Happy birthday to me :)

Trip Start Oct 16, 2013
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11
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Trip End Mar 09, 2013


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Where I stayed
Hotel Cayo Zapatilla

Flag of Panama  ,
Friday, November 1, 2013

Day 16: 1 November 2013

Puerto Viejo -> Saixola -> Guabito -> Almirante -> Bocas del Toro

Today is our first border crossing so we had a quick breakfast (Anna bought me a dulche de leche cake to celebrate) then went to get the bus. It went super quick as our driver was pretty speedy. As we had booked an onward bus to Almirante at the border we met Ramon who was there to help us cross. Although it was all a lot easier than I thought it would be! We got our stamps at the Costa Rica side. I got wished Happy Birthday by the border officials after seeing my passport. Then we walked across the old and rickety bridge into Panama where we again got our passports stamped.

At Almirante we got the water taxi to the main island on Bocas del Toro, Isla Colon. As we arrived we were told as it was Independence Day weekend most of the hostels/hotels were sold out! They made a couple of calls and found us something super basic but cheap on the main street. We dumped our stuff then set off to book a boat tour for tomorrow and have some lunch (coconut rice and Creole chicken). We walked to the beach at Feria del Mar and chilled there for a bit. It was a nice walk as on the way we passed lots of local houses and bars which was a change from the centre of Bocas which is super touristy.

As we were getting sick of beer in the evening we set off to find somewhere with wine. After a couple of glasses and a trip to the barco hundido (sunken ship) to check out the local night life we were ready for bed. All in all its been a good birthday and turns out it wasn't quite so difficult turning 30 as I thought :)


Day 17: 2 November 2013

Our first stop on the boat trip was to the Bahia de Delfines. It took us a while but we finally saw some dolphins. We then headed to Cayo Zapatillo, one of the uninhabited islands. We had some time here to walk around the island and relax on the beach which was really pretty. As most people decided to stay near the boats the rest of the island was pretty quiet so we had the beach to ourselves. We had lunch at Cayo Coral where the water was really clear and a bright turquoise colour so you could see fish and coral. We headed back to the main island a little disappointed about the boat trip. It was fun and the scenery was beautiful but it wasn't what we were expecting. Although I kinda feel that way about Bocas in general. There's no doubt its a pretty place but its so crowded, touristy and expensive... or maybe it is just we had built it up too much based on everyone else telling us how great it was.

As we liked the area by the beach we headed that way to find somewhere for dinner. We had some nice tuna carpaccio with salad. The streets are all decorated for Independence Day tomorrow and there are lots of people hanging about the streets and food and cocktail stalls but there doesn't seem to be anything actually happening yet. Its all a bit strange! I am quite happy to be leaving tomorrow so we can see more of the 'real' Panama.
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