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Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Bocas Del Toro, Panama

12/06/2014 - 15/06/2014

Day 1

Dean, Bianca and I arrived in Almirante at around 5:30am. Having spent an uncomfortable night on an ice cold bus it was good to get out and into some humidity. We paid a $1 taxi to take us to the boat dock where we paid $6 to get across the major island of Bocas Del Toro, Isla de Col√≥n. After a quick 30 minute journey we arrived at the dock and searched for Casa Verde. We found it but they were "full" and incredibly rude so we left in search of the sister hostel of Luna's Castle, Hostel Heike just up the road. We were greeted by the nicest receptionist I have met travelling. Throughout my stay she would always greet me on a first name basis and to everyone else too making it a very personal hostel. We had the homemade pancakes for breakfast and checked-in to a 6 bed AC dorm. 

Bianca wanted to try the yoga on Bocas. Having never gone to yoga I went along and Dean followed. I always assumed guys went to yoga to pick up women and joked about it before. It turned out the instructor, Laura Kay - a MILF, was into English guys and didn't stop flirting and looking at me the whole time. It couldn't have been just because it was first time, haha. Anyway, it was a lot harder than I thought and I would ache for a few days after! We left and laughed about what had happened and then rented some bikes to cycle up to Bluff Beach on the east coast of the island. After an hour of cycling on sand, Tarmac and gravel we arrived to this fantasticly long beach, which was being pounded by verocious waves. We locked the bikes up and walked down the beach. We thought about going in but the current was very strong and the waves were massive so we just sat and tanned for half an hour of so. After we cycled back to a beach bar and had a couple of beers. Dean wanted to surf, got in the water and was out 10 minutes later as the coral destroyed his foot. We headed back after this to drop the bikes off and watch the opening World Cup game. Post-game we drank some rum and headed for ladies night down the road at Las Iguanas on the water front. I met a really cool American couple in their 40s, Richard and Dani, too!

Day 2

We woke up relatively early today as we were going on a boat trip to the Zapatilla Islands, which were part of the archipelago in Bocas. We also bumped into Ellen downstairs and we met two German girls from the Luna's Castle again, Christina and Lisa, as well as their friend Patrick and another English guy, Andrew who I met at the Panama Canal. 

The boat trip wasn't that amazing. For $20 (+$5 national park fee) we saw some dolphins, snorkelled for 30 minutes and went to an amazing beach in Zapatilla. I just felt we wasted a lot of the day waiting around and not doing a lot for 8 hours in total. 

We headed back and got ready for another night of drinking with the others. We formed an awesome group, which was nice as Bianca and Dean go tomorrow to Costa Rica. The evening was really good and pretty drunken and saw Richard and Dani too! To clarify, Bocas is a party place.

Day 3

I woke up at 11ish to see Dean and Bianca off. The rest of us then had our mandatory pancake breakfast before deciding to go to Red Frog Beach on Bastimentos Island. We paid $7 for a return trip. We got there and went in the water for a bit. The sea had a very strong current on top of massive waves, which took us all out. We got out and us boys went for a walk down the beach. Upon our return we met some Costa Rican lads playing football on the beach. Andrew, Patrick and I played against them. They beat us badly, 5-1. We were all far too unfit. 

Randomly Richard and Dani appeared on the beach with his brother and sister-in-law. After saying bye to them, as they leave today, we walked back as the rain came in. We waited for about an hour under a shed-like construction. We also looked for sloths and red frogs but to no avail. 

We got back in time for the England game and had dinner and $1 beers. Afterwards we bought a 1.75L bottle off Cortez rum between 6 of us before heading to Agua Lounge - a club on the water, which in my opinion was overrated. 

Day 4 

We woke up this morning early as somehow I'm going back on the boat trip I had done two days before. As the group were all going I thought that it's better to do a day with them than sat doing nothing. The trip was significantly better; weather was better and we didn't wait around all day for people. The boys went for a walk around the beachy part of the island. I got a group picture which was awesome. Following the island we went snorkelling, which was really brilliant. There's no point really going back over it as I've already mentioned it. 

We went back to the hostel, showered and went to watch another game of football and eat. We also got another (smaller) bottle of rum, Abuelo, this time. Tonight was never going to be a big one as I leave for Costa Rica at 6:45am. Everywhere was pretty dead though as it was a Sunday so we just had a relatively early one at the hostel.

Bocas has been absolutely awesome. The group I had really did make it for me. It sucks when you leave a good group as you cannot guarantee them everywhere, especially leaving Christina as we had gotten pretty close. That's the only shit bit about travelling. Next stop is San Jose, Costa Rica!

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