Browsing Tag

Central America

Mexico

Bacalar, Mexico

The Lagoon of Seven Colors as they call it. This place is unbelievable! This tropical paradise is actually a lagoon 50 miles long and far from the ocean shore.

During the first stages of Piracy in 15th century Bacalar, Cozumel and Isla Mujeres were targets for Pirate raids. During the second stages of piracy of the 16th century they set up hideouts here for better attacks on larger towns for greater plunder.

This was also during the time of the slave trade as well as the coffee, cotton, tobacco and sugar plantations. After Britain gained power of present day Belize, with this trade agreement England, France and holland gained entry to the American market.

  
In 1670 “The treaty of America” was signed between Spain and England and from that day forward they decided to combat piracy. Now I am one of the only ones left…

 

I only had two days to spend in Bacalar because I was on the fast track to Cuba for the Rolling Stones concert but I wish I could have gave a few more nights to this beautiful lagoon. The food was very cheep. Not many people spoke English, the sun was hot and the water was cool. Just how I like my Mexico journeys to be.. If you have time check out the water park/swimming area. There is also a reserve near by.

 (View from the hostel)


Where to stay-

I stayed one night at the Posada Lulu La Bruja. A newer hostel owned by a really nice French guy. Vegan food, yoga, very quiet place to relax for a night or two on the lagoon. Free fruit and coffee for breakfast. Good beds, AC -180 peso per night ($10)

Where to eat-

Pizzeria Bertilla has the best pizza in town. Authentic Italian for a very nice price!

Kai Pez is a nice restaurant within walking distance with water side dining. I had 4 tacos, nachos and 4 beers for $9 us.

Getting here and away-

From Belize- I took the boat from Caye Caulker to San Pedro for Immigration. Then to the Port of Chetumal, Mexico. From there you can negotiate a taxi to Bacalar for 200-300 pesos. It’s a 30 minute cab ride.

To Tulum- The bus terminal is on the south side of the town on the corner of Calle 30 and Calle 19 Libramiento. The ADO bus is the best. It wil have you to Tulum in 3 hours.

Guatemala

Semuc Champey- Lanquin, Guatemala

There are two reasons why you are going to ever go to Lanquin, Guatemala..  The first reason is to visit Semuc Champey and the second reason is to swim in this pool!

The Zephyr Lodge is a well oiled machine. When you arrive you are greeted with a free beer. If you stay here 3 nights, the 4th is free! The 5th day you have happy hour drink prices all day.

Dorm rooms, private rooms, tours, two bars and a full menu of food. Zephyr is a one stop shop for all of your needs in Lanquin. Or is it?

They have a tab system that is a brilliant way to take the money from your pocket and put it into theirs. It took me a couple days to realize why they give you free nights and cheaper booze for more stay. Because your second night there is spent sober planing for a tour the following morning and you start to notice the spiders as big as your hand and the cockroaches all over the rooms. (Keeping in mind that you are in the jungle and bugs definitely do happen. Big ones!) But I have been in rainforests in Thailand, Laos, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, jungles in Panama, Peru, and the Amazon jungle and never saw a single roach!) You begin to see that this place is just someone’s piggy bank. It was never geared towards your comfort. It’s just an unbelievably awesome pool in the jungle surrounded by lots of tricks to get you to buy overpriced drinks and spend money. Free beer when you get there? To get you to buy 6 more beers. 4th night is free? To get you to buy $35 of food and more booze. 5th day happy hour? Turns into a 6th day hung over. If the place was nice and comfortable they wouldn’t have to trick you to stay longer.

(If you could sleep outside in a tent this place would be paradise!)

Now if I could do it all again, I would stay at the newly built hostel on the next hill over called The Oasis. It will soon be 6 new bungalows with river access and you can walk to Zephyr for a day of pool drinking and lunch. (I only wrote about the negatives because if someone would have warned me my Lanquin trip would have been much better!) Now to the good stuff…

After an night of boozin and a day of laying by the pool you can book your Semuc Champey tour. Your morning will start with a 45 minute drive through the jungle in a 50s lifted Dodge monster truck. When you enter the park you will be greeted at 10am by a few local kids introducing them selves and trying to sell you beer.

After locking up your goods in a lock box you enter a cave on the side of a mountain! You will light a candle and walk with your shoes on through an underground river for a couple hundred feet until you are neck deep! Walking and swimming through the river wile keeping candle light above water but it was one of the craziest things I have ever done! Repelling up waterfalls with a candle in your mouth. It was all so wild! After exploring for a bit we reached a cliff with a small pool at the bottom. People climbing the walls of the cave to jump in!

After exiting the cavern we did some rope swinging into the river and then grabbed some tubes and floated down the river wile the local kids follow you on tubes with a cooler of beer for sale. They keep a running tab for everyone wile remembering the names in their head! Then those with the sand to give it a try jumped off a 30 foot bridge into the river.

It was time for more brews and lunch. A Mayan woman set up a buffet style barbecue on the side of the road for us and the little boys did their best to talk us into drinking 2 beers at a time. The girls sell home made chocolate. Pretty good actually! After that we hiked up the side of one of the mountings to get the view I came here for! Semuc Champey..

It’s a system of limestone pools along the river that have every shade of emerald water you could imagine!

Fish swimming around your feet and the water is literally the perfect temperature.

Such a peaceful place..

After an 8 hour day of adventure you can still make it back to the hostel in time for a game of strip Jenga!

A little recent history about the village of Semuc Champey. (Told to my by my guide) The owner of the land of Semuc Champey for many years lined his pockets with cash without doing anything to help of his local village. So they basically overthrough him, kicked him out of the village and took over Samuc Champey. He and his family fled to Guatemala City. The money earned by the park is now used to do repairs the the park, pave roads, put more villagers to work and build schools for the children. I don’t know if it’s all true but I like that story..

Where to stay-

The Oasis- $12 dorm beds, river access, clean

Getting there and away-

-Panahachel to from Lanquin has a direct shuttle service for 200 quetzal that takes between 9-11 hours. Lots of dirt and gravel roads.

-Flores, there is a shuttle service with two prices- 130 or 150 if you prefer AC. It takes 8 hours. I would pay the extra buck or two. When you get to the lowlands it is extremely hot!

Good luck!

Guatemala

Antigua, Guatemala

It’s official El Salvador is now the murder capital of the world. After a few days of traveling from Nicaragua through Honduras and spending a day in El Salvador I was about an hour from San Salvador, the worlds most homicidal city. I thought it didn’t look so bad at all actually kinda beautiful in the hills and along the sea side. But apparently the gangs the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and the Barrio 18 are the main gangs averaging 18 murders per day in El Salvador.

 (photo insightcrime.org)

Now the gangs are coming apart at the seams and they are not only at war with police and each other but internal wars within the gangs. The conflicts and blood are spilling over into Honduras and Guatemala. Most of them are covered from head to toe with tattoos including their faces. Apparently I have some of the same styles and tattoos on the same places as one gang and the other will murder you if you have an “M” tattooed on you. So I thought traveling through this region may not be the best idea. But a few days and a few busses later and I wandered through the most of the crazy parts and ended up in Antigua, Guatemala.

This place is unbelievable! The culture that I have been lacking all of Central America with great food and all of the history that you can handle! Surrounded by volcanos there are 360 degrees of photo opportunities in Antigua.

The Kingdom of Guatemala once was made up of current day Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and the Mexican state of Chiapas. The Capitol of the Kingdom of Guatemala was destroyed by earthquakes or abandoned a few times.

Antigua was named the Capitol in 1543. It became one of the richest capitals of the new world! For 200 years it was the Military seat of the Spanish colony. It too was destroyed by earth quakes and by 1776 it was abandoned.

In the 1770s the population of the city peaked at over 60,000 people. Compared to the present day 34,000. (Probably because the hostel owner told me that a small house in Antigua goes for over 1 million USD!)

 

If you are lucky enough to be here during lent every weekend there is a celebration and a parade. The streets full of these rugs made of grass, flowers and colored saw dust. Parades of people, smoke and men wearing purple robes fill the street. It truly is a sight to see!


Antigua has cuisine and accommodation for every budget. As for me I stayed a few nights at the Hacia El Sur Hostel. It’s not the prettiest place but the location is great, showers are hot and the beds are good! The owner is a great guy as well. There is a rooftop restaurant above the hostel, Italian food next door, and a middle eastern restaurant two doors down that has big plates of really good food for $4. There is also a laundry service on this block. This photo of Volcan Fuego erupting was taken from the roof of the hostel! (While eating chocolate cheese cake.)

Antigua is also home to one of the best pizzas I have ever had (EVER)! Do yourself a favor and visit the San Martin Bakery. Baked goods, great coffee and deserts and the pizza is the best I have had by far in Central America!

 (Photo revuemag.com)

On Sunday check out the local market. Stalls packed full of hand made Mayan crafts and souvenirs. Mayan women wearing entricitly woven traditional dress, hand made shoes and many with smiles full of gold teeth.


There is also a great local market near the arch ran by a very nice Guatemalan man with a pony tale. He walked me around and showed me art, told me I was welcome in this country and that it was nice to meet me and then told me that my lip ring is very sexy.



Where to stay-

Hacia El Sur Hostel- Dorm bed $10 per night. Good beds, rooftop restaurant, good wifi, Excelent free breakfast!

Getting to and from-

From Leon- The shuttle from Nicaragua takes about 16 hours. Leaves at 2 am and drives through Honduras, El Salvador and takes you to Antigua for $55.

Lake Aritlan- Shuttle is direct and takes about 3 hours. Cost-$11 (80 quetzal)

Nicaragua

The Corn Islands, Nicaragua

From Pirates to Paradise! The Corn Islands.. It was once called the Skeleton Islands inhibited by a local tribe of cannibals. The current local people are descendants of British prospectors and freed slaves. (I think Jamaican) These islands were a haven for Pirates in the 1600s. There is an untold number of shipwrecks that scatter the shores of both islands. There was a 99 year lease signed on the islands by the United States in 1914 but the lease was eventually terminated because of lack of interest by the States. (Dummies) Tropical water, tropical sunsets, no cars, no roads and a bungalow on the ocean. The best kept secret in the Caribbean!

I have been hearing stories since I was in Costa Rica about the panga (ferry boat) going from Little Corn Island to Big Corn Island capsizing a few weeks ago and 12 people drowning. I later heard that the coast guard said no boats were aloud to leave but was told the people bribed the driver to take them anyways so they could catch their flight. The engine failed and a wave came from the side and flipped the boat. There weren’t life jackets and many of the people couldn’t swim. (Not sure if that’s all facts) So I have been a bit uneasy about this boat ride for the last month. After the flight arrived to the Big island we went to the docks and boarded a tug boat delivering goods to the little island. We paid them $6 each to tag along. This was the slowest boat ever! This thing was putting over 8-10 foot waves for an hour before we arrived. But in one piece I was!

When we arrived to the docks on the main side of the island. None of the rooms looked to appealing so we walked down the shore and found a trail leading into the jungle. We followed that trail through a couple zig zags to the other side of the island. After a 15 minute walk I started to hear the waves crashing. I turned a corner and saw the most turquoise water ever! I have arrived..

This was the paradise! Tropical waters, nice beaches, a cool ocean breeze and not a person in site. We rented a bungalow with two beds and private bathroom on the ocean at Elsas place for $30 a night. (You can get smaller rooms with no bathroom for less.)

 Photo-bigcornisland.com

Every morning I woke up to a huge breakfast on the jungle at Rosas. A fruit bowl as big as your ass, home made coconut bread toast with jam, home made tea and juice for about $3.50. After breakfast we would take the two mile stroll around the island, sitting on the beaches of Yemaya. (Speaking of food you can find lobster dinners around the island for $8.)

Yemaya though, this place is not for the light pockets. A room starts at $330 a night but that’s the name of the game for a guy like me. I sleep with the poor people and spend my day living the lifestyle of the rich and famous. Infinity pools, hammocks on private beaches, beers on penthouse balconies. Those are the things that get me goin wile traveling. And other then the beers, I prefer not to pay for any of it.

During happy hour from 1-4 at Yemaya the beers are $2 and they have lobster tacos for $4! Boom, that’s how you get it done.

Every bar should have swings for bar stools..

Sunsets and nights were usually spent at Tranquilo Cafe. (Buy one get one drinks from 5-7) Listening to the white stripes, eating smoked pulled pork sandwiches, drinking beer and eating homemade cookie ice cream sandwiches!


FTW! Life is good here.

After 6 nights of living the dream we packed up and took the actual little panga boat this time to the big island. 40 people on an oversized canoe. Half way through a storm kicked up some wicked winds and rain started coming down in buckets! There was a huge piece of plastic in the boat we covered up with as I am thinking about how they told me the plastic could have been part to blame for the others drowning. Now my concern was covering my passport and camera.  But after 30 minutes or so we reached solid ground. The boat ride wasn’t so bad I guess.

On to Big Corn island. We took a taxi to LuLu’s Place. Owned by a real nice retired guy from the states. You can get a private room with shared bathroom for $30. It also is next to Big Fish Cafe. One of the best places to eat on the island. There is also a little bakery shack a few doors down that has the best banana bread for .50 cents! We only spent two nights on big corn but did manage to do some snorkeling.

There is a dive shop Dos Tiburones is on the North End of the island very close to LuLu’s that has a $20 snorkel tour a few times a day.

Blue fish as far as you could see!

This was a random Mary statue we wondered across.

These are the anchors and cannons from a Spanish pirate ship from the 1600s. Most of the ships wood rotted away long ago but the heart is still here.

I think there are 6 cannons in this photo.

We snorkeled three spots. The 1600s pirate ship wreck, a reef and Steam Ship that wrecked into the shallows of Big Corn around 1946ish. This is part of the engine compartment above water.

Part of the prop from the steam ship.

The next morning we woke up with the sun to make the 2 hour early check in for our 20 person domestic 8 am flight. (Why) We scheduled a cab to pic is up but at 6am there was no one so we started walking. This was the sunrise on our walk to the airport.

We walked for about 15 minutes and looked down a dirt path and found the runway. Through the a hole in the fence and then we march. Those things are much bigger then they look! But 15 minutes down the runway and we neared the airport. Children on their way to school lined both sides of the runway.



Where to stay-

Little Corn- Elsa’s Place. $25-$45 per night.

Big Corn- LuLu’s. $30 per night.

Getting to and away-

Flight from Managua with no notice- $174 round trip.

Ferry to Little Corn- $6 each way.

Nicaragua

San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua

The once fishing village and shipping port of San Juan del Sur is now a popular surfing destination. In the 1850’s it was a resting spot for prospectors on their way to and from California during the gold rush. They filmed four different seasons of survivor near here as well. There has been many proposals to build the Nicaragua canal connecting Atlantic it Pacific through San Juan del Sur. One of my favorite spots in Central America so far!

After a couple weeks of Costa Rica prices I had enough! I couldn’t get out of there fast enough and was pleasantly greeted by San Juan del Sur! The land of $1 beers and $1 tacos! Where have you been all my life.

This is another one of those places that can be done on any budget. The hills are lined with 5 star resorts and infinity pools and the town is full of budget hotels and hostels. Lots of really decent food to be had here. The view from the Mirado del Cristo de la Misericordia is pretty amazing!

The hike to get to get to this giant Jesus statue throwing two fingers is pretty much straight up for 15 minutes but definitely worth it. It’s $2 to enter and closes at sunset.


The night life on the weekends is pretty great! The streets are filled with lots of people, late night restaurants and bars. One of the best brick over pizzas I have had in Central America at La Vecchia Signora Pizzaz. Late night bars you can find everything from $1 beers to fancy craft cocktails.

There is also many of really good beaches with great surf that you can get to by shuttle bus if you aren’t laying by the pool hung over every day (because the beer is so cheep) like some real dirt bags I know..

Where to stay-

I stayed for 4 nights at the Hola Ola hostel. It’s a new place on the outskirts of town away from all the crazies. It’s ran by a guy that grew up in Nicaragua and studied in the states for years so English is no problem here. There is no public kitchen or AC here but the 4 person dorms, pool and the view make up for it for $13 a night. (The photo above was taken here)

Getting to or from-

-From the border of Costa Rica you can take a taxi to San Juan Del Sur for $10 per person.

-From the docks of Ometepe. I did the reverse trip from the hostel to the docks in a private cab for $20 with two people.

Costa Rica

Tamarindo, Costa Rica

I was to the point that Costa Rica had worn my budget thin quickly but I figured we could make time for one more stop on the way out. I actually took the ferry boat across from Manuel Antonio to the bottom of the peninsula and spent a week in Santa Theresa. Many people told me about how amazing this place was but I was extremely not impressed. The beaches were ranked some of the best in Central America (I don’t know by who but I don’t buy it. I have seen better in Florida.) Anywho I am skipping any more talk about this place all together. So with one stop Left I decided that Tamarindo looked like a viable option on the way to Nicaragua.


Many people in other parts of the country called it Tamagringo and told me how it is full of Americans and Canadians. So expectations were low. A friend of mine told me about coming here 12 years ago and having to take a horse to the good surf breaks because there wasn’t much of a town.

The times they are a changing. It is a bit touristic but all and all I dug the place! It’s like if a ran down cancun and key west had a baby. A surf baby town with middle aged Americans on 4 wheelers. The surf here is good. The sunsets are better. You can travel here on a stretch of the backpacker budget to ocean front condos for $400 a night.

If you are on the long term travel plan like me then there are a couple of local restaurants called “Sodas” where you can still get a meal for $5. The night life here is not to shabby either! You can go to Sharkys Thursday night for ladies night where they drink free and all of the Ja Rule and Tone Loc you can handle. If you are lucky enough to be around on a Sunday night please do yourself a favor and go to the Pura Vida Hostel. They have a big common area and two local guys come play Spanish guitar and drums. It was unbelievable! Seriously some of the best live music I have ever seen, ever!

Where to stay-

I stayed one night a Pura Vida hostel waiting for my booking at De Botella de Leche. The night there was pretty good. AC in the rooms all day, two kitchens, beers $2.

I then had booked 3 nights at the De Botella de Leche Hostel which has a kitchen, AC in the rooms all day and a nice pool for $17 a night. I would definitely recommend this place. 

Getting to or from-

-To get to Nicaragua take the local bus from the bus stop on the side of the road in the center to Liberia. From here you switch busses to the Frontera de Nicaragua (border of) After you stamp out and in to Nicaragua there will be taxis on the other side waiting to take you to San Juan Del Sur. $10 a head is the most you should pay.

-Coming from Santa Theresa we took a private shuttle to avoid about 4 busses one of which you have to know where to get off on the Pan American and a ferry boat. The shuttle took 4 hours direct and costed $50.

Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

 


The journey from Puerto Viejo to Manuel Antonio. If I can give you any advise about this journey you do not want to do this trip with a hang over! After a long night of eating pizza and drinking beer in Puerto Viejo I woke up for the 9:00 bus. 4 hours of driving through the jungle and we ended up in San Jose. I immediately knew this was not a place I needed to stay and a guy at the terminal told me the bus drivers were about to go on strike so I could be stuck here for two or three days. The next bus was leaving for Manuel Antonio in 30 minutes and it was in a different bus terminal. I somehow managed to get a cab there, puke my brains out, eat some chicken and rice and still make it on that bus in time. Another 4 hours later and we ended up in the town of Quepos. At 10:00pm on a Sunday night you get the impression you are in a run down shit hole in a dirty neighborhood in Costa Rica. And that is because you are! Haha Well not completely but there was nothing much there for me. After one night stay at the not so nice super hot Smiling Monkey Hostel confused to why I was there in the first place, we took the bus up and down the windy road to Manuel Antonio.

We booked a couple beds at the Hostel Que Tuanis. This place only opened a couple months ago but was brilliant! There is three bungalows on stilts with private bathrooms, white sheets and air conditioning in the jungle of Costa Rica for $18 a night! Sounds good to me.

Monkeys hung out in the gardens, parrots fly from tree to tree every morning. Manuel Antonio is a great little town with lots of things for the week traveling gringos. High end resorts are spread throughout the jungles with restaurants to match.

 (Photo taken at the 1965 Boeing 727 hotel room Costa Verde in the trees of Manuel Antonio.)

If you plan to go to the Manuel Antonio National Park do know that they are closed on Mondays. And Tuesday morning there is a stampede of people waiting in line in the hot sun to enter the park. It took us about an hour and a half to enter. It is the most visited National Park in Costa Rica and also the smallest. So they limit the amount of people inside. The park has some great look out points, a few different beaches, sloths and monkeys! (The cute little black faced ones. Not the ones in Asia that steal all your shit!)

There is also a hostel you will pass wile exiting the park that has a restaurant in front. It was the cheapest food I found in Manuel Antonio, and good! If you want to spend a few more bucks stop by the US Army plane shot down in Nicaragua by guerrillas in the 1986 now turned bar and restaurant.

And the $4 milk shakes are amazing!

  

Where to stay- 

Hostel Que Tuanis- $18 a night for a hostel bed. AC, private bathroom, kitchen

Getting to and from- 

From San Jose if you are coming from San Juan Del Sur you need to take a cab to a different terminal about 10 minutes away for Quepos. Catch the bus there. Colectivo is 5 hours. Directo is about 4. 

Leaving you take the local bus to the terminal in Quepos. From there you can book a shuttle to San Jose, Uvita or Punta Arenas to catch the ferry to the peninsula. 

Panama

Panama City, Panama from the rooftops..

If you are a backpacker like me you have found many crafty ways to live the dream on a workin mans budget. I have crashed five star pools and parties at pent house bars all around the world! My Central America journey started in Panama City. There are more millionaires per capita then just about anywhere in the world. The local people live on a $500 per month minimum salary but we all just want to take part in the fun! Sky scrapers, luxury cars, and imported European clothes are everywhere. The Panamanian people are better then most at blending in with the wealthy. Women dressed in fancy dress and 5 inch heels. Men in freshly ironed slacks and shiny shoes. I remember my first time in Panama 5 years ago, I was building an office for a guy and the security guard that worked the ground of the property made $22 a day. He would bring his finest slacks, freshly shined shoes and button up to work on Friday and at 4:01 he would be dressed to the 9s to get on the public bus for 60 cents on his way to party with his family. So in Panamanian way of keeping up with the Jones I thought I would like to take part as well.

The 13th floor of the Trump has 5 pools, fantastic steak salads and a $12 pizza to feed two. It is one of the finest pools that I have ever crashed!


Second to the infinity pool on the 66th floor of the casino side of the Trump Towers Panama.

That is the finest pool I have ever crashed! You can sit back and enjoy a Balboa Beer and watch the sun set over Ancon hill and the Panama Canal.

After if you still feel you haven’t worn in your Panama Hat quite yet head over to the Hard Rock Hotel. They have an outdoor infinity pool as well that has an impressive view.

And you can go to the roof top for 360 degree views of all of the city. Probably the best skyline views in Panama!

I suggest the Panamanian red lager the 507. It’s the best rooftop $5 beer you will have!

Getting around-

The Trump is a bit difficult to find on foot. Once you are in that bunch of sky scrapers everything looks the same. You can catch a cab there for $2.

The Hard Rock is in the center next to MultiCentro Mall. If should be easy to walk to from anywhere down town. You can catch a cab from the Trump to the Hard Rock for $1.

Panama

Bocas Del Toro, Panama

In 1510 the Spanish settled in Bocas Del Toro, Panama as a port to stop between shipping Peruvian gold and treasures from Peru to Spain. Pirates were attracted to what was called the most dangerous waters in the sea, The Caribbean. The Spanish began rounding Cape Horn straight to Spain to avoid being sacked by pirates. Fast forward to the 1800s. Scottish and English families brought slaves from Jamaica and the Colombian islands of San Andreas to the archipelago of Bocas Del Toro to evade taxes. They came to harvest sugar cane, cocoa, and coconut palms. It is also the base of the banana boom for Chiquita Bananas. There was a tortuous shell and live turtle trade as well. Today islands are inhabited by some of the original Indian families as well as the Caribbean Creole. There are no cars on the islands but the walking streets are full of English speaking Rastafari accents and Jamaican music plays all day long. I haven’t made it to Jamaica yet but I assume it would feel a lot like this… 
I personally wasn’t much impressed by the main Island so I booked 4 nights on Isla Salarte. The island has only one hostel, The Bambuta Lodge.

  

 I can tell you what kids you won’t find a better place to sleep in Bocas!

   

Dorm rooms are $17 a night or there is very nice private rooms out back for quite a bit more. Complete with a beautiful pool overlooking the Ocean, full bar and a great breakfast and lunch menu. Dinner differs every night but it is always 5 star. You can book tours here or take a canoe from here to the Blue Coconut..   

Not a bad view I had on the way  either.. 

 

The Blue Coconut is a little tiki bar on stilts around the corner of the island a bit. They have lobster burgers, tropical cocktails, free snorkel gear and hammocks to use. 

  

Getting here is only possible by boat or canoe but worth every second! 

  

Where to stay-

Bambuda Lodge-$17 per night. Breakfast and lunch from $3-$8ish. Dinner options-$8-$12 Beers-$2 (Blue Coconut prices are similar) I also stayed one night on Basimentos Island at Bubbas House but not much to see there. 

Getting there and away-

-From the south. I took the chicken bus from El Valle to David for a night and then a bus from David to Bocas. It took 6 busses from Panama City total to go to el Valle for a night. Not worth it in my opinion. This trip was miserable and really confusing. I would highly suggest to anyone to take the night bus from Panama City direct to Almirante (the port city of Bocas). From the port you take a taxi boat to Bocas main island for $6. From there you another taxi boat to Isla Solarte to Bambuda Lodge for $5.

-Getting to Costa Rica. This can be arranged by any of the hostels. You taxi to the main island and your taxi boat to the mainland is included in your ticket. There will be a shuttle bus waiting that will take you to the border. Get your exit and entrance stamp and on the other side there will be another bus waiting that will take you to Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica all included in the $22 shuttle ticket. 

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