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Bocal Del Toro Sailing
Sailing in Panama Day One: Bocas Town and Boat Barbecue
On the first day of charter, the guests arrived in the afternoon. After having some drinks in the lively, colorful, and bustling Bocas Town, we made it onto the boat to get settled. After pouring some drinks and putting on some music, chicken was put on the barbecue for a welcome dinner! We made a salad and rice and feasted on the boat before getting ready to go out.
After dinner we got a water taxi and it was time to hit the town! Bocas is knows for its great nightlife, and we checked out a couple different bars for an eventful and awesome night.
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Sailing in Panama Day Two: Cayos Zapatilla and Island Seafood Dinner at Cayo Coral
On day two, we woke up, brushed off our hangovers, and took a group out to surf. It’s not quite a trip to Bocas without getting out in the waves at least once! It was a slow morning with breakfast on the boat until the surf group got back, at which point we prepared the Green Flash to sail.
On today’s agenda were the lovely remote Cayos Zapatilla, which are two tiny islands on the outskirts of the Bocas archipelago that look like something out of an actual fairytale. You know when you imagein a tiny Tropical Caribbean island?? These are them. You can walk around either of them in about half an hour, crossing fallen trees on the sand and traipsing through untouched protected jungle.
Today we got out a few surfboards to paddle in, got out the SUP, and even brought a massage table to the sand for the ultimate massage experience. The boys even brought in a cooler with beer, because, obviously. 😛
After a few hours relaxing at one of the islands, it was time to sail to dinner. We anchored off the coast of Cayo Coral – tiny little mangrove island on the far edge of Bastimentos island – for a lovely seafood dinner. For a set price we each got a jaw-dropping plate of lobster (cut in half with the entire body for presentation!), fish, salad, plantains, and rice. It was to-die-for! Add in some tropical cocktails and it made for an awesome meal.
Sailing in Panama Day Three: Bastimentos Island: Old Bank Permaculture Farm, and Sunset Dinner
The next day we woke up and had our boat breakfast before heading over to Bastimentos Island. We first stopped near Red Frog Marina for some snorkeling and swimming, and then we went over to Bastimentos’s largest town – Old Bank. After having a few beers at Bubba’s Place bar on the water, we did a small hike to a permaculture farm called ‘Up in the Hill.”
A 15 minute hike lead us to an amazing little space surrounded by every kind of vegetation you could imagine. We did a two hour tour of the permaculture farm that this family grew from the ground up (literally) twenty years ago, and are now beginning to (literally) see the fruits of their labor! 😛
The tour was pretty eye-opening and we were able to understand how all plants work together to for a self-supporting environment at a permaculture farm. Since they started growing all this food, the ecosystem has boomed for all kinds of animals and insects too, and they can fully eat and support themselves from farmed foods like papaya, bananas, yucca, dragonfruit, cacao (in many forms), eggs, jackfruit, coconut, and pineapple! At the end of the tour we had a feat fit for kinds of all this fruit, and LOTS of cacao (brownies, nibs, and drink!)
At the end of the tour we headed to a lovely restaurant/hotel to relax before dinner. The place was called the Firefly, and it was another one of those places I could see myself ending up living for quite a long time. The space was amazing and cozy, there was a yoga deck, and it faced the sea right toward the sunset! We all enjoyed some cocktails and drinks before ordering their tapa-style dishes for a lovely Caribbean dinner. Some of the guests went out on the town afterwards, and some chose to stay in!
Sailing in Panama Day Four: Red Frog Marina + Beach
On day four we docked at Red Frog Marina on Bastimentos Island, and spent the whole day at the incredible, picturesque, tropical beach! There are lots of trails and hikes to be done in the area, but the guys decided to open a tab at a beachside bar and alternate between drinking fruity cocktails, eating chicken wings, and swimming in the bright blue Caribbean Sea all day!
Truly, this beach is one of the most beautiful I have seen, so I was happy to spend a day relaxing in this dreamlike location. That is, until it was time to head back to the boat to make yummy fish tacos for everyone to eat after a day of salt and sun. They really hit the spot!
Tonight some of the guys had their eyes on the Villas at Red Frog Resort, and decided after a day of cocktails to rent one to spend the evening and next morning enjoying the remoteness of the island from above. Others, again, went out in Bocas town!
Sailing in Panama Day Five: Bat Caves, Sail-Up Bar, Burgers, and A Last Night in Town
After bringing breakfast to the villas and getting everyone together, it was time for the most unique adventure of them all: the bat caves. We didn’t know what to expect of the so-called bat caves, but we quickly found out we were in for a bit more of an adventure than we had anticipated!
We took a small boat through tiny mangrove pathways to an even more remote point on Bastimentos island, and walked for a little while through the forest to an opening in a rock face. At first our senses were overwhelmed by the sight of dozens of bats above us, the sound their high-pitched squeaks, the scent of their bat shit, and trying to feel out way down into this darkness with our headlamps. But, as soon as we got through the opening of the cave and got used to the scary massive crickets on the wall, we understood how amazing this place really is.
We went from splashing around in ankle-deep water, eventually to leaving our belongings on a rock and swimming through barely head-high cave openings! It was such an adventure – we explored what must have been 5-700 (maybe more – it’s hard to judge distance inside a narrow dark wet cave) into this cave. We just kept going and going and being wowed by all the formations and bats whizzing past our heads too quickly for us to see.
After the bat cave adventure , we whipped up some lunch and began our dinner of vegetarian lentil+beetroot burgers. While we prepared the feast, we turned the music on and sailed back towards Bocas Town for our last night.
There was one more destination, however – a literal FLOATING BAR just outside the town! No, I’m not kidding, there is a sail/float/kayak – up bar here called Offshore’s which we went to and had an amazing time of laughs and cocktails. It was pretty surreal to say the least! After eating our burgers we went back into town for a night out of bar hopping and goodbyes.
Bocas Del Toro Sailing in Panama – Adventures, Good Food, and a Bit of a Party
It was an awesome 5 days of the two best things Bocas is good at – adventure and party! But a trip on the Green Flash can be whatever you want it to be. They do kite surfing and yoga as well, and tend to be more adventure-focused than anything else! This week was an example of what a charter can be like, but you can make your week your very own. It was the perfect way to see different parts of Bocas and be able to relax in the mean time!