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Isla Bastimento National Marine Park

I asked Renee which excursion was the most popular at Tranquilo Bay with different groups or individuals.  She answered the by far a day trip to Isla Bastimento National Marine Park was the most popular. It had a little something for everyone: hiking, snorkeling, paddle boarding, fishing, or simply chilling on the beach.  So we waited until we had a clear day with less chance of rain, and our group at the lodge decided to head to the beach!  It took about 30-45 minutes to motor out from the lodge to the islands.  Our driver and boat dropped us of on the beach and we chose to hike around the island before the afternoon heat arrived.  The walkway was falling apart a bit as we went across the island.  Natalia mentioned that it was such as shame. We had to pay a fee to use the park but they didn't provide any maintenance for the walkways or rest of the park.  
our guide explains the ecology on Cayo Zapatilla
our guide explains the ecology on Cayo Zapatilla (Lynessa Nelson)

On the other side of the island we walked down the beach looking for sea turtle nests.  Ramon and Natalia used to live on the island for months at a time researching and helping the turtles during hatching season.  She showed us how they used to dig out the nests to see if any of the babies were stuck in roots or other debris.  If they found a baby, they would point it in the direction of the water to crawl to safety away from land predators.
our guide shows the unhatched turtle eggs
our guide shows the unhatched turtle eggs (Lynessa Nelson)

Farther down the trail we came to a point on the island that had a dock.  We encountered a few other travelers there but for the most part we felt that we had the island to ourselves.
dock at Cayo Zapatilla
dock at Cayo Zapatilla (Lynessa Nelson)

Back at our beach, we had the option to do whatever we wanted for the remainder of the afternoon: snorkel, paddle board, hike, fish, or chill and have a beer.  We decided to take advantage of the paddle boards.  Matt and I each took turns on our first paddle boarding experiences ever.  The calm waters around the beach gave a perfect canvas to practice on and the waters along the beach were not too deep.
Matt's successful paddle board dismount
Matt's successful paddle board dismount (Lynessa Nelson)

After a bit of paddle board and some fishing on Matt's part, we settled in an enjoyed a few beers on the beach.  The clouds flew overhead with promises of rain but it never came while we were at the beach.  It waited until later that night and then the heavens opened in a downpour.  Thank you Panama for allowing us to enjoy your marine reserve in the sunshine.  We won't forget it!  I wouldn't forget the peaceful noise of the rain pouring down on the roof of our cabin later that night as well. 
gorgeous beach view with the clouds
gorgeous beach view with the clouds (Lynessa Nelson)

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