Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bocas del Toro and Boquete, Panama update - 8-8-2012

Hostel Mondo Taitu, Bocas Del Toro, Panama

My return to Bocas Del Toro after the side trip to Puerto Viejo was good. I was looking for a quieter hostel than Hostel Heike, but still social, so I checked into Mondo Taitu for three days. Mondo Taitu is owned by five American gents, three of whom rotate between the US and Panama to run the business. I met two of the owners, Jack and Ari. Both were good, helpful folks who answered a lot of my questions regarding what running a hostel in Panama is like. The hostel itself was kind of dark, and somewhat cluttered with surf and island knick-knacks, but all that stuff definitely added to the hostel's atmosphere.

Wizard Beach, Bocas Del Toro, Panama
I spent most of my time at Mondo Taitu hanging out with two solo travelers I met, Dann (Canadian) and Robert (English). We did some exploring, including hiring a water taxi to take us to Wizard Beach on Isla Bastimentos, enjoying having a picturesque beach with bath warm water all to ourselves, and hiking through knee deep mud for 45 minutes to reach Red Frog Beach. The weather was beautiful, so I did manage to take some great tropical paradise pictures. All in all, my return to Bocas was active, fun, tiring, and still involved meeting great people.

Hot Springs Outside of Boquette, Panama
I've been in Boquete for two days now. Boquette is several hours south of Bocas del Toro and back on the mainland. It's in the heart of Panama's coffee country. I spent the first day and a half getting over a cold I picked up from too much living in Bocas and Puerto Viejo. Today, a German friend from the hostel, Daria, and I took an hour bus ride and an hour hike out to some mineral hot springs near the small town of Caldera. The water was almost too hot, but the scenery was amazing. When we were done, she and I walked back to our bus stop through a pounding thunderstorm that did not relent until we returned to the hostel two hours later. Whew! Thunder crashed what seemed right on top of us several times.

I'm headed to Panama City on Friday to see if I can arrange a trip to the San Blas Islands in Panama's eastern frontier. I've heard again and again that the islands are the most spectacularly beautiful scenery in this country, so I just have to see for myself.

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