Bat Caves, Jungle Trails And Poisonous Frogs


Please forgive my lapse in posting! I’ve been riddled with computer issues and internet challenges. It seems that everything is now back on track, and I’m wading through almost 1,000 photos for editing and captioning. Fun, fun! I hope you will all hang in there, while I work to catch you up on our lives here in Bocas.

While I was at home in Baltimore, Scott ventured out with our friends Jack and Monique (s/v Aloha), to visit bat caves in the area. Not being a fan of dark, small spaces, or bats, I was thrilled to miss this outing.

They traveled in the Aluminum Princess through another winding, jungle river, eventually landing at a local farm. Once onshore, Armando offered a tour for five dollars a person. Along the way, they learned about the farm, where he grows coconuts, papaya, pineapple and cocoa.

The cocoa pods provide a sweet treat inside. Locals open the pod, and suck off the sweet, white coating that covers the seeds, spitting them out afterward.

They saw sloths, frogs and other creatures on their way to the cave. Jack spied a fat, meaty, icky millipede-type looking thing, that seemed content to crawl on him; picking it up would not have been my first thought.

It was an easy hike to the caves, aside from some mud, and they soon arrived at the opening. Once inside, it quickly became dark, and Armando provided them with head lamps (Scott came armed with his own, of course). The walls were lined with creepy, spider crickets, and of course…bats.

Water runs down into the limestone cave, and Monique, Jack and Scott walked in as little as two inches near the mouth, to more than waist deep in other spots. In some places, they had to swim, and in one spot, a narrow opening in the thick, stalactite wall hanging from above forced them under water to get below it.

Crawling, swimming and wading through dark caves, while bats fly around your head is not my idea of fun, but these three enjoyed their adventure. Thank you to Jack and Monique, for sharing their photos, as Scott was without a camera while I was gone.

Red Frog’s property includes several miles of jungle trails. Scott has been interested in exploring them, and finally decided to up and go…on a fully sunny, 90 plus degree day! He walked the roads that run through the resort property (a nice, uphill warm up), to where the trails begin. The paths range from grass, to mud and leaves, and run along streams and open areas.

The trails also connect to many of the island’s beaches, that offer beautiful views.

As usual, Scott passed interesting things along the way. There were trees so covered in vines and foliage, that the trunks were barely visible, and others with smooth, soft colored bark. He passed a spot where someone was hand-cutting lumber from freshly cut trees, and came across another tree who’s trunk width was almost more that his height!

Scott walked eight miles of trails in the 94 degree heat, and then made his way back to the boat; clothes soaked through and shoes coated in mud.

Panama is home to several types of poisonous frogs, the most popular being the Strawberry poison dart frog. They are very small is size, averaging approximately two inches in length, and  vary widely in color.

The name “dart frog” comes from the use of their toxic secretions to poison the tips of blowdarts. Species with the greatest toxicity comes from a diet of ants, mites and termites.

Monique, Jack and Scott spotted some of these tiny frogs on their trip to the bat caves. We’d heard that the best time to see these tiny guys is on a rainy day, but our friend, Lewis (s/v Cirque) told us of his favorite spot for a sure-bet sighting; on the trail that leads through Red Frog’s spa.

Scott and I decided to try our luck, and made the quick walk up to the spa. Opening the door mark closed, massage in session, we entered and quietly crept past the building just inside. The path up the hill was lush and beautiful, and the sounds of birds and a small waterfall surrounded us.

With no initial luck, we kept on, past another No Entry sign, and continued to peer our eyes along the banks of the path. Scott continued on ahead of me, and almost interrupted a hilltop massage in session. He silently ran back to tell me that we had to turn back.

Luckily, on our way back down, we finally saw a tiny flash of color, and Scott successfully captured some photos of the little guys.

We’ve only had a chance to scratch the surface of nature in the Bocas del Toro archipelago. One could spend months exploring the area. What we’ve seen is beautiful. Here are many more interesting and beautiful photos.

“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”