Panama Hats!

Trip Start Jul 31, 2005
1
184
209
Trip End Sep 05, 2007


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Flag of Panama  ,
Wednesday, July 4, 2007

We left Costa Rica as we had been there too long already and much longer than planned!
We walked or should I say waded our way to the bus stop early in the morning to catch the 6.30am bus to Sixaola - the border town with Panama.

We were nervous crossing this border, still undecided as to which route and when we shall head into South America proper we had no onward ticket, (there is no way they would accept our tickets out of Brazil!). Well, there was no need to worry, we passed through immigration easy peasy and after swiping off the taxi drivers who were trying to take us to the port we jumped on a bus heading to Changuinola. Once in the town we needed to get a small minibus to Finca 60 which is where the boats travel to Bocas Del Toro from. Cool, us and a Taiwanese guy we had met in Puerto Viejo jumped in the minibus and arrived in good time to get on the 11am boat to Bocas. When we arrived at the small dock and bought our tickets for the boat journey we met some people who were on our bus to the border - they had taken a taxi from one of those guys and paid $10 each - we paid $2 each on the bus - yes things are going our way! LOL

They packed so many people onto the tiniest boat and soon enough we were heading along the picturesque waters of Changuinola canal, calm water and hundreds of Banana plantations (some of which had held our bus up and the bananas were transported across the road from the field to the packing factory!
Upon arrival in Bocas town we jumped on another small boat to Isla Bastimentos, a smaller island made up of one concrete pathway, a jumgle interior and delightful waters around the outside. We checked into a nice hostel which is coloured yellow and looks out over the waterfront.

This is monsoon, and boy does it show! It rained the first two days we were here! It poured out of the sky and we listened to the loud bangs of thunder and watched the lightening light up the water and surrounding coastline!

Yesterday - our third day was the only sunny day we have had so far! The whole day was dry and divine, it was of course the day that poor Matt was feeling ill and so he had to spend a whole day lying around in the hammock in the heat feeling like hell - bless him, he is feeling better this morning.

So, yesterday I went out on a small boat with a couple of guys from our hostel and a couple who were staying elsewhere who were suprise suprise - living in Canterbury! The day started around 9am when we left Isla Bastimentos and headed out onto the open sea and then down small canals to what they call Dolphin Bay. There were lots of dolphins frolicking around in the water but they were at quite a distance - nowhere near as close as we saw them in Australia and New Zealand. From Dolphin Bay we headed towards the reef. It seems like everyone comes to this one particular small section of reef - it was after a while jammed with tourists! The coral was so beautiful though, full of colour and many different types, lots of hard and soft corals in a multitude of colours.
When I jumped in the water a local man was feeding the fish and there were literally hundreds of them around me! There were many fish there, we saw huge Barracuda and lots of sea slugs, clown fish, and just tons of multicoloured fish -no sharks this time though!

After snorkelling on the reef we all sat on the boat and ate the lunches we had bought with us. Our boat driver soon came back and we made our way to a tiny beach at Hospital Point.

The beach here was small, but sandy and the water was so warm it was like bathwater - delightful! Two from the group headed into the jungle behind the beach and came back armed with mangoes and coconuts that had fallen from the trees. The rest of us also headed into the jungle to collect more mangoes and take a look at the tiny but deadley Red poison frogs who inhabit this area. We cracked open the coconuts and cut the mangoes and then ate them on the beach before our boat came back to collect us.

When I arrived back at our hostel I went up and gave Matt a kiss, he then went and got a couple of beers - they did not make him feel any better mind - so we went out to a nice little restaurant which sits on the waterfront and enjoyed fresh lemon juice and a delicious dinner.

Today is our final day here in Bocas, we are heading back to the mainland tommorow and hopefully arriving in the mountain town of Boquete.

Hugs

AlinMatt
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