When visiting the lovely Bocas Del Toro islands in Panama I spent my first night at the Bocas Del Toro Town. Of all the places you can stay on those islands, Bocas Del Toro is probably the worst option, unless you want some variant of nightlife or care about convenient shopping. So, one of the first things I did after leaving my luggage at the hotel was to take a small fishermen boat to the nearby island – Isla Carenero. Immediately, everything slowed down considerably and it became very local. I ventured around a bit into the local villages to see what local life was like and it reminded me of my trips to Thailand, the Philippines, and Cambodia, maybe country side Taiwan and China, with very basic housing mostly made of wood and tin, chickens and dogs wondering around freely aimlessly, and overall very low level of maintenance indicating extreme poverty, like smelly garbage laying around. Oddly enough, the locals didn’t seem to care about me at all, they were completely ignoring my existence, perhaps with the exception of a little kid and a stray dog. I can’t say that it felt very comfortable, but it had certain magic to my foreign eyes.
So that’s how locals live. Once I passed a few bare villages I arrived at the tourists B&B, and there it was a completely different story. Most foreigners don’t make the same trip I did through the local villages but rather take a boat straight to their accommodation.
Which they very rarely leave. It has everything they need, sun bathing, beaches, alcohol, even live music if you’ll notice at the back over there.
Yes, I joined in, it’s all very affordable in Panama.
And then the whole tourist coastline looks the same way…
And even the houses that are inland are pretty decent shacks compared to how the locals live…
So, tourist life on Isla Carenero is basically…
Surf, eat, sleep, ice cream, lounge, beach.
More from Bocas Del Toro soon.