Before our trip to Panama one thing was certain – aside from visiting friends and family – we wanted to take on an adventure. The kind of adventure that goes on your bucket list and you feel accomplished to scratch off once you’ve done it. Bocas del Toro was just that for us, one heck of an adventure. Am I longing to go back? Absolutely! Am I trying to persuade people to visit? Maybe…
And if I was asked to sum up Bocas del toro in as few words as possible.
I’d say; “it is Panama’s hidden gem.”
While originally we wanted to spend New Year’s Eve in Bocas, it was completely sold out. After all, I have been told it is one of the top destinations to spend New Years. The way it rained late December, going a few days later worked to our advantage anyway. On January 3, we took the earliest flight out of Albrook International Airport with Air Panama and arrived in Bocas at around 8 am. This was great because we got to take full advantage of our first day there.
We used Airbnb to book our accommodations and it was a great experience. Our host was very friendly and gave us great pointers on places to visit during our time in Bocas. After settling in at her place, we went out for breakfast at Restaurante Chitre. An authentic Panamanian breakfast was the right way to get our trip started.
Once we finished eating we asked around about island tours that we had read reviews on and found one pretty quickly. A five point tour; that would take us from Bocas Town in Isla Colon to Dolphin Bay, Cayo Coral, Cayo Zapatilla, and finally to do some sloth and starfish sighting off Bastimentos Island.
Living in Houston has an advantage because we are pretty close to the water. So I have seen dolphins on various day trips to Galveston. However, those previous experiences did not dull my excitement for seeing dolphins in Bocas. Knowing what types of dolphins we would see made me look forward to seeing these creatures even more. This shot below is of bottlenose dolphins.
Our second stop was snorkeling in Cayo Coral. This was a definite bucket list item. I am not the best swimmer and quite afraid of drowning, but I knew I had to do this. I’ll admit that the water was deeper than I anticipated but the experience was worth facing my fear of water. I mean look at the colorful coral reef! And did you spot the urchin?
Beach Time – Cayo Zapatilla
The next stop was Cayo Zapatilla. I had visited other beaches in Panama and the Caribbean waters are the most pristine in the country. Upon arrival, I shot as many photos as I could because I wanted to be able to look back on this beach day. Once I was done, I put my camera away and simply enjoyed the views, water and the tranquility that came with being there. Aren’t these photos are desktop background worthy?
The sloth-sighting portion of our tour was a quick stop, and quite frankly we didn’t see as many sloths as I thought we would but it was a nice experience nonetheless. I always enjoy the fauna and flora of places that we visit.
Starfish sighting was the last stop and a first for me; I had never seeing these creatures in their habitat. There were so many starfish and they marched by so quickly. It was definitely a neat experience; I think our girls would have being excited to see this. An like with the dolphins, I feel our tour guide did an excellent job at providing interesting starfish facts.
As I look back on these photos, I feel joyful to have had the opportunity to visit such a beautiful place. If you are looking for a place to visit in Latin America, don’t shy aways from visiting this small country that lies in between two more widely known countries – Colombia and Costa Rica.
Panama is a beautiful place with a lot to offer. The people are great, locals and expats alike. The weather is warm, perfect for escaping the winter. The cuisine is tasty and varied. The views are mesmerizing; you can see the city skyline at one hand and the open ocean at the other.
As always thanks for stopping by to check out my posts. Hope to see you back when Panama: Part III – Bocas del Toro goes live.
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