At this point we were kind of undecided on where to head next.. Neither of us were overly excited about Boquette (which turned out to be pretty cool) but mainly used it as mainly as a means to break up our bus ride.
One of the options was to head to the Corcovado National Park just over the line into Costa Rica on the Pacific coast where there was supposed to be tons of wildlife. The other option was to head to Bocas Del Toro which is a laid back island chain on the Carribean coast.
We only had about a week left until we had to be in San Jose, Costa Rica, so we decided we would have to either head to one or the other, since they were on opposite coasts and with the time constraints.
I wanted to go to Bocas since we hadn’t had much beach and relaxation time whereas we had already done a lot of hiking and would most likely be hiking a volcano as soon as we got to San Jose.
After talking to a bunch of travelers, we hadn’t heard of anyone who went to Corcovado but everyone seemed to be going to Bocas Del Toro.
It sounded fun, so I was able to convince my brother to head there instead. We knew it was directly on the “gringo trail” (not much local culture) but it sounded like fun.
To get there by local bus, we would have had to head South back to David, before waiting to catch another local bus up to Almirante. From here we would have to hire a taxi across to Bocas del Toro. This would have costs us around $15 on what people call “chicken busses”, super crowded over loaded local busses. We had taken only these until this point and they are definitely not fun.
The alternative option was a direct shuttle from our hostel, which cuts across from Boquette to El Fortuna, then cuts up, and included the ferry. Much less complicated, shorter, and more comfortable. This option was $25 but we decided it was definitely worth it in this case.
So we loaded up our things on the bus.
Once we got near El Fortuna, the bus stopped for a break.
Beautiful view. There was a hostel here called Lost and Found which is kind of a break in the trip between Bocas and Boquette (or David). It was supposed to be a great place to stop in the rainforest for hiking, but we forgot about this option when we stopped but carried on.
We arrived in Almirante about 4 hours later. This was a crappy port town where they managed to ruin a beautiful Carribean shoreline with garbage.
We waited in the water taxi port where we were loaded into the taxi in the order the tickets were purchased. They called out our names to load in.
This area of Panama immediately seemed less well off than the other areas we had been to so far.
The boat ride was about half an hour. Bocas del Toro is on the island Isla Colon.
We got to Bocas. It was a happening town, a lot of people walking up and down the streets.
Our last hostel had recommended we stay at Hostel Heike, so we had reservations. Only $10 a night here. We were glad we had the reservations here since the place was booked full.
It was early afternoon so we decided we would do some exploring. We started walking down to what was thought was the local beach but ended up in a local neighborhood. We could see that outside of the tourism this island was very poor.
We walked past burning garbage
Until we found an airplane in someone’s front yard?
At this point it was evident we were not at the beach, so we asked around until we found our way.
The local beach was pretty nice outside of the garbage still trending here.
And they forgot to finish their dock.
We hung out on this dock for a little while where we met some people and eventually headed back to the hostel.
In the evening, people were drinking in the lounge areas so we joined them with some rum a cokes. There was a big night life scene here, so we joined the others and headed out to a couple bars.
The bars stay open until 5am but we called it a night around 3.