Saturday, March 4, 2017

A Long Day’s Journey To Panama City

Though the bus station was rather low key...
Bocas del Toro is near the northwestern border between Panama and Costa Rica, nowhere near Panama City, where the major airports are. Flights out of the small Bocas airport are available, but pricy and not regular, so we booked our flight to the states out of Panama City. And, since it was an early morning flight, we traveled from Bocas to the city 
...the bus itself was upscale and comfy (but cold!)
the day before the flight. Our panga arrived at Red Frog Marina at 5:30 am for a twenty-minute run to Bocas del Toro in light sprinkles. Then it was on to the thirty-minute ferry (slightly larger boat) to Almirante. A ten-minute van ride took us to the bus station where we eventually boarded the bus to Panama City. Aw we’d heard, they don’t skimp on their buses (these big ones, anyway). It was a full-sized, cushy-seated bus with AC that worked overtime. We’d been warned that it would be cold, so we came equipped with socks, sweaters, and sarongs to wrap around our legs. The first half of the trip was gorgeous as we traveled east along the coast, then up across the mountains. Just beautiful greenery. Cresting the ridge, we started catching sight of open areas and impressive views across wide, verdant valleys. Once we hit David, on the Pacific coast of Panama, the delightful scenery changed to a mélange of primitive and modern settlements. The bus stopped a few times during the trip so we could get out and use the bathrooms or pick up something to eat. We hit wicked traffic entering Panama City, so it was dark by the time we arrived at the bus station eleven hours after starting out in Almirante. A thirty to forty minute taxi ride across the entire city put us at the airport hotel about 9 pm. A long, tiring day, but interesting.
Heading up into the rainy Caribbean side of the mountains...
...and back down the sunny Pacific side

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