Thursday, June 9, 2016

More Bananas Than People......The Banana Republic

As the propellers on the small plane revved up I began to laugh. It sounded like a child's toy instead of something used to take 50-60 people from one side of Panama to the other. Yet this was Air Panama, the second largest airline in the country. And I had to remind myself that it was only a short one hour flight to lessen my fears.  Less than one hour into the flight it began it's decent over fields of banana trees as far as my eyes could see. Some passengers made their way to the door while others just sat there, which confused us so Clyde inquired. Apparently we were not in Bocas del Toro yet but instead had landed in the town of Changuinola to let off and pick up a few passengers.  Once the plane was airborne again we had about eight more minutes of flying time.  I watched in awe as our plane made its way over water to land within a few minutes.  This is the only airport I've even been to where one can walk from the airport directly into the town just a block away.

Leaving On A Prop Plane

Rev Us Up

Tiny Airport In Bocas Del Toro

Bocas del Toro which translates to, "mouth of the bull," is on the Caribbean side of Panama. The picturesque little village is lined with waterfront restaurants, tourists shops, hostels, surf shacks and more. With few cars it's easy to get around on foot or water taxi, although they can be rather pricey.

Bombero (Fire Dept.) Boat

Always Have To Stop And Visit The Fire Department

An Oldie

Nicer Equipment Than We Have In Coronado

After nearly five years of living in Panama we finally made it there.   Although Panama is not a wide country is it a long one.  The drive to Bocas del Toro would take maybe ten hours and involve parking the car somewhere and taking a ferry onto the island. Clyde dreaded the thought of that drive so we never went......until now.

 Through the years we had heard both good and bad about Bocas.  "It's nothing but pot heads and surfers."  "The music and partying will keep you up all night long." "It's nothing but a bunch of dilapidated shacks, plenty of bugs and all night parties." There were a few people that made favorable comments about the place but those were not the majority.

 Posing With Sookie....Queen Of The Casa

Everyone knows that Clyde is friendly and has never met a stranger, loves to talk and share information and admits to being addicted to social media.  One day someone new to Panama asked a question on a Facebook expat board and Clyde responded.  Turns out the newby couple, Ron and Lara were from San Antonio, Texas where Clyde spent his teenage years and a friendly connection was made. Soon after that they invited us to come visit them in Bocas offering us a free place to stay, an offer too good to pass up.

Mustache Anyone?  Lara And Ron Being Silly

Outdoor Shower Near A Beach

Terry and Lara

Bocas Town

Ornate Carved Bench

He See's A Titty And Has To Touch It

Swinging At The Bar

On Island Time.....Notice The Shack In The Background
 That Would Sell For Millions In The US

Hippie Van Turned Table At Restaurant

Front Of Sign....Toro Loco Bar And Grill

Back Of Same Sign

Made From Bottle Caps, Old Credit Cards And Licenses, Keys Etc....

Ron and Lara landed in Panama with the intention of exploring several areas and decided to try Bocas first.  Within a month after planting their feet on the island they heard about someone in need of a house sitter and jumped at the opportunity. The large house sits on the island of Solarte surrounded by six to eight other homes and a shared pool.  All of the houses are "off the grid" which means they have no electricity and no water. Solar panels on the roof power large batteries to keep the lights on and rain water is collected and filtered for drinking and bathing. The large house sits in the middle of lush, tropical jungle overlooking the Caribbean.

Yep.....More Titties

Another Rough Day In Paradise

Lara And Ron's Hand Reaching For Titties

Notice The Sign "Cuidado de Perro," Beware Of Dog
He Looks Pretty Vicious

Plenty Of Off The Grid Waterfront Homes

When Clyde began telling me we'd be staying in an "off the grid" home I was a bit skeptical.  I wondered would there be electric and water or would it be like primitive camping? But in fact the home is just lovely, with lots of open spaces, plenty of water, fans and lights. While it would probably rent for $1500 or more per month, this lucky couple scored a free place to stay until the home sells. The only difference with off the grid living is that high powered devices like air conditioners, microwaves and hair dryers are avoided since they use too much power.

Our Home Away From Home
The Top Floor Is An Open-Air Screened In Bedroom And Sitting Area

After We Left They Bought A Boat

Ron And Lara's On Their New Boat

The Blue Coconut Bar And Restaurant

Clear Water Shows A Star Fish

Restaurant Dog Is Muzzled Because He Keeps
 Rescuing Swimmers Thinking They're Drowning

Water Hammock

Water Hammock And Rum And Coke.....Even Better!

Two In A Hammock With Rum And Cokes
Better Yet!

It's A Rough Life!

Our days were spent exploring the Caribbean, walking around the town and doing some of the touristy stuff that Ron and Lara hadn't done yet. A favorite hang out of theirs and ours is a waterfront bar and restaurant called The Blue Coconut.  With hammocks that hang in the clear water, nearby snorkeling and plenty of beer and food this place is a must-see.

Colorful Buildings In Bocas Town

Found A Rustic Pueblo Near The Beach

Caranera Beach Front Homes

Beach Front Hotel On Caranera

A big thanks to our new friends Ron and Lara who opened up their temporary home to us (with the owners permission of course) and showed us around paradise.  Had Clyde and I visited Bocas when we first moved to Panama our story might have turned out differently. We had a wonderful week relaxing, exploring and making new friends in the Banana Republic of Panama......Bocas del Toro......along the gringo trail.

Terry and Clyde are able to "Travel The World House Sitting"  and so can you!  We have created a website to help people who want to learn about house sitting.    Information for both the prospective house sitter and for someone who needs a house sitter.

the New Website                          -->  CLICK HERE

How to Get Your First House Sit -->  CLICK HERE

How to find a house sitter          ---->  CLICK HERE

Heading Out

Home Is Wherever Our Suitcase Sits


  1. I used to work for many years in Bocas del Toro and never got to see the beauty of it, maybe because everything was about work. Your post might changed my mind about going back. It sounds like a fun place (rum and beer = great combo ��) and at the same time a relaxing place. See u soon Bocas!

  2. I used to work for many years in Bocas del Toro and never got to see the beauty of it, maybe because everything was about work. Your post might changed my mind about going back. It sounds like a fun place (rum and beer = great combo ��) and at the same time a relaxing place. See u soon Bocas!

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