The Butterfly Farm

We’d found an ad in a local paper for a Butterfly Farm near Bocas; this sounded like a great little excursion that the kids would enjoy. On the morning of our butterfly tour, it seemed everyone had planned to go to town via the water-shuttle. How many people fit into a panga? The answer is 26! Our driver, Felo, is fabulous but I think even he was surprised that everyone fit. The panga was riding low in the water for that trip!IMG_9280 IMG_9281Once at town, Felo taxied us over to the Butterfly Farm. We’d never have found this entrance on our own. Just arriving was an adventure!IMG_9283IMG_8130IMG_8131

This way to the butterflies!IMG_9285IMG_9286

Pineapple

Pineapple

The Butterfly Farm was not what we’d expected, but we’re learning quickly not to set any expectations in Panama. It was someone’s private property; trails wound through the jungle and educational signs were posted pertaining to wildlife and plants. The area was a bit run-down, but the farmer was engaged and helpful. At one time it looked as though this farm was thriving, just not today. We were disappointed that our Spanish is so poor and we were unable to really communicate to learn about the butterflies. We were led inside and left to ourselves to explore the butterfly house. IMG_8143

Butterflies fluttered all around; large ones with bright blue wing-tops, small orange butterflies, and small black butterflies with a bright red stripe on their wings. The butterflies were constantly moving. The house was hot and humid. There were several beautiful flowers to admire while walking along the little pathways though the house. Annika and I played “Hot & Cold” on the paths; I’d stand in one location and let her know if she were getting closer (hot) or farther (cold) away as she wound around the paths through the vegetation.

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Darren was on a mission to get a non-blurred photograph of a butterfly, and he succeeded!

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Outside of the butterfly house, along one of the paths, we found a large terrarium where several tiny frogs were living. These were the poison-dart frogs and they were brightly colored green, yellow, blue, and red.IMG_9363

Brian had struck up a conversation with the farmer, although limited conversation due to our language barrier, the farmer shared his knowledge with us in Spanish and elaborate hand gestures. We returned to the butterfly house where he showed us butterfly larve.IMG_9362

We’d spent an hour at the Butterfly Farm and had to return to the docks to meet Felo, our water-shuttle driver. We welcomed the cool breeze from the boat ride after having been in the steamy jungle.

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Felo brought us to Bocas Town where we had lunch and did a bit of touristy shopping before heading back to the Red Frog Marina.IMG_8207

Our afternoon was spent swimming and snorkeling from the dinghy in the mangroves. It was refreshing and peaceful; Darren and Katie admired the sunset over the Panama mountains as we returned the dinghy to the docks. That night we dined on tuna that Brian and Darren had selected from the fish market. Brian spiced up the tuna with an onion and pineapple chutney and made coconut rice and broccoli for our sides; all plain for Annika and Gavin, both loved the fish and rice. Once the kids were asleep, we put our feet up with rum and/or red wine in hand and once again enjoyed the cool night air out on the dock.

 

Bocas Brewery

We’d found the BEST attraction in Bocas del Toro!  Home-brewed beer!  The last time we’d been to a brewery was August of 2012 in Nantucket, MA with Darren and Katie at Cisco Brewing.  It was almost too good to be true that Darren and Katie were here with us in Panama sharing this experience!  It was also too good to be true that Brian would soon be drinking a cold IPA…and here we were!IMG_9155

The Bocas Brewery is on the beachfront in the northern end of Bocas del Toro at Isla Colon.  The staff were fabulously hospitable and the atmosphere was relaxed, family friendly, clean, and comfortable.  There was a nice selection of brews from Bocas Brewery and also from Panama City.  We didn’t know which to choose…IMG_9159

So we sampled them all!IMG_9156

Once we’d determined our favorite brews, we moved outside to chill on the beach. The winners were an IPA from Panama City and a Stout from Bocas Brewery.  Ahhh…IMG_8032 IMG_9165

We ordered some food and played on the beach.  I wouldn’t recommend the food – beer yes, but food is still a work in progress as this brewery is under new ownership – good for snacking, small portions and very simple.  IMG_8035 IMG_8037 IMG_9170 IMG_9177

We were joined by our cruiser friends David and Victoria.IMG_9179Bocas Brewery’s atmosphere and refreshment provided a great ending to an already fantastic day.  Nothing beats downtime with friends and a cold beer on the beach!IMG_9160

 

Farewell, Paul!

It was time for Paul to begin his journey back to the states.  We’d had a fabulous adventure with Paul all the way from San Andres, Columbia to Bocas del Toro, Panama.  We were shocked he wasn’t just going to move aboard Rode Trip!  But we were glad he’d be returning home to his wife, Emily, and we hoped we would see both of them soon!  Paul took one last walk through the jungle – “No, it’s a rain forest,” Annika reminded us.IMG_20140505_170510Prior to departing Isla Bastimentos, Paul had completed two goals.  Goal #1 – find a Strawberry Poison-dart Frog.  Check!IMG_9084

Goal #2 – find a Sloth.  Check!
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Everyone went to Bocas Town to bid Paul farewell.IMG_8021 IMG_8023 IMG_9150Safe home, Paul!  We’ll keep sampling the cocktails so we’re ready for your next visit!IMG_20140502_155654