Well, after our disastrous first attempt, we managed to arrive, (on time), to our snorkel tour…but before we start up…lets back up a bit.
The streets of Bocas Town are covered with a countless array of tour companies offering various tours. In fact, it can be rather daunting walking by them as they they try to sell you on what they have to offer, which for the most part, is all the same thing.
There is certainly a lot to see in Bocas del Toro. Although you can take water taxi’s to the various destinations, a tour just simplifies matters, and ensures you see everything you want to see in a short period of time.
We knew we wanted to do some snorkelling, and go to Red Frog Beach, so the tour agency we chose suggested we take the option 1 tour (offered by most companies). It included a stop in Dolphin Bay, a ride through Starfish Beach, snorkelling, a stop for lunch, and then an afternoon at Red Frog beach. It sounded like a pretty full day, and for only 20 dollars each, we figured it was a pretty good deal.
After checking in, and waiting on the dock for a bit, we dawned our life jackets, and piled into our boat. We left Isla Colon, and headed out to our first stop of the day, Dolphin Bay.
The name says it all, it was a large bay full of gray dolphins. They were gorgeous, and it was pretty amazing, but I had mixed emotions about this part of the tour. It didn’t feel right to be invading the small space these dolphins live in. During our 30 minutes puttering around the bay, we would inch our way closer to the Dolphins whenever they surfaced. At one point there were about seven boats in the area.
I felt like our tour guide kept a respectful distance, but I noticed some boats being more aggressive. These looked like boats with people who had just hired someone in town to take them to the bay
If Dolphin Bay is something you want to see, I would suggest you hire a professional tour company, as I think their practices are a little more ethical. That being said, it’s probably not something I would do again.
But we move on…
After the Dolphins, we puttered around some shallow areas to look at the marine life below. The water was so clear that you could see right to the bottom. There were lots of starfish, and sea cucumbers. It was one of those moments when Shaun, and I looked at each and realized how lucky we are to be from Vancouver Island. We see these types of sea creatures all the time!
Our boat ride continued, and we eventually stopped in at a little soda on the water. We were asked to pre-order our lunches, so they would be ready for us after the snokelling. After about a 15 minute break, we hopped in the boat for a quick 5 min jaunt to the snokel spot.
Now, I’m not a snokeling pro. In fact, I’ve only been twice in Tamarindo. Everyone told me that the snorkelling there was lame, but I didn’t know any better. I saw a couple fish, so I was happy.
Well my friends, I think I’ve been spoiled rotten now. The snorkelling was unreal. Brightly coloured fish, coral of every shape, size, and colour, spidery looking starfish,and jellyfish. There was so much to see, you could hover over the same spot forever, and still not see it all. Shaun later said that he couldn’t get the song “under the sea” out of his head!
We snokeled for about an hour, and then it was back to the soda for lunch. We were adopted by this lovely family from Panama City, who let us sit with them. They were so lovely, and it was great to talk to people from Panama about what it is like living there.
After lunch, it was off to Red Frog Beach. If you are only in Bocas for a short period of time, this is the attraction you should see.There is an 3 dollar entrance fee to get in the park, but it was covered by the tour. We pulled up to the dock, and hiked about 10 minutes to get to the beach. It was outstanding.Blue water, white sand, and big waves, what more could you ask for.
There are a couple little places to stay on the beach, and a small restaurant. We opted to find a spot on the beach, and settled down for some sun time. I may have had a pretty lengthy beach siesta. When I woke up, I had one thing on my mind, a pipa! I cruised down the beach a bit, and found a lovely women nestled in the shade who hooked me up. It was the perfect end to our adventure.
We got home around 4:30, salty, sandy, and sleepy. We are so thankful that we got the opportunity to take this tour, it created memories that will last a lifetime!
Have you ever snorkelled? What did you think?
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