Saturday, January 25, 2014

Bocas del Toro: Starfish Beach & a 30KM Cruiser Bike Ride

So this post was supposed to be about our epic bike ride to Starfish Beach and back. We didn't exactly do just that and I will explain all that at the end of this post.

Starfish Beach (Bocas Del Drago) is located on the other side of Isla Colon, which means its a heck of a long way from the side where most people are staying. There are a few different ways to get there: (Approx 15km each way)

  • Taxi from Bocas Town: About $15 round trip per person, approx 20min drive
  • Island Bus from Bocas Town: $5 round trip per person
  • Water Taxi: I don't know the price, it will depend where you come from
  • Bike: About 1 hour and 15 mins each way.
We decided on the bike route since we have rented cruiser bikes for 2 weeks and thought the ride would be a great work out. Well that turned out to be an understatement. A few websites said the ride was a bit 'hilly' and to make sure to rent mountain bikes with gears to do this ride. Well we didn't do that. We had one-gear cruisers and worked our asses off the entire way. The ride was really beautiful though, you go through little villages, jungle sections and gorgeous scenery. 

We made it! 15km done.
When you get to the beach, you then can either take a water taxi to Starfish Beach or do an easy 20min hike along the ocean. We took the walking route, why stop exercising now right?

Short walk to Starfish Beach
When you approach Starfish Beach you see TONS of little beach huts that locals have built to sell beers and food to all the tourists. It takes a little bit away from the beauty of it all, but the ice cold pineapple/mango smoothie, beers and fish lunch was pretty frigin awesome. We also opted to  rent out 2 beach chairs to laze around it all morning. (beers are $1.50 in Bocas, still can't believe this)

The starfish that line the beach really are quite amazing. I think there used to be many more but thanks to all the tourists picking them up, many have vanished or moved to other areas (taking them out of the water can kill them). We probably saw about 15-20 along the beach, mostly when we took the snorkel gear out and had a swim around.

This was taken by the shore in shallow water

We decided to head back around 3pm and walked back to our bikes. We were pretty tired and hot at this point and not really looking forward to the ride. But we sucked it up and headed out, all set for 15km of hills. About 10 min into the ride I heard a loud POP behind me and knew something was wrong. Nathan's back bike tire had popped. We were now stuck on the island highway with no way to get back. We sat in the shade for a bit and luckily a taxi came by and was able to drive us back into town. (Most taxi's are pick up trucks to allow for surf boards and bikes) So there you have it... we attempted the 30 km bike ride, we really did. But we only made it about 17km... That taxi back was bittersweet. We were upset not to have properly completed the journey BUT also super happy to not be biking those damn hills in the 33c heat.

We are hoping to attempt this adventure again before we leave Bocas... stay tuned!

Before the 'ride home'

Behind the scenes

Gorgeous beach

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