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GOING TO BOCAS



That's it; the time for your trip has come. Holiday destination! Once in Panama City, the humid heat and relaxed smiles will quickly make you realize that you've arrived.


Welcome to Central America, Panama!


While it is easy to get to Panama City, organizing the trip to Bocas del Toro is sometimes not an easy task. To make it easier for you, here is the description of the route to get to the archipelago by plane or by bus and several practical information relating to transport.

By plane



You must make an airport transfer to get to Bocas del Toro.

Airports codes



Your arrival in Panama will be at

TOCUMEN (PTY)

International Airport, Panama City.


Your flight to Bocas will depart from

ALBROOK (PAC)

International Airport, Panama City.

This is a domestic flight.


Your arrival in Bocas will be at

BOCAS DEL TORO (BOC)

International Airport, Panama.

Airport transfer



Once you arrive in Panama City, you must make an airport transfer to Bocas del Toro.


Thus, from TOCUMEN (PTY),

you must reach ALBROOK (PAC)

for a domestic flight.


Be careful not to bet on a too-tight schedule when you book your flight. Clearing immigration and customs may take time if you arrive at the same time as other flights. Traffic can also play tricks on you and cause you to miss your plane.


Usually, the flight schedules and the duration of transportation between the two airports do not allow the trip to happen on the same day. Therefore you may have to sleep one night in Panama City.


Travel time between the two airports is approximately 40 minutes if there is no traffic. It can take up to 1h30 in rush hour. This trip costs $35.


We can organize the airport transfer and the trip to your hotel with a private driver. Feel free to ask us.

Flight from Panama City to Bocas



Travel from Panama City to Bocas del Toro is via a local flight.


Depart from

ALBROOK (PAC)

International Airport in Panama City.


Arrival at

BOCAS DEL TORO (BOC)

International Airport Panama.


Two internal airlines offer this flight: Air Panama and Bocas Air*.


The cost is $100 to $145 (one way) and takes about one hour. 


*Due to its newness on the air network, the Bocas Air company often presents organizational defects and technical issues. We recommend that you book your flight with Air Panama instead. 

BY BUS



Bus from Panama City to Bocas



An overnight bus also runs from the Albrook Bus Terminal in Panama City. This option is cheaper ($40) but lasts much longer than the flight (11 hours). The bus drops you at the port of Almirante where you have to take a boat to the center of Bocas (price included in the price of the bus - about 30 minutes) and then a taxi to the house.


SOME INFORMATION

FOR A PLEASANT JOURNEY ON BOARD THE NIGHT BUS:


- It is freezing on the bus. And the journey is long! Ensure you have socks, blankets, and a hat to not leave any part of the body uncovered. Prevention is better than freezing to death!


- Be vigilant with your personal and valuable effects (identity and travel documents, wallet, telephone). Keep them close to you throughout the journey rather than storing them above the seats.


- The bus stops three times along the way. Make the most of those little breaks by eating and using the restrooms! Except in an emergency case, access to the toilets will be denied on board the bus.


- Fasten your seat belt, or more precisely, hang on! If a good part of the journey is on the highway, the last segment is winding, and the driving is sometimes folkloric!
Here is a website providing your local bus schedules for internal travel in Panama
Panama City Bus Terminal

Local bus schedule



Here is a website providing your local bus schedules for internal travel in Panama

Bus from Costa Rica



The Caribe Shuttle company organizes transportation from

San José (Costa Rica) to Bocas del Toro ($78 ).


The shuttle picks you up at your hotel or at Denny's (near the airport) and takes you to Puerto Viejo, where lunch awaits you at the Banana Azul restaurant. Then the shuttle takes the road to Bocas del Toro. A guide will help you cross the border post from Costa Rica to Panama. Once in Panama, the shuttle will drop you off at Almirante, where you will board a boat to Bocas. Your arrival point will be the Caribe Shuttle dock, next to the Bocas Town hotel.



It is also possible to make this journey on

your own via the Costa Rican bus company MEPE S.A.


The journey takes about six hours (to calculate broadly) for around $15.

The border is to be crossed on foot. Once you have obtained your exit stamp from Costa Rica and the entry one into Panama, you can board a Panamanian shuttle ($10) in the direction of Almirante.

OTHER INFORMATION



Water taxi from Almirante to Bocas



If you're traveling from David or elsewhere, head to Almirante port to catch the water taxi to Bocas. Almirante is the small port town closest to downtown Bocas that connects the mainland to the archipelago.


Here are the two companies offering this trip for the sum of approximately $5:
Transporte Marítimo Valencia
Pana Bocas Express (formerly Taxi 25)


Be careful not to confuse the water taxi, a passenger transport, with the ferry, which carries cars and goods.

By car



If you have rented a car, you have two options.


First option: you can leave your vehicle in Almirante

and take the water taxi to Bocas. You can keep your vehicle in a secure parking lot for approximately $5 per day.

Recommended.


Second option: you can also board the ferry with your car from Almirante.

The crossing takes about two hours.


For timetables and prices,

visit the ferry's website. 

For my Montréal Friends



Copa Airlines is the only airline to

offer a direct flight from

Montreal to Panama City.


Air Canada provides the flight with a stopover in Toronto.


Several other airlines also offer flights to Panama City with different stopovers.


Depart from 

PIERRE-ELLIOTT-TRUDEAU (YUL)

Montreal International Airport.


Arrival at

TOCUMEN (PTY)

Panama City International Airport 


The average flight cost is $600 to $1000 (round trip). 

Night in Panama City



Panama City is a vast modern city.

You will find hotels at all prices and for all tastes.

I advise you not to choose a hotel too from

ALBROOK (PAC)  airport for the next day's flight.

There is often a lot of traffic.