Well we have left Panama and crossed the border into Costa Rica. Getting the shuttle from Bocas was money well spent $34 each, which included a 25min fast boat ride to Almirante. A shuttle bus to the border at Sixola. Leaving and arriving at immigration was a breeze. Then dropping us off at our next destination Cahuita. Pronounced Kah-We-Ta. Dumped our bags at Cabinas Caribe Luna which I have to say is not as nice as our last place. Then headed into town. Settled down in a nice bar, had a few beers, some good food and a great conversation with a really cool dreadlocked local dude. Just perfect.
We are at the end of the first leg of our trip. We have spent eight nights in Panama and loved every minute. Firstly Panama City, although it’s a bit rough around the edges, but the people here are really friendly and are more than willing to help out if they can.
Although there is not a great deal to do touristically wise, except the Casco Viejo area (old town, see previous post.) and the canal of course, although it is not really a tourist attraction and the Park Natural Metropolitan, which is a must visit. It’s just an all round nice city, and has a good vibe about it. We will explore more on our return
Our next stop is Bocas del Torro, the group of islands in the Caribbean Sea, on the northern coastline. Is another place to add to your list, if travelling to Panama. Although we did not explore the other islands, except Isla Colon where we were staying. They are a great place to chill for a few days. There is plenty of accommodation to be had, not only on Isla Colon but the other islands as well. Also there are plenty of things to keep you occupied, if your an adrenaline junkie, like quad biking, surfing, snorkelling and scuba diving. Etc etc Although we did none of these things sadly, we were here just to relax.
Next I have to write about our accommodation Villa Seville. It’s such a lovely place. Set in the jungle and about a 10 minute drive from Bocas town. Set in some well kept gardens and with plenty of beautiful flowers to admire. The Villa has only four rooms so it’s not busy even when full. There is also a pool, a honesty bar and the chance to see some amazing wildlife. We were lucky to see, during our stay, a sloth, and some really colourful bird species, including hummingbirds. We must not forget the very load howler monkey’s. I would highly recommend staying here.
I will point out that Panama, especially Bocas is not cheap, in fact I would go as far as saying the prices are on par with the UK, sometimes more expensive for some things. But I suppose being on an island your are a bit of a captive audience. For example in Panama I had some Nachos as a snack. I have to say it was a good portion, but the price was $10. Main meals considerably much more. However we were pre warned, because of reading the guide book before we left. It likened Central America to Switzerland for cost. Which I can definitely agree with. Also, what is slightly worrying, we have heard that Costa Rica is even more expensive , we shall see. We have decided for the journey forward we would look to stay in places that are self contained and have basic cooking facilities to keep down the cost.
We look forward to coming back into Panama in the middle of May, to explore the pacific coast side, and to get to see the Panama Canal before coming home. But that’s a good few weeks away yet. We have plenty to see in Costa Rica.
Had a relaxing day today after our long and very hot walk into town yesterday, it was very much needed.
Jackie was feeling a little under the weather, possibly a touch of sun stroke, so we just sat around the pool, and planned the next leg of our trip.
Whilst we were relaxing, two families of Howler monkeys came into the trees around the pool. I managed to get some great photos. I will post them on here later. The noise they make is very loud and quiet scary in fact. It’s absolutely incredible that such a sound comes from such small monkeys. They are the loudest of all monkey species, they make the noise to mark there territory, and warn others of the presence.
We looked into the buses from Almirante to our next stop, Cahuita in Costa Rica. Our options were. Water taxi to the main land, a bus from Almirante to Changuinola. A bus from Changuinola to the border at Sixola. Then cross the border, then take another bus from there to Cahuita. The whole journey would have been just a few dollars, but quite possibly it would have taken the whole day.
Our second option was take a water taxi to the mainland, then take a shuttle bus, that takes you all the way to the border, waits for you at the other side, then continues the journey to Cahuita. Costing around $35-40 each, including the water taxi, and with Jackie feeling a little under the weather it was the best choice to take.
Jackie was feeling a little better late afternoon so we took a taxi to town and had lovely meal at the Om cafe. A really chilled out place with a great vibe which we can highly recommend.
Decided to walk to Bocas town today. Google maps said it was a 45 minute walk, a sign just down the road said 3km. Not bad we thought. So off we went. Well god knows how long it took but it certainly wasn’t 45 minutes and it certainly wasn’t 3km. My Garmin watch recorded just over four miles. It didn’t help the fact that it was around 32 degrees. But the journey was made bearable by the fact we had the Caribbean Sea lapping the white sand shoreline to our left. We kept thinking that we would come across a nice beach bar where we could get a cold drink, but alas we didn’t, by the time we arrived in town we were as you can imagine quite exhausted.
Our first impression of Bocas town was as we expected. Timber built buildings on stilts lining the shoreline, in a multitude of colours, the whole place had a real laid back Caribbean feel about it. We really liked it.
We eventually settled down in a place called La Buga Gastro market on the waterfront, we settled down at a table with a lovely view over the sea to while away the time. So with a couple of ice cold mojitos and some lovely food, we chilled watching the water taxis ferrying people too and from the various other islands. It was lovely. After our well earned break, we headed off to get some cash, then headed back to Villa Seville.
Top Tip The taxis on the island are just like the yellow ones you see in Panama City or New York. Except they are all four wheel, four seated pickup trucks. The fare being $3 per person wherever you go.
We got back had a rest then settled down at the Honesty bar “Honesty bars for those that don’t know are where you serve yourself, write down what you have then pay when you leave”. After a few cold beers we ordered Pizza from town via WhatsApp, thank heavens for google translate, as who knows what we would have got without it. The pizzas were delicious. The night came to an abrupt end when a huge flying cockroach hit the back of Jackie’s head, she jumped up and screamed, which in turn made me jump. She shook her head to get it off and the thing landed on the bar, it was huge. So with enough excitement for one day it was off to bed.
After a pleasurable 45 minute flight from Panama, in a propeller plane we arrived at the group of islands in the Caribbean Sea called Bocas del Torro. The island we are staying on is Isla Colon (not the body part) but Colon is Spanish for Columbus, named after the explorer Christopher Columbus. Our accommodation is the Villa Seville. Located in the jungle, and just a 100 metres from the crystal clear sea. just perfect for seeing some wildlife. We have already seen a sloth, they such amazingly cute creatures.