Isla Bastimentos Things to Do
Red Frog Beach
This is a gorgeous cove located on the northeast section of the island. The surf is so rough that access is from the opposite side of the island. The mile or so footpath is an adventure in itself as the deadly red frog lurks within the undergrowth and fallen logs along the way. Secretions from this tiny frog can kill a full sized man.
Handling the frog is safe as long as you don't have an opened wound. It is recommended to wash your hands after holding the animal. You don't want to eat your next meal with the invisible goo on your hands transfering to your mouth. We've heard first hand accounts of those falling ill in this manner.
The wave action is unrelenting with swimming highly discouraged. Our guide, Livingston, has been around long enough to retell the stories of several deaths. The latest, a couple, swimming alone and both drowning. He's seen several deaths first hand over the twenty odd years of being the most famous tour guide in all of Bocas.
Isla Bastimentos Restaurants
Pension Tio-Tom: International Gemütlichkeit
The two meals I had at this pension over the water were the highlight of my otherwise mixed experience on Isla Bastimentos (see my other tips). Tom and Ina have been running this informal and relaxed establishment for years, and it is obvious that they love what they do. I was only sorry that the rooms were booked out for the dates of my stay. Dinner is served family style, and the place attracts travellers from around the world. One evening, I dined with folks from Germany, Australia, France, and the UK. The conservation is lively, and Tom is an accomplished raconteur with wide ranging interests. The food was excellent--and reasonably priced as well.
If you are on the island, I strongly recommend this place as your headquarters. It is also possible to get breakfast here. The owners are Germans, originally from the GDR, but fluent in English and Spanish.
Favorite Dish: There is only one dish per evening; however, the menu one night was fish, not my favorite, so the owners obligingly procured chicken for me.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Isla Bastimentos Off The Beaten Path
At Roots restaurant and bar, it is possible to arrange for a tour of a recently discovered bat cave about 45 minutes travel by boat from the island. The route to the cave heads across the bay and then into a winding canal through a mangrove swamp. From the landing point, it's a short walk to the cave itself, but the cave was really less interesting than the boat ride. The only access to the long winding cave passage is by wading up a stream that flows out of the cave. There are some garden variety stalactites and a lot of bats hanging from the ceiling. I and my guide waded in perhaps 50 yards, where the water was knee deep. I was told it is possible to continue upward through ever deeper water until the water becomes too deep for wading, but it was hard to see the point of this, so I turned around. Although the cave itself was a bit disappointing, I'd rate the overall experience positively, even on a day marked by clouds and drizzle.
Salt Creek Indian Village
A visit to this Guaymi Indian Village will take your vacation from normal to exotic in one hours time. Very few villages in Panama are as remote and primitive as this one. Thick with lush green vegetation andn tropical wildlife the village is home to 500 inhabitants. These are wonderful people who will greet you as you arrive. I wandered in alone and had the time of my life playing with their children, making deals on their handi-crafts, and touring their part of the island.
Enter Salt Creek and keep going until both sides of the boat are almost touching the mangroves. To the left will be a dock where supplies and tourist are unloaded. I followed a young girl down the path as the guide remained in the launch.
I came to a sign and was about to enter when a woman beckoned me her way, opposite the sign. It turned out her family maintained a store from which I purchased wood carved parrot and a shell necklace.
My new guide took me around along a trail for $7. The trail would end up looping around and back to the village, I didn't know this at first. It was important for me to see a crockidile and I made this clear to my guide who gave me a reassuring nod that would indeed see one which we did. Probably the most interesting part of the trip was passing a home on stilts with a group of children cooking lunch on the porch. Taking pictures and making these kids laugh alone was worth the trip.
0 Hotels in Isla Bastimentos