We left Boquete on Sunday morning and headed to Bocas del Toro by way of the Lost and Found EcoHostel we heard about through a random post on the lonely planet travel blog. The owner is a great young Canadian named Andrew who picked us up in Boquete then drove us to Bocas the next day for less than a taxi ride would have cost us. Since the road in between is the most dangerous road in Panama, we were psyched to be in his care and not in an overcrowded bus with a maniac driver (the odd thing about panama is they are super laid and usually late, everywhere but behind the wheel of a car!). The Lost and Found is in La Fortuna national park, a seldom visited cloud forest park. We had to hike uphill through dense beautiful forest for about 15 minutes to reach it but it was well worth the walk. We saw lots of unidentified birds and transparent butterflies. The lodge is open air except for the rooms and had a great low key vibe. They have a pet kinkajoo that was rescued and a wild animal something like a coati mundi that visits at night and eats bananas from your hand (see photo). We hike out to see a gynormous (toby word) tree and then played risk under the metal roof to the sound a pouring rain! We met some super nice people and were treated very well (delicious dinner) by Andrew and his Panamanian wife Stephanie. The next day we headed to Bocas, up and over the continental drive and down towards the Pacific. The road is wild (and driven very wildly by most) and we could see the remains of many big accidents (usually big rigs rolling over in single vehicle accidents). It is the only way to access Bocas by road except from Costa Rica. The landscape on the other side of the divide is very different, as is the culture. The caribe influence is stronger and you begin to see africans. Im not sure what the indigenous tribe is on the drive, I think Comarca, but there are lots of very rough shacks along the road with naked children running about.
We got to Almirante, a very hot and depressing port town, around 1 and took a half hour water taxi over to Bocas Town. Within the 10 minutes waiting for our ride we saw more gringos (tending towards young and surfer/backpacker look) than in a whole month in Boquete. More on Bocas and our house in the next post!!