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Published: April 27th 2015
Pancakes for breakfast with Oliver and Evelein (from my coffee tour on Monday) - a great way to get started in the day. Evelyn and I are heading to the Lost and Found hostel (a small, remote hostel set in the jungle on the side of a mountain, with simple amenities and a chilled vibe) on the way to Bocas, whilst Dan will meet us there as he needs to go to David first. The shuttle ride takes us through some stunning Panamanian countryside - miles of mountains and jungle, as far as the eye can see. When we get dropped off at the 'driveway' to the hostel, and no one warned me of the 20minute hike up the mountainside with all bags on our backs - I feel like a packhorse, and curse myself for packing the extra clothes that I probably won't use. Though I am pleased stoked the hair straighteners stayed at home.... Upon arrival, I immediately understand the hype on this place - it's very laid back, with hammocks and chilled vibes coming out the stereo, set on a mountain side amongst the jungle canopy with balconies overlooking the valley. Stunning. Fortunately, Evelein has a similar outlook
on life to myself - never sit still! So we decide to go for a short 2hr hike amongst the trails, before contesting the hostels infamous treasure hunt challenge in the afternoon. Well, this 2hour hike turned in to over 5 hours.... As we discovered many of the steep trails, admired the scenery from the lookout, adored the beauty of the ancient jungle and even met Tree Beard, one could say we got a little carried away! We even saw a white faced monkey in the trees right above our heads, and a gorgeous little humming bird fly right next to us. Incredible. But during a short 'medical emergency' break on our way back up the ridge, another group lent us their treasure hunt map and we realise we have already completed most of it, so we may as well do the rest while we were on the trails. The clues aren't as easy as I originally assumed they would be - I'd like to think it was merely a blonde moment, but I can't help but think a classic Lydia-ism happened when we couldn't decipher that a mule was a cross between a donkey and horse, and they are
infertile. Having grown up with horses, I assume I should've had this knowledge at the tip of my tongue, but alas it escaped me on this day. I'm sure if my 4 year old niece was with me, she probably could've told silly auntie the answer. But eventually we complete the challenge, including a river crossing to a cave, which is so deep in the jungle, I start to wonder what we would do if we couldn't make it back! Not something I liked to dwell on for too long.... Back at the hostel and Dan has just arrived, so we have a swift drink before doing the garden maze the hostel has laid out - a fun task which we feel we complete in record time! Although, I'm sure not everyone will agree on that.... After a home cooked dinner, we bond with Rocky (the honey bear monkey) in his enclosure - a very affectionate little monkey, who likes his tummy rubbed and will bite in return. A classic monkey/human relationship dynamic?? It's the best I get. I am amazed at the strength in his tail, and the size of his hands and feet: his feet are proportionately comparable
to the oversized canoes on the bottom of my legs! We head off on another night hike, but this time to explore the animals, insects and birds in the area by torch light. We see all sorts of flowers, spiders, beetles, strange little bugs that glow in the dark, glow worms, cockroaches, fireflies, blind birds.....all sorts of creepy crawlies I would usually run from, but somehow in this natural environment amongst the dense jungle they seem fascinating. This hostel is so chilled - I sit writing whilst drinking local organic coffee in a hammock over looking the valley. I can see for miles - it's a phenomenal place, with humming birds flitting around and birds singing in the trees around me. Heaven. I'm so far from London right now....
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