Whoops so this little blog has fallen at the way side but its not my fault, Ive just been way to busy and it got to much to catch up on. So briefly a quick back to Montezuma and the road trips that have lead me to be in Bocas Del Toro Panama.
After the amazing month that was my YTT I needed at least a week to sit and do nothing to let everything sink in. During my time at Anamaya I found others that had no immediate travel plans so 5 of us decided to book a AirBNB house in a near by town of Santa Teresa. The group was going to be myself ( obviously ) Pam and Tori, 2 best friends who had been travelling the world for the past 6 months, Lonnie a New Zealander and Jac ( more on Jac to come )
The house was in the middle of Santa Teresa, a town stretched along a single road spanning maybe a mile filled with surfers and beach bums. For a week we got up at sunrise, practiced yoga on most days ( honest ) and then either went to the beach or drank beer whilst eating mango in our private pool.
Tori left after only one night as she had to be back in Canada so it was just the 4 of us for most of the week. It was a perfect detox from the resort life we had been living for a month and just what we needed.
I had planned to head up through central America and do some diving off the coast of Honduras or Nicaragua. It turned out through more internet searching that getting up to the dive sites was going to be a pain and also a massive expense. We then in turn discovered off the coast of Panama a group of island called Bocas Del Toro that offered discounted ( compared to previous searches ) diving and living costs. Costa Rica had turned out to be more expensive than any of us had budgeted so we decided to head to Panama.
First we had to plan a cross county trip from the far west point of Costa Rica to the most southeasterly town we could find. That turned out to be a town called Puerto Veijo. In one day we took 3 buses and a boat for 16 hours to cross the country but we did it.
It only went slightly wrong when in the capital San Jose we got a taxi to a second bus terminal on the advice of a fellow traveller that was not needed. It turned out the bus we wanted actually departed from the terminal our last bus had finished in. This wasn’t entirely our fault as it turned out that are 2 Puerto Veijo’s and there on different coast lines. Once we found the right bus a rainy 6 and a half hour ride dropped us of in our new home for the next 5 days.
Puerto Viejo is the most popular last town for all heading on down to Panama. The first 2 nights we stayed in a hostel just outside of town. It was fine for a the $20 each but we wanted to stay for longer, as there was 4 of us we booked another AirBNB house as it worked out just as cheap as the hostels.
The house was amazing, it was almost brand new and slept the 4 of us so comfortable I couldn’t believe we got it for the price we did. On our second day before we left the hostel we rented bikes and rode up the coast to a local wildlife sanctuary. They rehoused and looked after animals from all over Costa Rica including Snakes, monkeys, sloths, wild deer, birds, ant eaters and even alligators. Ive been to lots of zoos and sanctuaries before but this one was the best kept and well staffed with volunteers that I’ve ever seen. Every person there really loved what they were doing and the love and effort they all put in really showed and it was amazing to see.
We left after filling our cameras with photos ( this was the first time I discovered my DSLR has a focusing problem ) to head back to the hostel and move our bags to the house that was only 2 doors up from the hostel. As we walked up to the house Pam and Lonnie up ahead of us shouted at the fact a wild sloth was walking across our new driveway and across our front yard. We then jumped about for 10 minutes taking videos, photos and selfies with a wild sloth, as you do.
I loved the little Caribbean town and could have stayed for longer but we had booked accommodation in Bocas Del Toro and had to head on. Jac and I wasted a whole day being ill in bed after drinking tap water and thats a pain I don’t want to go through again.
I took the responsibility of booking and planing our way to Bocas and the crossing of the Panama border. It was $25 each for 2 shuttles and a water taxi that picked us up from our house. There were some great details of the crossing into Panama but I’ll omit those stories from a public blog as to not implicate myself and others 😉 meet me in person and il tell you the stories.
The actual crossing of the border across the old rusty bridge was amazing. I have no idea how the bridge is still standing with the amount of rust that it was covered in. Every single railing was loose and corroded and missing. The planks had huge holes in them and you had to really concentrate on the path you walked as to not fall through and into the river below.
Once we arrived in Bocas we had to find our AirBNB house. I had a crappy screen grab of google maps but it wasn’t accurate and a general address. We did struggle to find our house at first which was interesting in 35+degree heat but we found our ocean front house in the end.
The next day we simply walked the streets and got our bearings for the town. It appeared quite at first and we became slightly apprehensive that we may have made a mistake leaving our idilic Caribbean town, but we soon found the reasons behind the empty streets. Bocas Del Toro as it turns out is best described as a hub town. Its filled with hotels and hostels and bars and restaurants and water taxis everywhere. People come here and just use the town to visit all the sights and sounds of the surrounding islands.
The next day we decided to head to Red Frog Beach, a short $5 water taxi ride to a near by island. It was beautiful and the waves were great fun to swim in. There was a great little bar with a slack line set up outside and we spent a good few hours playing on the beach enjoying the sun.
The next day we booked the same taxi boat that had taken us to the beach to take us snorkelling for the day. He picked us up from our own dock alongside our house and we took off for the day. We stopped first at a wild mangrove forest and we couldn’t understand why he had stopped there. Then he pointed out 2 wild sloths up in the trees above us. How he spotted them I don’t know but it was great to see more sloths in the wild.
From there he took us via a restaurant to order our lunch for later in the day and we got to see some wild macaws on the island. They were in no way friendly and as soon as I walked closer to them they chased you and tried to peck at your toes. That doesn’t sound to scary but if your wearing flip flops and see the size of a macaws beak you’l understand why I quick footed it away from them.
From there he took us to a snorkelling point in the middle of the bay. We swam around and drifted with the current watching the ocean beneath. Just as we started to head back to the boat I noticed a Manta ray, I grabbed Jac’s leg and shouted to Pam and we chased and watched it across the ocean floor. I tried to head back and grab my go pro but by the time I got back it had swam away.
The next stop was a national park that turtle’s laid there eggs on regularly. We knew the entrance fee was normally $10 each but our driver had said he could call on our behalf and get us local prices of $5 each. As it turned out instead of heading to the normal dock for the boats he went as close to the beach as he could and we had to jump out and swim to shore. He agreed to come back in a few hours and we were left to explore the island. As we clambered out of the water it started to rain but being in the Caribbean being in the water was warmer than being out in the rain so we simply swam on the beach for the next few hours amongst the turtle nests.
When 1pm came we swam back off the beach and into our boat. As we left the island Ryan ( a guy I had got chatting with at the Panama border who was heading to Bocas and had started to join us for a few days ) noticed some fins pop out of the water just off the boat. He pointed to the driver and we swung the boat around and went after them. It turned out to be 2 big pods of dolphins. After following them for a short period I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to swim with them. As we got close to them I dove off the boat towards them hoping to swim amongst them but as soon as I surfaced they had all swam off. Technically I was in the same vicinity as them so I’m counting that as swimming with wild dolphins ha.
We headed back and had our pre ordered lunch on the island then headed back to our house. We spent the rest of the afternoon drinking box wine on our deck and Jac made everyone dinner on the world smallest hob with tini tiny pans. How she did It I don’t know but it was awesome.
The next day Pam myself and Jac had planned to move to another Hostel. Jac and I were starting our 3 day Padi course so we went for our morning lessons then returned home to move our bags. Our new hostel was a great little house with its own private beach and even a pet golden retriever!! after dropping our bags off Jac and I went back for our afternoon class then meet up with Pam and headed back for dinner.
An thats where you find me now, sat with a belly full of spaghetti and box red wine trying to sum up the past few weeks. I will promise to try and keep this updated as the next few weeks are going to be amazing.