We're in Bocas del Toro, Panama

So, What do we think of Bocas Del Toro Now that We’re Here?

Bocas Del Toro

It’s breathtakingly gorgeous

Bocas Del Toro is often called the Galapagos of the Carribean and is teeming with species of poison dart frogs, crazy looking birds, and other animals that only exist on specific islands here. We’ve kayaked to deserted islands, seen both fireflies and bioluminescence in the ocean, said hello to some beautiful spotted rays, and basically live on an island paradise.

It’s not the easy beach retreat we thought it would be

Topher wanted to start somewhere easy and wanted to do a beach town, and Bocas seemed like a serene place to find a secluded section of beach that we can call ours for a couple of months. We picked a stunning house on a hill surrounded by sea and forest, and daydreamed about relaxing in our hammock over the sea.

It’s three weeks in, and I’m currently covered in bug bites, have ants crawling on me (not joking. They are everywhere.), have no hot water and actually lost all of our running water right when we moved in due to renting a house run by rainwater during dry season. We have no air conditioning in the tropics, and we can’t even run the fan very much because the house is run on solar energy. I named a gecko in our house Fred, and then he died in our pantry. We’re always low to mid-grade uncomfortable, which is fine, but we expected something much easier.

We worry about our safety here

I’ll have to write a post about how surprisingly unsafe it is here. It’s low season, which means that people are boating up in the night to steal boat motors, and we almost got robbed at machete point by a restaurant during the weekend. We asked our waiter about it and he just nodded and said that robberies happen all the time here. Our beautiful house on the hill with no neighbors even has bars on every window, and when my phone broke, one of our AirBnb care takers thought that something terrible had happened to us and came to check that we were still alive. Also, we have MULTIPLE machetes around the house.

Turns out they don’t speak Spanish On Bastimentos

We both understand Spanish well, and Topher speaks a lot of it. However on this island they speak a language called Guari Guari which is an English-based Patois (and completely unparseable).

Language Barrier Tip: If you are looking to travel to an exotic locale but only speak English, you might want to try taking a look at Belize, whose national language is English! We have a couple of friends who stayed on Belize’s Placencia Peninsula for a month and spent their time mingling with locals and expats, going scuba diving, enjoying beers on the beach, and deep sea fishing. Needless to say, when their time was over, they didn’t want to leave!

There IS WiFi here!

WiFi is necessary for us to make money. And for the most part, the WiFi Gods have been kind to us. Thank goodness.

It attracts the kind of tourists we don’t want to make friends with

We have one friend here. His name is Roman and he’s a water taxi driver. All the foreigners make Madi feel old (and she’s only 27) and look like they all belong to frat houses or sororities.

Overall, our verdict is still out

Are we glad we’re here? Sure. But with safety concerns and being hot, sticky, and covered in bites all the time, we will be happy to venture elsewhere when our time is up.