Isla Bastimentos, Panama

For us, the Panama trip continued to be an adventure. After driving cross country to get to Almirante, we parked the car, and hopped on not one, but two water taxis (also called launchas) to get to Isla Bastimentos. Check out this link for transportation info. While on the island, we stayed at Tio Tom’s guesthouse. It was right next to the public dock which was helpful and not a drawback. The guesthouse is sparse but a good deal at about $25 per night. The owners, Tom and Ina, are a friendly German couple. During our stay, they were very welcoming though opinionated about life on and off the island.

Two restaurants on the island that I recommend are Roots and Kesha. Both have great, affordable food around $6 per meal. Also, drinks are pretty affordable most everywhere on the island, $1-2 per beer and $3-4 for the ever-popular cuba libre.
We were only on Isla Bastimentos a few days so we had limited time to see the island. We thought about taking a day tour (average $20 per person) to snorkle, fish, etc. but decided against it and chose to walk to Wizard Beach instead. Be wary of our choice. We were told that there was a trail from Bastimentos town to Wizard Beach and that it was “kind of muddy.” This was the understatement of the trip. We walked uphill to get out of town (it looks like you are walking through someone’s backyard at times) and finally found the trail. But the trail was not a little muddy, it was a lot muddy. There were points where we were walking in mud a foot deep. This would not have been a problem had we not worn flip flops and been concerned about what lies underneath the mud. Once we got use to the idea of being muddy, sweaty, and possibly lost, it went a bit smoother. Once we passed through the land of mud and abandoned flip flops, we made it to Wizard Beach which was quite deserted (the only way to get there is to walk as the riptide is too strong for a dock). To get back from Wizard Beach, you have two options; walk back the way you came (about 45 minutes and, did I mention the mud?) or another 45 minute walk down the beach and through the jungle to Red Frog Beach. From there, you can get a boat back to Bastimentos town for $4 per person. We arrived on Red Frog Beach as a band of ragamuffins; sweaty, muddy, exhausted, and with stray dogs in tow. We celebrated at the bar as all good explorers should.

Isla Bastimentos, Panama

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