<<  Bocas del Toro, 15-Jul-2015  >>

Caribbean reggae paradise

Blue ocean, white sand, Bob Marley in the air, dreadlocks around - finally, ocean suitable for swimming :-)

Bocas del Toro is archipelago on Caribbean coast at very north of Panama, just few kilometers from Costa Rica. When I started the Odyssey I thought that only one thing was for sure – that I would go to Costa Rica. Everything else was secondary for me. Almost 3 years later I made to half of the planet, but not Costa Rica. And now we were here, 10 km from Costa Rica, but we didn’t enter. I guess it’s better that way. As long as I don’t go to Costa Rica I can still pretend that I’m a traveling man and that it’s not over. Avoiding the destination makes the journey later. And anyway it’s difficult to live a life after your dreams come true, so better keep some for later…

If something comes as #1 place in whole Central America in Lonely Planet the expectations are surely high. If Panama City is Panama’s version of Havana/Miami then Bocas del Toro is Paname’s version of Jamaica. This is black Caribbean. With black folks origination from Jamaica and other ex-British colonies – they all speak Jamaican “English”. Me no understand nothing man! Me no idea what they talk! :-) The Afro-American culture is full blown here: dreadlocks, reggae, loud talking people. What a delightful change of atmosphere! And what a beautiful place! The main island is full of backpackers and it a typical backpackers’ paradise and party place with promise of sex and booze and marihuana, but the other islands, like the one we went to, was a authentic, tranquil place. All the islands are quite small and separated by few hundred meters which can be crossed on insanely fast boats which the local guys enjoy as much as they would enjoy driving BMW 200 kmh, if there were any roads here to do it. And apart from the bigger islands there are mangroves everywhere. True mangrove paradise. But when we got to our island and crossed it to the other side we found something that was not short of real paradise: endless, empty, white sand beach with swaying palm trees and that turquoise tropical ocean. And no building of any construction in site. This place looked exactly the way it looked in 1494 when Columbus discovered it. Again I could drift away into my historic fantasies when I contemplate the world that I have never seen but which looks exactly like it does today, in that very moment. Oh my god, the rush of happiness and excitement from the beautiful, green and blue tropical place! Next few days we spent lazing around and doing some trips around the islands, snorkeling and drinking beer and sweating.

Me and Irene were not alone in Bocase del Toro. Byron Bay crew reunited. When we came to Bocas we met Olga and Maria who had been travelling around Central America for some time and we decided to meet all together in Bocas. They coming from Costa Rica and us coming from Peru. So it was 4 us wandering through the tropical playground. But the girls were about to head back to Europe, so we spent those few days in lovely Bocas and returned to Panama City for one more day and then we said goodbye and me and Irene headed to another tropical paradise: San Blas islands.

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     MARCEL STRBAK | www.strbak.com | www.facebook.com/marcel.strbak