Panama

The last country in our Central America journey! I couldn’t believe how quickly 2.5 months had gone by! Now, when planning my Central and South America adventure all those months ago, I made the mistake of listening to my mother who warned me that Colombia was way too dangerous to visit and I shouldn’t go there. So, I took her advice like the good daughter I am, and booked a flight from Panama City to Quito, the capital of Ecuador, therefore skipping Colombia. BIG MISTAKE! Almost everyone I spoke to who had visited Colombia told me what an incredible country it was (It’s now on my bucket list of places to return to) So, don’t make the same mistake I did, make sure you visit Colombia! The easiest, and most fun way of getting from Panama City to Cartagena in Colombia is by sailing boat, on a 5 day sailing trip, stopping off at the beautiful San Blas islands.

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Bocas Del Toro
So, back to Panama. We crossed the border from Costa Rica to Panama at Paso Canosas, and paid the $17 exit fee here, before continuing on to the town of David. From here it was a short trip to the north of the country, to get the Ferry across from Almirante to Bastimento island, part of the Bocas del Toro province. Bocas del Toro are a group of beautiful carribean islands in the north of Panama which are definitely worth a visit!

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Bastimento is the smaller, less touristic island, but it is filled with gorgeous sandy beaches for exploring, we even managed to spot starfish and lots of tiny orange poison dart frogs!

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If you fancy a night out whilst here, water taxis run between Bastimento and the main island where Bocas town is situated with lots of fun nightclubs. We stayed at Hostel Heike whilst here.

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Panama City
We took a 12 hour night bus from Bocas del Toro to Panama City, which wasn’t as bad as I expected, and would be a precursor for all the night buses to come in South America! We stayed at Mamallena hostel in Panama City, who also organise trips to Colombia through the San Blas islands as mentioned above.

Panama City is huge and filled with sky scrapers, nothing like I’d experienced in Central America so far! We spent our time here wandering through the old town, and trying Ceviche in a fish market (Top tip, don’t try Ceviche for the first time in a random fish market, your stomach will thank you for this later. I learned this the hard way!).

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The contrast between the new City skyscrapers on the left, and old town on the right

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Be careful with trying Ceviche in fish markets!

We couldn’t travel all the way to Panama and not go see the infamous Panama Canal. Make sure you check the times the visitor centre opens though, as we ended up getting there later than planned to find that it had actually closed, so ended up sneaking a view through a wire fence in a car park, whoops!

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View of the Panama Canal, from a car park…

With that, our time in Central America had come to an end. It was an incredible 2.5 months were we had amazing experiences and met great people. Next stop, South America!!

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