Habla Ya Panama: Nivida Bat Cave at Bastimentos Island Tour Review Tuesday 18 July, 2017

So as many of you all been reading, I have returned from Bocas Del Toro, Panama and I was a travel ambassador of the Habla Ya School to learn Spanish. Habla Ya is more than just a school (in which I will explain in another post in detail) but they really pride in letting the students experience the country by hosting different interactive activities daily. So Today I will be highlighting a popular tour of the Nivida Cave Bat Tour.  Nivida Cave: is a navigation tour up the Bahia Honda River, hike for about 30 minutes and you’ll then reach the Archipelago’s most spectacular cave which is located in the Bastimentos National Marine Park.

Tour Itinerary

Boat Trip to Bahia Honda + Snorkeling 

Departing from Bocas Town you’ll make your way by motorboat through the western channel between Bastimentos and Solarte Island until you enter the mirror flat waters of the mangrove estuary of Bahia Honda. Along the way, you’ll be able to appreciate some of Bocas’ typical homes built on stilts over turquoise Caribbean waters, some of which are located in front of islets no larger than your own backyard. This first part of your journey takes about 25 minutes.

So right before you start the tour to the Nivida Cave, you do an hours worth of snorkeling in the beautiful ocean that is in route in the Bahia Honda. It is so beautifully blue! I think this is to get you some fun in the sun before the hike you will be doing later. Oh and it’s great that you get used to the water and wearing your swimsuit because apparently you will be getting wet later (more on that as you read on). I swore I never was going to snorkel again for a while due to my bad experience in Cuba last year, but this was much better. The snorkeling was a great way too cool off before the upcoming amazon and cave adventures.

Up the River through the Mangrove Forest

After navigating through some patches of mangrove vegetation, you’ll enter a winding river surrounded by mangrove forest where you can spot lots of crabs, small fish and if you’re luck enough a three-toed sloth or two. You’ll surely enjoy the magical tunnel formed by the branches of the trees closing the sky above you: it’s the perfect prelude to the caving experience that awaits you. This second part of your adventure up the river takes about another 25 minutes until you arrive at a makeshift pier where you get off the boat and start the easy hike to the cave.


The Hike

From the pier, you’ll hike until you reach the cave guide’s house. During this hike, you’ll walk along some pineapple plants and some banana trees. At the guide’s house, you’ll be asked to wait a short moment while the guide brings the headlamps for the cave visit. From there, you continue the hike to the cave through a cacao plantation and rainforest. Along the way, you can see birds, sloths and red frogs. It’s about a 30 minutes hike from the dock to the cave. A good pair of closed shoes is advisable as this hike can be a bit muddy. You could also use boots, but they might hinder you in the cave as the water comes up to your chest in certain parts.

The Cave And finally you’ll reach the entrance of the cave. It’s time to work up your courage and follow your guide. Don’t worry about getting lost as there is only one way out. The temperature of the water varies but it never gets too cold and sometimes it gets up to your chest. Inside the cave you’ll see bats hanging from the ceiling and flying around, as well as crickets and also spiders. They like the fresh and humid air in the cave. Besides animal life, you’ll also encounter gorgeous stalagmites and stalactites.

Do you see this water up to my thigh? OMG!

Warning to the tall boys and gals: the cave’s ceiling in several parts is quite low, so watch your head! At one point, the water becomes chest-high: this is the point where the guide gives you the option of turning around if you have young children with you, or to keep going. Another 5 minutes of walking through the water and you’ll arrive at the spring that is the source of the stream. Here you’ll find a small natural pool in which you can splash around before heading back to the boat. Note* Due to myself and another student who brought there camera we didnt make it to the end of the cave. Im glad I personally do not think I could take anymore water and splashing and climbing but I think I saw all I needed to see.  The total amount of time spent in the cave is about 50 minutes.

I made it out safely from the cave. Can I tell you I never did anything like this before? I am not a hiker, I do not like to get dirty and I dont like to be in caves that submerge yourself in water! If I would of known that was part of the tour I probably would of opted out. But surprisingly I have happy I did this. I got out of my comfort zone, got a little messy and survived! It was like I was on survivor. When you are in the cave, you are following your light and the lights of others, you are crawling over the cave stalagmites, you will get scrapped up a little and after a while the bats flying all around you wont scare you as much. Yes I was freaked out initially over the bats, but again when you are focused on getting from Point A to B, you don’t care about any bats. When I look back it was actually a cool experience. I’m personally never doing it again but I can say I checked that off my adventurous check list.

Thank you for Habla Ya in Bocas Del Toro for taking us on this tour. The cool thing about this tour, and many of the tours, some of the guide will even speak to you in Spanish to get you to comprehend and apply some of you knowledge on the language you are learning while on the excursion. I love how in this particular tour it took me out of my element and even got to hang with some of the native and get a tour by a true indigenous guide. Its an experience I will never forget and it made me see this part of Panama in a way I wouldn’t of gotten a chance to any other way.

Summer Immersion in Panama: FREE TOUR EACH WEEK when you Book 4 Weeks or more of Spanish Lessons starting between June 5 – August 28th 2017 

Have You Ever Done an Excursion Tour That Took You Out Your Element?

About the Blogger - Kiwi the Beauty

Kiwi is the free spirited blogger and content creator of KiwiTheBeauty.com. As a digital influencer, she produces creative inspiration around beauty, lifestyle, media and travel leisure. Her life mantra is to make manifesting fun! When she’s not blogging, she is eating trendy hipster food, carrying crystals, making it rain at her local farmer's market and binge brunching. Follow her on her blog and social media at kiwithebeauty.com + @kiwithebeauty

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  • Jeanette says:

    I love this! I love to travel, but there are SO many places to check out. It is beautiful there! I hope I can get down there some time! Exploring that cave had to have been SO cool! I love checking out places like that.

  • Sage says:

    You are a much braver woman that I am! I’m scared to death of bats. I actually have two of them that fly around the courtyard behind my apartment building every night and I’m always sure to close the windows and the shades so I don’t have to see them! I can’t imagine voluntarily going into a cave with them… I’m also not a fan of spiders. But the mangrove forest looks gorgeous 🙂

  • This tour sounds like it was a lot of fun! I love mangroves and caves 😀 I hope to make it to Panama in the near future!

  • Sandy N Vyjay says:

    Well this is truly an adventure of sorts. Boating in a river that is surrounded by mangroves, spotting small fish, crabs and then hiking and then walking in the caves submerged in water. Wow! I would love to do this. I am sure you had a great time!

  • Gemille Sleweon says:

    This looks like an amazing adventure. My friends and I are currently in the planning stages for our last spring break in college (we graduate May 2018). Panama looks like it just made the top of my list! LOL

  • candy says:

    Wow what an experience. You have been to the true bat cave. Sorry couldn’t resist. Everything looks like an adventure and so much fun.

  • Betty says:

    Wow this sounds like a very tiring but awesome trip! You get to go on a boat, hike, plus explore a cave, how adventurous!

  • Wow! What an experience. The chest-deep water would have definitely been a bit crazy for me, as well. But, it sounds like it was a fun way to get out of your comfort zone. And goodness…I’m not 100% sure I could ever get used to bats flying around my head! Than in itself would have taken all of my courage. Glad you were able to enjoy the experience as a whole and, at least, check it off the list!

  • Sarah Honey says:

    Wow! Bat caves. This looks like an awesome adventure. Would love to visit sometime.

  • Pam Wattenbarger says:

    This sounds like such a cool tour. I can see how this wouldn’t be for people who don’t like getting dirty though!

  • Eileen says:

    Wow this looks like such an amazing experience. This was certainly quite the adventure, I’d love to try out something like this!

  • lisalisa says:

    I love visiting your blog! I like how you are always sharing your adventure trips. Habla Ya Panama seems like a very nice place to visit, but trust me I’ll pass on the bat cave…lol Love your images!

  • I’ve heard mentions of bat caves but didn’t realize that they were quite that “challenging” to reach. Yuck on going through the water!

  • Rocio says:

    Wow this is an amazing place. I’ve heard amazing things about the places in Panama. I can see myself traveling here in the future. Such great adventures.

  • Ali Rost says:

    I’ve loved following along with you on your journeys through Panama! The caves are no exception. I’m super claustrophobic, so I’m not sure I could go in. Instead, I’d have to live vicariously through my husband! x

  • This is my kind of adventure! The bat cave would be a real treat for me.

  • adriana says:

    Wow you must of had a blast! Your pictures are so fun, everything looks like such a great adventure! That hike looks amazing – there’s nothing better than hiking on vacation and getting to explore so many new things!

  • This destination looks so gorgeous. I would love to travel more. Ive never been snorkeling but it’s definitely on my list of must-try’s!

  • My Teen Guide says:

    Wow. Your sure looked like you had a ton of fun! I love anything that has to do with water activities! Snorkeling would be a nice one to experience. The boat ride through the marshes was scary though!

  • Jennifer Van Huss says:

    What a powerful excursion!! I don’t know if I would be brave enough to do such a trip!! I have a fear of closed in spaces and I am not a fan of bats or bugs! lol! I guess I’m more of a city girl than a run through the backwoods kinda girl!!It was really cool to read about your experience!

  • Bonnie G says:

    Now that is an experience! Looks like you had an awesome time. I have always wanted to do something like that. Hoping some day.

  • Emily says:

    What an amazing adventure! The snorkeling looks amazing, and that cave is beautiful!

  • Madi says:

    What a fun adventure to get to go on! I would love to go explore some caves, that sounds so incredible! The craziest excursion I have been on has been ziplining!

  • Tamara says:

    Yes! In Alaska, I did a few excursions that took me out of my element. And I daresay this would do it too. Although it would be a dream.
    Also, I have the same board shorts as you!!

  • lisa says:

    This would be so much fun! I have never done anything like this, but I would love to try it. I like to do things I’ve never done before, just to say that I have!

  • Kim says:

    That looks like a great trip…we grow the most when we get out of our comfort zone:)

  • Claudia Krusch says:

    This looks like it was a fantastic trip. I have always wanted to go snorkeling. I have always wanted to go to Panama for a vacation.

  • sara says:

    What an amazing trip you had! Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos and your experiences.

  • Eileen says:

    This is such an adventurous excursion! I’ve never tried anything like it, but I hope to one day! Love all your pictures!

  • Jess Holmes says:

    Oh, wow! That’s so cool! I would definitely do that but I’d be a littler paranoid!

  • Kimberly at Berly's Kitchen says:

    This looks like so much fun! Tropical excursions always look so interesting and really beautiful. I think my favorite part would have been the snorkeling.

  • Sheri says:

    What a wonderful and great experience. I am looking forward to going snorkeling, it has been something I have anted to do for a while now.

  • Nikki says:

    That looks like a fun place to visit! Although your picture with the water up to your thighs freaked me out a bit, lol. You’re braver than I am!

  • Oh my gosh, the snorkeling looks like so much fun! I would love to visit Panama as I’ve only stopped through the airport before.

  • Heather says:

    I did something like this in Cancun years ago. It’s so much fun to go exploring beneath the earth.

  • This looks right up my alley 🙂 All the things you say you don’t like – the hiking, the caves – they are highlights. At least you got to try it, though – and can add it to your done list.

  • Debra J Hawkins says:

    Oh wow! This looks absolutely amazing! I want to take my husband on an excursion like this soon!

  • Wow! What an adventure you had. I’d love to have an experience like this. Can’t believe how deep that water was, you’re brave!

  • Anosa says:

    Wow what an amazing experience, this sounds like something I wouldn’t mind doing. Definitely adding to my bucketlist

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