Bocas del Toro – wrapping it up

That was a fun trip, and we’re definitely interested in going back again!

The town is interesting, unlike anything else I’ve seen in Panama. There is a strong Caribbean influence, and a ton of tourists. It reminds me of Key West, Florida a lot but it’s even funkier, more “anything goes” atmosphere. The locals live in much more basic conditions. I heard more English than I’ve ever heard in Panama, and Spanish, Italian, German, and a variety of other languages. I’m used to mostly brown people, but in Bocas there are dark black to pale white people, and everything in between. It is known as a party town and though we heard about goings on into the night, we didn’t hear them ourselves thanks to a quiet hotel.

Buena Vista Grill, close to our hotel. We had a fabulous meal there at a reasonable price. We also ate at Gringo's a block from the city park (look for a sign that says - Mexican Food)  This was also excellent.

Buena Vista Grill, close to our hotel. We had a fabulous meal there at a reasonable price. We also ate at Gringo’s a block from the city park (look for a sign that says – Mexican Food) This was also excellent.

The area in general, the beaches, water, islands etc was spectacular! The water is warm, very clear, and beautiful. The snorkeling and coral was the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, and I absolutely love the beaches. The ones we visited were on the edge of beautiful forests and that feels nice, rather than the wide expanses of sand with the sun beating down on you that I remember in Florida.

We were told not to drink the water so we were careful. I didn’t think when I ordered a smoothie from a street vendor that this might be a bad idea (as well as overpriced!)  I think this is the most likely culprit for my thankfully fairly minor and short lived problems. So, if you visit be careful of all water, including ice. My husband, who didn’t get a smoothie, had no problems.

As for packing and what we brought, or wished we had brought – Sunscreen!! Even with frequent liberal applications and cloudy days, I got a bit pink.
Umbrella – it rains quite a bit in the area, and you might get caught wishing you had one.
Plastic bags – I was thankful I brought plenty of zip lock bags for wallets, cell phones, cameras, etc. because we got soaked going out in the boat in the rain.
Beach shoes, or flip flops, or something you can wear in the water as well as on land, get wet, get sandy, etc without worry.
Clothes – enough that when yours get soaked you have a couple sets of dry clothes. Casual is good. Many people were in town with beach wraps over bathing suits, or shorts and casual shirts.
Beach towels – I would bring a couple per person if you have room, so when one is soaked you have a dry one standing by.
Sweater or light blanket for travel if you are taking the bus. When they turn on the AC it can be a bit cool, especially if you are acclimated to hot weather and no AC like we are.

There are container ships that come into Almirante. We spotted this one on our way back in the water taxi.

There are container ships that come into Almirante. We spotted this one on our way back in the water taxi.

I'm not sure what this is (seen from the water taxi coming in to Almirante) It looks like an old rusty ship.

I’m not sure what this is (seen from the water taxi coming in to Almirante) It looks like an old rusty ship.

So, what did this excursion cost us?  $439.07
Hotel – $181.50
Bus – $33.80 (round trip from David, 2 people)
Taxi – $4 (from bus to water taxi, both ways, 2 people)
Water taxis  – $28 (to and from Almirante, and a couple island hops)
Boat excursion – $50  (dolphin bay, snorkeling, beach, out most of the day for 2 people)
Restaurants – $124.35
Snacks – $21.42 (fruit, soda, water, cookies, rum)

There is a lot to be said for a hostel with a community kitchen if you are trying to cut costs. Hostels are cheaper and avoiding restaurants saves money. But, for us, we are happy with the trip. We almost never eat out at home so having someone else cook for us was nice, and I think a quiet hotel was well worth a little more money.

The bus back to David was crowded, sometimes standing room only! You can see here that one person was evening sitting backwards on the engine next to the driver. The bus had to pass some people flagging it down because there was no room.

The bus back to David was crowded, sometimes standing room only! You can see here that one person was evening sitting backwards on the engine next to the driver. The bus had to pass some people flagging it down because there was no room.

So, I think now I’m finished with all the news on our trip to Bocas del Toro. It’s time to come up with another adventure! We already have one in mind for this week 🙂

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About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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11 Responses to Bocas del Toro – wrapping it up

  1. indacampo says:

    Thanks for all the great info Kris. It’s nice to know what kind of budget and “stuff” is required! 🙂

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  2. indacampo says:

    I don’t know what is wrong with the reply’s in WP lately, I have some that have disappeared and now there’s two. Feel free to delete!

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  3. sunnymikkel says:

    Kris
    Thank you so very much for your wonderful blogs, especially the last series on Bocas. You are an extraordinary Blogger! We leave for our “Third Life” in Panama on August 1, will be in Pedasi, but we plan on traveling, so when we get up to the David, we will alert you and see if we can get together. We were in the David area this past January, stayed at Las Olas for 4 days, loved it. Toured David and Boquete, but still decided we wanted to be in Pedasi.
    Thanks again for your blogs, especially all the great photos and videos.
    Hasta Luego,
    Mikkel & Connie

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    • Kris says:

      Thank you so much for your comments! Yes, please let me know when you are in the area. We would love to meet you. Pedasi is on my list of places to see because I’ve heard it’s also really nice there.

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  4. I enjoyed your latest adventure. I’ve never been there, so I will refer to your blog when we’re ready for our next adventure. The rain sounds glorious! 🙂

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  5. AnneliseD says:

    Excellent pics, posts, and prices!

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    • Kris says:

      I thought of you when we were there. Key Largo was great, but I think I liked this better, and this is before we have even explored some other places to stay on the beach. If you are coming from the US you can fly to Panama City and then directly to Bocas. Of course I hope you are able to see more of Panama but it’s something to consider.

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  6. Pingback: Our Cost of Living in Panama – April | The Panama Adventure

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