I wouldn’t say Bocas Del Toro broke the bank but the bank is definitely very traumatised and is currently sat in the corner weeping into a bottle of Tescos Value vodka. We’ve splashed out on food and drinks out, mostly at JJ’s and I still can’t stop thinking about those buffalo wings. Life changing. Bastimentos is disproportionately expensive to get to, plus we did the bioluminescence tour which was absolutely worth every cent. So today we threw a bunch of money at Kawi Voyage again to take us out to do some more stuff.
It very nearly didn’t happen. The rain was torrential overnight with rumblings of thunder. That’s what almost cancelled it, the storm, the lightning over the sea wouldn’t have been safe but it cleared up in the morning so we headed out, just an hour later than planned with Emanuel, the same guide we had for the bioluminescence tour. He’s so knowledgeable and he delivers said knowledge in a way that makes it interesting. He’s been doing this job for nineteen years so you’d figure he’d know what he was banging on about.
So this tour then. It’s a bit-of-everything boat tour. We started off by heading to Bahia Honda to look for bottlenose dolphins. I think there’s a pretty high chance of spotting them but they’re not going to be chasing the boat or doing tricks. They hang out here because they know this is where the food is at and they’re just trying to eat lunch. One would flash a bit of fin in the distance so we’d race over there but it wouldn’t reappear, then we’d see another one over yonder. We did manage to watch one for a full thirty seconds before it buggered off, showing its tail as it went.
We went sloth bothering next. 80% of the mangroves here are red mangroves and sloths are mad for the soft leaves. There are white and black mangroves here too, apparently the differences are more obvious when you cut them open. We cruised along gazing into the trees when Emanuel spotted one. Fucking hell, how’d he even see that?! It was just chilling, almost perfectly camouflaged. Tarrant got the best photo, it’s blurry as fuck but you can tell it’s a little sloth face peering out.
Apparently the three toed variety can swim unlike its two toed brethren but Emanuel has only seen that three times. They’re not always slow either, they do that to conserve energy because they only eat leaves, but when his dog found one on the ground, possibly halfway through its weekly shit the poor bastard, the sloth was very quick to attack. And that’s another thing, they only shit once a week and they have to leave the trees to do it. It’s good to know you’re not going to get shat on by a sloth whilst you’re out on your jungle walks.
Right then. We were going to go snorkelling next but first we swung by Restaurante Alfonso to pre-order lunch. It’s a restaurant on stilts over the water which is quite cool. It wasn’t far from there to Cayo Coral where we’d be snorkelling so it wasn’t long before we were face down in the water upsetting damselfish. They’re feisty little buggers. I’m hundreds of times their size but they still had a pop at me because I was looking at their coral. My ear is fully healed now so I was duck diving to get a closer look and the damselfish were having absolutely none of it.
What surprised us was the array of colour here, it looks like someone showed up and painted everything. Purple, blue, red, bright fucking orange, green, yellow. It was amazing, and there were so many fish too. The ubiquitous sergeant majors of course. They’re everywhere. We saw a trumpetfish too just hanging upside-down. Whilst there were an abundance of needlefish swimming around underneath the restaurant we only saw a couple here. I didn’t realise they actually had teeth either, the fuckers could probably gut you and make a tasty snack of your entrails if they had half a mind to.
We floated around for about an hour I think, I’m not sure, then headed off for lunch. The food was actually really good, we went for the chicken and we got big chunks of chicken tit with rice, salad and patacones which are twice-fried unripe plantain. They sell beer too so obviously we partook in one each. Got to do our part to keep local restaurants in business y’know. It’s the socially responsible thing to do.
I pretty much had to be rolled onto to boat after all that food. We were taken to Cayo Zapadilla #2 next which is your standard Tropical island paradise. Honestly, it looks perfect with all the palm trees and the white sand and the turquoise Caribbean Sea. We had just over an hour here to enjoy the beach. We did try to walk through the island and the trail is really good until it isn’t, it just disappears, so we turned around and just headed back to where we started and hung out in the shallows until it was time to go.
That was a really lovely day. In fact Bocas Del Toro has been really lovely in general, we’ve really enjoyed our time here, it’s a dangerously easy place to be. The desire to drink beer whilst staring at the sea is strong. Everyone is so nice here too. The only downside is the fucking sandflies, the bitey little shits. We’re full of holes now which of course I can’t leave alone. Apparently when something itches my brain decides the best course of action is to remove all the skin. If we spent too much longer here I’d flay myself within the month.
Jump to “Useful shit to know…”
Cayo Coral & Cayo Zapadilla, Bocas Del Toro, Panama
Stayed at: Sun Havens Apartments & Suites, Bocas Town
Useful shit to know…
- We used Kawi Voyage for the Excursion of the Islands tour.
- You can WhatsApp them on +507 6555-9954.
- It cost US$40 each.
- They have you pay a $25 deposit through a secure link (there is a 2% fee) then you pay the rest in cash on the evening.
- Lunch isn’t included but you can bring your own food if you like.
- We decided to eat at the restaurant. It’s between US$6 and US$18 for a meal.
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