Bocas del Toro:
A tiny Caribbean island and a backpacker’s favourite on the central America route. I ended up in Bocas after travelling down from Nicaragua with a couple of fellow travellers and finally crossing the border at Costa Rica. I spent the first two weeks partying with friends, enjoying the beaches, biking around the island and living the Caribbean life. Pretty quickly I got used to Rasta life and dealing with all the ‘talk’ that comes when you are a ‘gringa’ living with Panamanian men.
Filthy Friday, Selenas and Summer amongst the top for partying for backpackers.
However, having spent time living with the locals I found that El Barco Hundido club was my absolute favourite. It is where the local’s party! And you can guarantee anywhere the locals eat or drink is the best. Barco served cheap drink (often free for girls on certain days) and played local music which was so refreshing after hearing Despacito in every club. At Barco, you can expect real Caribbean dance and grinding all night long! I think I ended up in Barco Hundido almost every night it was so much fun to dance the night away. I also visited lots of beaches and neighbouring islands such as; ‘Playa de Las Estrellas’ which is a beautiful, clear water beach filled with starfish, Playa Bluff and several more.
I fell in love with Bocas and got myself a job in one of the hostels working on reception in exchange for a room. Thanks to this, I made some great friends and had the opportunity to volunteer in Casa de Asilo, an elderly home on the island. It was quite the experience, I spent most of my days painting the nails of the women and getting them to sing and dance along with me. I loved my time on this little island but being a city girl after a few months I was desperate to get to a city! I said my goodbyes and with a few friends headed down to Panama City where I had a flight booked for Colombia.
Compared to Bocas, Panama City was somewhat anticlimactic in my opinion. Apart from visiting the famous Panama Canal and walking to markets the cool thing to do is check out the views. It really is the city of skyscrapers. A few of us climbed Ancon Hill (a very steep and long hill) and when we eventually made it we sat at the top with some beers and music and checked out the views (as we recovered). As well as this, Panama City is great for rooftop bars, my favourite being in Casco Viejo where it’s almost like a mini European city with gorgeous restaurants and modern bars.
To get to Colombia you have to fly or take a boat since it is too dangerous to the bus. If you have the money do the San Blas Island tour to Colombia (or vice versa) as I am told by every single backpacker I met how beautiful the islands were and how great their trip was. It is at the very top of my list of things to do upon my return!
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