Sunday, July 12, 2009

Trip to Central America, Days 2-4: Bocas del Toro, Panama

The islands of Bocas del Toro are a must for anyone visiting Panama. Located about an hour's drive and a short ferry ride (in the reverse order, of course) from the border with Costa Rica in the country's north, Bocas defines the future of Panama.

Tourists--mainly backpackers--are to be seen everywhere, yet in lower numbers than in neighboring Costa Rica. Likewise, hostels have been sprouting up on every street corner and in between. Restaurants, gift shops, and surfboard-cum-bicycle rental shops are everywhere, too.

However, what makes Bocas so interesting is its small, compact size yet relative wealth of options. One can take a water taxi to a different island, such as Bastimentos. The sub-tropical climate is great, although Panama's rainy reason is a very long one, lasting nearly 9 months. That, though, need not put off potential travelers, for the rain usually comes down in quick downpours, with most of the rainfall occurring during the night and not lasting more than several hours at the most.

Another plus is that Bocas is replete with water taxis, offering to transport tourists to a different island for just a few dollars. Whether it is surfing, snorkelling, tanning on the beach, or just laying back like a sloth and letting the days roll by, Bocas is the place to be.

It's basically a Costa Rica hedonistic experience are half price.

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