Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bocas del Toro

After a two day journey from Chitre, with an overnight stop in rainy David, we arrived in gorgeous Bocas del Toro. It`s an archipelago just off the very North Westerly corner of Panama, near the Costa Rican border. The journey was pretty stressful, winding along narrow roads through jungles and over mountains in a mini bus, but the scenery was spectacular. We also saw a sloth crawling (very slowly!) across the road next to the bus! Don`t worry, the traffic stopped to let it get to safety.
So, Bocas... we`re staying in the main town on Isla Colon, the biggest of the islands. It`s a great place, really relaxed with pretty wooden buildings and sea front bars. The water is incredibly clear and you can watch countless fish swimming around the jetties. I took this photo within minutes of arriving on the island in water taxi.

This was our view at lunchtime today- not too bad, I suppose!

These colourful wooden buildings are typical of Bocas town.

We`re staying in a lovely hostel right near the water front, Hostel Hansi. We think it`s the best place we`ve stayed so far, with our own little balcony, a well-equipped kitchen and all spotlessly clean. We`re staying for about five nights, so it`s great to have such a nice base.

A couple of days ago we took a water taxi to the brilliantly named Playa Wizard on another island. It has to be the most perfect beach I`ve ever seen- a long stretch of sand with gentle water and lots of shade to protect us from the scorching sun! The best thing was that there was hardly anyone on the beach except us. After a while, a couple of local boys came riding along on horses. It was a really strange, but beautiful, sight.

Yesterday we went on a tour of some of the main sights in the archipelago. We had a little boy called Mario accompanying us - we think he`s learning the ropes to be a tour guide one day. He was such a serious child and, though he was only 10, the other guides joked that he was more like a 45 year old!

If you look closely at this photo (remember if you click the picture it will show it full size)and you can see Rob's head getting sun burnt!

We had a snorkelling stop off on the tour. Not a lot to see besides coral and small fish but deliciously warm clear water.

Part of Bocas is a designated marine park because of it`s important habitats like these mangrove swamps.

We spent a couple of hours on Red Frog Beach, so-called because of the poison arrow frogs that live in the forest behind the sand. It`s the only place they live in the world and we saw one! It was absolutely tiny, probably 2 1/2cms long and a vibrant red and black. No photo, though, sadly! Another lovely stop was Dolphin Bay (noticing a theme?) where we saw lots of bottle-nose dolphins really close to the boat. Some were jumping right out of the water. Show offs.

Rachel xx

1 comment:

Nicky F said...

Bocas looks gorgeous. So impressed with your pics and comments, its like a virtual tour of central america! wish we were there having a drink with you by the sea! lots of love Nic and Rich xx