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Posted (crates) in Uncategorized on June-15-2007

Why do my thoughts keep returning to Hotel Angela?  Why do I long to return to this little funky hotel on that muddy street in Bocas del Toro, Panama?

Perhaps it is because of it’s remarkable owner, Claudio, who will bend over backwards to help you in any way possible;  perhaps it was the clean and simple establishment that dscn0300copyweb.jpgClaudio started back in the nineties when, as he said, he was looking for a place to put his boat and do some fishing.  I know that much of its appeal is the restaurant set over the water, where I would come down at 6 am and help myself to the free coffee from a large silver urn.  I would then sit at the second table from the left (looking at the rear from the perspective of the photo) and drink my coffee from the china cup as I watched the sun rise.  There was always a cool, mild breeze and sometimes the tide flow would make little noises against the pilings.  I would look over the side of the railing and watch colorful tropical fish feed on tiny delectables that the tide brought.  After a while my Dad would come down, and we would both drink our coffee and watch the panorama on the water.  Soon dugouts would be passing by along with motorized boats of all descriptions.  The light on the water would continue to vary as the light changed, and soon it would be breakfast time.     

The free breakfasts were delicious and the people that worked there were always exquisitely polite and helpful.  All the meals that we ate there were delicious without fail and were very reasonable.   For about $15 you could take day-long boat expeditions to the surrounding archipelago.  This was an incredible bargain since private agencies would charge almost twice as much for the same trips.  We went to Coral Cay where we ate a delicious fish lunch at a restaurant set on pilings over the blue water.  As we waited I went snorkeling in the clear waters among the schools of tropical fish.  There were dolphins in Dolphin Bay feeding on schools of fish, their backs grey against the blue water as they sounded.  On the way back we dropped by RedFrog Beach with it’s bright red poison arrow frogs sounding like chirping birds in the surrounding vegetation.    Other trips included a boat ride to Bird Island, a small rocky island, where Red-Billed Tropic birds (Phaethon aethereus)wheeled and soared, their white bodies with their two long tail feathers distinct against the green vegetation of the island.  This is the only Caribbean location where they can be found.  Starfish beach, Boca del Drago, a cave full of bats and the incredible rainforest with it’s luxuriant bromeliads were also visited.   

               We went to other places in Panama, but when I think of the visit there, I think most often of Hotel Angela.  Don’t go there if you like luxury or fancy, but if you like a clean, simple hotel with excellent food and employees, internet access, and an owner who is simply charming and wonderful, set in a beach combers paradise, then you should seriously consider this marvelous place.

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