05.24.2012 - 05.27.2012
Finally some cooler air! I left the scalding Santa Catalina bound to the region of Chiriqui' and more specifically to Boquete, a little town at about 1200 metres above see level. This little town is very pretty and clean.
It sits right in the middle of the mountains and is just amazing seeing that walking only 2 blocks in each direction from the main road you would hit the lushly green perpendiqular sides of the mountains.
The river Caldera runs through Boquete to make it even more appealing.
The town is full of hostels and little hotels, I found a small family run hotel with only 2 rooms, I decided to have some private time even though I've been referring to the famous hostel Mamallena for tours and infos, they are very helpful. I decided to do the hot spring tour with them, it was pretty cheap, only $15. They take you out there on a van with other people, then you're gonna walk for about 10 minutes to the actual site. We first went to the river and then to the hot spring pools.
The whole area it seemed to be on a private property owned by a Ngobe-Bougle family.
A great carachter of this family is Cheetah, a very funny spider monkey.
She can be very friendly and affectionate, but keep your belongings well hidden 'cause she likes to take steal everything that is left around: food, shoes, backpacks, sun glasses.
The tour itself was fun, but what made it more enjoyable was the group of people that I was with. Guys and girls from all over and travelling around central/south America. It was fun sharing all of our experiences in places we had been, it was useful to exchange suggestions on places to visit and things to do for our next destinations.
The following day I decided to hike to the waterfalls. There are to trails that lead to waterfalls, a smaller one that takes you to one waterfall and a longer one that takes you to two waterfalls. I thought I would hike the longer trail and see 2 waterfall. Not a very good choice, at leat not for me.
So, I got on a bus to Bajo Mono and while riding I met a german guy who was gonna do the hike as well so we decided to do it together. It's always better to do it with sombody else in case something would happen. And something could happen, 'cause the hike is not that easy. the trail is pretty steep, very slippery, infact I slid few times, but fortunatly caught myself at the last second avoiding to fall. There are a lot of muddy stretches and I sank my feet a couple of times. The trail brings you right into the dense forest, so there is not much possibility to have great views of the valley or the mountains sides. Though the forest is really beautiful, after a while the landscape became to me very repeatitive. My only hope to have some variation in sight was to see some bird, but it was around 1 in the afternoon, so not much critters action at that hour. Or to finally get to the longed waterfalls.
We hiked about 2 hours almost always along the water creek, but no signs of falls. Obviously I'm not an experienced hiker nor a fanatic lover of hiking, and even if I'm in very good shape for this type of activity, after 2 hours of the same stuff I got tired phisically and bored, and startetd to even doubt that there was a waterfall. Obviously I was wrong because unpatient, so we decided that we had seen enough and headed back without even seeing one waterfall.
I left Boquete after 3 days bound to Bocas del Toro on the caribbean side with the Mamallena shuttle that took me directly to Almirante. Going with their shuttle was a great idea: it only costs you twice as much as going by public transportation, but it saves you half of the time and the stress.