Yes, I am aware that I’m shamelessly cheating but would you have read a post about xenon, xysts or xerus? That’s what I thought! Sooooooo… We were (sadly) accepting that our time in Central America was about to end. Can you believe three months have passed since our start in Cancun?! We certainly couldn’t… It was a tough realization (but to fair, our denial stage couldn’t last forever) as we had to make our way to the coast where our sailing boat to Colombia was waiting for us. We could no longer ignore the fact that we were about to board a boat that would take us away from this beautiful continent! Even though we were excited by the new chapter coming up, our hearts were heavy.
To cheer us up, we decided to go on a train ride to reach Colon. Plus we had flown, walked, rode chicken buses and it felt right to add one more transportation mode to our adventure! M was pretty enthusiastic about it (what is it with boys and trains?!) but I wasn’t sure what to expect. I mean we rode several trains in different countries and our experiences were pretty epic (borderline ridiculously dangerous but fun) and I certainly didn’t expect what we experienced! This was probably the most luxurious train I have ever been on! We were offered free coffee, a complementary snack box, a newspaper and the pleasure to sit and relax for an hour. Our neighbors were two older Colombian men and they were very entertaining! We learnt a lot of interesting facts about Panama, its canal and Colombia while enjoying a very scenic ride and the hour went by too quickly.
In Colon, taxi drivers tried to scare us (as you do) but failed to dissuade us to walk to the bus station. A kiwi traveler tagged along and the three of us survived the 300 meter walk through the dangerous area! It is so tiring to have such people giving bad reputations to areas for the sake of getting money out of tourists. Fortunately, M knew exactly where we were going and his confidence saved us a few dollars. The ride to Portobelo was lovely as we went through little villages and drove along the ocean. Our stopover in Portobelo was short; we enjoyed exploring this tiny fisher village, which was once the greatest Spanish port in Central America, and its forts. Our last chicken bus ride in Center America took us to Puerto Lindo where we met, what we had yet to discover, the best captain we could have wished for.
From the moment we bumped into him by accident (we were two hours too early. What has traveling with a Swiss man done to me?!), we liked him. He was funny, interesting, could speak Spanish, Italian and English! His son, who would sail with us as well, as he would like to become a captain one day, was lovely. Upon meeting our tripmates, we worried a bit that we might feel left out as they were 5 Dutch buddies traveling together. But some of them reached out to us in English and we were hopeful that our little group would have a fantastic time… should we survive, of course. My fear was overwhelming when we stepped on the small taxi boat that was driving us to our ‘home’ for the next 5 days and nights: Koala 2. I squeezed M’s hand, slowly breathed in and out and closed my eyes. After all, there was, as I said earlier, no turning back.
Next stop: San Blas Islands, our last Central American stop(s) before starting our South American exploration!