Blogs from Bocas Del Toro, Panama, Central America Caribbean - page 5


Puerto Viejo was fun, but it was the only place that I really didn´t feel that safe walking around town at, plus my last night there I got attacked by mosquitoes. The last time my legs looked so red, bumpy, and disgusting was when I had chicken pox. It was gross. The best part of my Caribbean adventure was definitely traveling down to Panama. I met someone at Rocking J´s in Puerto Viejo who gave me step by step instructions on how to get across the border by bus. My first time taking a public bus by myself and I´m doing it in Central America, got to love it. When I got to the border I was so confused by what to do. Local men were just giggling together and yelling ¡chica! ¡chica! at me so ... read more
Bocas Del Toro
Backflips off the Tramp!

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

Yesterday all the students went to Rio Oeste Arriba for a tour of a cocoa farm. It was a unique chance to see a large organic chocolate farm and the chocholate making process from tree to fineans ished product. The tour was led in English and Spanish by two different guides. We were led by the fermenting and solar drying oven then walked up into the farm which is spread out over a steep hillside. There are over 7,000 trees apx! Cocoa fruit grows year round but peaks in Oct-Jan. There are 70 different types on the farm, one being the Orebe variety. We tasted the fruit and watched as two wommen roasted, and ground the beans by hand.When it is ground it creates a paste that can be sweetened with condensed milk and suger. Rosa ... read more
Cocoa Fruit

Aguas Negras, or black water, is a community located right above the mangroves behind the sewage treatment plant in Bocas town. Yesterday I went with my friend SOnia to her house. I knew she lived near the airport and assumed it was the neighborhood bordering the runway. I was suprised when she said " no por aca" and headed to the gate of the water treatment plant. She ignored the do not enter sign and opened the unlocked gate. We walked between the treatment ponds and out the other side. She was really worried I'd fall on the make shift bridge that crosses the mangrove swamp to the houses on the other side. The boards are pieced together and some are barely nailed down. I watched where she walked and made it across safely and into ... read more

After a two day delay due to torrential rain, the ethnobotanical class made it to Popa Dos. It was fantastico. The professor, and 4 students went on a botanical walk and observed an artisan demonstatraion. I told the students Porfirio is enthusiastic about sharing his medicinal plant knowledge. He did not disapoint. He led us on a short hike on the Popa Sendero. During the walk he stopped to talk about the plants and let them ask questions. At one point he sat down on a log and told them he was going to dar clase. Some of the students speak basic Spanish the others only English so I acted as a translator during the class. They had plenty of questions and he willingly talked about his journey to become a botanico. It may be hard ... read more

I came to Bocas to invesitigate the possability of starting up a conservation education program for a local field school called ITEC. I'm spending more time on Isla Colon than I did in the past. There are so many unique things to Bocas that I never experienced previously. This week I went in a cave with 5 species of bats, including vampire bats, saw the remains of a loggerhead seaturtle nest, walked to Rio Mimbi Timbi, tried to speak GuariGuari, and ate Deba Mudu, or heart of palm, soup. Tommorrow the entire field school is going to Isla Popa 2 to see an artisan demonstration and walk on the nature trail. Hope it all goes well.... read more
Giant Mushroom

This place is a piece of heaven. In Costa Rica we found an organised trip from Puerto Viejo straight to Bocas del Toro for $20/p. We left at 8am and went straight to the boarder with Panama. The crossing was smooth and easy, with the beautiful 104 year old bridge that had to be crossed to enter Panama. Another bus waited for us on the other side and took us to Almirante and we continued to Bocas del Toro by a water taxi. We arrived at our destination around 11am. Bocas del Toro might not be the most beautiful town but the houses are all built a meter above the ground and all these wooden houses are precious and full of character. There are amazing restauranfor where one can have a full meal for $3 such ... read more

My back pack ended up too heavy. I have huge bruises on my shoulders from carrying it through ATL airport. Que va. The ricketty bridge in Bocas did not disapoint. It's still rickety. There is a new bridge alongside for cars but pedestrians still cross over the old railroad tracks and ties. The boards are nailed down with huge nails but several bounce up as you cross over them. I headed to Isla Popa when I arrived in Bocas. Bueno, I waited around a few hours to go to Isla Popa. SO I walked around the blazing hot streets of Bocas. When I lived here everytime I came to Bocas I ended up walking around in circles waiting for rides, waiting for the post office to open, waiting to meet with someone, waiting for the superslow ... read more
Tres Razas
View from the boat

Bocas Reintegration -A cold shower is always a shock. It doesn't matter how hot it is- it hits me like ice being poured down my back. -Mud. My feet will be muddy until August 7th when I get back home. -The Ngabe coffee, never quite good enough but still mange to stay up all night after drinking it. -The poverty. It's worse at least in some houses on popa. More boards missing, less food, roof falling apart. -The Bocas sun- you forget how strong it is when it bounces off the water. -The waiting. For a boat, for a friend, to eat, to chat with a friend, for the ameobas to hit, always waiting. -Sticker shock- to go from Isla Popa to Bocas where everything is more from hotels to food. I can spend the same ... read more

Dear Blog Readers, Welcome to our final installment of this Central America adventure! What an adventure it has been! We crossed our final border crossing from Costa Rica at Sixaola into Panama. If there is one thing we've loathed during this trip it has to be the border crossings full of con artists in unofficial and official uniforms. This one was no different but luckily we had become accostomed to their tricks. For those of you who are doing the border crossing - make sure you have an outbound ticket (real or fake!) and change all of your colones to dollars before you arrive. The border crossing has one bloke doing a criminally expensive exchange rate so don't even think about it! A group of us all in the same boat managed to haggle down a ... read more
Backpack Thief Beach
Catching some rays!

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