Christmas Eve in Bocas del Toro

Trip Start Oct 11, 2010
Trip End Mar 09, 2011

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Flag of Panama  , Bocas del Toro,
Thursday, December 23, 2010

We decided that Bocas del Toro, a small archipelago on the northern coast of Panama, would be the perfect place to spend Christmas. Everyone who knows Central America recommends it, and the mix of surf and snorkelling appealed to both of us. There are a few islands to choose from - Isla Colon, the main one, is known for its partying. We went for Isla Carenero - a smaller island about 20 mins boat ride from Colon. Apparently the island got its name as Columbus got his ships careened there.

Rather than a galleon, we took the overnight bus from Panama city. Being silly season, all the direct buses were full, so we had to change at David at 5 in the morning. Through bleary eyes, I swear I saw a dog being chained to the roof of a overfull bus.  They don’t treat their pets like we do back home. 
We stayed at a Panamanian owned hotel called Tierra Verde. Set back slightly from the water, it had a great veranda to kick back on. It was here that we met a lovely Canadian couple, called Benoit and Chantelle. We got on really well and ended up hanging out on Christmas Eve with them (and NYE - but that’s another story). 

After treating ourselves to a whopping great seafood platter, we headed over to Toro Loco for the traditional Panamanian countdown to Christmas Day - lots of rum and fireworks at midnight. Well who are we to argue with tradition? On the way, knowing that the shops would be shut for Christmas Day, I remembered to buy a bottle of rum to stash for the day after.

Needless to say that bottle of rum never made it to Christmas Day. I think it was the 2nd mildly overpriced round that sealed its fate. Memories of the evening include: firebreathing bar girls; free sambuca for Caroline “shots” Rodgers; watching fireworks whilst being hugged by lots of very tanned and merry people; and showing the locals what 6 lessons at University can do for your salsa dancing (i.e. not much). 

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