Panama Day 6- Isla Coiba

I ended up sleeping on a hammock, since my brother was sprawled out in the tent and it smelled like feet.

I had a light sleeping bag and bug net with me so the bugs weren’t a problem, but I overall didn’t sleep too great my back kept hurting and I got pretty cold in the middle of the night.

The next day, we woke up and cooked breakfast/lunch in the ranger’s kitchen. It was pretty well used and dingy but it worked. We cooked up some rice added cheese and potatoes onion garlic came out pretty good and we had enough for a couple meals.

Before the boat came to pick us up, we went for a little hike. There was a viewpoint that was only about a half hour walk from camp so we hiked over there.

From here you could see the beach we were staying at.

There was another view where you could see the other side of the island.

The main island was pretty big; about 10×40 miles. There were some other smaller islands all around it. Apparently until the early 90s The islands served as a prison so it wasn’t declared a national park until after that.

Along the trail my brother found some giant leaves

On the way down, there was another trail that connected to this one that apparently was a 3 day hike and a lot of people get lost on it. We hiked down it for about a half hour and it felt like true jungle.

The  boat was supposed to pick us up at 11:30, but they didn’t come until around 12:30 so we napped in the hammocks in the mean time.

We were annoyed because right before we left a cruise ship of like 60 old people stopped by and we saw them on the hike. This is when we had thought it was only going to be us 3 on this deserted island. The lonely planet was misleading the way it described the experience we would be having; yes, it was a very lightly inhabited island, however, we were only allowed to stay in one tiny location on this pristine island where everyone else was and all the tourist infrastructure was. I wouldn’t call running water, telephones, cabins, and air conditioning “very little tourist infrastructure.”

On the way back, I opted only to snorkel since the diving was very expensive.

They brought us to two locations, both of which were nice but not the same as diving.

I only saw fish.. apparently on the first dive there were a lot of sharks at the bottom and they saw a seahorse, second dive a turtle. What I really wanted to see was one of those whale sharks so I was a little let down.

After the hour plus boat ride back to the mainland, we had to find a place to stay the night. We didn’t want to go back to the place we were at the night before, as it was too far from town. The guy we had camped with, Christopher, opted to stay at the first place he saw in town, Rolo hostel. This place was $10 a night and seemed straight forward enough. However, I had heard there were nicer hostels along the beach.

Downtown Santa Catalina consisted only of the main strip where all the dive shops were etc, and one other road running off that that had  a lot of lodging/restaurants.

The walk was pretty long and it was dark at this point. It started downpouring so we dodged into a pizza joint for a few minutes trying to decide what to do. It was starting to suck because we had no place to stay, it was raining, and we didn’t know where we were.

When we got back on the road we talked to a couple german guys that said the place they were at was legit and right on the beach, surfer’s paradise.

We checked in; the place was a kind of shit hole but the guy was nice enough. We had a dorm room to ourselves, although the shower was inoperable and full of mattresses, so we had to use the one next door with no shower head and only cold water (not uncommon to other hostels around here).

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