Slow Down! Sloth Crossing

We had a looonnnnng pause on our walk to the bath house one morning while a sloth crossed our path! We’d been spotting these critters high in the treetops where they blend to look like a hairy coconut; but we were thrilled to experience a very close encounter.


This sloth was identifiable by the markings on its face and back. A friend of ours referred to it as a “Costa Rican Sloth” and we wondered how it might have slipped through border control. Upon further investigation we learned that this was a three-toed sloth of the genus bradypus. The black stripe down the sloth’s back determined that it was a male; adult males have unique markings on their backs, like fingerprints. Three-toed sloths mature at three-years old and they can live to be 30 years old. They are the size of a large cat, weighing 8-10lbs. The greenish hue in their thick, coarse fur is actually algae growing on the fur.


Sloths are tree dwelling creatures and their bodies have adapted to enable them to hang from their limbs. The three-toed sloth’s arms are nearly twice the length of its back legs. Sloths are notorious for being slow; in fact, the term sloth in Spanish ‘pereza’ literally translates to ‘laziness.’ Sloths cannot easily walk on all four limbs and while moving about the ground they crawl by pulling themselves forward with their arms. Three-toed sloths can be active during the day or night and they can move between different trees up to four times daily.


Three-toed sloths eat up to 96 varieties of leaves. While eating and lounging, this sloth can rotate its head 300 degrees to scan for predators rather than precious energy repositioning its body. The sloth may be an ideal mascot for cruisers who are slow moving, willing to eat a variety of foods, and are each uniquely identifiable.


Turtle Beach, Isla Bastimentos

Another beautiful morning at the marina and it looked like a great day for the beach! IMG_9180 IMG_9181IMG_8008 Gavin was ready to go!IMG_8005 We took our jungle, “No, it’s a rain forest,” path toward the beach. IMG_8048






Turtle Beach was a long walk away from the Red Frog Marina. But once arrived, we had our own private beach scattered with tree-trunk playgrounds.IMG_8065IMG_8076IMG_8096IMG_8069IMG_8064 Inbetween making mud pies (mud cupcakes, mud cookies…Annika is an established sand baker), playing peek-a-boo around branches, and taking dips in the ocean we took a stroll down the beach to see what else we could find.IMG_8087

Trail to Polo Beach

Trail to Polo Beach

Then, it was time to head back toward Red Frog Beach for cold drinks and a bite to eat at the Palmar Tent Lodge.IMG_8120 IMG_8119 IMG_8118 The Palmar Tent Lodge is an eco-friendly, beachfront resort. This is camping with style! The lodge offers daily yoga classes, delicious meals, and opportunities for surfing, spearfishing, kayaking, and local tours. The accommodations are earthy yet lovely; the resort functions on solar power and filtered rain water. The guests here are travelers passing through, each with his or her unique story to share. IMG_8099 IMG_8102 IMG_8108 IMG_8098We enjoyed the afternoon at the lodge; eating lunch, playing cards, reading French comic books, and strolling along the beach keeping cool in the ocean. Then we headed back to Rode Trip where Brian and I cooked up pizzas while Darren, Katie, the kiddos, David, and Victoria freshened-up from their day at the beach. We spent the evening under the stars among new friends and old; getting acquainted with dock neighbors, sharing food, drink and good conversation. Annika even found a playmate, Donia (2 years-old), who’d arrived at the marina earlier that day with her parents in their motor trawler. Donia and her mother joined us while the girls played. We kicked back and enjoyed the cool night air under a starry ceiling. Ahhhh…I love vacations!

Though the Jungle and Over the Hill…to the Beach!

Isla Bastimentos is 20 sq-miles; an island within the Bocas del Toro District.  Isla Bastimentos houses a small town, an Indigenous villiage, the Red Frog Villas and Red Frog Marina, Bocas Bound Hostel, Casa Kayuka, and the Pal Mar Tent Lodge.  A portion of the island also encompasses a portion of Panama’s first national park; Isla Bastimentos National Marine Park which stretches from Playa Larga on Bastimentos across to neighboring Cayos Zapitillas and Coral Cay.  Isla Bastimentos is a quiet place where tourists come to bask in the sun or catch a wave on one of the five ocean-side beaches.  Brian, Paul, and I hiked along jungle paths toward the beaches…we were ready for a bit of FUN!IMG_9017 IMG_9015



Fabulous view!  Not a bad lookin' couple, either!

Fabulous view! Not a bad lookin’ couple, either!

At Red Frog Beach, the guys checked out the surf.IMG_8964 IMG_8961IMG_8976

'Jesus' Lizard - these critters have this nickname because they can run so fast on their back legs they can run across water for significant distances without sinking, essentially they can 'walk on water.'

‘Jesus’ Lizard – these critters have this nickname because they can run so fast on their back legs they can run across water for significant distances without sinking, essentially they can ‘walk on water.’



With a few hours remaining until sunset, still plenty of time to catch some waves!IMG_8978

These guys packed a bundle of energy after they were done surfing!  Good thing we had lots of open space to play.IMG_9000 IMG_8990