We went the entire weekend to a true jewel of the Caribbean… Bocas del Toro is closer than ever, and to prove it we grabbed our stuff, the passports and headed to Panamá by land.
How to get there?
You have to get to the southern border for Sixaola … from there just go with the flow as the locals are responsible for guiding you to your next step to reach Bocas.
What to bring?
Bathing suit, towel, hammock, repellent, sunscreen, hat, change of clothes, and excellent attitude.
Distance:Whatever you want.
Parking: In Sixaola, ¢ 4500 a night.
Pets:It’s complicated, but not impossible.
Cost:From $ 12 a night
We got up very early to drive South at 4 am! We arrived at about 7 in the morning to have breakfast of champions at a place that was an hour from the border. We ate and at 8:30 we were about to reach the border. We parked in a parking lot at the end of the ballast street next to the main one; it may be the property closest to the Sixaola River.
Then after preparing everything we needed to take to Panama, we went to see what the deal was. You can easily distinguish the migration and customs line of Costa Rica, then we went to Panama and after about 45 minutes we were already on a microbus to Admirante (where the boats leave for Bocas). Once in the boat we arrived in half an hour to Isla Colon.
At Colón it was not hard to find the Selina hostel since literally everyone knows about this place. We arrived and everything went super well, this place has a crazy cool deck facing the sea, all kinds of chairs to vegetate and have a chill day. While we were given the room we decided to have some lunch. In the afternoon we went for a walk through the center of the island Columbus, until they recommended to cross to the island Carenero just in front of the Selina.
On this island we were only about half an hour, because although it was very hot, the mosquitoes and fleas were insane and we did not wear repellent… so when you go DO NOT FORGET REPELLENT! So we went back to the Selina to take a small break and thus charge batteries for the night.
In the evening after dinner, a full party with live music awaited us; there was no one there with a long face. In the end Tavo got hyped with the dancing with a little train that put everyone on the dance floor.
We got up for a tasty breakfast in front of the sea in Selina, then chained to go by boat to our Saturday adventure. First the boat took us to Red Frog Island … here we would leave our stuff in the boat which we were going to take off from. Then we continued our journey to Isla Zapatilla where the rest of the crew waited for us. We did 3 things here basically: drink pipe water, eat coconut and snorkel, the weather did not help much, but the attitude of the staff + the foreigners who joined us made it all happen.
After couple of hours on the island, our guts were making noises and it was time to eat something … so we went to eat at an island nearby. Here we alighted in a restaurant on stilts in the sea, joined by several epic paradisiacal bridges. After lunch, we set up our Ticket to the Moon hammock, and rested for a while to digest the food.
After resting for a while, we went to wakeboard … Only Tavo and Glori made it 🙁 … but the worst attempt is the one that is not made. In the end we were tired and we went to the Selina Red Frog to rest for a while.
In the evening we had dinner and then there was an awesome party happening with the same music group… followed by electronic music that put everyone dancing while an artist was painting faces with neon paint. Around 12 we went to sleep Cinderella style because the next day we ended our stay in this tropical paradise.
We woke up for breakfast and so went to the beach of Red Frog Island …it’s like 10 minutes walking distance from the hostel, passing a path in the middle of the jungle we took to the beach. The sea was not the friendliest, since it is open sea, but the color of the water and the sand are simply incredible. Here we went to a lookout that is to the right at the end, similar to the one seen in Manzanillo Limón, it is a super epic deck under the shade of the trees with a full view of the Red Frog beach.
We went back to the center of the beach, while I put set up hammocks Ticket to the Moon, Tavo and Glori threw themselves into the sand with the blanket … everything was excellent until we were distracted for a sec and a wave came and dragged all of Glori’s stuff …. (including her camera) which made us panic a bit, but still we continued our beach day.
When midday was approaching, we moved to the hostel to have lunch, pack suitcases, take the boat to Isla Colon and from there back to Admirante.
We got to San Jose at around 8 pm, tired but satisfied to get that ride that is almost taboo … because in a weekend we went to Bocas del Toro Panama by land, easy, cheap and relatively practical.