did not know until a kind local informed me after she saw me doing circles in the park. I was too hot and tired to ask anyone but that would have made more sense. ... read more
through the water
Holy Sloth!
Where else can you hold a star?

I was late. However being late on Panamanian time is like always being 20 minutes early. The downtown area, thank goodness, is not that big. So I ran to the tourist shop and was thankfully ON TIME per se. Eight of us were corralled and put on a tiny boat. We all had one thing on our mind; snorkel boarding. Yeah I had never heard of it either before yesterday but it is quite frankly it proved to be the coolest water sport, next to kite surfing of course. I have deemed it the Simulated Dolphin Experience. They actually call it Deep Boarding here but my name made more sense. So here is the general gist.... You are towed behind the boat on a water ski line however instead of a bar you hold a plastic ... read more
Land Ho!
Snorkle here

My host family is terrific and ONLY speaks spanish so I can continue to practice while attending classes. Whew!! They live in a nice home right next to the international airport in Bocas. By international, I mean there are 3 flights a day into Panama City. I think the International part is based on the passengers not the flights. I have 3 host sisters, 2 chiuauas, and a one year old cousin. The house is 1 block from the scool and 8 blocks from town. It is a busy household so there is always someone home to talk to. Tonight there is a festival and one of my host sister´s is preparing her costume to dance. I have heard of this traditional folklore type dancing my entire trip and now I will get the chance to ... read more
The dress
The opening ceremony before the dance
jewlery passed down from momma

From David that is all it takes... It is quite simple really to get there. Hop the bus in David going to Changuinloa and the second to last stop on the 4 hour ride is Almirante. You will know you arrived when you pull into an abandoned gas station also known as the bus stop. From there jump in any of the waiting taxis and head to the docks. Grab a water taxi in the mangroves and off you go. 20 minutes more to Bocas del Toro... Be sure and arrive Almirante before 5pm or you may be stuck at the docks. Almirante and it is not exactly a town to spend the evening in. However once I arrived in Bocas I kind of wish I missed the boat. The ride to Almirante is beautiful as ... read more
Into the THROBBING jungles
on the road again...
for my sister in law

Finally made it to Monte Verde! I arrived early afternoon and stayed at Pension Santa Elena. It's a nice little place owned by a couple from Austin, TX. I tried to book a horse back riding tour to the cloud forest but everything was booked. Instead I went zip lining through the cloud forest. So awesome! The canopy tour in Costa Rica was much more exciting than the one I did in Nicaragua. At one point it started to rain while zip lining through a canyon. I could feel the top of the rain drops hitting my face, it felt like I was going through a cloud of needles. Later that night I did night hike to the cloud forest where we got to see many nocturnal animals and insects. We saw monkeys, sloths, exotic birds ... read more
road blocks on the way to Monte Verde
humming birds outside the zip lining office
the night hike

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