Sunday, 14 April 2013

Beautiful Bocas .... a panamanian paradise

Sometimes you find a place that suits you. Over the past year I've found quite a few of this places. They typically involve sun, sand and sea.

Bocas del Toro is a place that suits me. A lot.

The name Bocas del Toro is given to the province, the group of islands and the main island. Confusing, I know. This group of islands is amazing. Just over 30 k's from the Costa Rica boarder in Panama it is a short boat ride from the never ending banana plantations on the mainland. It's lucky that the trip is a quick one as my arrival at the wooden shed that is the ferry port coincided with a tropical downpour. I was drenched just grabbing my bag from the back of the bus. But not to worry, I was headed for island life.

These carribean islands are filled with West Indians, Latinos and a few resident gringos so the pace is very relaxed. There are six inhabited islands and loads of others that dot the clear blue waters.

My first stop was Isla Bastimentos. We grabbed a water taxi from the main island and not 10 minutes later pulled up at the verandah/jetty of our home for the next few nights, a cool family run hotel built out over the water.

The water around Bastimentos isn't clear like the main island. It seems that the island picks up all the rubbish fallen in the water from Bocas town. The shore was a bit of a rubbish dump to say the least. But this didn't detract from the charm. And I've seen more than my fair share of garbage filled streets and water ways, so this is nothing new for me. Ramshackled huts and houses are built on stilts out over the water and along the waters edge. Many had seen better days but they were filled with laughing children and relaxed locals.

The beauty of this island is away from the town. The north side of the island is lined with amazing palm fringed beaches. My favourite was Red Frog Beach, although it is more developed than many of the others ....  this is handy is you feel the urge for a coldie on a hot day!

The southern end of the island is covered in mangroves with lots of tiny islands and coral reef filling the marine park area. There is also a spot where you can always find a dolphin or two hanging around.

After a few days of chilling in the hammock, swimming and snorkeling it was time to see what the main island, Isla Colòn or Bocas as the locals call it, had to offer.

There is no beach within walking distance from town so I decided to save money on water taxi's and find a place with a pool. Mmmmm a swimming pools with views of the ocean. I like it. But I did grab a water taxi or two, there was so much to see, I didn't want to miss a thing.

Bocas is a wondeful mix of chilled out locals and even more relaxed gringos. The sandy streets are full of people cruising along on push bikes and there's a load of fun and unique places to eat.

If you are looking to really, really relax, head to Bocas. Mmmmm, think I could live there. Actually, I think I should live there.

Link to all pics

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