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Wojciech's Travel log

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You can lose everything, but nobody will take away what you saw and what you experienced...
............

Log entries 21 - 30 of 1938 Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10



Oct 19, 2017 12:00 AM Sweaty climbing to El Pico

Sweaty climbing to El Pico The highest peak on Old Providence island - The Peak or El Pico rises 360 m above the sea. At 8 am I catch near the hospital a minibus going to Bottom House, where traihead is located. Old driver charged 3000 pesos and was very curious: You want to climb alone and without the guide? Yes! Now I know, that it is not possible to lost the way, but it is not easy walk... They built on the trail few excellent wooden bridges and in the lower part also few small shelters but between this points the trail is not well maintained... First problem: you have to take with you plenty of water. It is climbing in the high temperature and humidity. After 30 minutes my shirt was completely wet of sweat... You need to drink. In the lower part trail goes up the little stream - you can wash thee face, but this is not drinking water! The path after night rain was muddy and slippery... Last 30 minutes on the muddy slope is very steep. It took me 2 hours to climb to the top for 360 degrees panoramic view of the island. I did it! Unfortunately the weather was not so clear to enjoy in full ant took best pictures. After an hour I started to walk down and... tropical rain catch me 20 min later. The path converted into the stream... No shelter up there... Can you imagine me an my wet and dirty clothes after such a walk? But what a experience on this remote island! :)



Oct 18, 2017 12:00 AM Providencia - exploring Western Coast

Providencia - exploring Western Coast There is a loop road around the island, local transport (minibuses) are erratic so On the first day I tried to hitchhikke. Oh, no! Motocycles are going up and down but they ask for money... You - the stranger are here to be milked! The tarrif is 5000 pesos from the pier to South West Bay od Bottom House. If you want a taxi (there are few) they ask four times more. So I started to explore west coast hy foot! At the beginning I visited free island museum located in the old, wooden Catholic church - very interesting! In the next village I was in the school, invited to look how they work and meet the kids (see picture). They are just lovely! Then I walked alond the coast beach to beach under the palms and breadfruit trees. It was around 4 pm when I reched probably the nicest beach on the island in South West Bay...



Oct 17, 2017 12:00 AM Unique Providencia Island

Unique Providencia Island Once this was possession of England, often visited by the pirates like captain Morgan. Colombia captured Old Providence and nearby San Andres after gaining independence. But the English tradition is still alive here and most of it's 5 thousands people speak English. Passports are scanned on arrival, they control also your tourist card. Santa Isabel -
- main village on Providencia is very small. My "Pousada Lia" is conveniently located just opposite the pier. Mr Joe, the manager gave me the best room I had on whole this journey... Next door there is little buffet where they prepare ordered meals...
-You can change your dollars in the supermarket! The official rate is 2930 pesos but they are giving only 2600 - so it is highly recommended to pay using VISA in all places they accept it.
After a big laundry (it is so hot that everything is dry in the morning) I am ready for the walk aroun this beautiful island - it is only 7 kms long and 4 kms wide!



Oct 16, 2017 12:00 AM To Old Providencia Island

To Old Providencia Island I had the reservation for catamaran, but unpaid. Will they take me there?
Before sunrise I started walk to the pier. The streets of San Andres were empty. But in the little garden near marina I saw a group of the people staying in the line. It must be here! In the Shack surrounded by palms black skin lady were working with the laptop. -My name is... you cancelled my reservation because your bank didn't accept my credit cards.... -You will be OK!
Oh my God! Lucky me! I will be sailing anyway! I paid by card 280000 pesos - like 100 USD for roundtrip journey, got a boarding pass, sea sickness pill and bag of drinking water. Before boarding there was again detailed baggage searching by primitive policeman - not a pleasure!
We departed with 30 min delay - at 8.30. Little Catamaran has one cabin housing in the plane-like chairs around 60 people. Day was sunny, but the sea... Sea was rough! Advice to fast the belts really makes a sense on this route. Even a walk to the toilet is very serious problem. I used catamarans to get to Monserrat and to Barbuda but there the sail was much nicer! After 3,5 hours in the choppy sea I saw the Old Providence island. The first feeling was: it is similar to Pitcairn island - also mountainous and same size! Soon we docked in the tiny Santa Isabel village. One more dream came true!



Oct 15, 2017 12:00 AM To San Andres Island

To San Andres Island Taxi drivers in San Jose charge 30 USD for transfer to airport. Let you know that on Avenida 2, opposite the La Merced Church you will find little terminals of 2 bus companies offering to drop you in aeropuerto for 525-700 colones - around 1 dollar.
Since long time I was dreaming about San Andres and Providencia Colombian Islands. The day arrived! The only access is by air, so I am flying there with Avianca on free award ticket - Avianca joined Star Alliance...
San Andres lies 150 km from Nicaragua, but 1300 from homeland Bogota. We were landing in the clouds... In the airport they checked passports again and stamped Tourist Card (you must buy this card for 104000 Colombian pesos before boarding any flight to San Andres).
Then the customs were serching my luggage - why?
Finally I went out the terrminal building. Water onthe streets - heavy tropical storm was in the middle of the day.
I found my way to Sea Star Inn - little pension located in the side street.
A/c room with shared bath costs here 25 $. When I went to the town it was already dark. I was surprised by the number of giant and elegant duty-free shops. Colombian families are coming here for shopping. But I did not find any place to change my dollars to local pesos? No money changers, Bank is closed, tomorro is national holiday. Will they take me by catamaran to Providencia?



Oct 15, 2017 12:00 AM To San Andres Island

Taxi drivers in San Jose charge 30 USD for transfer to airport. Let you know that on Avenida 2, opposite the La Merced Church you will find little terminals of 2 bus companies offering to drop you in aeropuerto for 525-700 colones - around 1 dollar.
Since long time I was dreaming about San Andres and Providencia Colombian Islands. The day arrived! The only access is by air, so I am flying there with Avianca on free award ticket - Avianca joined Star Alliance...
San Andres lies 150 km from Nicaragua, but 1300 from homeland Bogota. We were landing in the clouds... In the airport they checked passports again and stamped Tourist Card (you must buy this card for 104000 Colombian pesos before boarding any flight to San Andres).
Then the customs were serching my luggage - why? Are foreign tourists so rare here?
Finally I went out the terrminal building. Water, water on the streets - heavy tropical storm was passing here in the middle of the day.
I found my way to Sea Star Inn - little pension located in the side street.
A/c room with shared bath costs here 25 $. When I went to the town it was already dark. I was surprised by the number of giant and elegant duty-free shops. Colombian families are coming here for shopping. But I did not find any place to change my dollars to local pesos? No money changers,



Oct 14, 2017 12:00 AM Bus to San Jose

Bus to San Jose Puerto Viejo has its kind of charm. It is sleepy, bit dirty and... expensive. Today I took the bus from Puerto Viejo to the capital of Costa Rica - San Jose. It is nice, a/c bus - the ticket for 5 hours travel costs only 10 USD. On the route we passed sea port of Limon and then climbed green mountains to the level of the clouds. Yes. there waa a fog in the middle of the day. After arrival to the capital I was walking to my cheap pension Trianon close to the National Museum. No, it is not a palace, but you can have here your room with shared bath and breakfast for just 14 $. Dona Aida - the host - is a charming person and offers also complimentary breakfast. I left my backpack and took the walk through the center of San Jose - Again after some 30 years... In the Saturday's evening the streets were full of local people. I was surprised by the new, stylish gate to China Town... but once you cross the gate you will see catholic church La Soledad and John Lennon sitting on the square bench. The ornate building of Correos and Telegrafos is still the nicest in the city... Once it was National Theater, but now it is not so bright...
In San Jose center many streets are converted to the pedestrian zones. Police is present, but I after sunset I decided to go back to my pension... Tomorrow I plan to fly to Colombia...



Oct 13, 2017 12:00 AM Through the bridge to Costa Rica

Through the bridge to Costa Rica There are many water taxis ready to take you from Bocas to the port Almirante on the continent but budget travellers preferethe cheaper option - big car ferry departing at 10 am at selected days. They charge only 2 USD for 1,5 hour journey. After landing in Chiquita Bananas port I took the main road to reach local bus terminal. Little bus departed at 12 took me to the big town of Chiguanola (1.50 USD). There at the bus terminal I changed to the yellow school-like bus going to the border town of Guabito (1 USD). 100 m from the stop I found immigration office to get an exit stamp in my passport. Then I walked through the border bridge. Just after the bridge there is immigration post of Costa Rica. Here I got entry stamp of CR. Touts will bother you here offering minibus ride to Puerto Viejo for 10 $. Let you know that there is bus termi al hidden in the courtyard down from the post, only 60 m away. Here you can catch public bus to Puerto Viejo for jus 3 USD.
I reached Puerto Viejo around 3 pm local time. Palms, beach, reggae music. Welcome to Costa Rica!



Oct 12, 2017 12:00 AM Paradise islands....

Paradise islands.... Bocas del Toro consists of more then 10 islands of different size. They are almost flat and covered by lush, jungle vegetation. Several boat agencies on the waterfront in Bocas Town offer day tours to the islans. They all starts at 10 am and have similar program. Ticket cost me 30 USD including 10 $ nat. park fee and 2 soft drinks. Up to 12 people per boat.
At the begining we went to Dolphin's Bay. You must be lucky here. On that day only one dolphin was performing fo 9 boats with the tourists. Then we were sailing to the southern end of Iska Bastimiento to order the lunch - will be taken 3 hours later.... Then for 2 hours to the little Cayo Zapatilla with great beaches around. This was the highlight... I took here the walk around the cayo enjoying the nature - 2 hours is just enough to make a loop and to swim.
Then our boatman took us for 45 min to the snorkeling area - 5 m deep - to see fish and coral. After lunch we were sailing onward through the maze of mangroves to see the monkeys on the little island and plenty of starfish on the shallow waters - from the boat only... I was a bit exhausted when we returned at 5 pm, but it was another great day!



Oct 11, 2017 12:00 AM Meeting Polish priest...

Meeting Polish priest... Polish Catholic priest on remote islands of Bocas del Toro? Yes, I found him and this was very pleasant meeting. We spent few hours talking about the Panama, about travelling and the whole world. Father Jozef Gwozdz doest not look like a missionary - full of vigor and energetic. He works on the mission in Panama since 5 years and knows well local community. We also came to the conclusion that we have mutual friends: famous Polish biker Piotr Strzezysz and father Kowal working in Russian Kamchatka. All the best for the future, dear father Jozef!
I took a walk to the local cemetery - so different and so poor and then to nearby Cabana Beach where locals are swimming. But the sand here is not white, so I decited to take the boat tour to the smaller islands of the Bocas Archipelago. In Bocas Town at the waterfront there are many little agencies offering day tours by boat - the typical price is 30 dollars including 10 $ entry fee to the national park. I signed for one of them...

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