Living it Up in Panama

13233030_10206673989150966_2138988386910856537_n

Panama is gorgeous. There are developed cities and people spend US dollars. Panama was at end of the road of my Central America trip. I was happy to move onto the next adventure, which was sailing the San Blas Islands to Colombia.  More on how I organised that later.

I remember hearing about Panama as a travel destination. It was in a video I watched about an island just off the coast of Panama called Bocas Del Toro. A travel blogger and YouTuber called Jubril posted a video about Bocas and how you can island hop and experience the Caribbean lifestyle on a budget. I was intrigued to know more about where Bocas is and what else you can do there. I saw pictures on travel blogs, Instagram and Twitter and I was fascinated. I never knew you could easily backpack countries by the Caribbean Sea until that point.  After doing research, that’s how I discovered the Central part of The Americas. You can travel through the continent by land and island hop!

Here are some pics I took in Bocas:

13237735_10206705546619883_5417195794149292236_n

Locals gathering for an outdoor music event in the main square.

13239259_10206705552380027_8114915491594723163_n

 Outdoor markets selling hammocks. Jo and Katie bought a colourful hammock for $20US each

13267730_10206673990591002_5291216319900164291_n

It does rain in the Caribbean. Thankfully, it actually turned out to be a bright day

Visit Red Frog Beach to see red frogs and Star Fish beach to see star fish! You may be able to spot a sloth or two along the way. Jo & I bought a Pina Colada Pine drink.

Bocas was crazy wonderful! Like how I visualised it but better. I would recommend island hopping as a group package but its’ also easy to do independently. Hostel Heike (free pancake breakfast) or Selena’s (party hostel) are recommended hostels. You can catch a boat over to Aqua Lounge Bar on Wednesdays for a night of water trampolining, sea swings, dive towers, dancing and more.

I had one of the best nights in Bocas with Jo, Katie, Niamh and Rainer. We crashed by Katie and Niamh’s guesthouse for the evening. We let loose and felt free in the sea. We drank Panamanian beers and gazed at the moonlight. We chatted and enjoyed each other’s company for our last night together, before the Irish ladies caught a flight to the capital the next day. The sky lit up and I saw things I wouldn’t usually notice but I was appreciative of. It was a magical night; one I will still remember in years to come.

In Bocas, I apparently looked like a local. I was mistaken for a Panamanian numerous times. The receptionist at a local hotel we stayed in thought I was related to Rainer. No kidding! Now I call him Papa Rainer!

13266091_10206705516659134_2776830756810862327_n

Mine, Jo, Papa Reiner’s last breakfast together in Bocas.

Onto Boquette…there isn’t much to do there apart from expensive tours. There was a tour where you can hike to a point to see the pacific and Caribbean Sea at the same time however it would have been too cloudy to see it around May time. Jo and I caught a local bus to David. The restaurant opposite the hostel we stayed at served delicious food. Typical Panamanian food for local prices.

13220818_10206705614181572_6335798588098933238_n

Eating Patacones with seasoned Tilapia Fish and soda. YUMMM!

13240661_10206724896743624_8126216499720141153_n

Anethy, one of the workers at The Bambu hostel, rocking The Bob Marley t-shirt. The hostel in David is great for advice on tours, transportation and local activities. Friendly volunteers and owner aswell! We watched a film at the cinema in English!

13312786_10206724908783925_1334125003602287333_n

Welcome to Panama City!

Visiting Panama City was a contrast to other capitals I visited in Central America. Panama City is developed and has capital. As well as soaking up the gloriousness of pool crashing and shopping, I had decisions to make. There are different options of seeing the San Blas Islands. you could go on a speedboat, a sailboat or wait for an unlicensed boat carrying goods to take you from Panama to Colombia or a 3-day trip from Panama to Panama. I contemplated taking the speedboat option however it is a different experience to taking a sailboat. First of all, the pick-up and drop off destination is different. I preferred the sailboat option which departs from Portobelo and arrives in Cartagena. The speedboat option avoids the 2-day sea crossing meaning you get more island time and less change of sea sickness. Luckily in May/June, the sea was very calm and didn’t stir our bellies. You sleep on the sailboat if you are sailing and on the islands if you take the speedboat. The price is not that much difference if you factor in extra costs (such as transportation to the mainland) for the speedboat.

Wanting to continue on the South America, I decided to book a sailboat from Panama to Colombia. Usually you’d have to book it months in advance but it was considered ‘low season’ and there were spaces available for that same week. There were exactly 4 spaces left for the Amande 2 boat departing 28.05.16. Perfect! Three friends and myself reserved the remaining spots so we could sail together. It was all last minute organisation but we made it happen and luckily to sail on a date to our convenience. I love it when a plan comes together! I bought plenty of snacks, drinks and cash money to carry with me for the journey. I had a couple days spear before leaving the city to meet the boat in Portobelo.

13310432_10206724899543694_4608313568697150808_n

Ticket Entry to the famous Panama Canal

13315497_10206724909543944_3482460766344816321_n

Drive through ATM service!

13312744_10206724911343989_3749878700235603527_n

Shopping mall – stocked up on essentials for the sailboat trip

13310520_10206724924104308_4477309962613248554_n

At The Hard Rock Cafe, Panama

13346578_10206796692258467_478810253987019344_n

At The Donald Trump Hotel, Panama. Infinity pool and high line buildings

13239012_10206724925184335_5123489436003092131_n

Adios Central America. Besos xxx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s