After a very laid-back stop in Puerto Viejo spotting all the sloth’s and soaking up a unique Caribbean vibe, the urge to carry on wandering hit and before I knew it I was waiting for a bus to the boarder of Panama. My advice to any travellers crossing the boarder is 1) Be prepared with ‘onwards travel’ and if like me you have no return flight, use an old flight itinerary and alter the details to a future flight departing from Panama! and 2) Calculate the amount of days you will be spending in Panama according to your onwards travel. Let’s just say I had this question thrown at me and had ZERO idea, I knew the date of the flight departing but not the actual number of days and the boarder patrol were not happy but I still got my stamp to enter… eventually (and with sweaty palms!) Oh and if you have seen pictures of the famous bridge crossing between Costa Rica and Panama, unfortunately that old rickety looking bridge is under construction and a newer more stable structure is in place – Dare I say for good reason too.
A couple of busses and a boat ride later I arrived at my next destination, Bocas Del Toro.
The cluster of islands are off the Caribbean coast of Panama and although with the unpredictable Caribbean weather during my stay (late January) I still visited the hot spots! One being the renown Red Frog Beach on Bastimento Isla although the sea wasn’t very enticing. The different Isla’s are quickly reached by water taxi from Colon Isla and as you could guess Bastimento is also home to the red frog and luckily I spotted two!
In Bocas town it’s easy to arrange a day trip around the cluster of islands and tailor the day trip to suit you! Being a mermaid at heart I opted for a trip including snorkeling, which was an adventure in itself because whilst I was exploring the beautiful coral and swimming with exotic fish, a sneaky jelly fish snook up on me and stung me across my rib cage and during my moment of panic I somehow managed to get sea urchin spikes stuck in my foot! But lucky for me I had an overly-friendly tour guide who offered to P*$$ on the area for me – I kindly declined. All jokes and P*$$ talk aside it was a brilliant tour, which also included dolphin watching and visiting starfish beach.
Unfortunately my other memory from Bocas Del Toro isn’t so glamorous and that was thanks to a BAD case of bedbugs. So after THE worst nights sleep on the floor because i refused to kip in the bed (and all the other beds were also infested) I made a very early check-out from Calipso Hostel, fellow travellers I recommend to avoid this hostel like the P L A U G E. (Which is a shame because the staff at the hostel were lovely but nothing quite sweetens up a bedbug infestation).
Fortunately I found accommodation down the road in the lovely Spanish By The Sea Hostel which is also a Spanish school with spanish labels on all the furniture so it was a good excuse to brush up on my vocabulary.
After a memorable stay in Bocas I was ready to explore mainland Panama and so, next stop on my adventure… Boquete in the Chiriquí Highlands.
T’chau for now,