Central America: Panama, Isla Bastimentos to Bocas Town and Meeting Questionable Characters

Eek!  This guy was in the bathroom
Luckily one of our bunk room
friends took him outside.

Time to move on to a new place. This morning we waited on the dock of Isla Bastimentos for a water taxi. While there we watched some dolphins swim by and chatted up some other people about things to do and see in Bocas Town.

Be in the Know: We waited for about 20 minutes for a water taxi to show – I’d suggest calling one before leaving your hotel/hostel.

Saw dolphins while waiting for a water taxi

Our first hostel in Bocas Town

In Bocas Town, we found ourselves a private room at a hostel, the Coconut Hostel. On initial inspection, it seems so/so, but it will do for the night, I hope.

I do like the town. We’ve walked around and done a little shopping, all the while it keeps raining on us.

Bocas is a little run down

I wonder about the infrastructure of the town. The park here is so detailed. There are brick walkways, cement dividers with embedded lights every few feet between grass and walkway, and the light posts are very ornate and old-fashioned. However, most of the lights are broken or are missing their bulbs.  It looks like it’s been falling into disrepair for a long time.

It doesn’t help the atmosphere here that there are buzzards sitting in the trees while children play below.

Children and vendors in the park


One of the Strangest Characters we’ve met so far

We went to hang out at our hostel and play cards, and this guy insinuates himself into our game.  Normally we wouldn’t mind, but Biff (not his real name, but it works) turns out to be a real sleazy character. Later, Rebecca and I went through all the things that clued us into his sleazy ways.

The Sleazy ways of Biff:

1. Plays songs that include words “Fuck”, “hate you”, etc.
2. A business person asks Biff to move out of his business area and Biff refuses.
3. Joked about being in prison, but admitted he had never been (or had he?)
4. He didn’t share any real personal details about himself.

Pretty cool use of a truck in
Bocas Town

5. Treated his friend poorly – using gay slurs and stereotyped ideas (like calling him Fernando when his real name was Kevin.)
6. Pretending that he was drunk when he was very aware of what was going on.
7. Acting and dressing younger than he is.
8. Mentioned how he owned a boat and that we should go with him sometime (yeah, right).

There was more, but you get the idea. Since Biff is staying at our hostel, we plan on finding somewhere else to stay tomorrow.

His friend, Kevin, never once stood up for himself and never really said anything. We were left wondering if he even spoke English. Maybe he didn’t know all the bad things that Biff was saying.

Be in the Know: Jokes aside, guys like Biff give traveling a bad name.  Keep an eye out for questionable characters and do your best to steer clear. I’ve met some great people on this trip, and Biff is just the first scary one.

I know reading all this may not endear you to Bocas Town, but I think we’ll meet questionable people just about anywhere. The important thing is just to be aware of your surroundings and know when to say, thanks for your time, but we have to get going!

Want to see more:
Day 14 Isla Bastimentos, Panama
Day 16 Bocas Town, Panama

Hello. I’m Sonja Dewing. I am a Writing Professional: Technical, business, travel, as well as a freelance writer for magazines and newspapers. I’m also a published author, Toy of the Godsand I’m always seeking adventure travel. I’m a Social Media Manager and consult with writers on creativity and social media.


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