Our visas were coming to and end in Mexico and we needed to take a trip to renew them. So we decided on a quick getaway to Panama and Costa Rica. I didn't really have an idea about the capital city of Panama, but when we arrived I was surprised about how beautiful Casco Viejo was. We stayed in the city for a few nights and spent the rest of our time exploring the historical centre and soaking up the sights before heading to Bocas Del Toro.
What I loved about Panama City, especially Caso Viejo were the abundance of cafes, nightlife and music in the air. The vibe was tropical, colourful and made you feel excited for some reason. It feels like something amazing is about to happen there, maybe because the historical centre is still a mix of beautifully restored colonial buildings and others which are so dilapidated that it seems impossible that families are living full lives within their walls. It is quite weird to walk past a boarded up building and when you look through the window theres a group of people watching 60 inch flat screen TV whilst sitting on a rug in the dirt. I wish we had more time to explore the San Blas islands, rainforests and the pacific side beaches but we will cover all that when we get the chance to go back.
We flew up to Bocas Del Toro for a few days to explore the water based community. We chose to fly because the bus trip was over 10 hours and I was not keen on that, but we flew with AirPanama to Bocas Town. There are many over night buses that take you to Bocas also.
Bocas is a tiny party town on the caribbean, with islands surrounding the mainland. We stayed in an amazing AirBnb were you could swim right off the outdoor deck and get picked up by boat for all of our island adventures. It was a nice change of pace catching boats around instead of cars, and riding bikes everywhere fed my nostalgic childhood memories. The only thing that bothered us about Bocas was how quick the water taxis added up, Zac being a surfer wanted to check out Red Frog and other surf spots daily but the boat rides add up really quickly as Panama uses USD currency.
It does suck a bit that USD is used and food, transport and other things are overpriced. But nonetheless, the town and surrounding islands are stunning and worth the visit. We were more money conscious because we were travelling long term, but if it is your holiday destination just live it up.
I am looking forward to exploring Panama more in the future and elaborating on this gorgeous country. Until next time...
Handy bits about Panama:
Language spoken: Spanish
Currency used: USD
Favorite spot: Casco Viejo
Travel costs: Mid range to high $$
Best way to explore: by plane, bus and boat