Bocas del Toro

6/2/17. We have spent the last three days in the town of Bocas which is on an island in the west of Panama on the Caribbean coast – and a lovely, laid back place it is too. We are significantly older than the average age of visitors (about 30 years! Eek!) as there is a preponderance of backpackers here for the surfing. Our daughter, Eleri, was here last year (although she is not a surfer) and fitted right into the age group.

The town definitely “feels” different to Costa Rica – much more Caribbean with darker skin tones and a definite West Indian accent when people speak English rather than a Spanish one.

Getting here from San Jose took pretty much all day and involved three minibuses (all of which had wifi), a water taxi and a walk across a bridge at the border. The border crossing took a couple of hours and was rather “exciting” as, when we reached Panamanian immigration we were asked to show our plane tickets back to the UK. They told us that bus tickets to Nicaragua were not good enough. Of course we do not have plane tickets – all we have is a booking on a cruise ship from the US – and we couldn’t demonstrate that as we couldn’t get internet access!

Panic was starting to set in when suddenly they relented and carried on with the procedures of scanning our fingerprints and stamping our passports. It was not clear why they suddenly changed their minds but we were not complaining.

While here we rented bikes for a day and rode around the coast to an unspoiled, beautifully sandy beach which would be great for surfing but not for swimming. The bikes had seen better days but at least it alleviated Stephen’s twitching!

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