So just a little introduction to our adventure trip to Central America in December: My friend Esther and me had about a month between the last exam at UVic (Dec. 10) and our flights back home (mine was on Jan. 09). And so we decided to spend the last couple of weeks a bit farther south on the continent. Two girls, several flight tickets, appx. 5 kilos of hand luggage each, and nothing planned/ booked on the route between Panamá City and Managua, Nicaragua.
1.726 km here we come!! (at that time still no idea about this route)
Arriving in Panamá City after about 24 hours in transit (including a night without much sleep in IAH Houston airport due to Donald Trump blasting over the speakers) we arrived in Panamá city. And to be honest, this was the first and only time I wondered if it had been a good idea to not (!) get a yellow fever shot. It was super hot and humid when we stepped out of the airplane! And still, there was a snowman out of cardboard and a christmas tree in the arrivals hall. A bit later it started pouring down – welcome to tropic climate!
Already on the way into the city it was clear that Panamá was very developed – skyscrapers everywhere, many well-known companies have offices there, etc. The city definitely profits from the Panamá Channel. The first few days we stayed in Panamá’s Casco Viejo in a small, cozy hostel. I really appreciated the A/C at that point because it took my body a while to adjust to 30+ degrees Celsius again. On our first evening we hung out in a street bar and had some Mojitos.
We visited Panama la Vieja – the ruins of the original city. It was a taxi ride away and our cab driver was very funny and even suggested us to drive us all the way to Bocas – our next stop on this journey. The ruins were situated in a large park, right next to the seaside. We also visted the fish market and strolled around our area a bit. One evening we even tried to cook Plátanos (cooking plantain) and failed miserably…
The last day in the area was spent on Isla Taboga – also known as the island of the flowers. We got up early in the morning, checked out, hired a taxi and headed to the boat “Calypso Princess” which brought us to the island. We had a wonderful day at the beach!! On the way back we saw many container ships and oil tankers, all waiting for permission to pass the Panamá Channel.
That evening we planned on heading further north west to Bocas del Toro. One thing we quickly had to realise was that in Central America the concept of time, time tables, schedules, etc. simply does not exist. Even the travelling guide only vaguely told us where the bus terminal is. Nevertheless, in the end, after some running around, it all worked out. We purchased our ticket and then snuggled up in the fanciest overnight bus I’ve ever seen!
The next day we arrived in Almirante, the village on the mainland, from where we had to take a water taxi over to the Bocas. And then we were in paradise. No kidding – this was mind blowing. Even our hostel “Mare e Iguana” felt like living in the middle of the rain forest.
The highlight of our stay in Bocas was definitely the day spent at starfish beach located in the northern part of the island. You get there by waiting next to the road and hoping that the bus will pick you up. Whenever it arrived you hop on, pay some Balboas (or Dollars) and enjoy the crazy bumpy ride through jungle. About an hour late and a 20 minuted walk along the beach/ through a forest of palm trees you are there. Blue water, star fish everywhere and palm trees, colourful boats, etc. It was the most fantastic place on earth I’ve ever seen.
Next up – our adventures in Costa Rica!