Too Relaxing of a Layover

Noel and I stayed in San Jose for a night before starting our Argentinian Adventure. The price was right so we chose one of the big box hotels by the SJO airport which was characterless, and nice and easy at the same time. We were up early the next day on our way to Panama and then onto Argentina. The flight from SJO to Panama was one we purchased as it was not a part of our scheduled around the world ticket. What was great is that they upgraded us to first class which surprised Noel considering we were wearing flip flops, shorts and TShirts.

Our 5 hour layover in Panama didn’t seem so bad knowing we had access to the first class lounge and could catch up on emails and work. We got comfy, drank coffee, did a bit of work and watched planes take off. At some point, we got tired of eating Copa’s prepackaged lounge snacks so we went to grab a quick bite downstairs in the airport. After eating lunch I took my phone off of Airplane Mode to check my emails and the local time adjusted itself. We thought that we knew what time it was, but we must have had it wrong. We spent way longer than we thought in the lounge and rather than having over an hour left we were about to miss our flight to Buenos Aires. After a long run through the airport we made our flight with only a few minutes to spare. I am so glad that we didn’t miss our flight to Argentina as I didn’t want to spend the night in Panama.

Our next flight was about 6 hours and for the first time it felt like what I always imagined First Class to be… It was very comfortable. The seats reclined to a level that made it more than easy to sleep, the food was surprisingly delicious and the landing as smooth as it gets. We landed at 1am and after a quick cab ride we checked in to our hotel in Recoleta, a nice neighbourhood of Buenos Aires. Since then we have spent our days discovering this super cool city, taking it in as much as we can before leaving to the mountains of Patagonia. I absolutely love Buenos Aires and could easily see myself spending a much longer period of time here. The weather is about 32 degrees everyday with a mix of sun and clouds and a nice breeze which makes it very enjoyable for walking around. The sun stays up until about 8:30pm and the humidity level has been very tolerable. I haven’t bought many things as of yet, but the shopping here is amazing and I’m in bikini and purse heaven!

Buenos Aires has a very romantic vibe and I witnessed a lot of people kissing passionately at restaurants and in the parks, which makes for a great stop for our honeymoon. The three neighbourhoods where we hug out the most: Palermo, Palermo Soho and Recoleta remind me of New York in a less busy way. The fact that there is not much traffic makes it possible to steel a quick kiss from your lover in the middle of the street as you are crossing. More photos of Buenos Aires to come real soon!

Bocas del Toro

Bocas Del Toro ended up being a shorter stay than expected. It was overcast and grey when we arrived in town which didn’t make for a great first impression. I was wondering where that turquoise water that you see in the pictures was. We had shortlisted two hotels from our online research and the luckily, the first one we went to had a beautiful room available and overlooking the water. Most of the houses and hotels over there are on stilts and sit right overtop of the water. It makes for a nice scenery and a calming sound at night. I have to say though that the shore right underneath the houses in covered with trash. Luckily, it’s not the whole shoreline that is like this, but most of the shoreline inside the bay is. The trash from surrounding areas floats away and gets trapped there. Once you enter your hotel, you don’t notice it, but still it was on my mind. I am not sure what the solution is to fix the issue and bringing more awareness to the problem might be a start.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to experience the surf at all during our stay as there was no swell. We kept busy though with a bit of work and beach hopping. There are so many beautiful beaches in Bocas del Toro. They are either accessible by bus or boat rides for super cheap. Playa Estrellitas was my favourite. You can access it via a 45 minutes bus ride from Bocas town and you get to see more of the country side. It’s only $5/person round trip. Once you get there, it is a 15 minutes walk along the ocean. Once we got there, we took a short boat ride to check out bird island which was beautiful. The boat went around as you cannot get out and got us back on the beach where we hung out for a several hours. Before leaving we had the most delicious seafood dinner at a little white shack on the beach. I had the prawns which were served with a tasty tomato, garlic and pepper salsa, a side of coconut rice, a fresh salad and patacones (Green plantain chips). The whole meal was tastier than some of the meals I had at fancier restaurants back home and cost only $10.

The following day we went to a private beach on Carenero Island. As we got out of the boat on this narrow wooden pier I noticed this super long skinny snake hanging out by the gate to the beach. I proceeded with Noel’s help to jump off the pier in the water to avoid the creature. One guy who was hagning out on the beach made a comment about my lack of bravery and that was our introduction to Yves Guillaume and a couple of his friends. We started chatting and had so much fun getting to know them that we ended up going for drinks a Bibi’s, a beautiful restaurant on the water.

The 3 days we spent in Bocas were enjoyable and overall I am very glad that we went to check it out, but with no surfing and chilly weather, it was time for us to go. A phone call later, we had changed our departure flight and are currently on our way to Costa Rica.

Bocas Del Toro, Panama

We took the night bus from Panama City to Bocas which cost $55 for both of us which seemed like a great deal. Save the costs of a hotel for a night, and $220 in airfare. Half asleep and in the middle of the night as the Feds checked our passports we were second guessing our decision. We should have guessed it was going to be weird the second a bus worker talked to us in length about the importance of not going PoPo on the bus and then promptly after showed us his bare belly that protruded as though he was giving birth to an alien. At first I though that he had experienced first hand the importance of not going PoPo on the bus, but he then walked the isles asking for money. Even the locals were giving him change to I chipped in a dollar assuming that he was collecting money to pay for sorting it out his tummy problem. We were loaded up with snacks and the trip started off fun like adventures are meant to. Come the middle of the night the AC was cranked and we were freezing. Luckly we had towels to use as blankets. A little later in the night and two security checks later, one that included showing passports, two food stops at the typical weird restaurants that busses always seem to stop, and the driver rocking his latin music all night long was just enough to ensure that we didn’t get any sleep.

When the bus finally dropped us off in the early hours of the morning it was pouring rain and a bit of a panic. We were swarmed by tax cab drives asking to take us to the boat launch. Bocas is group of islands and the only way to get there is either by water taxi or by air. When the boat pulled into Bocas I was a little surprised by how developed and how run down things were. I guess that it didn’t help that one of the first locals that talked to me was a sketchy Caribbean guy asking if I wanted some weed.

After a few days the sun came out and things seemed better. Yes, the same sketchy Caribbean guy kept asking if we wanted weed, but we stopped seeing things as old and falling apart and quickly came to appreciate it’s unique Caribbean charm. The town is built up a little much for our liking, but a short water taxi, taxi or walk away you can find your own little piece of tropical paradise complete with palm trees, warm tropical ocean and a slight hint of what you can see may be great surf on much bigger days.

Most of the guest houses and restaurants in Bocas are built on stilts over the ocean which is super cool. Partly to keep them cool and part to keep out the rats and bugs. Even still, we were told that they have to spray for pest often.

We researched Trip Advisor for best value places to stay and ended up staying at Bahia Del Sol for $88 per night. It may have been a bit much, but they had a fast internet connection which was great because I was able to complete my photography site (, and it came with a good breakfast every morning complete with great local coffee. Jack and Lee, the couple who run the place, are a nice and somewhat odd American couple. I’m not sure why, but must of the people who move the tropics are a bit odd in one way or another, but then again who isn’t. After breakfast Jack takes the scraps of leftover fruit and throws them off of his patio into the sea where hundreds of fish would come to feast. I really wanted to fly fish off of their patio, but I feared that I would be catching Jack’s pet fish rather than the bigger, more tasty fish I was after. Our room was only feet off of the water and the sound of the small wind waves lulled us into deep sound sleeps each night.

We really enjoyed taking water taxies to deserted beaches and to the little villages in the area for between $1 and $5 per person. You can flag them down from the beach and they will rush in to take you to where you want to go.

One of our highlights was a trip up to Starfish Beach. We took a 45 minute bus trip with mostly locals to the north end of the island for the day. Then either a 15 minute hike through the jungle lined seaside, or another boat trip and you are there. If you go, we recommend eating the seafood at the middle, white beach side shack that’s run by a really cool Caribbean gentleman. When we arrived at the beach there was a 15 room, 72M private cruise ship docked just off shore and a small group of older Russians had set up a small luxury camp on the beach. Servents/ crew would race back to the ship on jet skis or in a large white Zodiak style of boat bringing back champaign and service what ever their needs might be. In talking to the crew and were surprised to find out that the guests were each paying $65,000 Euros a day. When they left our new friend gave us their left over Caviar & Egg covered crackers, pastries and raw vegetables which we enjoyed eating for lunch.

The main reason we chose to go to Bocas was because of it’s great surfing. Unfortunately, even though early December is considered high season, there were no waves while we were there and nothing epic in the forecast so I called up our buddy Jobbie ( in Mal Pais Costa Rica to ask what was going on over there. As always Jobbie said the surf was epic to we double checked his claims online and sure enough it’s going off. We quickly changed our flights and are now headed for the Pacific. While we would have loved to spend a little more time in Bocas Del Toro, Costa is about 10 Degrees warmer and there are way better waves at the moment so we are out of here.

Next stop, Mal Pais, Costa Rica. Pura Vida!

On the road

The world adventure has begun! It was more than a year ago that Noel and I decided to embark on trip around the world. For a while, we weren’t sure of the exact date of our departure and since the summer is so nice in beautiful British Columbia, we decided to stick around and enjoy the sunshine. It was perfect really since it gave us time to go to Mexico for two weeks for a swimwear photo shoot/ surf trip, and prepare for this trip. It took a lot more preparation that I had envisioned, so we both ended up working a lot more than expected and the trip, even though it was coming quickly, seemed like it was never going to happen.

Noel’s mom drove us to the airport and it is only when we sat down on the plane that it felt real!

We have been gone for 4 days now and it seems like it’s already been forever. Vegas was a blast! Staying awake all night was definitely the call and it made for a sleepy plane ride on our way to Panama.

It is the first time for both of us here and we didn’t know what to expect at all. I was surprised to see how many high rises there are in the city and how tall they are. My guess is that the tallest is around 80 floors and the crazy thing is that it is right next to the ocean. The architecture of some of these new buildings is impressive.

The old part of the city: Casco Antiguo is beautiful and great fun to walk through. The old buildings now house government offices, churches, restaurants, stores and hotels. It definitely has a tourist vibe and at the same time it is vibrant with the locals presence. Casco Antiguo is on the other side of the bay from the downtown area and it makes for a bit of a clashing scenery. While most of the government buildings are revamped and quite charming, the rest of the area is surrounded by dilapidated buildings and rough neighbourhoods.

Unfortunately, there is no real surfing right in the city, so after two days, we decided that it is time for us to move to our next destination: Bocas del Toro.

We could have flown there easily within 45 minutes and we decided that saving a few bucks by taking the bus was a great idea. It is an 11h bus ride! Ouch! In fact this is where I am writing this post at this very moment. I love going on bus rides in tropical places because it gives you time to reflect on what you’ve seen so far and plan your next adventure. That being said, the real reason why I like bus rides is that you get to bring snacks! And shopping for snacks in tropical places is the best!

First you get as much local food as you can: empenadas and locally made ham and cheese croissants are the best! Second you get to choose between all the sugary snack from your youth and some that you never even heard from before! The labels are usually pretty awesome too, in a non American kind of way! Third is the drinking yogurt! I don’t know why we don’t carry more in our grocery stores back home in Canada, because it’s are purely delicious and they have all the fruit flavours that you can imagine. I have to say that the mango and passion fruit mix is my favourite so far.

My sugar rush is finally coming to an end so I will put my headphones on, listen to a audio book and pray for the bus driver’s assistant to find the key to for the bathroom which has been locked since we left the bus terminal a couple of hours ago:)

Vegas & Panama City


We landed in Vegas at 4:45pm and our flight to Panama didn’t leave until 4:45am. Rather than get a room and sleep we decided to gamble, drink and eat a greasy late night breakfast. Our first stop was the United Lounge which was underwhelming, but not totally disappointing. We had enough time to check our emails, do a quick blog post and down a couple of stiff drinks. Vegas is a town best served with a buzz.

My observation of Vegas is that it’s made up of 70% waisted dudes looking for action that they will never find, 20% women who are dressed like really dirty hookers and 10% old people smoking darts and playing slots.

We didn’t gamble much, just enough to win enough to pay for our cab fairs to and from the airport to the strip. As long as I leave Vegas up just a little I’m always happy. I credit my luck to doubling down when ever I get a chance and to only drinking Jack and Coke when gambling. I don’t drink it back home, but when I’m in Vegas it’s the only thing that seems to make things right.

When we finally got back to the airport to check in we were beat tired so we curled up on the floor next to where we checked in. I have crashed on way too many airport floors in my time, but this time was different because when we woke up we skipped the line and dove into our first class seats.

Flying with Copa was like flying in the 70’s, but the plane is now old and without the hip and stylish flight attendants. We slept hard most of the flight.

As a photographer, I found Panama City is rich with vibrant ageing textures and colour which made for some fun photos.

We stayed for 2 nights and would have likely only stayed just one had we know that it had little to offer us other than a few great photo opportunities. We stayed at the The Hard Rock Hotel which came with first world prices and third world service. The longer are in Panama the it seems as though that many of the workers can’t be bothered. Of course there are some great exceptions, including the taxi driver who took us to the bus depot and then lead us deep within it’s masses to the ticket booth that we would have never found otherwise.

Every day has had a mix of little sun in the morning and then hard core thunder showers in the afternoons that sneak up on you from out of no where.

We did enjoy our Pacific Ocean facing 34th floor suite (they gave us a free upgrade) because it offered a great view of the huge cargo ships as they either entered or departed from the Panama Canal.

In sharp contrast to flying first class and staying at the Hard Rock, Josi and I are now on an overnight bus trip ($27 each) to a small group of islands on the Caribbean called Bocas Del Torro. It’s meant to have a cool hippy vibe and great surf which is well needed after 3 days of travel, a night in Vegas and a 3 days in Panama City.