Boca Chica, Panama

I’m having such a busy year work-wise that I’ve had almost no time to blog. Last week I finished a major project, so I rewarded myself with a relaxing day at the beach.

Boca Chica is about one hour’s drive from David. You drive east along the Inter-American Highway for about 40 minutes and then turn south. The side road is now paved, which makes a big difference. After about 20 minutes the road comes to an abrupt end at a jetty.

The entire area is a river estuary with many different channels that was originally full of mangrove swamps. Few traces of the mangrove are left, however. All along the Pacific coast of Central America, mangrove swamps have been destroyed at a rapid rate in recent decades. I have read that their ecosystems contain more forms of life than any other.

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For $2,  a small boat with an outboard motor will take you out to one of the many islets. You stay there, on your own private beach, until the boatman collects you at the time you agree upon.

The first thing I spotted at the jetty was this humming bird above my head. I took a photo of it because I had never seen one just sitting, rather than “humming.”

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We chose our boat and headed out to one of the small islands called Lindarte. There are now a number of small hotels in the area, both upscale and more simple places for backpackers.

This very tame (and scruffy) pelican approached us but we had no fish for him.

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Our boatride only took 10 minutes. In this photo, you can see the roots of the mangrove trees (it was low tide).

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We soon reached our own private beach.

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We camped out under a kapok or ceiba tree (known in Costa Rica as “salva”). My wife told me that when she was a child growing up on the beach, they used the cotton-like fiber that grows out of the seed pods as filling for their pillows.

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This close-up (photo from Wiki) gives a better idea of how the fiber grows.

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The trees can be huge. This one was photographed in Vargas Llosa country – Iquitos, Peru (photo also from Wiki).

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These trees are coconut palms. In the background you can see the volcanic highlands of Chiriqui.

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These are young coconuts, or “pipas.”

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They are sold on the street by men with pushcarts. An opening is made and the sweet water drunk through a straw.

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My wife decided she wanted to eat the seed, what we refer to as the coconut.

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We had a very enjoyable day. I took these videos in the boat going back to the jetty. Not great photography (the boat was bumping up and down and I should have sat at the front) but they do give a better idea of what the area looks like.

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