Bocas Del Toro is our last stop in Panama before we will sail north to Honduras. Compared to other places in Panama, Bocas town was a busy, colorful small town filled with international tourists and backpackers. It was a nice change to have unlimited options of supermarkets, bars and restaurants.
The Bocas archipelago consists of many islands, some big with settlements and large areas of rainforest, others being only tiny mangrove patches. And we had plenty of different anchorages to explore. Many of the tourists were brought to the most known beaches by the rushing pangas (local water taxis) and unfortunately you could sometimes see how the natural beauty of these places slowly turned into loud, commercial spots trying to cater for tourists along the beachfront. During the day and night you’d hear music on full volume from three different places.
After spending some days in town and taking on our friend Jonas as crew for two weeks, we were ready to explore the more remote corners of Bocas Del Toro with the boat.
Our favorite moments were hiking the muddy paths on Isla Bastimentos to the windward facing beaches (Wizard beach and Red Frog beach). While we tried to not slip and loose our flip flops, we listened to tropical frogs and birds, watched small monkeys playing and sloths hanging in the trees. We also got many insect bites along the way and lost two pairs of flip flops in the mud but it was still worth it!
While the rainforest and mangroves couldn’t stop us from being amazed, the underwater world in Bocas was a little less than we expected. In most anchorages the water was murky and full with jelly fish. The reef life was mostly dead and you’d only see a few fish. Our freshly filled scuba tanks were therefore kept stored below deck.
We also spent three days at the Zapatilla Cays which are a few miles east of the Bahia Almirante. The two islands are part of the National Park protecting a big part of the rainforest on the islands and marine life. The islands reminded us of the San Blas. A beautiful sandy beach was crowded with day tourists during the day. After 4 PM we then had the island to ourselves. Similar to the San Blas we were woken up by approaching lightning and thunder during the night. Instead of fighting the current and waves, we decided to take the small Crawl Cay passage and navigated Porky through mangroves and reefs back into the main bay.
We are now starting to prepare for our ca. 1000 nautical mile sail to Honduras. The plan is to leave in a few days…