Bastimentos Island, Panama
Bastimentos feels like its still resident to the jungle. Its makeshift homes are settled half in the water as if the jungle isn’t quite ready to give up its real estate. Groceries are near non-existent and the few and far between restaurants that are there all seem to only have ingredients for some version of pizza. Things work only well enough, electricity flickers in and out, water tanks run dry. These sorts of happenings are often par for the course when you venture to the fringe. Humans are invasive, secondary takers reminded to stay humble.
I slept cradled, dangling above the sloshing slap of the water that from underneath pushed the stilts just hard enough to give a subtle shake of the uneven boards stacked above. The floor made of slats slide to one side and snap back in place with the resistance of the walls that might potentially give way. The jarring twists turn to lullaby as I settled into the sway and relaxed into the ocean’s slow dance.
Not by car, not by a parade of gringos, not by the too loud bass of a broken speaker so common to Latin America, instead, I was woken by the whisper of the ocean and the soft hum of the sun. Paradise inviting me to come out and play. It’s rude to decline.
Nature is a temperamental boss. Even threat of rain drenched hikes that force you to walk away from the beaches you worked hard to arrive to won’t let you quit because everything here is a labor of love. The reward is aways addictive and you will find yourself willing to sweat, to catch breath whilst stepping with care till you reach the furthest possible golden grains of the earth. Even her fits that force you to seek protection under tin slabs are a captivating, theatrical performance worthy of a standing ovation best enjoyed with beer in hand and hammocks to retreat to.
It’s only a 10 minute boat ride from the main island and hub town of Bocas, but a whole different way to experience island life.