Popa Paradise Resort and Island
07.08.2012 - 07.11.2012 80 °F
Last winter when we were in Costa Rica we were told that the place to go in Panama was Bocas Del Toro. An island chain in the north east corner of Panama, bordering Costa Rica. We heard a variety of comments about the place, they included; "a beautiful spot", "nothing but burned out hippies and potheads", "the most relaxing place in Panama", "party central", and "Jimmy Buffet docks his yacht there."
To find out for ourselves we headed up to Bocas on Sunday morning. We decided to stay at the Popa Island Paradise Resort. After reading a number of reviews and talking with the GM it was an easy choice. Landing in Bocas was a little different, the landing strip is right in the middle of the town. The plane came in right over the roofs of the central area of the town. Representatives from the Popa resort met the flight and we took a one minute taxi ride to the boat docks. When we got to the docks, the fire department had the gate locked because the Panamanian President was coming to Bocas the next day and everyone was getting checkout, whether you were arriving or leaving the island.
We boarded the flatbottomed boat, put on our wind/rain jackets and headed out across the bay. The rain started. Just a light drizzle, but enough to remind us that it is rainy season. Skimming along we passed a number of little uninhabited islands and after a twenty five minute ride arrived at the resort. It was worth the wet ride. What a peaceful, tranquil and beautiful place.
We were taken to our casita, near the main building, overlooking the bay, with jungle on all four sides. On the balcony we can hear and sometimes see parrots, macaws and hummingbirds. The parrots fly over every morning, chattering along as the fly in a pack of at least twenty. Late in the afternoon they return the from opposite direction.
The food has been excellent. Darian, the Chef, takes great pride in his work and style. The presentations at dinner are outstanding and the tastes are magnificent. Fresh seafood is available every night along with a selection of beef, chicken and pork. If we were here for more than four days, I hate to think of the added weight going back to Panama City.
Yesterday we went sailing on the catamaran, "Ingwe Spirit" which means leopard spirit in Zulu. Our captain and mate are from South Africa and radiate the spirit of their homeland. After we had been out for about an hour the skies opened up and we were dumped on. The rain pounded the boat, visibility dropped and the bay became a little rougher. So, we pulled into a sheltered cove, had lunch, the skies cleared and we all went snorkeling. The nearby reef was covered with beautiful coral, so many starfish I quit counting, and lots of fish. We saw both queen and french angel fish. The return trip was very mellow, especially when the mate broke out the adult beverages.
Since it is rainy season, it is expected to rain now and again. Today, it started at 9am and stopped at noon. Now it is cool, slightly overcast, and it looks like a peaceful evening. The below picture is the Ingwe Spirit in the early morning dawn.
Tomorrow back to Panama City. Oh yeah, Bocas is a cool place.