Taboga Island

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


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Saturday, July 21, 2007

I went to Causeway around 7am and there was already a line to get to the boat. The ticket one trip was $8 and it took 40 minutes or so depending on the weather. It was July 21st, I was excited to go to Taboga Island because this tiny island has a lot of history specially stories about pirates and hidden treasures, waiting to be discovered.

This Island fills up during the day with daily tourists and then at 6pm when everybody took the last boat to go back to the city, this island is empty just locals. So quiet and beautiful! Anyways on my arrival to Taboga, Luis an Argentinean living in Taboga Island was waiting for me because I was staying at his hostel, called the Kool Hostel. Liliana and Luis are awesome, they have a daughter her name is Sofia. If you are thinking to stay in Taboga call luis, he is great. In Taboga there is only a Hotel or this Hostel, the Hostel is perfect a nice place, close to the beach and main road.

The island was big but the town and houses were only by the coast. The night before, the rain took over all the dirt roads so it was really hard to walk around, specially to hike up to the cross. So I decided to spend my day on the beach. I met a guy that his whole family works on the ships fishing, but he use to be a bodybuilder but I guess now he just talks to the tourists. He offered me snorkeling gear, canoe and everything. He talked non stop for 5 hours and invited me for a octopus ceviche that his sister makes. Anyways can you imagine? Living your entire life there... pretty amazing.
Right in front of Taboga a few meters you can see the Morro Island that is connected by the beach when the tight is low. Usually during the day, but early morning and night, when the tight is high the island is divided by water. The island is UNESCO so preserved, it's from the government. This island was used before by the Americans, and you can find now a French and American cemetery. Taboga was an American military base back in the days.
You will find a lot of sunken ships and parts if you snorkel around that area. On the beach you can find a wheel of the first steaming boat in North America.
When the afternoon arrived, a fellow called Albrum originally from the States invited to his house for beers and lunch. I stayed there all day long. Albrum with the storm found dinosaurs bones right by his house, pretty amazing I saw them. Locals would say they were just whale bones or something but he was convinced otherwise. The view from his house was amazing and his life really interesting. He is an artist and writer, actually right now writing a fiction novel about Taboga. His son has an amazing mind, talks about pirates all day long.
I stayed there until sunset and head off to my hostel, hoping that I would remember how to get back. I knew it was uphill somewhere. I decided to go for a bite to the Hotel, the only one in the islan, and the only place open to eat. It has a beautiful view to the bay, you could see the ships that went through and going to pass the canal. On my way back to the hostel, I saw a guy laying on the floor. The locals get drunk every single night. Anyways he said something to me and I figured it out that he was going exactly to the same place I was. I knew there were a couple of guys staying at the house, they were there working. Building tanks or something that the people of the town were against because of all the effects this would bring to the town. Especially because they live of fishing and tourism, with this both would be in danger. They were really nice; the boss that was 28 or so was from Colombia and worked hard. He loved his job and was proud of it. I stayed up talking with him about life. People here are amazing they fill your heart with light.

The next day I woke up and tried to hike to the cross but the road was still in pretty bad shape. I tried to hike but couldnt get through the mud. So I went back to the beach, the weather was beautiful and during the morning was really quiet before the tourists arrived from the city. Around 930am the boat arrived and the beach filled up in seconds. I met two guys from Germany that they were working in Panama City. Really nice people! I spend the day with them until they went back to Panama City. Life is so strange, it has been always so hard to say goodbye.
I went to say goodbye to Albrum and then went to the hostel. I was meeting the guys for a beer when they came back from work. I met them with the locals that were already partying, but then got caught with this family that arrived yesterday. She is Argentinean but lived in France for years now have a family and all. It was lots of fun talking about our country, Argentina, with Sandra. Had a beer with the guys later on.

Next morning I left Taboga Island with tears.... The rain followed my heart. It rained so hard it was scary inside the boat. Well I returned to Panama City and went straight to the Albrook Airport to fly to Bocas del Toro. The plane was supposed to leave at 3pm and I arrived to the airport at noon. So I had a bit of wait.
When I arrived to the airport there was no space in either company (Aeroperlas or Air Panama) so I put myself on the waiting list and had to wait until 3pm and see if anyone cancelled. Just to be safe I purchased a ticket for tomorrow at 630am.
After waiting and hours of coffee, two guys sat beside me, they were in the same situation as me. They were Americans, one Joey from Chicago and Jon from NY. They came from Colombia and were going to stay in Panama for a week or so.
We started checking hostels just in case we weren't able to fly to Bocas that day. I called earlier to Casa del Carmen Hostel but is was full. Everyhing was full, the thing is that tourism is growing so fast in panama and there is not enough lodeging. So I just went to the same hotel with the guys. We were already like a family, me the little sister. We went to Tower Suites on Federico Boyd Avenue and 52, close to Uruguay Street were you could find lots of restaurant. It was a lovely area, and the hotel had AC, swimming pool, restaurant and internet. The rate was US$30 for a room with three beds.The price was a great deal and it was a few blocks away from Uruguay Street. Full with small pubs and restaurants. So I recommend it.
We went to Hibbi Hibbi Restaurant in Uruguay Street, great place and then head back to the hotel. I had to wake up early since my flight was leaving at 630am the guys were leaving around later by Air Panama. But we went and bought wine and started drinking and talking, Joey went to bed. But Jon and I went to the pool, fucking bats flying all around us. Joey joined us later. It was 4am and I was awake... need to sleep so I went back to the room and rest until my alarmed went off.
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