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Bocas del Toro, you crazy fool!

PANAMA | Sunday, 17 February 2008 | Views [2181] | Comments [4]

So I´m still in Bocas del Toro, staying on Isla Bastimentos. It´s so rad! Except my email doesn´t work here for some reason, so I plan on being here a few more days and therefore I guess no email! It´s kinda nice, though.

So the entire time we were staying at Juan´s house in San Jose, CR, we were just on the move! Constantly! In 3 nights we went around the ENTIRE town, went to a film festival, went up to the hills of Heredia, hopped a fence into a farmer´s field, broke into a country club via 2 layers of barber wire to drink in their gazebo and hide out from the sheets of rain, and explored like no other.

We caught the bus on Friday to`Puerto Viejo, trying to get to Bocas but missing the only bus by 7 minutes (thanks to cRazy public transportation) and instead spent 4 hours in the bus station waiting to go to a whole other location. Puerto Viejo was pretty nice, we got in in the evening and swam in the warm ocean for awhile.

Saturday we left for Panama! The border was insane...you have to walk across this enormously long bridge 20 feet above a huge river, and the bridge is just a bunch of not-nailed-down two by fours, with loose chicken wire to ¨protect¨you from falling to your death! AND the fact that the scenery was sooo pretty distracts you from your footing ;P Those were an intense few minutes!

Crossed the border with no problems (though apparently lots of the time they give Canadians lotsa trouble for some reason...lucky break for me then!), got into a van taxi thing with this groovy Aussie girl, drove 40 minutes surrounded by DENSE tropical forests, caught a water taxi for another 15 minutes over violent choppy waters, and finally, with spines an tailbones a bit sore, arrived in Isla Colon, Bocas del Toro!

The first night was INSANE. I ate street food for the first time, just a bunch of deep-fried stuff made of bananas, flour, cheese and corn (not all together), and we explored the small town. We sat on some bleachers out by the airport with some rum and OJ, enjoying the warm night, gathered some people we ran into who Aussie girl knew, and proceeded to try to find Aqua Lounge, a bar. You had to take a water taxi to it! It´s built on a big dock so you´re right ON the water. $1 shots, anyone? I tried tequila for the first time...like 6 shots of it. Hey, 6 shots for $6? It´s $6 for ONE shot at home! We swam off the bar, surprising everyone there (I guess they don´t usually do that, which is shocking to me) and getting a few locals in with us. Waaarm water, good music, fun people, lots of dancing and drinks all ´round makes for a great night!

Yesterday we took the 10 minute long water taxi ride to Isla Bastimentos, where I´m currently staying. 10 minutes and a whole other planet! While Colon is more of a touristy party town, Bastimentos is like stepping off the boat and into Jamaica. Reggae tunes, a very low number of tourists (thanks to very few hostels on the island, no internet and almost no tour agencies), almost entirely black population who speak Spanish as well as English with a very tropical accent, palm trees everywhere, coconuts, water...beautiful.

We got in yesterday and hiked half an hour down a death trail (read; slippery steep slopes with very wet roots for steps) and ended up on a beautiful golden beach! We swam in the huge waves and tanned/burned on the sand for awhile, fed a starving dog, and it looked just like something out of a tropical beaches calender! So green.

On the hike back we were dying, thanks to accidentally skipping breakfast and bringing very little water with us (the hike was not anticipated to be that long and we thought there´d be something at the beach to buy from). It was 3pm. As we were hiking uphill, we ran into this 50-year-old in a bathing suit hiking ahead of us. She´s travelled Nicaragua to Panama by herself! Wicked. Anywho, she pointed out a local man carrying a pack of coconuts on his back and asked him if he had extra.

Then, for 50 cents per coconut, he used a machete to cut them open for us at the top, and we walked the rest of the way drinking the juice straight from the coconut! It was so cool! 

We´re staying in this little hostel right on the water now, for $7/night, and it´s crazy. The floor is literally just boards nailed down, so you can see the ocean just 5 feet below your room if you look through the cracks! Last night we chilled out in the hammocks for HOURS, not doing a thing from about 3:30 until whenever we went to bed (midnight, maybe?). First we sat in the restaurant for a couple of hours, not saying or doing literally a thing. Then Matt left back for Colon because he´s taking Spanish lessons there, and Steve and I went to our hammocks and laid around until twelve or one. It was dark out except for a few lights of the island. Calypso and reggae music blasted from a restaurant down the street, the heat and humidity was high but so perfect and warm, we could hear the Caribbean Sea washing beneath us...it´s like something out of a movie. I´ve NEVER been so relaxed in my life.

Tomorrow I start suba diving lessons for $170 (CHEAPEST IN THE WORLD! SERIOUSLY! AT HOME IT´S LIKE $700-900!!!!), today we´re gonna go snorkling and maybe kayaking. Yesterday in the woods we saw a strawberry poison dart frog, God those guys are SO tiny but SO adorable! So my scuba lessons´ll be 4 days, so I´m here for at least that long.

It´s paradise. And I´ve been gone less than a week :O I actually feel like the world is just at my feet, waiting for me to do whatever I want with it. Islands, beaches, rainforests and a whole underwater world in the future and present, it´s absolutely crazy and perfect.

Mom, I´m trying to find a phone and I know you want me to call but there´s just nowhere here! I´ll look again today, love you loads! If anyone wants to get a hold of me, Facebook seems to be the best option for now!

Tags: Relaxation



Awesome to hear your voice today. Sounds like you are having an excellent time. PS. Don't break the law again (breaking into the Country Club). Remember you are in a foriegn country. Be respectful of that. Have loads of fun. I love you a lot.

  Donna Feb 19, 2008 6:27 AM


Kirst...WOW!!! U r having the time of your LIFE...ENJOY and BE SAFE!!!LOL We r sooo jelous ... can't even imagine paradise like that. K be good love u take care!!!

  Liz and Brice Richard Feb 21, 2008 7:55 AM


Omgosh. I love you and your friggin taking off to foreign places! You seriously need to work for lonely planet or soemthing. Your descriptions of everything are so incredicbly amazing. almost orgazmic!
stay safe child


  Lewis Feb 22, 2008 7:04 PM


Wondering if you could tell me the name of the hostel that you stayed at in Panama and if they have a website at all...would like to check that place out on my travels...starting out in Costa Rica March 2 then heading to Panama in April...thanks!

  Ryan Feb 26, 2008 1:04 PM

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