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

Bananas!

Bananas!

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

First Look at Bocas del Toro

Walking down the main streets of Bocas del Toro Brian, Paul, and I felt as though we’d just entered a theme park (aside from the surplus of litter in the streets and alleys which reminded us that we had really landed in a third-world country). The streets were bustling with vendors, taxis, bicycles, backpackers, surfers, locals…everyone casually walking down the street, not along the sidewalks.

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Brightly colored restaurants, hostels, and shops advertised their daily specials on sandwich boards flamboyantly decorated with dragons, waves, palms, and parrots. “Private Rooms $10-20/night-Air Conditioning-Wifi…” “Surf Lessons…”

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A pirate themed restaurant lured us inside with their $5 lunch specials. They served coconut rice, plantains, and choice of chicken or fish with a soda included. Tasty! Cheap! And a fabulous waterfront view.

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After lunch we stepped off the main drag.

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We cut through a graveyard.

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It may seem unusual to be walking through graveyard, and well, it is. But Brian and I tend to check them out as they are all different country to country. In this one we noticed that many of the graves were raised and many were ornately decorated with tile. The trail was also a bit sketchy, but I skipped along ahead of the guys to see what might be around the next corner.

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And at the end of the trail…

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…we found a beach. There were some young guys playing a soccer game, some backpackers cooling their toes in the ocean water, and some dogs frolicking in the sand.

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The walk back through the opposite end of town did not disappoint. The local lumber yard was promoting synthetic thatch, something we didn’t even know existed! Keep that in mind when constructing your backyard tiki bars this summer.

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A nice first look at Bocas del Toro…and oh, so much more to explore!

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