Bocas Del Tora? Huh? Bocas del Toro is a province of Panama comprising an archipelago off the Caribbean coast, plus adjacent mainland with biodiverse rainforest.
Never heard of it and never knew this place existed until we got here. All the locals and expats rave about it. One expat said “Go to Bastimentos. I love it there” Someone else said “When you get there go to the Islan of Colon. It is the main island.” Another one said, “Don’t drive into Bocas Del Tora -take a plane, you’ll get there in 20min.” A local Panamanian woman (while twirling and shimmying her waist side to side showing us belly dancing moves at a birthday dinner party) says in her deep raspy voice “My favorite island is Colooon— I gooo there alllll the time.”
It’s Saturday, and we leave exactly at 7:30 am. We take the shuttle from Boquete into Almirante, which is the mainland where you take the water taxis to the islands. The ride is about 3 1/2 hours long from Boquete. Along the way, there is a 10min rest stop for food. The scenery is full of greenery and a few rocky bumps along the way (but it’s ok because the bouncing is putting me to sleep). We arrive in Almirante. As we’re getting off we are helped immediately by eager young boys willing to assist us with our bags and directing us to the water taxis.
We get on the water taxi and make our way over to the first island: The Islan of Colon. The ride is about 30minutes long. I feel like I’m jet skiing as he rides the waves speeding and make sharp, smooth turns with us all in the back. We make it to Colon. I’m in Tropical heaven. I cannot believe my eyes! Maaaaaaaaaaan. This place is full of culture! Reggae vibes. Caribbean food. Afro-Panamanians. Locs. Natural hair. And Expats.
We stop to have a have a glass of wine and ceviche at this little bar located outside connected to a hotel and search for somewhere to stay. After searching online (like we always do)we found that it would be best to walk around because a lot of the hotels aren’t listed or maybe just ask for recommendations. After walking, We found one hotel we liked called: Hotel Bocas Town.
Checked in and walked upstairs to room 102. The room has hardwood floors lime green walls white ceilings and white accents. A balcony inside with breakfast included downstairs in the restaurant right next to the ocean.
After getting settled, we cruise the island and soak it all in. Nobody drives cars. Bikes only. Fancy ones with the baskets. Flexing off their chrome wheels and excellent paint jobs. Many think we’re locals. I’m loving how they respond to Kim. They assume she’s Panamanian with her long Locs (I’m grinning), she takes the compliment but quickly lets them know she’s half Jamaican. Yeah, Mon:) As the sun goes down after strolling the pavements, and enjoying this main island, we get some rotisserie chicken for dinner from a little local shack. It’s morning and breakfast is served time for our next stop. The island of Bastimentos.
*I’m not a professional writer. I just write what I feel.