Exploring Panama: Bocas del Toro

For those of you who know Bocas del Toro, the archipelago in the north-west of the country, you know that this place is basically paradise.
The main town consists of Caribbean style houses, each painted in a different color and bars and restaurants offer seats with view over the sea and of the other small islands. The water is clear and blue, starfishes can be seen even under your breakfast table and lush jungles cover most of the land.
On our first full day we decided to join a little group of tourists and take a tour. On a small boat we then spend the whole day cruising in between the islands. First, we went to Dolphin Bay where, surprise, surprise, we saw a school of dolphins excitedly jumping out if the water and curiously circling our boat.
We passed lush Mangrove jungles, let our fingers lazily run through clear water and tried not to get sunburned under the hot Panamanian sun (with mixed results).Corals and Fish of every size and color surrounded us and I made an extra cool find. Because half hidden under sand and rocks was a beautiful necklace which I now use as a lucky charm.

We met a parrot, relaxed on the beach and then went out for cocktails and dinner, all while enjoying the fresh breeze coming from the sea.
We also got lucky enough to witness a beautiful sunset that colored the sky completely red.
Sadly, it is turning out to be quite hard to upload things because even in our hotel Wi-Fi is spotty at best.
I have, of course and how could I not, caught a cold on my last few days in this beautiful place so i thought I might as well share the last few days with you guys. I think there are three main topics worth discussing. But lets start with the less exciting one.

  1. We found a caiman (small crocodile)

We were on our way to the red frig beach on another island, very nice beach by the way even if the waves can get quite strong.
We passed a small river, which would then turn into little more than a trickle once it hits the sandy beach and in there we saw something swimming. Was it a log? no, it looked like a crocodile. But it really wasn’t moving. But then again crocodiles don’t move much.
It wasn’t until the second little reptile appeared that we decided that yes, it was indeed.

  1. We got stuck on a boat and had to be rescued.

So, this one is kind of related to the third point but i thought it deserves its own story. Here we were, on a little boat with two Canadians and two Australian girls all being ready for an amazing tour, our boat going full speed on the water and the lights of the town getting smaller and smaller. And then it stopped.
The captain said, no worries this happens all the time. Then he started looking slightly worried and when we looking around we saw not much apart from the dark outlines of nearby islands and here and there a house.
And so, an hour later, we are still idly going back and forth on the small waves and the tour guide and captain start signaling S.O.S. hoping that some boat might pass us.
Thankfully it did and we switched boats and were able to continue our journey.

  1. We went swimming with bio luminescence.

For those of you who don’t know, bio luminescence is a natural reaction to an algae in the water which means that everything that moves in water produces light.
After our little boat debacle we continued out tour and what we found was absolutely otherworldly.
Stage one was just us waving our hands in the water, seeing it light with every movement. I felt like i was straight out of harry potter, sparks flying with every move of my fingers.
Then, we stopped at a more shallow part and were told to stomp. And every time a foot hit the deck we saw lights flash all around us and soon we had our own little disco, hidden in between the mangroves.
The third stage was us actually jumping into that fantastical water ourselves. I am actually quite happy that there are no pictures because nothing could come even close to this. You are paddling in the sea, you can see underwater that your body exerts some kind of glow with every movement. So you put on your goggles and look under water. Its all black,.completely and utterly black and you wouldn’t be able to see your own body but then, with every single movement there are hundreds and hundreds of little lights, almost like stars appearing all over your body. And you swim and see yourself covered and outlines by the lights. I barely felt human anymore when looking down. And even this just all seems like it only just scraps the surface of what it felt like. Yes it was scary, everything around you was black, completely unknown but Jesus, that feeling…..it was absolutely breathtaking.

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