Unfortunately it was so humid that our camera kept fogging up, but below are some pictures.
$22 later, we were on the boat and headed to the island. The driver dropped off an older lady first, at a peculiar little community on stilts in the water, with a dock connecting the houses. All around the island there were big patches of water-dwelling trees or bramble. The patches looked like islands, but really they were just huge masses of plant matter.
We were wondering where the beach was as our boat pulled up to a little dock that had a sign that read, “Red Frog”. Underneath the sign was another sign that said “$5 entrance fee”. I looked over at Hubs, annoyed. “Really?” I asked. “We just paid $20 to come to a beach, and now we have to pay to see it?” I’ve never in my life paid to go to the beach, and certainly I’d never pay $15 per person. That’s just dumb. However, there was nothing to do in Bocas and we weren’t going to sit at the dock all day until the taxi picked us back up 3-4 hours later. So we forked over the $10 and hiked the little trail to the beach. It was a pretty trail, but not $10 pretty. It was more like “free” pretty.
It started raining, and finally it was time for us to leave. Yay! Rescued by the water taxi! Of course when we got back we had to pay the taxi another $16. So our total cost for “going to the beach”, something we could have done for free in Coronado (or anywhere besides Bocas), was $63.00. For the rest of the afternoon and evening it rained.
Later that night we got a call that there had been a heartbreaking death in the family. We cried together and sat in the hostel, talking about it as the rain kept coming down. Hubs asked me if I still wanted to do the snorkel/boating tour the next day, and I told him it would just not be fun. He said he was hoping I’d say that, and we decided to catch a bus the next morning back to our condo. That Hubs bought me some ice cream and we got some souvenirs and talked in the rain. Back at the hostel we made ramen noodles for dinner but neither of us was very hungry. We talked some more before heading off to bed.
Early the next morning it was still raining as we walked to the bus stop and as we rode through the mountains. It fit the emotions we were both feeling and gave us some time to process everything that had happened the night before.
Overall, I don’t think Bocas lived up to our expectations. Apart from the bad news we received at the hostel (which of course made everything less fun), there was really nothing to do in Bocas, especially without paying for it. The “backpacker world” we were looking forward to seeing was kind of disappointing. It felt like a lot of them came to Bocas to hang out, play cards and smoke weed, not to have grand adventures or learn new things. Hubs loves talking to other travelers, but the Bocas backpackers seemed more like college kids on Spring break than the real travelers we’d seen in Santa Catalina or Guatemala.
Though I will say, I have a new appreciation for free public seating! :)