Blogs from Bocas Del Toro, Panama, Central America Caribbean - page 4

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The trip from Boquete to Boca Del Toro started at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, 3/2 and took 3.5 hours. There are no roads that travel directly to Boca from Boquete so we put our faith in Jim’s Google map directions and those of very nice Panamanian girl at one of the local adventure outfitters in Boquete. The trip is difficult to explain but I’ll try. A single lane paved road, some so potholed I was afraid we would lose an axle, some with washed out areas that would drop up to 2’, the occasional horseback rider (favorite mode of transportation in the Panama Western Highlands), a brave chicken here and there, (chickens are $5 if you hit one, $20 for a goat), and not a straight stretch of road longer than a ¼ mile without a ... read more
Main Street - or Calle 1
Snack Bus
One of many street side vendors.


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
unexpected


We arranged a bus to pick us up at our hotel in San Jose to take us Panama and they promised to be there at 7:05 am. We assumed that they meant Costa Rican time and we would have time for breakfast. Well they were early and off we went. We got to the "Frontier" at 3:00 pm after driving over the mountains and down to the Caribbean Coast. The Caribbean side of Costa Rican is different than the rest of the country. The phrase "Banana Republic" was coined here. The story goes that the contractor hired to build a railway from the port city of Limon to San Jose was having trouble with its construction and in finding labourers to build it. He imported "Afro-Caribbean’s" to get the job done. To feed his new work ... read more
The "Frontier"
Guabito, Panama
Guabito


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
GORGEOUS!


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




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