I couldn’t stay in Costa Rica (CR) a minute longer. After five expensive days I decided to get the first flight out and head for Panama. The cost, and the shear volume of tourists, turned CR into my worst nightmare.
From San José international airport I flew to Bocas Del Toro (via David) in search of peace, tranquility and some relief for my traumatised budget. Sadly I only managed to find the latter.
Bocas Del Toro (Panama).
Where primary rainforest meets banana plantation and Caribbean islands dot a shock of blue waters, Bocas del Toro Province promises all that is tropical. Located 32km from the Costa Rican border, the Archipiélago de Bocas del Toro consists of six densely forested islands, scores of uninhabited islets and Panama’s oldest marine park, Parque Nacional Marino Isla Bastimentos. Naturally beautiful and half tame, Bocas is Panama’s principal tourist draw, the place for a hefty dose of sun and surf. Isla Colón, home to the regional capital town of Bocas del Toro, is the main destination for travelers.
Relaxed as it is, Isla Colón has ridden a major development boom. Since the mid 1990s, foreign investors have been buying up land like crazy, with new hotels, restaurants and condos constantly springing up. Fortunately, there’s still a heavy dose of local flavor, and the lack of beachside Pizza Huts is testament to the fact that development is still years behind similar destinations in nearby Costa Rica.
I enjoyed Isla Colón but paradise it is not.
Next stage: Jazz and Blues Festival in Boquete.