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Bocas del Toro

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Central America : Panama : Caribbean West : Bocas del Toro
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Bocas del Toro is the capital of the Panamanian province of the same name.

Get in

  • There are two road routes into Bocas del Toro Province, one over the lush, jagged mountains from Chiriqui, the other from the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Buses travel both of these routes. If you are traveling from Costa Rica, take the bus to the border.

Option one

From the border in Panama (closes at 5 pm Panamenian Time!) you can take a 10 US mini bus to Almirante and a 25 minutes boa from there to Bocas del Toro (town (4 US$).

Option 2

Take a chicken bus to Changinola and a taxi to the docks and then the 1 hour / 7 US$ boat to Bocas del Toro (town) or a Minibus for 5 US from the border straight to the docks of Changuinola.

Option 3

The cheapest way is probably going with the chicken bus (leaves every hour/1 US$) to Changuinola, take a regular bus to Almirante (~1,50 / one hour) and the 4 US$ boat to Bocas del Toro (town)

There are as well several flights into Bocas del Toro (town) from Panama City.

AirPanama flies from Panama City two times a day everyday (45 mins $80). Nature Air flies from San Jose, Costa Rica to Bocas del Toro 4 times per week. The cost is $110 each way plus $26 international departure fee and $12 for a Panamanian entry stamp.

Get around

Bocas town is small enough to walk all over. If you need a ride, cabs are plentiful and usually only cost 50 cents or so to get around town.

Bicycle rentals run approximately $2/hr or $10/day. The roads are flat and in good repair, which makes getting around on a bike very easy.

Scooters can be rented for approximately $70/day.



  • Scuba

There are two major scuba operators in Bocas town, Bocas Water Sports and Starfleet Scuba. The offer identical dive options at the same price ($50/two tanks, all equipment included), with the same types of boats. The diving may not be adventurous enough for seasoned divers as most of the dives are fairly shallow (15-20 meters) and the wildlife not as rich as some of the more mainstream Caribbean dive destinations.



El Ultimo Refugio offers waterside dining on Avenida Sur, just down the street from the Ferry dock. Cuisine includes fresh seafood as well as variations on Norte Americano style dishes such as pork meatloaf. $35+ for two, including drinks.

Om Cafe features authentic Indian food. Breakfast really shines here with the wide variety of juice blends and shakes they offer, plus a very unique eggs vindaloo dish that is a must try. $30 for two, with drinks. Avenue E and Calle 2, upstairs from the surf shop.

La Ballena offers gourmet pizzas and European wines by the glass, which you'll pay dearly for. This may be the most expensive restaurant in all of Bocas town. The pizzas are large with generous toppings, and come in many interesting variations. Wine selection is impressive, though expensive. $40+ for two.

On the main strip one will find "Bongo's Cafe", a rather popular bar/restaurant run by a charming Cuban woman named Giselle (known around the island simply as "La Cubana") who also happens to be the liason between the public and the police. The Seafood soup (Sopa de Mariscos) served there is simply delicious and Bongo's seems to be the only restaurant that freshly squeezes the fruit right in front of you. With all this and attentive staff, Bongo's Cafe is a real gem.



  • Gran Kahuna. On the main street, a brightly colored new hostel (opened April 2008) that is much more tranquilo than the rest of the hostels. It may cost a bit more ($10-12) but worth it. Great attention to detail and really nice guys who are happy to let you (attempt) to practice talking with them in Spanish. One of the guys is named Fabio, he's pretty cool. The other guy had a pretty raspy voice, but was also cool.
  • Calipso Hostel, [1], (507) 7579848, on the main street offers excellent dorms and private rooms. Rooms are clean with a/c and private bathroom. A shared kitchen, internet and cheap tours are available. The place is run by an extremely friendly and helpful lady.
  • Try Mondo Taito or Heike twin hostels in the town. Dorm beds are available from $8 and are clean with fans and shared bathrooms. Nice friendly hostels. Run by a group of American ex-pats who are very knowledgable and friendly.
  • Hotel Angela, [2]. is run by Claudio, a US expat from California. The hotel is clean and safe, located a block off the main avenue and away from traffic noise. The hotel also has its own restaurant and bar over the water. Happy hour from 3:30 to 5:30 means 2 for 1 drinks. The staff are extremely courteous and friendly.
  • Punta Caracol is a hotel of overwater bungalows a 15 minute boat ride from Bocas town. Nine bungalows sit on stilts over the water, and wrap around verandas give each bungalow direct access to the water. Rates start at $285/night in the low season for the smallest bungalow, and run up to $600+ for the largest bungalow in the high season. Rates include breakfast and dinner. Excursions can be arranged with the front desk.
  • Hacienda del Toro on Isla San Cristobal.15 minutes by boat from Bocas Town.Swimming pool,Rest/Bar,horse stable with well trained horses for jungle tours Deluxe Cottage Rental @ $150 a night for 2,Includes breakfast,and transportation,2 night minimum
  • Tropical Suites, Calle Primera (Bocas Town), (011)(507) 757 9081, [3]. checkin: Flexible; checkout: Flexible. Tropical Suites is located in Bocas Town on the waterfront. All activities are litterly all around you. The 16 large Suites have a complete kitchen, breakfast bar, a large Jacuzzi and balconies. Excursions can be arranged with the reception. Boats can be moored at the hotel docks. Rates start at $ 140,--/night, including breakfast and free WiFi internet, with promotional discounts during the season. Extra special deals are available for longer stays, weekly or monthly.

Get out

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