Laid back and relaxing…Quaint…Fascinating…Cool! All words that I can use to describe this little bit of paradise where we finally arrived. The aerial beauty of the journey did not escape me either. There were lots of billowing clouds but lots of peek-a-boo views as well as we took the short flight from Panama City to the Bocas del Toro airport.
Once arrived, we paid the $3 tax for the island, then awaited our personally delivered luggage. They were fast and efficient, but individually handled and untagged each piece of luggage. Our hotel was a ten minute walk away so we managed to find it once I connected the GPS and insured we were going the correct direction. The houses were quaint. A few locals were hanging out and some older kids talking or running around on the street where we walked. They didn’t say too much or even greet us when I said Hola! We found the hotel near the ferry landing right at the south end of the main road in Bocas Town. Beautiful 4 story hotel with the greatest restaurant porch on the street. We can watch the vehicles coming off the ferry and watch some construction going on across the street. It’s low 70’s and the sun is shining where we sit. Lots of clouds are in the skies and there’s a chance of showers later. Breakfast at the hotel was included. I highly recommend it! Fresh fruit and coffee come with the meals. Fresh squeezed juice is available for an extra charge. The breakfast is freshly prepared and the fresh fruit is covered with fresh coconut. The coffee is good and the ambience if you like watching a small community come to life is fabulous.
We are staying at the Palma Royale, a four story high rise for the island. We are on a bottom floor with a private patio off of our room. The bed was comfortable and we slept well after our days of travel to get here. All told it took 23 hours from the time we left Boise. We had long layovers which granted us less expensive fares, but lost time. There were two earlier flights to Bocas once we arrived in Panama City that would have been better slightly more expensive choices.
The Palma Royale goes to great measures to insure a comfortable stay. They will make your tour arrangements for you so you can sit and write, read, or walk around. There is no beach immediately accessible..they are a little bit of a walk away. We will explore those possibilities later. We are very impressed with the comfort and level of service that we have received so far. Breakfast was excellent. I had French Toast with bacon, and Van had eggs and bacon. Delicious. We are currently sitting at the same table enjoying the sights while I’m writing.
Since this is an island, they transport many things across by the ferry. There were delivery trucks in a variety of sizes that cam across this morning. There also were a half dozen police that came over this morning on the ferry. The area feels secure. I assume that their largest concern from what I’ve read is drugs coming into the country and being an island, they err on the side of caution and have visible police walking the town.
When we arrived, we showered and changed after the long journey and headed out for an adult beverage. We were looking for happy hour – but landed at the first stop in La Iguana Surf Bar. We had probably one of the worst margaritas ever…so skip the bar there unless you are having beer or wine. They serve Italian food so we were only interested in the beverage. Not impressive – with only mediocre service.
We continued walking down the street to find the best fresh seafood that we could. I had read about some of the places but not all…so we wandered until we found the most irresistable one. We ended up at the Hotel Bocas del Toro and their waterside restaurant. We both enjoyed margaritas – Happy hour priced and delicious! I had the Passion Fruit margarita and enjoyed it very much. Van had the regular flavor. We ordered fresh fish – I had Dorado and Van Mahi Mahi…Mine was prepared with lemon and was to die for! Van’s was tasty – he ordered blackened! The service was a bit laid back but friendly. I would definitely recommend. We sat at the closest table to the water and enjoyed the view and the ambience. (Photos coming soon)
We met some great people sitting next to us from Ohio! They spend a few months in Panama City every winter and were sharing in their experiences. They agreed that we have a good plan for seeing a little bit of everything the country has to offer. We are excited to experience it!
We are off to try to get to the Organic Chocolate Farm today. Always collecting information to help my events back home (ToDieForChocolateFestival.com)!
Hope your day is productive whatever you are doing!