Plan Your Trip
What to bring to Bocas
When traveling to Panama, it is important to remember that you will need protection from the sun as well as insects! Many items, such as sunscreen, bug repellent, beach cover ups and hats are available in Bocas Town; however they will cost a bit more.
Bocateranians are very friendly and greet one another kindly throughout the day. Life in Bocas is closely linked to the natural world, so conserving natural resources and keeping the archipelago clean are extremely important. Plastic grocery bags have been banned in Bocas, so moving around with a reusable shopping bag with you at all times is recommended. Whenever possible, it is preferable to avoid the use of single-use plastics such as straws and take-out containers.
Life in the islands moves at a much slower pace; relax and enjoy!
Visiting Bocas Beaches
- Do not leave anything alone on the beach. Crimes of opportunity are most common.
- If you see waves, be careful where you decide to go swimming. Watch out for riptides and currents, and be sure to look for posted signs and flags indicating danger.
- Take your trash with you. Even if there is a trash can, take it with you. Manmade trash is harmful to wildlife.
- Don’t drive cars or 4 wheelers on the beaches! Bocas del Toro is a nesting ground for sea turtles. Motorized vehicles threaten nests and reduce the chance of hatch ling’s survival.
- Have fun! Bocas del Toro has some of the best beaches in all of Central America. Take your time to visit as many as you can!
Traveling to Bocas del Toro
The U.S. dollar is the currency of Panama. Many establishments in Bocas accept credit cards, however it is recommended that travelers carry cash when using taxis, shopping and dining out. There is only one bank in Bocas (on Isla Colon) and this is the only place that you will find an ATM.
Passports are required when traveling to Panama and must be valid outside of three months of the documents’ expiration date. When entering Panama, travelers are required to produce the name of the place that they will be staying as well as proof of their exit itinerary.
Bocas can be reached by plane from Panama City via Air Panama. Air Panama flies out of the Albrook Airport near the Panama Canal..Currently, there are four flights per day (high season) and two flights per day (low season) to and from Bocas Town from Albrook airport.
Bocas can also be reached by plane on Aerobell from San Jose, Costa Rica. Flights are currently being offered on Fridays and Sundays:
A number of ferry operators run hourly trips from mainland Panama (Almirante) to Bocas. Almirante can be reached by bus or shuttle service from Panama City, David, Boquete and Costa Rica.
Water Taxi Companies:
Bocas Marine Tours
It is also possible to travel to Bocas with a vehicle on the larger (and much slower) cargo ferry:
From Panama City – Gran Terminal de Transporte www.grantnt.com
From Costa Rica – Caribe Shuttle www.caribeshuttle.com
Top Six Things to Do in Bocas del Toro
#1 Go Surfing: It’s no secret that Bocas del Toro has some of the best waves in Panama, but most do not know that it’s also one of the best places to learn how to surf.
#2 Go Diving: Bocas del Toro is considered the ‘Galapagos of the Caribbean’ because of its abundance of sea life. Bocas del Toro has many options to either learn how to dive or continue on your journey as a certified diver.
#3 Go Hiking: Whether taking an organized tour at the Smithsonian Institute or Finca Los Monos Botanical Garden, or making your own way through the trails on Bluff Beach or Isla Bastimentos, there are stunning views and tons of wildlife to enjoy throughout the archipelago.
#4 Learn Spanish: Bocas del Toro is lucky enough to have more than one of the top ranked Spanish schools conveniently located in Bocas Town. Classes are scheduled with enjoying what the Bocas del Toro archipelago has to offer in mind!
#5 Bike Rides: Rent a bike and go explore Isla Colon. Whether you stay in town to explore shops, bars and restaurants or venture out of town to one of the many beaches, bicycling around Bocas is convenient and relaxing!
#6 Go fishing: The waters around Bocas del Toro are teeming with a wide variety of fish during most of the year. If you are lucky enough to have a successful day on one of the charters, you will be in for a treat at the dinner table! And if not, you have spent a beautiful day on the water in paradise.