Hostel Heiki – Bocas Town, Panama 12:36pm local time
The journey across the country from Montezuma to Puerto Viejo was a long one that involved three buses and a ferry. I left Montezuma at 6am and finally arrived at my hostel in Puerto Viejo by 8pm. The hostel was out of dorm beds by the time I arrived but, luckily, they have a cute little tent community. I was able to snatch up the last tent and spent the next three nights in there.
I had avoided coming to this side of the country a little longer than I had planned because the weather was gloomy and rainy. Sure enough, my entire first 36 hours in Puerto Viejo the rain poured out of the sky in mass, seemingly impossible amounts. I kept thinking that surely, the sky had to run out of rain soon. Eventually the rain did stop and the next day was nice enough to at least wander out of the hostel. I rented a bike (a comfortable one with a wide seat AND a basket!) and had a nice day of riding around the town, checking out the beaches, and browsing the local shops.
After three nights in Puerto Viejo it was time to cross my final border into Panama. The border crossing was fairly straight forward but crossing the ‘infamous’ old/rotten railroad bridge definitely adds character to the experience.
Bocas Town is bright and colourful and the Afro/Caribbean influence is definitely noticeable on this coast. Bocas celebrates Carnaval and I arrived on the last day of it. This meant I got to experience a little bit of what Carnaval looks like here but also that all the hostels are more expensive/busy and that the one and only ATM in town ran out of money and caused a bit of panic among travellers. I ended up spending one night in the worst hostel that I’ve ever been to. There were bedbugs and panty liners in the showers and it provided an overall puke-worthy experience. Thank God the next morning I was able to switch to another hostel that I had read about online and have spent a much more comfortable two nights here.
I also got in a couple scuba dives while I was here. Though the dive sites weren’t the best I’ve been to I was glad I took the opportunity to get underwater while I could. The rest of my time has been spent on some of the surrounding beaches. Bocas is a neat little town but a bus or water taxi is necessary to access most of the beaches and I’m eager to get to a place where the beach is just outside the doorstep. I’m leaving here tonight on an overnight bus to Panama City and then going straight to the San Blas Islands. They are beautiful but slightly pricey to get to so I’m hoping they are worth it and that I end my trip on a high note. I can’t believe I only have 5 nights left!