Posted by: baropbop | June 1, 2010

The border to Bocas

After crossing the border into panama I quickly found the shuttle bus to Almaronte. It seemed to be the only place that anyone was going to. I paid $10 for the ride, but a local told me not to pay more that $7, so feel free to haggle. The bus driver filled the bus to the maximum and then drove about a mile and picked up his wife and two young children. His wife had to sit on the floor of the van and one of the kids sat on this russian guys lap. It was another hilarious experience in latin american transport. The van barely made it up each and every hill and eventually we made it to the water taxi. They said it would be 45 minutes before the boat left so I started to walk to the market to get a beer. Luckily I didn’t leave, because they started loading the boat almost immediately and departed within 15 minutes max.

The water taxi takes about 45 minutes and we had a pretty slick and scenic ride. It was very relaxing and I was able to see a lot of really cool spots. As per usual the trash overflowing from most of the residences into the waterway was a bit overwhelming, but it became clearer and nicer fairly quickly. I made it to the dock. Then started walking into town. I was still travelling with Eli at this point so we decided to just go for a walk and check some places out. Had some unremarkable local cuisine, fought off all of the solicitors and eventually made it to Mondo Taitu Hostel on his friend’s recommendation…. we quickly got in touch with all the local people and places and settled in very quick. I could tell almost immediately how much fun the island of Bocas del Toro was going to be. However, Mondo Taitu Hostel is a total piece of shit and I wouldn’t recommend staying there to anyone. After the first night I moved on to Calipso and ended up staying there for quite a while. Mondo is a fun place to drink (mostly just for happy hour)…but like Rockin Jay’s, I don’t know why the hell anyone would stay there. Well actually I do know why…people have there noses shoved so deep in their guidebooks that they don’t even notice the superior accommodations that are literally next door to the recommended places. It’s really funny actually. You can pick the guidebook sheep out of a crowd incredibly easily.

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