Cynthia Did Something Stupid. Again. – Aka the walk from Red Frog Beach to Wizard Beach

It’s like hiking around an active volcano in flip flops but WORSE! Probably. All because I wanted to go to Red Frog Beach on Isla Bastimentos.

The day before my stupid thing, we did absolutely nothing but hang out at Bubba’s House (a wicked chill hostel on Isla Bastimentos) in the sunshine. It was amazing but, if you know me, I get super antsy if I don’t get any exercise. I’m bit like a puppy in that way.

So the next day, it was time to do something!

We stood at the edge of the dock, hailed a water taxi (sounds cooler than it is), jumped in the boat, and away we went through the rain clouds in pursuit of the mythical (maybe magical) red frog on Red Frog Beach.

 When we got there, it started raining due to the aforementioned rain clouds. I thought we were stupid for going to the beach when it was OBVIOUSLY going to rain. But hey. That’s the kind of thing you do when you’re travelling. 

And anyway, that wasn’t the stupid thing I did.  

 We took cover under the biggest and only tree with a makeshift chair until the raindrops ended.

 Then I started climbing logs and jumping off them, as you do when they’re that big and right there, and it’s not raining anymore!

Again, that was not the stupid thing I did.

Once we were sufficiently lunched — and sufficiently annoyed by 40-something-year-old loud-mouth Americans getting day drunk and talking loud as hell saying stupid things like, “I don’t even like the beach! I hate it.” (The epitome of American tourists), it was time to get into the sunshine!

We decided to walk from Red Frog Beach to Wizard Beach. Wizard is quieter (has no bars, has nothing actually) and it was on our way back to Bastimentos to Bubba’s House.

  

This is where the stupid happens.

To walk from one beach to the other, you have to cut through the jungle. If that map up there were to scale, and if it could somehow depict just how jungley it is, we might have put some clothes on for the walk.

Hike. 

If we’re honest with each other. This was not a walk in the park!

It was a jungley and muddy and buggy hike. 

And I did it dressed like someone whose never heard of a jungle before. 

I actually just looked long and hard at the map above and realized that the path does actually show just how much of the path is through the jungle. It just looks like it’s on the sand! Haha omg.

— Cyn 

Best hostel on Isla Bastimentos: Bubba’s House. The vibe is amazing, the owners are so nice, the food is cheap and cheerful, the coffee is great, and the beds are super comfortable.

The Most Chill Day EVER In Bocas Del Toro

Somebody pinch me! I must be dreaming.  

 

Bubba’s House seriously sucked us in and we haven’t been able to peel ourselves away from the hammocks and sunloungers.

Not even to go to the beach.

Not even to snorkel.

This has got to be the most chilled out, relaxing day in the history of our trip (so far). 

There’s nothing like lounging the day away on a dock in paradise, music playing in the background, cold beer or fresh coconut in hand… 

And a refreshing dip in the ocean is just one jump away.
  

Life is so good here!

— Cyn

Crossing The Great Panama – Costa Rica Divide

We woke up at the butt crack of dawn on May 5th to begin our journey from Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica to Bocas Del Toro, Panama.

Some people would have taken the $30 shuttle. That would’ve been super easy and we could have slept (in) a bit. But not us, my friend. 

We are not some people! We’re more exciting! Adventurous! We’re better than people who take shuttle buses!

Besides $30 per person was too expensive. (We took the cheaper option.)

Plus we’d been laying on beaches/in swimming holes for the better part of 3 weeks. Our brains basically shut down and turned into brain-jellyfish. We needed some kind of adventure to wake us up. 

So here we were at 6:00am waiting for the first bus to Sixaola.

You know, so we could beat the huge line of people waiting to border cross.

Hahaha! 

There were no people. Only us, a couple of annoying but nice people from Spain, and a chica from New Jersey.

Guess who was first in the 5 person line. That’s right! We were.

We’d heard that in order to cross the border, you have to walk across an old railway bridge. Well, that was totally 100% accurate.

  
Get a load of that thing!! It really brightened my really early morning.

You had to watch your step because some of the boards were loose. They just kind of swung around when you stepped on them, threatening to drop unaware crossers into Rio Sixaola.

 

Rio Sixaola
Rio Sixaola

There really wasn’t a huge point to this blog post, I just wanted to show you the bridge because I really liked like it/found it really amusing.

 

no makeup Sixaola bridge selfie
no makeup Sixaola bridge selfie
 
— Cyn 

Look a Sloth in the Eye at Jaguar Rescue Center, Costa Rica

What would you give to be able to look a sloth in the eye? How about if it was a baby?

You can do just that at the Jaguar Rescue Center in Puerto Viejo, Limón, Costa Rica. The Centre is a non-profit and an absolute delight for animal lovers!

Except it’s also kind of sad. 

I say it’s kinda sad because every single animal that’s there is there because something horrible has happened to it.

  

An iguana that fell and broke its spine. He can barely move his tail now and without use of his tail, he has no way to defend himself. 

A young crocodile that was supposed to be dinner but the method of execution was ineffective. It arrived at the Jaguar Rescue Center full of holes from a broom handle and missing an eye.

The beautiful wildcats that had been destined to be someone’s pets after poachers killed their mothers for fur, and tried to sell the baby. A double payday for poachers, a double heart break for the cats. 

 

The sloths — and yes, you can look them in the eye — arrived as babies after their mothers were electrocuted (on telephone wires). The baby monkeys were there for similar reasons. One baby sloth had melted to its dead mother and had to be surgically separated. 

  

But perhaps the saddest, you can decided, is the monkey who had been a pet for 20 years. Except she wasnt treated even half as well as we’d treat a dog. 

For 20 years she lived in a cage. For 20 years nobody hugged her, played with her, touched her. Her cage was opened once a day when her owners gave her a banana. Nobody loved her for 20 years. The average lifespan for her type of monkey is 25 years. 

For the next 5 years though, she’ll be loved. The staff and volunteers at the Jaguar Rescue Center will take good care of her. I know they will. They’d reintroduce her into the wild if they could — but she wouldn’t survive. She never even had the chance to feel a tree branch under her fingertips. 

She can’t really do monkey things but she’s befriended a tiny baby monkey. A huge step for a once lonely, neglected sweetheart. 

If you want to help, why not adopt a beautiful baby monkey or sloth? Adopt here!

  

Not all animals, no matter how cute or beautiful or playful or exotic, are meant to be pets. They are not ours! They’re not here for our entertainment or to make us feel good about ourselves.

The amount of respect that the Jaguar Rescue  Center’s staff and volunteers have for the animals is simply awe-inspiring. There is so much love for all of the animals, from the snakes to the birds, the tree frogs to the croc, the iguana to the owls, the ant-eater to the wild cats, and of course, the sloths and the monkeys.

It’s so obvious that the rescues are in good hands. I hope if you’re ever in Costa Rica, you get a chance to visit the Caribbean coast and take a trip to the Jaguar Rescue Center. The $18USD fee is well worth it, especially since it goes to the animals. Even Stephen Fry found time to film at the Jaguar Rescue Center the day after we were there!

Every animal there has a story that can break your heart. But thanks to the Rescue Center, and it’s volunteers and supporters, their stories can have much happier endings.

While I looked the beautiful sloth in the eye, I felt so happy. What a privilege to be so close to these animals! I never thought I’d see one in real life. Yet at the same time, my heart ached for the animals that have been harmed at the hands of humans. A mixed bag of emotions for sure.

   

Want to help? 

You can volunteer (beware, baby monkeys might crawl all over you!) or donate now to ensure the next injured animal can be rescued too. Or, you can adopt your favourite!

Also follow the Jaguar Rescue Center on Facebook for daily updates on their rescues. 

  — Cyn

Where we stayed near the Jaguar Rescue Centre, Playa Chiquita and Punta Uva: 

Casa Moabi – super nice hosts, clean, comfortable, hot shower, fantastic shared kitchen and plenty of howler monkeys to spot! Well, you’re surrounded by jungle here so you can’t help but spot the monkeys 🙂

Airbnb Cabin with the Hernandez family – rustic, basic yet comfortable, relaxing, well located and with a lovely family.