Sea Snorkeling and Stars in Bocas Del Toro

Published: April 16th 2010
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Hi all,

This is Nitzan, and I am going to write you about Bocas Del Toro.

From Boqute we took a bus to a city called David, from there we took another bus to a town called Almirante, and from there we had to take a boat to Isla Colon, so on the bus we asked the driver if there are still boats at 6:00 p.m. when we arrive and he said there are no, Why didn't you say so before? before we arrived Almirante. Anyway we had to get off the bus and look for a hotel, you know it was not that easy as you think, the bus drops you a few meters out of town and you need to look for where to sleep. Luckily there are no hotels/ hostels in town there is just one where the bus dropped us, so we had no choice but to choose that one, but anyway it was ok.

Next morning we had to take the boat from Almirante to Isla Colon the main ialsnd. In Isla Colon there is also the main town that is called Bocas Del Toro, in a short name Bocas.

Bocas Del Toro is a name of groups of islands in Panama near the Pearl Islands. The islands of Bocas Del Toro are called: Isla Cranero, Isla Colon, Isla Bastimento, Isla Popa, Isla San Cristobal, Isla Solarte.

There, when we arrived there was already someone waiting for us to take us to the apartment we reserved. The guy's name was Muhammed, he was Pakistanian. Before we knew from where is he by the name my dad said in a kind of a joke Shachar and Omer do not talk to us in hebrew when we are beside him.
Anyway let's get back to our story, so Muhammed took us to the apartment. He showed us 2 options one was a big apartment and the other was smaller. We chose the bigger one. When we settled in the apartment we did a bit of home schooling. Then we got a taxi to town and there walked a bit. We were also looking for tours. Of course there were many options and agencies so we looked and not decide yet but we said we will not do it tomorrow so we can decide maybe tommorow. Except from a lot of agencies the town is verry touristic and nice.

After taking a nice walk we got preetty early to the apartment because we wanted to cook dinner for Passover ('Pesach'), that means we have to cook early because it takes a lot of time to cook it. When all the cooking was done we set the table and sat. My dad brought the computer and read the 'Hagada' (the book one reads in Passover, with the story of the Jews going out of ancient Egypt) from the internet. We sang some songs from the Hagada, the adults drank wine and us the kids drank grape juice. Then for first dish (starter) we had a chicken soup and in it Kneidalach that were not real ones made from Mazzah flour but from oatmeal flower, but it was still eatable. We had mini Mazzahs (crackers). For second dish (main course) we had chicken with prunes and bananas sauce and beside it rice. then we rested a bit before the taystiest part in the meal. In this break all of us the kids went for the 'Mazah hunt' looking for the 'afikoman'. Of course I found it, ain't I'm good? It was in the microwave.
For desert that we never did in this trip before, we had fruit salad, with Mango, Bananas, prunes and oranges. That dinner was one of the awesomest meals in my life ( well let's not exagurate, in the trip). Before I hop to the next day, please do not tell none of my grandpa and grandmas, that we celebrated Passover on the day after we were suppose to and not on the real date of Passover, we just missed one day, only 24 hours - please!

The next morning we took a minivan to a beach in Isla Colon. that beach is called Bocas Del Drago. From where the minivan dropped us we walked 20 minutes or so along the beach until we arrived to the point in the beach where you can see starfish! We indeed see and lots of them! They were many, and all of them were either red, yellowish, or orange. There are no pink ones like in Nemo. The starfish look like they are really soft and you think they feel like a snail without a shell but it is not - it has mini spines that do not prick at all and that is why you can hold them. When I tried to hold one the first time, I felt that it is ok, it was not pricking and it didn't feel slimy but as hard shell. We spend there almost the whole day holding them and taking pictures of them and snorlkeling around looking for them. At the afternoon came back to Bocas. When we returned to Bocas we went to the apartment and because it was a bit late my mom preaperd dinner.

Next morning we took a taxi to town because where we have been sleeping was a bit out of town. When we arrived there, we went to the place where all the boats from town sail to the tours. There we met the guy from the mini-van that set with us to go on a tour with him, why with him? because he said that he will go for 5 places in other islands and not only 4 like all the others do, and also in good price. Of course when we arrived to the pier he said that he can not do it because it is too far, so he can do 4 today and one place with us tomorrow, and it will be a good price, and more and more ecxuses ....... so offcours we had to choose an agency, and it was allready quarter to nine when all the tours go out on nine, but that was not the problem the problem was that the closest agency to the pier did not have space any more, but finally we managed to get in a boat. so at 9:30 a.m. we were on our way.

The first spot was the bay of dolphins. of course because all the boats leave Bocas at 9:30 all the boats there arrive there at the same time so all the dolphins are a bit scared with all the boats so what happend is that almost nobody gets to see them. Well that is what there is so we have to face it. We did get to see some from really far and 1 or 2 from preetty close. The dolphins do not jump like in the movies or at zoo shows they only show a bit their back, and if you'r really lucky you may see their face or tail, but mostly their back. What the guides try
Two dolphinsTwo dolphinsTwo dolphins

como'n don't be scared
to do, is if they see a dolphin from preetty close they turn on their engines and do rounds to create waves so the dolphins play with them so when they play they jump high. We did it twice, in the first try another boat saw us creating waves so they came into the waves and disturbed us, so the dolphin did not jump, and at the second time nobody disturbed us but we did not succeed.

Anyway we kept on going to a point where we can snorkel. when we arrived to the point we can jump to the water and snorkel, so we put on our masks and jumped to the water. There we saw many many corals in different colors, like red, green, orange, purple and yellow, and also in many shapes. It was amazing how many shapes, and colors there are. what about fish? there were also many of them - in more colors and shapes. There are parrrots fish, which look similar to parrots because they have many colors like: pink, blue, yellow, and silver. There is a kind of a fish that I like because it looks silver with a bit of yellow in the back, and on the front, and it has a black big dot that looks like an eye on the back besides the back fin, so its enemies think that he has a big, scary eye but actually his eyes are very small, at the other end of his body. His mouth is a bit long and when he eats it moves from side to side very fast, so it is verry funny, and that is why I like this fish. There is also a kind of a fish that it is very small, but it is very special because it is really bright purple, and has blue spoots on it. There is a kind of fish that is long and one half of the body is yellow, and the other half is purple, like in the movie Nemo. There are also normal black, gray, and brown fish. There are lots, and lots of other kinds of fish but I can not tell you all of them, it will take forever. There is a kind of coral that looks like horns of a deer. There is another one, that looks like a brain. Well I think I have described enough fish and corals for one day... I think it is amazing that actually there is like a huge under water world with so many life in it!

Next after the snorkeling we sailed to a beach called Red Frog beach. That is because on the beach there are Red Frogs. IN reality, it is very hard to see them on the beach, but there are many panamenian kids (from the local indian families) that show red frogs on big leaves and ask for a dollar when you take pictures of the frogs. We stayed two hours on the beach playing in the sand. For me it was too much time on the beach, but that is what the guide said, so it is either waiting in the boat or staying on the beach, so we of course preferred on the beach.

Next it was allredy starting to get cold, because it was allredy afternoon. After the red frog beach we sailed to another point of snorkeling but this time we did not see anything and also we snorkeled for only 10 minutes, as no one else came off the boat to snorkel except one guy
 A tucan A tucan A tucan

A Tucan, Omer, Shachar, and my dad built in Red Frog Beach
and us. After we finished we got on the boat, and sailed back to town, and that is when we finished the tour. We got back to our apartment, ate dinner and went to sleep.

Next morning we packed our stuff and left the apartment. We took a taxi to the port and took a boat to the mainland, from where we went on by buses to Panama city (through David again).

Miss you all,


If you want to see more photos, click on this link: Bocas Del Toro Photos

Additional photos below
Photos: 20, Displayed: 20


Dad drinking wine while rda eading the HagaDad drinking wine while rda eading the Haga
Dad drinking wine while rda eading the Haga

I know it looks like coffee but there was not a wine glass in the apartment
Our Pesah mealOur Pesah meal
Our Pesah meal

Chicken, rice, bananas, and prunes

17th April 2010

(A little late, but) Hag Sameach
Hi all, As I wote above, Hag Sameach! (We are now two days before memorial and Independence dayas in Israel). It is nice to see you find a time to celebrate holidays although being so far away and busy with this long long trip. We are already waiting for your return (~3 months if I am correct?) Keep on updating us and send these amazing pictures. We read the entries and that keeps us updatesd. It seems like a great experience for you and for the kids. Take care, Karen and Lior
22nd April 2010

Awesome blog Nitzan! I love dolphins -which are quite common here off the coasts of Florida. My favorite thing to do though (I am quite a freak about it)is to collect sharks teeth while on the beach. Did you find any there? Pam and Co.

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