Just returned from a fantastic weekend in Bocas del Toro, Panama!
At first, we got off to a bit of a rough start. We left San Jose at 8 am on Friday morning, and everything was going according to plan until the bridge we needed to cross was closed. I’m not sure exactly why it was closed off – it may have had to do with the riots occurring in Panama City, but in any case, we were stuck in some city in Panama for the night (I really don’t even know where we were). We went out to dinner, watched a movie on TV, then tried to get some sleep. Unfortunately, I forgot that Panama is actually an hour ahead of Costa Rica, so I set my alarm for the wrong time. We were supposed to meet up at 6:20 in the morning, but all of my alarms were off by an hour. Luckily, Lizz came and knocked on our door to wake us up. Melissa and I managed to be up and out the door in a record 6 minutes.
After these difficulties, our travels were smooth and without obstacles. We made it safely to Bocas, checked in at the Hotel Swan’s Cay, then began the day’s activities. It started with a dolphin watch in Laguna Bocatorito, followed by some snorkeling in Coral Cay, and finished with relaxing at Red Frog Beach. Everything was gorgeous! At night, we took a water taxi across to a hostel/bar called the Aqua Lounge. There were a ton of students from Veritas staying there. Because it’s located on the water, there were swings set up so you could go right on in! I wasn’t originally planning on going swimming since I had been in the water all day, but once I saw the swings, it was too tempting!
The next morning, it was my 20th birthday! We had hired the same man who took us around the day before, Captain Gabriel, to take us to see some more of the islands in Bocas. He took us to first to Playa Bluff. It was beautiful, and there was no one else on it. Some of us snorkeled a bit, some relaxed on the sand, and some walked along the beach for a while. Next was Isla de Los Pájaros (Bird Island), which is a designated bird sanctuary. The last stop of the day was Playa de las Estrellas (Starfish Beach), where we encountered tons of huge starfish and enjoyed relaxing in the literally crystal clear water. The whole group had dinner at an Italian restaurant right next to the hotel, then went to sleep, anticipating our early travels the next day. We got back to Costa Rica hassle-free and just in time for my 3:00 Monday class. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend my birthday weekend.