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A Close Second

January 16, 2012

Before leaving Bocas Del Toro, we biked part of the main island of Colon, a 30 km return trip to a beach called Boca Del Drago, where there are tons of starfish in the water. The water was clear and calm, and the beach looked like a stereotype of paradise.

One last sloth photo from Bocas. This little guy was a great example of the definition of sloth!

We’ve found our second favorite town so far (our first favorite was Barra De La Cruz, Mexico): Santa Catalina, Panama. It’s a tiny village of 250 residents on the Pacific coast of Panama, but with a paved road in excellent condition and a good number of businesses catering to travelers, such as hostels, restaurants and diving/fishing/snorkeling/surfing boat charters. Twenty kilometers off this coast lies Isla Coiba, a purportedly wonderful Scuba diving locale, with guaranteed whale shark sightings.

The rocky reef break at Santa Catalina is also renowned as being one of the most consistent surf spots in Panama. It gets pretty crowded. We’ve been here for 12 days, and the best we caught was a 3-day swell that was about 1 to 2 feet overhead. The rest of the time, it’s been waist to head high.

Every day after surfing, we head to the lone surf shop in town, which also doubles as a fruit shake counter. I always order the banana-chocolate shake, and Michael gets the banana-chocolate-ginger. We’ve already filled up one buy-10-and-get-1-free card and are halfway to filling up another!

Local fishermen fish with handnets and spearguns. Here’s a fisherman showing off his catch several days ago.

In Santa Catalina, even the lawyer surfs.

There’s no grocery store here, just a small convenience store with some canned vegetables, chips, candy, juice and milk. The nearest town and actual grocery store is a 90-minute bus ride from here. Instead of selling produce at the store, pickup trucks drive through town with fruits and vegetables in the back, announcing their wares via megaphone.

The local kids are amazing surfers, and over this weekend there was a surf contest in a town about one hour away by boat. Here are the owner of the place where we’re staying, Rolo, and his son, Rolito, with a couple of other local boys getting ready to head over to the contest.

The family pet at Rolo’s is a parrot called Lola. She’s good at saying her name and imitating children whining.

We’re both big bookworms, so of course we found the local library the first day we were here, and each took a few books out. It was handbuilt and is run by an ex-pat from Santa Fe, New Mexico.

It came time to move on, despite our affection for the small town. Here are a few parting shots, and then it’s on to Ecuador, via Panama City and Quito, for us.

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 17, 2012 10:34 am

    What a beautiful place! Quito is a lovely city…I really enjoyed my time there.There are hot springs there (about an hour’s drive if I remembering correctly) nestled into the mountains. You can get driver to take you there for the day. Safe travels…

    Miss you guys so much…xo M

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