After spending 3 weeks hiking, rafting, cycling, and driving in Costa Rica, it was time to relax! So my parents, my boyfriend and I headed across the border into Panama and made our way to Bocas del Toro (“mouth of the bull”), a group of Caribbean island, surrounded by stunning clear blue water, situated in the North of Panama.
As soon as we crossed the border it was apparent that environmental sustainability wasn’t as much of a priority – litter was scattered everywhere!!! Standards were however still better than many other developing countries – mainly due to less black exhaust fumes from buses and trucks!
From Bocas Town we went on a scuba diving trip, which included stopping at the Zapatilla islands – these islands were beautiful tropical islands in the marine park, just off the coast of Panama. I felt like I was in the setting of a ‘pirates of the Caribbean’ movie. An afternoon of sea, sun, beer and swimming – just what we needed!
After spending a few days in the Caribbean paradise, the Panamanian highlands was next on the itinerary. We traveled to a small town called Boquete – which was surprisingly voted in the States a few years ago, the top place to retire to, unsurprisingly this meant the town was over run with retired gringos. We still enjoyed our time there, despite the rain. A few more hikes, a bit of pampering and a day of horse riding through the country side.
Next and final stop – Panama City!!! Dad finally got to ride on a chicken bus; well a luxury chicken bus, but a chicken bus nonetheless. Then it was a 7 hour journey across the country, on a very stinky coach. We finally made it to Panama City, feeling like we needed a shower in disinfectant.
Many people I’ve met have bitched and moaned about Panama City. Parts of the city could be anywhere in the world – modern, clean, western and expensive. Other parts were old, dirty and poor. Like it or not, there is an awesome malecon (board walk), which I enjoyed running up and down.
We did also visit the Panama Canal. I wasn’t overly impressed, I’m sure if I was an engineer I would have gotten more enjoyment out of it. There were a thousand people, crammed on a platform to watch a couple of boats sail through some locks – seen more impressive locks in Scotland, but that’s just my opinion.
We definitely noticed a price difference between Costa Rica and Panama, Panama being the cheapest by far, however still far more expensive than other Central American countries, such as Guatemala.
Entonces, 8 months of travel!!! I haven’t blogged as much as I should have, and my blogs definitely have done the trip justice… Maybe I’ll get some time while in London to improve my writing skills
Hello London!! Now give me a job so I can top up my bank before the next adventure in Canada.