Bocas del Toro, Panama

Trip Start Jul 18, 2007
Trip End Aug 24, 2007

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

July 24
You should see the airplanes... Jesus!!! I wasn't afraid but if you are scared of flying you are going to have a hard time to get to Bocas flying. You can take the bus from Albrook bus station, and it takes around 8 hours to get to Almirante, from there you will have to take a taxi boat to Colon Island, a 40 minutes boat ride. I met this special character from Sydney, Australia, I called her Linsey her real name was Lencia. Anyways we sat together and that was it because I passed out the whole trip. When I woke up she had a sandwich and other things for me.... Of course she didn't know I am a vegetarian and the sandwich had ham so I told her: Keep it! After an hour of napping on the plane I was ready. When you get to the Bocas airplane all these locals approach to you offering or a taxi, or different kinds of tours. All I wanted was to know how to get to my hotel so I talk to this guy, his name is Ariel. Really nice guy he offered me a taxi but when I said no and asked him how do I get to the town he just said Ok I take you. All right, deal. Linsey was staying a few blocks from mine. If you want to stay in a nice place I recommend the Cocomo on sea, beautiful place and the owner Douglas is a great guy. You have free kayaks and there is a guy that takes you anywhere you want (taxi boat)for a good price. The hostel is a little bit far from the center where all the restaurants are but is not far just a 5 or 10 minutes walk, but is right by the water. The room is around US$30. If you are in a tight budget I recommend El Sagitario, a block off the main road. If you don't care the smell you can stay at "Las Olas Hotel" is $30 a night for a room with AC, breakfast, kayak rentals and internet included. Its a walk to there but the good thing is that is close to the restaurant "El Ultimo Refugio" great seafood there, but its only open for dinner.
There are a lot of places where you can get a taxi boat, I usually recommend to go to a place or just get to know somebody you can trust. its is easy to get ripped off because they can just leave you in an island and don't pick up so be sure to pay on your way back to the main island.
So we met up with Linsey and head off to Bastimentos Island, they charge around $10 round trip. Arrived to Red Frog the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. To get in you have to pay $2. There was nobody there, just us. We walked towards the jungle and try to find some red frogs. I have to say they are tiny. Around 2pm a lot of people started to come.
We were already tired of the sun since we were at the beach since 11am.
When laying on the beach I saw Jon, he was by himself. They were staying at Cocomo on the Sea. Joey stayed in Panama City because he was so stubborn to see the Panama Canal. I told Jon that I was going to meet them later on. Linsey and I went back to Colon Island and grab something to eat... had amazing pinas coladas at Crazy Charley or something like that. Later on we went to meet the guys at their place. Thats when we met Douglas the owner of Cocomo, we drunk beers and talk for hours. The guys had naps and all but I went with Linsey to eat. We were planning to go out at night... we will see if they can make it.Around 10pm or so we went to eat at the best restaurant, called Lemon Grass. This restaurant was owned by an Irish guy. the food is really good, great curries. Alan the bartneder was great, he was famous in the island for his flair. Anyways Linsey went to bed and I went for a beer.

July 25
Linsey woke me up at 9am in teh morning, so went for breakfast. I was on my way to the bank, cause you need cash in Bocas there are a few places that accpet credit cards. On my way back I found Joey. they were moving from Cocomo on the Sea to Las Brisas, this other hostel that is falling apart. But they charge like $5 for a room. I met Joey and Jon and we head of to isla Carenero. is the Island right in front Colon island. % minutes ride, Douglas gave us a ride to Cosmic Crab Restaurant. That I have to say that the restaurant was Cosmic Crap! We waited for the food for three hours, the owner was really nice and she made us a cocktail that was blue and not tasty at all. We went back and Joey rented a motorcycle and drove to the beach on Colon Island, Bocas del Drago. Usually the locals go surfying to this area, here is where you will find the waves. If not you can to Carenero Island. Anyways Jon and I went  and took a kayak from Douglas.  Around 8pm we went to grab a bite to eat to the Tapas place right in front of La Iguana.  Then we went dancing to La Iguana. Iguana closes at 3am, then you usually go and get a sandwich from the argentinean guy called Miguel.

July 26
It was raining so hard,  this is the rainy season so I was lucky with those first days of sunshine. We went to Red Frog for a bit.  The water was warm but when you went out it was pretty cold, but there was big waves. Good times! Jon and Joey, were leaving that afternoon. So we had to go back to the airport. Anyways at the end the airline clerck made a mistake with their reservartion so at the end one of them had to stay, they gave him a flight for the next morning. So at the end, Jon stayed and Joey left. We went to The Reef to eat, they had the best lobster, fresh and tasty. Also cheap it was US$12 for a whole lobster. On our way back to the hostel, we heard some music coming from the locks. We went to check it out, it was all the taxi boat drivers, drinking, singing and playing guitar. So went in, and stayed with them for a bit.
Amazing people.

July 27
We woke up and head to the airport again. On my way back to town I met Alan on the street, the bartender from Lemon Grass. We decided to go to Carenero Island, he had to work at 4pm . So we stayed there until Alan had to go to work. I stayed in town with the artesans that they all hang out there, my friend was Alejandro. He was going to Brasil and Costa Rica after. Amazing life thats all he does, move from place to place selling his art to toruists. I saw Keyla and jorge, they were from Dominican republic, so we went for a drink toegther. That night there was a band playing at The Iguana. The owner of Lemon Grass was the singer of the band, they were playing Oasis and Rolling Stones. So I went to Iguana and met up with Alan, Keyla and Jorge. The whole toen was there, obviously everyone knows each other. We stayed up until 5 am.

July 28
I woke up had breakfast and went to Zapatilla island. Its beautiufl the ride there is around $30 its a 40 minutes ride. The gas is really expensive in Bocas, plus there are a lot of american toruists so the prices keep increasing. I stayed there for a couple of hours. There is nothing here, desserted island.
I came back to Colon island and met Tyler and Kelley they are from San Diego. They were planning to go South to Santa Clara. So we decided to travel together. We went for some drinks later on.

July 29
I woke up and went for breakfast, I saw dolphis on the bay, right in front of me. So peaceful!
Today was beautiful, our last day in Bocas. It was sunny and hot. I met up with tyler and Kelley and we went to Red Frog Beach on Bastimentos Island. We stayed all day at the beach swimming and drinking beers. Tomorrow we were leaving to Santa Clara. Around 8pm we went for dinner to The Reef.  kelley went to their hostel, but Tyler stayed with me. We went to Lemon Grass and Alan was working. he said that we should meet up in La Iguana later on. So I went to La Iguana with Tyler, we had some beers and after a bit Alan came.  Around 3pm La Iguana closes but Barco Hundido stays open for another hour. So we decided to go there, I found Alejandro my friend. That was good because I could say goodbye to him. Funny a guy came and offered drugs to Tyler, they will always try to sell him drugs hahaha! We sat there for a while drinking and talking until they closed. The police would always come cause at the end of the night somebody will get into a fight. So that was always a good time to leave. we went to Miguels place and had a sandwhich. Said goodbye to Alan and I was ready to keep my trip going.
What I learned? this people live in paradise, the scenery is beautiful obviously they cant go to all of these beautiful islands because they cant afford it, but they live a good life, they dont have much. but they have their dreams and fight. Instead we fill our lives with dreams and live an empty life, live in a constantt illusion. I think Alan was the wisest person I ever met in my entire life. The sad part is that, slowly this place will be turned into a Bahamas filled with resorts. The beauty of this place is their people, the contact with nature and their culture. Soon this will be gone because big companies will keep coming. This companies will bring jobs to the locals but at the end will devastate the place. They are starying to do this right now, so sad. I met a lawyer when i was in Bocas, he was there because an international ship drop oil into the water, and now they had to clean the water.

July 30
I woke up and went to the airport to catch the plane back to Panama City.
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