Surfing in Bocas del Toro

Surfing in Bocas del Toro

A few weeks ago we spent a week in Bocas del Toro. I had a great time in Bocas del Toro, but one of the things that I was disappointed in was the surfing. There seems to only be a couple places to rent boards and then you have to get a water taxi to one of the other Islands or get dropped off in the water at one of the reef breaks. Most of the good places to surf are reef breaks and not for beginners. I am pretty new to surfing and quickly learned that a reef break is created from a coral reef or rock, that causes a wave to break, forming a barreling wave or other wave that can be surfed, before it eventually collapses. Usually the water where the wave crashes is very shallow and is dangerous even if you are experienced in surfing in these conditions.

Luckily while I was at Wizard beach the guy next to us had a surf board and let me take it for a ride. Continue reading

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Bocas del Toro – Things to do – Check out the Videos

We had a really good week in Bocas del Toro. It was fun exploring the Islands and we met some really nice people that I know we will keep in touch and see each other again down the road. Continue reading

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Kite Boarding in Bahia Salinas round two and meeting amazing new friends

We had a blast at Cometa Copal

Back to Bahia Salinas!!!  After traveling around Costa Rica for a week with Debbie’s sister Peggy, we backtracked up to Bahia Salinas for a few more days of kite boarding. Because we had a bad experience with the hotel we stayed at the first time, we decided to stay at another place called Cometa Copal Cabinas.

I was able to get in two really good days and improved my Kiteboarding skills to the point where I was actually riding and also starting to ride upwind, which is one of the most important skills in basic kiteboarding. More importantly, I feel that I am at a point where I will be able to safely kiteboard in Maryland and Delaware, when I return to DC.

There were tons of scorpions and a few sleepless nights worried that they were crawling into our cabin and under our bed. We duck taped the threshold and around the door and this seem to stop them from walking right under the door.

One of the best things to come from our week in Bahia Salinas was that we made great friends. We even traveled for a week with one them. While we were trading itinerary’s with one of our new friends we started to realize we had a few of the same destinations in common. When Gerrit offered us a ride in that direction we did not hesitate and jumped in with him. We skipped over a few place we might have visited, but it was totally awesome that we hooked up with Gerrit and we had so much fun getting to know each other and exploring Costa Rica together.

We were heading down south to Drake Bay, but our first stop was Manuel Antonio. After checking out the national park we did a bit of research and realized that heading to Drake Bay in Gerrit’s borrowed Mercedes was probably not the best idea. The road to Drake Bay supposedly was in bad shape and in addition there were several river crossings that probably would not have been good for the Mercedes. Instead we headed to Continue reading

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We have internet again!

Sorry that we have not updated in a few weeks, but we were stranded on an Island Continue reading

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How to open a Coconut on a deserted Island

How to Open a Coconut

Today Debbie I and spent the day on Caranero Island “Bocas Del Toro”. I found a few coconuts and decided it was my duty to open them! I did not come prepared and had to use Continue reading

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Selecting the right hotel really does make a huge difference

View from Cometa Copal Cabana

A few weeks ago we stayed at a hotel in Bahia Salinas, Costa Rica. When I researched hotels in this area I thought that there was really only one option.  From the website and speaking with the owner I thought it was a great choice.

When we arrived I immediately felt a slight bad vibe and mojo.  After a bit of searching around the hotel we found the owner and got checked in. For the time being everything seemed to be going well, but after a few hours the bad vibe began to creep back in. Long story short, the kite boarding was good, but we did not enjoy the hotel which really put a damper on the overall experience.

However, while I was Kite boarding I realized that there were other accommodation options in the area. I also met the owner of Cometa Copal and he was a great guy. I took down his information in case I was ever able to return.

Now fast forward one week later and because my wife really loves me, she was open to go back to Bahia Salinas and give another hotel a chance. Continue reading

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Rincón de la Vieja, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Hacienda Guachipelin

A couple weeks ago we stayed at Hacienda Guachipelin which is close to Rincón de la Vieja, Costa Rica. It is a very nice hotel and has also been a fully functioning ranch for 100 years. The property is 1600 hectares (about 6 sq miles) and 700 hectares are set aside for conservation, 575 hectares are used as pastureland; and 325 hectares are being reforested with species in danger of extinction.

This place is really amazing. There is something for everyone to do here.  They offer many tours and the one that we really enjoyed and was the highlight of the week was the full day adventure pass.  This was comprised of a Canopy tour (which included canopy, rappel, tarzan swing and rock climbing), tubing down the Rio Negro, horse back riding to a waterfall, and ending the day at their spa with hot springs and mud baths.

The hotel has a really good restaurant with an amazing buffet.  With the price of the room, a huge breakfast buffet is included. Dinner is $18 for their amazing all you can eat buffet, but you can also order off the menu. We definitely went over our budget staying Hacienda Guachipelin, but this was a special treat for all of us because we had a visitor.

Here is how we spent our time at Hotel Hacienda:
Day 1:
Arrived at hotel and checked in
Rio Negro Hot springs

Day 2
The Canyon Canopy Tour (which included canopy, rappel, tarzan swing and rock climbing)
Rio Negro Tubing Adventure
Horseback riding to Oropendula Waterfall and then visit the Sulphur Hot Springs

Day three
Hiking track at the “La Cangreja” waterfall 6 miles round trip
Rio Negro Hot Spring

One thing we have to do next time we come is hike to top of the crater which is 9 hours round trip.

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Chicken Bus in Panama

Chicken Bus in Panama

So everyone has been asking about how we are getting around Central America and if the locals bring chickens on the buses. We have been riding buses for 52 days and I saw a lot of interesting people on the buses, but no chickens.

But!!!!!  Yesterday we did see our first Gallo (Rooster) riding the bus. 

Check out the video below: Continue reading

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We just arrived in Bocas Del Toro, Panama

Bocas Del Toro Islands

After a few weeks in Costa Rica we were ready to make our way to Panama.  The first stop for us is Bocas Del Toro Archipelago.  Bocas del Toro Archipelago is a group of 68 islands in the Caribbean Sea in northwest Panama. The major city is called Bocas Town, on Isla Colón.  There are spectacular beaches, crystal waters, colorful reefs, and tropical fish. The principal islands are Bastimentos, Popa Cristobal, Carinero and where we are staying Colón Island (Bocas Town).

Christopher Columbus anchored in this archipelago in 1502. The water was calm and the area was rich with natural resources that made it the perfect place to repair his boat. At the turn of the century, the town of Bocas del Toro was the first headquarters of the United Fruit Company. With more than 25,000 inhabitants. A banana blight in the 1920′s put an end to this, but buildings and a park still speak of its former exuberance.

Continue reading

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The Scorpion that Stung Peggy

Scorpion that stung Peggy

Poor Peggy! After returning home from Costa Rica she was stung by a scorpion that was immigrating to the USA in the suitcase we packed for her.

Here is her recount of the story:

Peggy Gelernter says:
January 27, 2011 at 3:48 pm
I am back from the ER. This morning I decided to unpack the duffle bag with extra clothing that Debbie and Jason were sending back to DC, and to my surprise, I saw a black thing go right to my hand, I felt a sting, and then saw it fall right back into the bag! Of course I started freaking out, I zipped the bag back up so that the thing wouldn’t escape and then my roommate took me to the ER to make sure that I am ok. Everyone at the ER was freaking out when I told them that I had the Scorpion in the bag. They had a fire marshal come and empty out the bag to find it. They killed it – and then he came in to show me a picture of it on his iphone.

I am sure the ER here doesn’t get many cases of Scorpion bites in the middle of a snow storm!!!!!!

Lesson learned: be careful when you are packing and unpacking your suitcases when you are in places that have strange bugs. You don’t want to get surprised the way I did… hurts like hell!!!!!!

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