Into Panama and Bocas del Toro

My plan was to get to Cahuita that evening after finally arriving in the Caribbean. Unfortunately my puncture that took me an hour to fix (see last post) delayed me significantly and it was fully dark and I was still 10km from my destination. Locals warned me that it was dangerous to travel at night due to delinquency and I thought I might be in for a rough night.  However I have found that nearly always something works out at the last minute and the majority of the time I find somewhere awesome; something I’ve never quite understood. It’s almost like life favours risk and action; put yourself out there in the unknown and somehow you’ll find a way.  This was no exception.

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Thanks to appearing on Channel 7 national news, I seemed to be somewhat of a minor celebrity and a lot of people recognised me. The tiny community where I stopped by a sloth sanctuary had a disused hotel that they were in the process of renovating. The night watchmen were immensely friendly and gave me a room. Ok so it was in poor condition and I ended up camping just outside it but all I needed was some water and somewhere safe. They had a dog which is always comforting since they alert to all things that move at night.

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My campspot near Cahuita

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...at this disused / run down hotel

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After more beach tune in Cahuita and Manzanillo it was time to head into Panama.

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Maybe rubbish dumps on the side of the road. Yep, I'd definitely left Costa Rica.

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Not wanting to spend money on an unnecessary hotel in Almirante, I camped here

Pulling over at the side of the road, two kids were fascinated with my journey and recommended this construction site to camp. With a night watchman there all night guarding the machinery, I felt safe. The kids hung around for a while staring and not saying anything which was tedious. It’s the last thing you feel like after cycling 100km in the overbearing sun. They pressured me into sharing my food. Low on supplies and really hungry after my ride I started to find them irritating and wondered whether they’d hang around all night. It was too late to start looking for somewhere else. They even asked for the rubbish bag claiming they’d take it away for me.  Two minutes later they were licking out the salsa packet and tuna tin. I suddenly felt bad about my low tolerance, were these kids starving? Looking well fed, I doubted it; just greedy I thought. They headed off for dinner at home.  I packed up and left early in order to make the one a day slow ferry to Bocas del Toro. I didn’t see them again.

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Ferry to Bocas del Toro

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Ever since I had passed and missed the trainline route to Limon due to having too much kit, I had been considering returning. I wanted to forget it but my mind was finding it hard to let go. There was something there for me. I found myself pondering over it a lot of my time in Bocas del Toro.

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A nice quiet road leads to the other side of the main island in Bocas del Toro where you can find Playa Estrella. A very pleasant cycle ride with this beach as your reward.

Large signs tell tourists not to touch the starfish on this beach so it was a shame to see people picking them up; allegedly it kills them.

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Good camping can be found at the ‘Y’ campground. A bit out of town but fine with a bicycle.

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A taxi ran over my bike rack. Although bent out of shape it's still working. Tubus Cargo: light and can take a beating and still work!

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'La reina' of the 'carnaval'

More ‘carnaval’ fun:

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