We are staying in Bocas Town which is the most populous location in the entire archipelago of Bocas del Toro. We wanted to take advantage of our central location so today we chartered a boat from town and went on a snorkel safari.
Our captain today was Alberto and he took us out to the Cayo Coral where we swam with fish among the coral. The kids saw brain coral for the first time, red, purple, yellow and green sponges and coral and several kinds of tropical fish. They even got to hear the click-like munching sound the fish make when they are eating around the coral. The visibility was good, not great, but got better as the sun emerged mid-morning.
We had lunch after this snorkeling stop at Restaurant Soles on Bastimentos Island. While waiting for lunch, the kids took turns sliding off a dock slide into the water.
The kids sat for a while on the bench next to the slide. Mom & Dad thought it was curious that their excitement gave way to trepidation once they got a good look at the 4 foot drop-off from the end of the slide into the water. Needless to say, once they started it took a lot of cajoling to get them back to the lunch table to eat their meals.
Captain Alberto took us for two more stops before the end of the trip.
The first stop was Sloth Island where we saw tree sloths; at least one of which was hanging off tree branches just a few feet above our boat. Very cool and certainly our closest sloth encounter.
The second stop was at Starfish Island which had TONS of orange starfish scattered in the shallows around this relatively small, uninhabited island. We wondered what made those waters so enticing and were grateful for the experience.
We returned back to Bocas Town and planned to walk the 20 minutes back to our hotel, but just around the corner we spotted Julio who was our taxi driver yesterday and this morning. Small town! Once we got back, we climbed our weirdly shallow external stairs leading to weirdly steep internal stairs to our attic apartment – sorry, our ‘penthouse apartment’ according to the description.
We wandered around town a bit, played at the park and enjoyed a good dinner at a restaurant up the block. While the ‘penthouse’ has its charms, the kitchenette isn’t something Brian or Tiffany want to cook in for the three days we’re here so we’re all taking turns picking restaurants.
After dinner the kids bought some treats at the corner market. Panama uses the US dollar as its currency so there is less math involved in shopping than there was in Costa Rica. After they finished their candy and did some reading it was time to call it a day.