Trip to Costa Rica and Panama’s Caribbean coast
My name is Sam, I’m French and I have just arrived in Liverpool to start my two months intership in Hola People as part of my University curriculum. In this article I will be telling you about the incredible experience I got to live right before starting here.
The adventure started when I decided to join a friend who was doing her internship in Costa Rica. Since she had a week of holiday for Semana Santa, she wanted to travel to the South-East of the country and to Panama in the archipelago of Bocas del Toro. I had always dreamed of leaving at the last minute to travel, so I took this opportunity when it presented itself. So one week later, I took off from Paris to the US for a short layover, before landing in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica.
From there, we took the bus for our first two days stop in the small city of Puerto Viejo. You can feel the closeness of the Caribbean Sea thanks to the strong influence that reggae music and culture has there. The English that is spoken by the locals also resembles the Patois spoken in Jamaica, again pointing out the influence of the Caribbean islands and their culture that they may have brought through immigration. During our stay in Puerto Viejo, we visited Cahuita National Park, where we had the opportunity to see toucans, monkeys, snakes and many other animals, but did not prepare the snorkelling material to take advantage of the coral reef’s presence.
After these two days, we embarked on a new adventure which consisted of crossing the border in order to get to Panama. It is after being taken by a shuttle that led us to a local who guided us through immigration and then took us to another shuttle that brought us to a boat, that we finally had the opportunity to see our final destination:
Bocas Town, the capital of the Bocas del Toro province, located on Isla Colón. It is from there that our next trips would start, the rest of the archipelago being accessible by taxi boats. So after visiting the main island and its Starfish beach known thanks to the presence of, you guessed it, starfishes, we went on one of the tours that almost every agency on the island offers to tourists since it is one of the biggest business there, one that you can only do by boat and that allows you to see dolphins, more starfishes, sloths when going by an island known as “Sloth island”, and many fishes when snorkelling in the area of the coral reef.
Our last expedition was on the island of Bastimentos where we wanted to see Red Frog Beach, known for this amphibian that can be found there. But instead of taking the boat that leads straight to the beach, the one which tourists usually take, we decided to go to Bastimentos through the Old Bank first, where there is a nice and colorfoul village, then to follow the seaside from Wizard Beach, until a moment where we had no other option but to venture into the jungle. We were advised by a local not to take this path for it was not without danger of getting lost or for the time it took to go through it, but in the end it was not that tiring and only a little bit frightful because of the big spiders that stayed in their webs. The plus side on that exploration is that we got to see many red frogs in a place where there were no tourists, so it was worth the scare.
After that, we got to enjoy our last day at the beach before going back to San Jose, a very urban city which has nothing to do with the other places visited, even when we compare the weathers. But it was still better than the one I had when I got back to Paris, already thinking about my next destination.