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In and out of Panama

We left Drake by boat and bus and headed for the Panamanean border. The border crossing took us ages. During our wait for more than two hours to clear customs I ran a few blocks to get us a burger king meal while Sandy guarded our spot in the queue. We had almost starved to death in that queue.

From the border we took a bus to Boquete where we aimed to climb the volcano and watch the sunrise from the summit. Sandy however got quite ill along the way with a bad stomach. Therefore we stayed overnight in Boquete and spend the next day just recovering. It did buy me some time for uploading some pics from Drake Bay on Facebook.


Not completely recovered, but enough to travel we set out to reach the harbor town of Almirante, the step off to Bocas del Toro. Almirante itself is not a nice place to stay. It looked a bit rough to us with lots of pollution along the waters edge. We did not expect too much from Bocas since it is known to be quite touristy and especially the main island is more party hardy than we were after. By boat we reached Isla Colon and we took a taxi ride to our hostel. The island is a nice surf spot, but we observed the guys rocking the waves from the beach with a cocktail in our hand.


We discovered the island by mountainbike as well as lunching along the way. We arranged for another jungle tour (we just couldn't get enough after our experience in Corcovado). Close to the hostel we entered the forest in search for frogs, birds and so on. We did discover quite a few of them, some more colorful than others.


In the middle of the forest we visited some indigenous people on their grounds. They grew their own food to sell on the market and kept cattle on the fields surrounding their houses. After a long day we went for dinner on the waters edge in the town during sunset. A great opportunity for me to set up for a nice timelapse.


Leaving Panama was not as difficult as leaving Costa Rica, although the border crossing did deliver some hiccups. It took us quite long with organized transport to reach the border. At the border a backpacker from our bus discovered that his bag was lost somewhere in between stops. Eventually we learned that his bag was in another bus headed for San Jose (luckily they would use the same bordercrossing). We arranged for other transport since we did not want to wait for that bag to arrive.

I somehow slightly misspelled and corrected my name in the customs declaration form and of course encountered the grumpiest customs officer ever. He looked at me, sighed deep and long, striked through the paper 4 times, crumbled it up in a small ball, threw it in the dustbin and pointed me to the back of the line without even saying a word. What an A**hole.. In search of the blocknote full of empty declaration forms I found somebody using the full block of papers for easy writing. Nice..


Long story short: it took us an hour to cross the border, but we were finally back in Costa Rica and on the road to Cahuita to search for sloths!!

joostvanuffelen's picture
About the Author:
Joost loves the oceans, travelling and (underwater)photography. Combining those three elements he creates ocean art, travel reports and ocean photo stories...

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