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Clear Water, Starfish, Snorkeling - Oh My! Bocas del Toro Excursion

Imagine snorkeling around the ocean and seeing coral reefs up close. Imagine swimming in an ocean as clear as a pool, that's home to starfish laying in the water close to the shore. One thing I love about CEA's San Jose program are the excursions! My favorite, by far, has been our trip to Bocas del Toro, Panama.
 Riding the boat to Starfish Beach!

On our first day, we were served a delicious breakfast by our hotel and then we headed out for a day of adventures! The first thing on the agenda was snorkeling! I was a little hesitant to snorkel at first because I'd rather not know what other things are in the ocean with me, but after some convincing from a friend I jumped in, and I'm so glad I did! The water was so clear and blue, and cool, which felt great under the Panama sun. It was mind-blowing, seeing all the coral, colorful fish, and the starfish. This was all so new to me and I'm so grateful I had the chance to admire all the beautiful things that live under the sea. I wish I had photos to share, but I guess that just means you'll have to go see for yourself ;)

After snorkeling, we hopped back on the boat to our final stop: Starfish Beach!

 Walking around Starfish Beach!
 Out in the crystal clear water

I'm not joking when I say swimming in this ocean was like swimming in a pool, the water was incredibly clear, which helped us spot starfish! Besides seeing starfish in aquariums and on Finding Nemo, I had never seen one in it's natural habitat! It was the coolest thing!
 I spy with my little eye...a starfish!

The beach had a sand volleyball court so we played for a while and then to cool off, relaxed with some fresh pineapple and mango smoothies! With no agenda, our day was very laid back and allowed us time to chill out and get to know each other. I'll never forget just sitting on the shore with one of my site directors Maggie. She asked about my life back home, it really meant a lot to me to know that our site directors really wanted to get to know us and take care of us.

After a couple of hours on the beach, it was time to head back to Bocas del Toro. The rest of the day was a free day for us to explore around the island and eat lots of yummy food :) For dinner, some friends and I got sushi, and I'm not lying when I say that was some of the best sushi I've ever had!

 Fresh and tasty crab and tempura chicken sushi!

To end the night we got ice cream. When you're at the beach, ice cream is a must!
 A beautiful and unique flower found while
we walked to Red Frog Beach.

On our last day in Panama, we headed to Red Frog Beach! It was a beautiful day full of sun and shade, which made it the perfect time to fit in a nap while falling asleep to the peaceful sound of waves.
 The ocean at Red Frog Beach was so many shades of blue!

It was an incredibly peaceful day, full of naps, reading, frisbee, and swimming. I couldn't have asked for a better last day!
 Watching the sun come up as we board the
boat back to our bus home.

I'm so thankful that excursions are included in the CEA program. I got to explore a new country and do things I never thought I'd be able to do, like snorkel. I would recommend going to every excursion and CEA hosted event that you can, you won't regret it!

Kendall McKee is the Spring 2016 CEA MOJO in San Jose, Costa Rica. She is currently a Junior at the University of Memphis. 

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