Bocas del Toro, Lost and Found & Boquete

Bocas del Toro

24th – 26th of September 2013

Bocas del Toro is famous for two things: beautiful beaches and partying. The hostel we chose (Casa Verde) was directly on the water but didn’t have a beach, so the choice for the first day was easy. Especially since I had just gotten back on track after my virus infection and Lukas and I had reason to celebrate after all – us finally travelling together. That being said, we can conclude that Balboa is the best beer in Panama.

So on the second day we were left with the task of confirming if Bocas really had beautiful beaches which is why we headed to the north of Isla Colón to the Playa Estrella (return bus US$ 5 / 3,79 €), a beach which is famous for lots of starfish. We didn’t encounter the massive amounts of starfish we were expecting after what we had heard from other travelers and read in the travel guide (we saw a total of two) but the beach itself was nevertheless beautiful.

Playa Estrella was only outmatched by Isla Zapatillas (Day tour; US$ 30 / 22,73 €), a national park we visited on our last day in Bocas del Toro. At least at the beginning there was nothing in the world we could have complained about whilst staying at this paradise beach, until disaster took its course in form of a Swiss girl trying to open a coconut. That itself wouldn’t have been a disaster if the coconut had not been lying on the beach since the birth of Christ. Once she succeeded in opening it, the devil himself climbed out in form of a stench that had never before been smelled by mankind. Needless to say that we had to evacuate that section of the beach after she had cleverly thrown the coconut into the forest behind us leaving us with a massive gag reflex every time there was a slight breeze from the ocean. Apart from that little act of not so neutral Swiss terrorism it was a rather nice day on the beach.

After extensive research we can therefore conclude that Bocas del Toro indeed lives up to the expectations of beautiful beaches and good parties – at least as long as dodgy coconuts are left where they are.

Lost & Found

27th – 29th of September 2013

In the Cloud Forest located on the road between Bocas del Toro and David lies the hostel Lost & Found which, judging by its location, definitely lives up to the first part of the name. The hostel is in a very remote place which requires a 20 minute hike up a hill. The fact alone that it took a couple of minutes to explain to the bus driver that you wanted to get off the bus in the middle of a forest, kilometers away from the next living soul pretty much sums it up.

But the Cloud Forest has a lot to offer, one of the many things being La Catarata de Celestine, a pristine waterfall which is about a 35 minute bus ride away from Lost & Found (again, explaining to the bus driver where you wanted to get off the bus was a challenge). To get to it we had to climb and swim up a small canyon. Towards the end of the canyon the top of it was sealed of by a big boulder only leaving a small hole for the waterfall. This had two effects, for one it was amazing when the sunlight shone through but at the same time it made it almost impossible to capture the scene properly due to the angle.

Another thing definitely worth a visit is the canyon in Gualaca, a small river which over time has eroded its way through meters of rock leaving a narrow but fairly deep canyon ideal for swimming and diving into. There are definitely worse things to spend the rest of your day with after visiting a beautiful waterfall in the morning. That being said, stay away from the first rapid, some say it can be quite a death-trap.

Boquete

30th of September – 03rd of October 2013

According to the Lonely Planet Boquete used to be a sleepy little town in the Cloud Forest until Modern Maturity magazine of the American Association for Retired Persons chose it as one of the four top places in the world to retire. The influence of a lot of American seniors was noticeable but only a bit of an inconvenience if you didn’t want to spend 30 minutes at the deli counter to get four sausages (how else would the lady know which cheese she wanted if she didn’t try every single kind they had). But we didn’t go to Boquete to play Bingo with seniors or spend every night in the hot tub by the river which our hostel had. No, there was a deeper purpose to it: climbing the volcano Barú, the highest mountain (3.474 m a.s.l.) in Panama. I order to reach the summit before sunrise; we had to start hiking at midnight. The rain at the beginning as well as the 13 km hike uphill didn’t exactly add to the comfort either. Nevertheless we managed to reach the top at around 5:15 am, a freezing cold 45 minutes before the sun rose.

On a clear day you’re supposed to be able to see the Caribbean Coast as well as the Pacific, thank god it wasn’t a clear day (irony off). Unfortunately the only sea we were able to spot towards the East was a sea of clouds, not exactly the amazing sunrise we had hoped for but nonetheless stunning. Not quite as amazing was the fact that we had to hike another 13 km back down to Boquete. Although the view from the top is breathtaking (just like the hike), we sure as hell didn’t meet any seniors along the way – wonder why.

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5 Comments

  1. “Apart from that little act of not so neutral Swiss terrorism” – hysterical!

    Reply
  2. Katie W

     /  18. May 2015

    How did you get from Bocas to Lost & Found? Which bus route did you take?

    Reply
    • There is no regular bus route as such. It is mini-buses that run every now and then.
      Take the bus from Bocas del Toro to David and tell the bus driver you want to get off at “Lost and Found”. It seems very weird but they’ll know what you’re talking about.
      I’m sure you’ll find additional info on the website of Lost and Found.
      Good luck, it is an amazing place. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Kimberley Sebag

     /  20. July 2017

    Hey guys.

    hoping you can help! myself and a friend of mine are headed to Panama for a couple weeks and we are trying to choose between visiting Boqute or Lost and Found. Were looking for an outdoorsy/mountainy experience with alot of hiking or activities to contrast the rest of our trip (which will be mostly coastal, beach, etc) We only have 2 nights/3 days so any suggestions you have about which one to choose and why would be great!!
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hey Kimberley,

      Lost and Found is a really remote place and nice to chill. There is the canyon and also a really cool waterfall you can visit.
      But if you want to so some serious hiking, I would recommend going to Bouquete since you can hike up the volcano from there and watch the sunrise.

      Hope that helps.
      Best regards,
      Seb

      Reply

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