In Bocas del Toro, we stayed at a B&B called Tesoro Escondido, which was 4 miles outside of the proper town. Those 4 miles were pretty long. Quentin took a photo from the back seat of the van where the "road" is the beach (or the beach is the "road"!!), just before you ford the river Oregon Trail style! After that you have to go through several sections with 1-2 feet of mud, and then you are home. Your reward for this trip is a gorgeous beach surrounded by a flourishing jungle with wildlife. Below is a sampling of the multitude of lizards, spiders, and crabs we saw in addition to howler monkeys, snakes, hummingbirds and fish (data not shown).
The house was right next to Bluff beach, which was usually almost deserted (except for stray dogs) and the waves were strong. We took several nice boat tours with Roberto, where we went snorkeling, ate awesome Caribbean-style seafood and harrassed dolphins (we did not want to do this, the boats were like, look, dolphins, let's follow them...) The second tour with Roberto did not include the dolphins, upon our request!
At Tesoro, we didn't practice much Spanish as the owner, Monique, is Swiss and her cook, Dorothee, is French, and there was a French surfer in addition to my French husband, so it was more French lessons for Chrysa! :-) The food was awesome by the way, and very cheap in comparison to what we'd get anywhere else. Monique also owns a cocoa farm and has fresh cocoa beans on hand. Dorothee would then roast the cocoa beans and grind them by hand (a multi-hour process!) to make an amazing chocolate cake. Chrysa's mouth is still watering. Thank You Dorothee!!!!!
At the end of the trip it rained for three days and after discovering several molded objects (purse, bracelet, backpack) we were happy to be headed for Panama City!