11 Photos

Bocas del Toro
Monika and Jens visit Panama and Costa Rica!

Kayaking BocasKayaking Bocas (Monika Sundem)
The next morning we woke bright and early and headed down to Starfish Coffee. I ordered an iced vanilla frappe latter, which was heaven for me, and some breakfast. Next we met our pickup, Jim, from Tranquilo Bay and headed the half hour out to the resort for the next 2 days. Upon entering the dock, one can see that they are surrounded by mangrove and rainforest, in what seems like their own private little bay that they have all to themselves. The water was so still and clear that one could see straight through to the bottom and even spot fish from the dock. We walked up the hill, down a path through a small rainforest patch, and to our cabana with a view of the bay. We spotted on the way lizards, some crabs on the dock, and a number of different birds (again, the names of which I have no idea). Jim even mentioned that from time to time troops of monkeys would swing through or sloths could be spotted sleeping mid-day in the mangrove trees. While the resort isn’t set on a beach (one has to take a 15 minute boat ride to get to a beach), the view is gorgeous and the setting makes you feel as though you are at your own private retreat.

We had lunch at the main lodge, met the other owners, and then set off that afternoon to the Zapatilla Cayes for some fun in the sun. We took some kayaks and paddled around one caye, stopping along some reef walls to jump off the yaks and do some snorkeling. The visibility was fairly good that day in spite of the wind, and we saw a large kingfisher, a sting ray, many different multi-colored and neon fish, sea urchins, all different kinds of corals, and one very large lobster hiding out under a ledge. After snorkeling for maybe an hour or so we paddled around and sat on the beautiful white sand beach and chatted while sipping on a cold Coke. In the distance we could see a rainstorm system moving through, while it was sunny where we sat, so odd that only a few miles distance the weather can be so different. We returned after it looked like the storm had passed so we wouldn’t get rained on during our return, then we took nice warm showers and met up for a fabulous dinner in the main lodge. We chatted about locations of islands in Panama, where we had just been and where we were planning to go tomorrow before we turned in and fell asleep to the sound of pounding rain on the rooftop.

The next morning we awoke again to the sound of rain outside. This is unusual, as normally October is the best time of year to come for best chances of sunny days. Being a Seattle native however the rain wasn’t about to hinder me, and I knew that although it was the ocean, that the water temperature would be around 80 degrees. We met up for breakfast then headed out to Isla Popa and spent the day kayaking along the shore and snorkeling whenever we paddled by reef that seemed interesting. The visibility was not as great as the day prior, however we did still see some sting rays and lots of colorful fish. Jens and Jim tried now and then to catch some fish, but never came up with even a bite. The day was fairly windy, so perhaps this kept them all from coming to the surface. After lunch, we decided to return to Tranquilo Bay’s dock where the men headed off along the bay in search of fish (and even saw a large tarpon pass under the boat) while I snorkeled around the coral patches by the dock. After this took showers to get all the salt off our skin and returned to the main lodge for another dinner and relaxing evening.

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