Saturday, January 21, 2017

Red Frog Marina and Isla Bastimento

The red frogs of Red Frog

Under an almond tree on Turtle Beach
If you’re looking for some dock time in Bocas del Toro area, we highly recommend the Red Frog Marina. Located on Isla Bastimento (much of the island is a nature preserve), a 10-20 minute boat ride from Bocas Town, it’s tucked into a highly protected cove surrounded by mangroves. Head up the floating docks to the path through the jungle where there are tons of jungle flowers and birds flitting around. One day we watched a sloth crawl slooowly across the path and climb back into the trees on the other side. Up by the office is a lovely bathhouse with showers and washers and driers. A two-minute walk through a garden-like area brings you to a small store stocked with essentials, as well as the welcome center to the rest of the resort, which presently consists of villas tucked into a beautiful jungle landscape, numerous white-sand beaches, a zip line, and a restaurant. These features are on the other side of the island from the marina – walkable, but not so near that you even know that they’re there. There’s great hiking around the island (we’ve seen sloths, monkeys, loads of the namesake red frogs, lots of birds, and more), and a terrific little place on the beach to get a cold drink and delicious fish tacos. Need to go to town? They offer free scheduled panga rides to and from Bocas Town four days per week; otherwise, the trip is $8 per person one way. I had seen ads for Red Frog Marina at boat shows and in cruising magazines and always thought that it would be too high-priced for our cruising kitty, but it’s actually quite affordable and the people are great, so what’s not to like?
Lovely flower

Bastimentos Sky - this way to the zipline

Is that a beautiful palm or what?

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Return of the Sea Cucumber

Three-rowed sea cucumber
Is more than one donkey dung sea cucumber a shitload?

I’ve blogged about sea cucumbers before, but they’re just so darn photogenic, and I’ve never seen so many in one place as in Bocas del Toro, so here we go again. Basically, a sea cucumber is a squishy tube of flesh – mouth at one end, anus at the other – that roams the sea floor. Not all roam; at least one species burrows and feeds by extending tentacles above the sand. Generally we’d spot them here and there, but in Bocas waters they’re everywhere – here, and there, and over there, and there, too… You get it. Here are a few we’ve encountered lately.

Conical sea cucumber

Hidden sea cucumber - the body is beneath the sand, and it's feeding with these exposed tentacles

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Tasty Treats at Los Amigos

Another can-only-get-there-by-boat eatery in Tierra Oscura (not too far from Rana Azul) is Los Amigos. Ernie is a sweetheart who serves terrific food. We’ve had the fried chicken (great), baked chicken (even better), and eggs Benedict (to die for). The burgers and pancakes also look totally delicious. The restaurant perches above the water amidst the mangroves, as does the little village around it. The buildings are connected by narrow planks that the kids obviously learn to negotiate at an early age, given the successful crossing by a toddler we saw wobbling along her way.