Getting around Bocas del Toro is affordable and involves lots of boat rides since there are numerous islands to explore. What you’ll need to know is that it’s located on Isle Colon, which you’ll keep seeing on maps. Here’s the best way to get in and around this beautiful Caribbean West.
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COSTA RICA -> BOCAS DEL TORO:
For approximately $250 round trip including depart and entry fees, you can fly from San Jose to Bocas del Toro.
You’ll need to first reach the town Sixaola, Costa Rica. There will be a less than $10 fee at the Costa Rican border. You’ll need to go through an immigration office then you’ll cross over to Panama where you’ll pay another small entrance fee.
After all the documentations are done, then take a chicken bus to Changuinola and change to another bus to Almirante. There are also shared-taxis at Changuinola that takes you directly to Almirante.
From Alimante, there are boats rides to Bocas del Toro that will take 30-minutes. Or you can take a ferry that leaves around noon. If you miss it, you’ll need to take a water taxi.
From San Jose Airport and hotels/resorts in both cities San Jose and Alajuela, there are shuttle services at 6:30 a.m. with a hour lunch break in Puerto Viejo. The service also includes taxi boat from Almirante to Bocas del Toro.
From Puerto Viejo, there are also shuttle services conducted by Caribbean Tours that takes you directly to Bocas del Toro. The shuttles leave at 8 a.m., includes hotel pickup and a van to the border. After you cross the border, another van will be waiting on the Panama side which will take you to Almirante, followed by a boat taking you to Bocas del Toro.
PANAMA CITY -> BOCAS DEL TORO:
You can rent a car in Panama City and road trip to Almirante, it’ll require around 8 hours of driving. From Almirante, you’ll need to take the water taxi to reach Bocas del Toro. Beware, the boats leave every 30 minutes from Almirante, but the last one is at 6 p.m., so if you’re driving from Panama City, you’ll need to leave early.
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GETTING AROUND BOCAS DEL TORO:
Water taxi is needed to reach different islands. From Bocas Town to Bastimentos, water taxi will cost $3. Never pay round trip, only pay for each trip that you actually take or you’ll be waiting for a long time for whoever is in charge to show up.
You can rent a scooter for $70 a day, or 4-seat ATVs.
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