Thursday, December 29, 2016

It’s Always a Great Time Under the Palapa at Rana Azul

That’s how one of the Bocas VHF net controllers introduced the announcements for Rana Azul, a local bar/restaurant. The description of “local”, however, is relative. Rana Azul is situated out in Tierra Oscura (the Dark Lands – isn’t that a terrifically creepy name?), more than 13 miles by boat from Bocas Town (if you go around the west side of Isla Cristobal, slightly less if you go around the east side), and by boat is the only way to go – there’s no land access. We were fortunate enough to get there several times; they were only open Friday nights for dinner and Sunday for brunch. The dock is the parking lot for dinghies and pangas (the local boats). The palapa is an open building at the head of the dock where the restaurant was. You’re surrounded by lush grass (inundated and squishy depending on the tide) and all kinds of trees. The first time we were there, a sloth slowly climbed down a palm and walked away into the forest. The food was as divine as the atmosphere: pizza, lovely tender steaks, and the best garlic soup we’ve ever had. There were more choices that we unfortunately were unable to get to because Rana Azul closed in October. The last blowout was Octoberfest, which we attended along with what seemed like everyone in the area. Tables and seats were set up out on the lawns, and the place was hopping. We’re sad it’s closed, but it’s been bought by another couple who plan to renovate and reopen, so hopefully we’ll get to have another great time under the palapa!

Rana Azul from the water

During Octoberfest, loads of people both inside...

...and outside

The dinghy dock - the only parking lot at Rana Azul

Free garlic - what more could you ask for?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Blue Coconut, Bocas del Toro

If you’re in the mood for a drink and want to stay casual, jump in your dinghy (or take a panga from town) and head over to the Blue Coconut. Casual is the key word here. Wear your bathing suit, snorkel the surrounding reef, lounge in the submerged hammocks (with a dog, if you happen to have one around), then relax in the open bar with a drink and a nibble. It is a bit pricey, though, so save the outing for a treat.

Have dog, will rock

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Bocas Beds

Over-the-water cabins to rent at the Cosmic Crab

Accommodations ashore in the Bocas del Toro area aren’t something we’d take advantage of, considering that we have our own fully equipped and comfortable home right there (Yeah Mr Mac!). However, there are some intriguing options should someone want to vacation here. If you’re really informal and don’t mind sharing, we’ve seen ads for dorm accommodations for as little as $10 US per night, and private rooms for $25. There are numerous hostels around town, as well as hotels. Don’t look for anything fancy – this is a pretty informal area. Some of the cutest places were tiny cabins set right out over the water, some with their own decks and chairs. And there’s even one little place set on its own little barge!

More little yellow cabins

Cabins at the Blue Coconut, if you like bar-side living

Bed on a barge - boat access only!