First Taste of Panama – Bocas and The Underwater Garden
This is our first time in Panama, much less Central America. To be honest, we don’t know much about it (yet). But that’s the way most of our travels go. Curiosity has brought us here and it’s our mission to search, explore, discover and learn about our new locale.
The action of traveling in or through an unfamiliar area in order to learn about it. “voyages of exploration”
synonyms: investigation, study, survey, research, inspection, examination, scrutiny, observation; consideration, analysis, review, expedition, trip, journey, voyage; archaic peregrination; travels
We’re void of any Panamanian presumptions and our senses are wide open. We’re in the sponge stage, just soaking it all in.
Bocas, or Bocas Town as the locals call their island, is located in the far northeastern side of Panama. The Hostels are bountiful as is the mix of European backpackers and local gringos. It’s a little bit of the “tourist hustle” (you need a taxi? snorkel? SCUBA? surf? chocolate tour? Red Frog beach?…) and a whole lot of authentic Caribbean color.
The rhythm here is unique and contradictory. The streets are loud and the waterways are busy. The panga’s zoom from all directions, the music pulses from hip hangouts and yet the groove here is unmistakably island time. It’s one of those places you plan to visit for a few days and end up staying a few weeks. It’s bananas in every sense of the word, but I suppose that should be expected. This is the home of Miss Chiquita.
Fruits and Veggies Galore!
The street vendors at the park, the Legumbreria Jose and Super Gourmet are where it’s at for provisions. Their prices are the best as is the selection compared to the typical grocery stores in town.
To see our full map with interactive pins, click here: gonewiththewynns.com/map
- Dates: August 2 – 7, 2017
- Nautical Miles Sailed: 235
- Anchorage: Bocas Del Toro North. This is a full and very busy anchorage with all of the water taxis but the access to town is hard to beat. This spot can be found easily on Active Captain.
Sips & Bites
We’re not Bocas experts by any means, but we do know good food. We had a wonderful “from scratch” lunch and watermelon smoothie at Cafe del Mar. The Bocas Brewery was in a transitional phase (it’s off season now) so they only had the one beer on tap…but it was top notch. The owners promised they’d be brewing like crazy and back open in a month, I really hope we get to go back. Another spot is El Ultimo Refugio, we didn’t get to eat here but literally everyone said it’s the best spot in town.
Cell & WiFi
There are a few different choices when it comes to data and getting a sim card for our phone. The biggest difference is coverage; which carrier works on which islands. Most are around $15 for 2 gigs of data. We use an app called OpenSignal to see the coverage for each carrier. This helps us to know which provider we need for where we are headed next. Thanks to the app we ended up purchasing a +Movil card and it’s been working pretty well. FYI – at this point Bocas doesn’t have 4g coverage, so even the most expensive data plans aren’t fast compared to USA standards.
Gear Used In This Video
- All of our fave gear – gonewiththewynns.com/store
- Quatix 5 Watches: Garmin Wearables
- Chartplotter: Garmin 7612xsv Multi-touch More on this soon too, we’re still learning and figuring it all out.
- iPad Mount at Helm: http://amzn.to/2fT84PG Using iPad Pro: http://amzn.to/2d9Oopf With These Sailing Apps:
Snorkel / Freedive Gear
Cameras Used to Capture This Video
- Main Camera – Sony A7ii: http://bit.ly/a7rii-sony
- Sony Zoom Mic: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/product/sony-gun-zoom-microphone-black
- Sony 24 – 70mm f4 lens: http://bit.ly/2470-zeiss
- Sony rx100 with Underwater Housing: http://amzn.to/2xG43rn
- iPhone 7 plus with olloclilp fish eye and wide angle lens (the new iphone is waterproof and is almost always with us, so it is the perfect backup camera. Plus, I was shocked at how good the audio is, even with wind and engine noise from the dinghy) : http://bit.ly/2vBDUMP
- DJI Mavic Pro: http://amzn.to/2vUFXa6
- Underwater Footage, Sony Action Cam: http://bit.ly/sony-as300
- All of our photo and editing gear: gonewiththewynns.com/best-travel-camera-video-photography
Dale and Justin are Patreon’s and won a place on this voyage from our recent Crew Call. Want to know more about them? You can find them here:
- YouTube (their video submission) – youtube.com/channel/UC5JTLYjTrJC5TJl9_KJPD4g
- Instagram – instagram.com/djsdives/
- Twitter – twitter.com/DjsDives
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