Fantasy Island

Trip Start Aug 03, 2010
Trip End Feb 01, 2012

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Where I stayed
Colleen's house

Flag of Panama  , Bocas del Toro,
Thursday, January 13, 2011

 My mom's friend Colleen lives on a tropical island off Panama. We’ve never met, but she was nice enough to invite us to visit. I was excited about our first time to the Caribbean coast.

We drove across the Fortuna dam (which was near flood stage due to their wettest year on record), up and over jungley mountains to Almirante, home of the Chiquita Banana Company. We parked Rover at the bombero (fire station) for safe keeping and took a water-taxi over to Isla Colon. We stayed in the small city of Bocas del Toro for a night, it has the feel of a town on the verge of major growth, with restaurants, tour offices and tourists. The following day we took another boat to beautiful, serene Isla Cristobal, where Colleen’s amazing house is. She has planted all the tropical fruits and flowers that I’d love to grow if they could survive Humboldt winters.  

The trail from the dock to her house has cacao trees full of pods, we imagined how delicious it would be if we knew how to roast the beans and make chocolate from scratch. On the same trail I saw a sloth! Steve and Colleen laughed at how dumbstruck I was when I pointed to it. She was climbing up to the top of a tree with her baby clinging to her chest, moving fast for a sloth (which isn’t very fast), probably to avoid us she went to the small tippy top branches where predators cannot go. 

We walked around a lot, ate plenty of delicious food, relaxed in hammocks on the porch, listened to the rain in the distance fall in the jungle and get closer and closer until it hit the tin roof with a deafening roar, made amazing flower bouquets (almost as tall as me) from her garden, watched fireflies at night and listened to the sounds of the jungle, which included the deep eerie howl of the howler monkey.

For the return, we caught a ride with Colleen's friend, Captain Ron back to Bocas del Toro where we spent the night and did a little more exploring. It has a laid-back rastafarian atmosphere, we heard either reggae or Cajun music almost everywhere we went, and had fun deciphering the strong Caribbean accents. The next morning we took another water-taxi back to the mainland, it was a rough ride, I spent most of the time hoping the boat wouldn’t break apart when we slammed down on the waves, the rest of the time I spent wondering how Rover did with all the rain while we were apart. When we left it was warm and sunny, we left the roof vents open a little so it wouldn’t get too hot inside and the fridge wouldn’t have to work too hard. Oops! Almost everything was soaking wet, good thing we’re heading to dryer territory. 

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