Categories
Aerial photography Boca Chica Chiriqui Marine Park and Archipelago Driving in Panama Expats in Panama Go Pro video on island in Panama Howler Monkeys Isla Boca Brava Renting a car in Panama Roxy's Fishing Club Boca Chica snorkling in Panama travel to panama White sand beaches Panama

Chiriqui Marine Park and Archipelago,Losing the Car Rental Key and other stories

It was time to pack up from our beautiful location on Isla Boca Brava. We took our last hike said our goodbyes to our wonderful hosts on the island,and watched a huge troop of howler monkeys hop from trees immediately in front of our cabin.Glenn said he had misplaced the keys to our rental vehicle. We had driven from Pedasi to Las Lajas, then  to Boca Chica(Parked for 3 days while on Isla Boca Brava) and were on our way driving to  Volcan and Boquete.The plan then was to bus to Bocas Del Toro, after dropping the vehicle off in Boquete. The beautiful vistas were put on hold , and we looked in every possible place taking our packs apart, with no luck. We were given one key with no spare in Pedasi. After a final search we found the key that Glenn had carefully put in the “special” place of my camera cover.

Sunset Boca Chica

 

We journeyed by boat back to the mainland Boca Chica, and stayed in a rustic hostel that was cleaned and well maintained. Here are some town photos that we took during our walk.

 

Our hostel was clean and friendly and close to the dock.The little fan in the room with little ventilation made it difficult to sleep.The owners were very courteous and helpful. Our next location that we booked was “Roxy’s Fishing Club”, a family run hotel close by. Glenn did  aerial photography for them as you can see in the video below.Their hotel’s staff will take very good care of you when touring the neighbouring white sand islands.

 

We took a small boat with one other couple who travelled from David. They were from Germany. The boat took us to three snorkelling spots away from the white sand beach. It was a bit daunting as while everyone was jumping into the depths of the ocean from the boat that was rocking full of waves, I was awkwardly putting my flippers on backwards and gingerly dipping my toes then flopping in limbs flailing.. I am not at this point at all embarrassed, just grateful ! Although I did did snorkel in Costa Rica and Belize in previous years,my expertise was still at beginner level.I did notice however  I swam faster once in the water and did not swallow sea water as often. It was a colourful beautiful sight once underwater, and flowing with the turquoise blue, incredible colourful fish.

The exquisite island  that we had the privilege of visiting is located inside Panama’s Gulf of Chiriqui National Marine Park and part of the Paridas Archipielago, a scattering of over 25 nationally protected tropical islands, 19 coral reefs, and abundant wildlife that is 12 miles off the Pacific coast. A one hour boat ride from Boca Chica brought us to this beautiful uninhabited island with a white sand. It is either Isla Ladrones and Islas Secas or Isla Montuosa.

The dark blue tones which surround the mangroves near the shore blend to shades of turquoise and emerald wrapping white-sand beaches on islands lined with coconut palms.

 

We later took an evening walk and there were horses at the gas station, with one horse bucking out of control. There is no need for movies here, the entertainment is right out the front door!

Two HorsesGas station

Our next stops, we will be driving our rental car(now that we found the keys!) to David,Volcan, Cerro Punta,Boquete and surrounding area. We then drop the car off in Boquete at Thrifty’s and we will be taking a bus to Bocas Del Toro, both Colon and Isla Bastimentos. We have decided not to plan the rest of our journey after that.

Categories
Aerial photography Boca Chica Driving in Panama Howler Monkeys Isla Boca Brava travel to panama

Boca Chica,Isla Boca Brava and Beyond

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 !

IMGP0472

 
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.

Man on horse 2 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

IMGP0484

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!

IMGP0474

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.

IMGP0505

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.

Fisherman

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.”

Glenn on 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.

Better hammock photo

 

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.

Isla Boca Brava view

We went for many hikes around the island on the island’s jungle trail, and heard an incredible chorus of tropical birds.

Hike through Brava

We saw many, many beautiful colourful butterflies, all different shapes and brilliant colours.

Butterfly clip

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.

Glenn on Isla Boca Brava

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!

Monkey clip 2

Monkey Boca Chica

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!

IMGP0911