We left the small town of Las Lajas early the next morning. We gazed, pondered and smiled at the size of the turtle shown on the mural wall of the quiet family run motel room. There are certainly large turtles here in the Chiriqui !
Rugged beautiful green mountains, banana plantations, sugar cane, cascading rivers, green pastureland, and many parrots darting is what I saw on the drive toward Boca Chica. The Chiriqui drive to Boca Chica for me was a sight to behold. Chiriqui is an ancient word meaning “Valley of the Moon”. There are many remote villages, many who live in a comarca or a reserve. The Highway from Las Lajas turn off to Boca Chica was a beautiful smooth wide piece of highway compared to what we drove the night before. There were no signs that said Boca Chica. I followed the small town turn off signs. The turn off to Boca Chica was actually was a left at Horconcitos which was a small town but the road looked like it was going to Boca Chica on the map.I followed the map and looked for clues, as the road was going down to the water. There did not seem to be any other road to go off the highway.Boca Chica is a fishing village 18 miles south of the highway. Hornconcitos,where you turn left.It is a small town known for its saddle makers.
The road used to very rough, but is now paved. It was a very scenic drive and we saw a cattle round up on the road,and many horses grazing in lush green fields
We were awestruck at the beautiful scenic views.We arrived at a fork in the road without signs that said Boca Chica, however there were restaurant and accommodation signs and we decided that that must be the turn!
We arrived at another small town.We knew that Boca Chica was on the water,so we kept going,following our nose from the map. We arrived at a boat dock where there were many small boats and a local man. There was one restaurant but it was inaccessible to get any information.I asked the Panamanian standing near the boat about how to get to Isla Boca Brava.He said he could take us there for 3 dollars each. I asked about where we could park the rental car.He told us for 3 dollars a day we could leave our rental car with a lady just up the road. Her son just happened to be riding his bike to the dock, and the boatman asked the boy in Spanish to lead Glenn to the house. I waited near the boat with our belongings. Glenn came back and he tucked away our vehicle key in a special spot, as we would be leaving the car on the mainland for three days.
We were on our way! We took a very scenic boat ride through islands. We arrived at a dock.Howler monkeys hollered their beautiful basal jungle sound as we pulled up to the island.
We pulled our packs on to the dock and Glenn said”Wait here with our packs, I will go find out where our place is”. I thought that sounded reasonable. I waited on the dock with a fisherman shown here.
I waited, listening to the howler monkeys happily, and watched big fish jumping up out of the water. Then I started to sweat profusely in the hot sun with no shade as it was about an hour and Glenn had not returned. I had water with me, and entertained my self by having a conversation with the gentleman shown who did not know English and found me to be an amusing crazy Gringo. Finally Glenn returned. “I am sorry you had to wait so long,but I had to climb the stairs from hell and then at the top of the stairs is a guys house. I thought it was our place, instead it was a very agitated angry Panamanian. He pointed to our Howler monkey place down the trail, which goes right through his place. I found our place and met the manager,but be prepared for these stairs.”
We did the gigantic feat of carrying our packs up the stairs,sweating bullets, tiptoed around the angry Panamanian, had to go down his porch, and found our cabin which was the most beautiful spot imaginable on Isla Boca Brava.
There was a gorgeous open air cabin with a hammock and a deck open to a spectacular view! Inside was a bed with a private bathroom.It is called Howlers Bay Hotel with 2 gorgeous private open cabins to a view and tents are available.There was a shared kitchen and common area where we met two women from Sweden who were scientists working on a project for climate change.
We could hear parrots and howler monkeys close by. You could see for miles with many jungle filled islands in the background.
We went for many hikes around the island on the island’s jungle trail, and heard an incredible chorus of tropical birds.
We saw many, many beautiful colourful butterflies, all different shapes and brilliant colours.
Earthy, isolated, beautiful rustic beaches, dot this exquisite island,and there are several on the island to hike to. It was quiet even though it was Christmas season. Glenn did beautiful ariel photography of the island and surrounding area. I will post clips of this when we have a good internet connection.
We saw a family of howler monkeys while on one of our many hikes.It is always a beautiful experience to see and hear them in their natural environment!
There is a restaurant on the island called Isla Boca Brava Restaurant which makes a great big green salad. Most of our meals which we made ourselves have been vegetarian with rice, chick peas and black beans with curry and hot spices.
My next post will be about our accommodation on the mainland of Boca Brava and the beaches there, as well as the spectacular snorkelling and island adventure, a one hour small speed boat ride off the coast of Boca Brava. This was the highlight of our trip to Panama!