Travel Guide: Things to Know Before You Travel To Bocas Del Toro, Panama Monday 03 July, 2017

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Hopefully you have been following my journey in Bocas Del Toro online but if you don’t know I have been here for 2 weeks. If it wasn’t for my school, Habla Ya, highly suggesting to come here I wouldn’t of ever had an interest to visit. Now it is my second home. It’s a growing little island town filled with people from all over visiting for a holiday. I am in love. It’s affordable, the people are kind, it super safe (yes even for a solo female traveler like myself), and it is pretty fun! I feel bad I am only experiencing this for 2 weeks, there are people here for over a month, months or even some expats that have made this place their home. I see why, it’s very peaceful and comfortable and very chills vibes. Whatever stresses you have in your home state/country after a few days they will disappear.

WHY GO TO BOCAS DEL TORO?

It’s an amazing island apart of Panama. I have been to Panama City, so if you are into the city life please visit their too.  Bocas Del Toro is a growing island of tourism and it is very underrated. There are other little islands that make up this island so you can island hop, you can have a very affordable budget friendly vacation, and have a ball with all of the excursion and parties in the town. It can be whatever you want it to be, if you are into partying there is a bar having something every day. If you are here to study you can learn Spanish and create your own abroad experience, if you are into learning more about cultures and learning history there are plenty of tours for that or if you want to just have a relaxing vacation this is your island.

I think its a multi-versed island made for people who are solo travelers, group travelers and even family travelers.

WHERE TO STAY?

There are plenty of hostels that are very affordable here on the island. Hostels here can be a cheap as $8 a day (yes you read that correctly) or a private room for $25 a night. Can’t beat that. You can also do affordable AirBnBs and rent them for a long as you can. Many people can get an Air BnB rate for an amazing price per month. You could also choose to do some Home Stays if you are into staying with a family (Habla Ya can set up some with great recommendations). There are also a few hotels in the area as well.

HOW DO I GET AROUND?

Mostly everyone walks around town by foot to get from point A to B.  There are no ubers here (sorry) but great news you can take a taxi anywhere around town for only $1 per way. People also choose to ride bicycles around the town, you can rent some for as low as $5 a day or some might even come with your Air BnB package. If you want to travel to another island you can pay between $3-5 per one-way trip.

WHAT MONEY IS USED?

Bocas Del Toro is a USD dollar friendly place. Its the main currency of the country so if your country isn’t USD, you need to convert it into USDs before traveling here. Extra money tip: As you can tell this town is very affordable. Some debit/credit cards are used but its mostly cash. Please break your bigger bills of 10s, 20s, 50s, and 100s into $5s and $1s for convenience. Some places may not have the change to provide for those bigger bills so get used to paying for most of your items in $1s or $5s.

WHAT LANGUAGE IS SPOKEN?

Spanish is the primary language here. The locals and native language of Panama is Spanish. The good news is there are some people and establishments who speak English to make things easier if you do not speak Spanish at all. I am currently in Spanish school with Habla Ya which makes it much easier to understand and even communicate better with the locals.

Habla Ya School: Speaking of learning Spanish, if you are really interested in taking some abroad courses while out here I would highly recommend doing so at Habla Ya. Its a very flexible school where you can take 1 day, 1 month or as many classes as you like! They do place you at your level from beginners to advance. Most beginners will be places in a classroom settings here in Bocas (in Panama City I did solo lesson check out my post here). The more advance you are the more likely you will get placed in a setting where you will have a one-on-one teacher. If you would like to have additional help outside your classroom setting you can also arrange some one-on-one classes with a professor for 1-2 hours extra a day. If you are here with your children you can even schedule your school age kids for classes as well! I highly recommend taking some Spanish courses if you believe you can improve on your Spanish especially if you will be here for a week or more!

EAT AND DRINK?

For the foodies out there are are some really cool places to eat. Im going to do a separate WHERE TO EAT IN BOCAS FOODIE GUIDE on another blog post but I would like to say there are some cool options. There is a mix between locals and modern cuisine here. I love getting food from some of the locals because its more authentic food and really affordable no more than $4 sometimes depends on what you get. You have to search for those places though as many of the local places aren’t always in restaurant style; it could be on an outside stand or served in a

FIESTA?

Do you like to party or enjoy bars? Well there are plenty of bars/clubs here for people who enjoy a great nightlife and or party (fiesta). There are always happy hour specials around certain bars and even the local hostels that make it budget friendly (seriously Happy Hours can be $1 beers, 2-for-1 deals and more). There are some cool ladies nights at some of the bars where ladies drink for free from a certain time.

The big party is hand down FILTHY FRIDAYS. If you are into big parties, island hopping and dancing and drinking this is the spot. If you are not into that kind of Spring Break-ish type fun please skip this. Otherwise its an amazing party its a must! Everyone knows about Filthy Fridays and you will have the glitter on your for days to prove to everywhere where you were!

HOW TO GET THERE?

It’s only two ways to get here and its by Airplane or Bus from Panama City Airport (PTY). If you are flying, you will have to travel from Panama City to PAC Albrook Aiport to BOC Bocas. The flight to Bocas (BOC) will cost you around $105 economy flight. They will charge you extra for larger luggage (can be an extra $30+ if over 12lbs or 25 pounds).  When you get into Bocas you will have to also pay a $3 admission/tourist fee.

The bus is the alternative option if you want to get into the town on more of a budget. You can opt to do an overnight bus, 11 hours for $30.

CONCERNS?

I can give you some things that you should be aware of when you come out here but nothing too extreme. Bug yes there are mosquitos and ants that can bite you. Bring lots of bug repellent they are going to be on any tropical island. It’s rainy season from April-December, meaning it’s not going to rain everyday but it might rain often. Its on and off and even your weather app/check might not be accurate so just be prepared. Bocas oddly enough their dry season only last three months which is most countries cold season between Jan-March. Island time is a real thing, meaning some things will not be open when you want them to. Some restaurants may open later or close earlier, some may not open at all you just never know. I am not saying all of the establishments are like this but many are, so basically be flexible with your time and days, you might have to try one of your favorite places another day.

I also said Bocas is safe, which it is but common rule of thumb for women/people be cautious at nighttime. Do not just walk down dark allies by yourself take a taxi if it is too dark to walk home. Also for everyone from pretty established country, please do not dress to flashy here. You will scream tourist! Please be as laid back and chill as possible no need to be super glammed up or overly dressed up. People are chill and if you wear things that will stand out you will stand out! People will look at your funny and honestly you will be uncomfortable. Try to bring as many basic warm clothing as you can nothing to extravagant. You also don’t want to be a target in case someone wants to manipulate you as a tourist.

 

About the Blogger - Kiwi the Beauty


I am a not so typical, unstereotypical 20something year old lady who is trying to make my mark on this planet. This blog has many aspect through my visual perspective through photos, words & wittiness. I am highly creative, I love to socialize, and also a social media butterfly. I don’t follow trends, I create them.


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83 Comments

  • Meagan says:

    This looks like an incredible place to visit. I’m sure I would spend most of my time taking pictures.

  • Stacie says:

    Oh wow. It’s so beautiful there! I love how colorful the houses are and how they’re right there on the water.

  • Bill Sweeney says:

    Panama is such a beautiful country. If I ever get the chance to head down there, I’ll be staying at Bocas del Toro, it looks amazing.

  • robin rue says:

    My husband lived in Panama for a while. He wants to go back so bad!

  • Liz Mays says:

    This is really helpful! I’d love to plan a getaway to Bocas Del Toros. I think I’d spend a ton of time walking around and exploring.

  • lisalisa says:

    OMG, the beauty of this place just pops out!!I would love to spend a week at Bocas Del Toros, I’m sure me and my husband can do a lot of exploring!! Thanks for sharing this post!

  • Amy Desrosiers says:

    Man, this is my kind of place! Cheap drinks and gorgeous water? Sign me up!

  • Theresa says:

    Bocas Del Toro looks like such a charming place to visit. I can’t believe how affordable everything seems too!

  • Wendy Polisi says:

    I’ve never thought about traveling here. However, now that I’ve seen this I’m all about hitting this place up!

  • roch says:

    I don’t usually hang out in bars but partying in Panama and trying out its nightlife sound fun. It would especially be a lucky night if there are free drinks to enjoy with the ladies.

  • Panama is someplace I definitely need to go and thank you so much for sharing this experience because now I know I must definitely make a vacation there happen. Sounds like such a nice place to go. Wow!!!

  • Toni | Boulder Locavore says:

    These are really great tips! Would love to visit here with the family! Such an amazing place to spend summer!!

  • Amanda Love says:

    This is such a beautiful guide for people who would like to go to Panama! I think it’s awesome and it’s definitely helpful. I’d love to go there someday, it’s breathtaking!

  • Ali Rost says:

    Bocas Del Toro sounds like the perfect getaway spot! Admittedly, I hadn’t heard of it before reading your post, and it sounds like just our speed. Laid back, inexpensive, safe, and with lots of things to do and yummy food to eat. I’ll have to show him your post, we’ve been looking for a place like this! (Although once we get there it sounds like we may not want to come back home) x

  • LaQuisha says:

    These photos are so beautiful! I need to hang with you, queen!

  • Mimi Green says:

    I love to ball on a budget and this sounds like the perfect place for that. I love a friendly place. I’m certainly in need of clearing my head.

  • Anosa says:

    Wow, I never knew about this place before. Glad I came over your post. Nice article. Hopefully I could visit Panama this year. Will keep this link for reference.

  • This is a great guide for people traveling to this area. My parents have plans of moving to Panama once my mom retires in a couple years, so I might be visiting them soon if they make the move.

  • I would totally be eaten alive by all the mosquitoes, but what a gorgeous place! I just love all the color.

  • It is so much easier to go to a place when you know the language being spoken because not all locals speaks English. These are great suggestions.

  • Lori Vachon says:

    Looks like a glorious destination to visit. I’ve been close to Panama (Costa Rica) but definitely would love to visit one day!

  • Markesia says:

    Okay so I officially want to travel there!!
    I’ve never been out of the country and I am on a broke college girl budget but this sounds like an amazing, affordable trip! I’m obsessed with islands and I’ve always wanted to move to one for sometime after graduating.
    My major is education, so I’m going to be a teacher. You mentioned to me that the teachers make $10 (a week I believe?) and honestly at first I was appalled but after reading this, I can see how that’s not that bad. This sounds like my dream trip!!!

  • This place looks amazing. I haven’t been to Panama but may need to add it to my list.

  • Elle (CleverlyChanging) says:

    I’ve never been to Panama, but Bocas Del Toro is beautiful. I love the white sandy beaches.

  • Valerie Robinson says:

    I needed to see this because I was seriously considering a trip to Panama next year! Thanks for these tips!

  • Ngumabi says:

    This is definitely a good place to visit.
    The pictures look good
    Thanks for these tips

  • Sabrina says:

    The colors remind me of Curacao! It looks beautifully refreshing. I love that everyone walks from A to B …Feels more personable.. Thank you for sharing your Tips…

  • Wow! What a gorgeous place to get in some great R&R! I cannot get over the beautiful beaches and water.

  • Veronica says:

    Thanks for these tips. Next year will be my year to travel.

  • This is an awesome guide with stunning views and locations of this great travel destination!

  • Saisha says:

    Bocas Del Toro seems like an amazing place. These pictures are beautiful and it seems like a really fun and relaxed place to be! I need to get there before it’s too expensive and overly touristy. :Blows dust off of old Spanish textbook: lol

  • I love detailed guides like this. I have never been to Panama before and I have no idea what to do aside from visiting the lovely beaches that they have! I really appreciate this post!

  • Wow, this looks beautiful! Thanks for all the tips. I’ve never heard of this place, but it’s on my radar now!

  • Bocas looks beautiful! You’ve convinced me to add this to our list of travel destinations. I can’t wait to visit and I’ll be saving these tips!

  • Joyce Brewer says:

    Your trip looks amazing. I’ve loved watching your social shares of the experience.
    Adding Panama to my wish list.

  • Makeba Giles says:

    I have never been to panama, but I hope to get there someday with my family! I will bookmark this post for the future. Thanks!

  • Tonia says:

    What a beautiful place to visit. I’d be happy as can be to get away and take in some of those pretty sites. Thank you for the advice for when I do.

  • Kita says:

    Love your recap. The pictures are beautiful so I can only imagine it all in person. Enjoy the rest of your trip.

  • Adeola says:

    This is very informative and I really want to go now!

    I feel like I need to visit new and unfamiliar places now.

  • Jay Colby says:

    The pictures look amazing. I’ve always wanted to visit Panama.

  • Tiffany H. says:

    I recently went to Cuba, and I wanted to do a layover in Panama but it didn’t work out. So excited that you have the opportunity to stay 2 weeks to learn Spanish. After Cuba, I’m super interested in going to more Latin Countries.

  • Alexia Pinto says:

    Those photos are so beautiful! I want to travel in Central America and the Caribbean more, I have just been to Antigua and the Bahamas. The mosquitoes can get pesty in Antigua, but they spray very well at the resorts. Would love to visit Panama one day.

  • Stacie says:

    You get to visit some amazing places! I love how beautiful and colorful everything is.

  • Ayak says:

    Looks incredible, although I can’t say i’d ever thought of going there but you have definitley planted a seed. Great post!

  • Vera Sweeney says:

    I’d love to visit Bocas del Toro. Panama is such a gorgeous country, and it’s still on my bucket list.

  • I’m bookmarking this. We’ve been trying to get a trip together to Panama for a while now, and I think I just found out where we should go. Thanks!

  • Pam says:

    My daughter has been wanting to go to Panama for a while. Bocas seems like her kind of place.

  • Marcie W. says:

    My husband and I have discussed the idea of becoming ex-pats over the last few years and Panama was one of the top destinations on our list. We have heard fantastic things about the country and nothing beats being near the water.

  • Joely Smith says:

    What a beautiful and colorful place! The water is SO blue! I like that it is a USD friendly place. It is always confusing to me when there is a different currency!

  • Meagan says:

    This looks like a gorgeous place to visit. I would love to go out with my camera.

  • Nikki says:

    Wow, it is so gorgeous there! It also sounds like a very budget-friendly place to visit. I love that you can get a cab for just a dollar! It sounds like you are having an amazing time!

  • Jeni says:

    What a beautiful place to visit. It’s so bright and colorful. It looks like a gorgeous setting. Bugs will be a problem on any island for sure, I mean, bugs are a problem in Texas, so imagine an island. Love this post!

  • Claudia Krusch says:

    Bocas Del Toro looks like an amazing getaway. I have never heard of it before. I would love to go and explore it for myself. These are beautiful photos.

  • Debra says:

    It looks so colorful! Sounds and looks like a great place to visit. Great tips, and how you broke it all down for a potential visitor!

  • Amber Myers says:

    Oh my gosh, it is so pretty here! I hope to visit one day. That water looks amazing.

  • Jennifer Van Huss says:

    I have never heard of this place before but it looks fabulous!! THe water is so pretty and the colours are so bright!

  • I have never been much of a world traveler as I am afraid of really going too far but it looks like this place is a must see! I have to look into it and dream a little more 🙂

  • karlyn cruz says:

    Wow! That looks like a beautiful place. I wouldn’t want to leave either. It’s great that you got to do this for school. Thanks for sharing all your tips and insight. Not sure why mostly cash is used since we’re in the 21st century, but whatever, right? If it’s affordable at least.

  • MONICA Y says:

    Great guide, very informative. I love Panama, but I have never been at this area. I need to take a look at flights and maybe plan a trip here. The pictures are so good that make you want to travel soon

  • ricci says:

    Panama looks so colorful!!! I would love to go but instead will live vicariously through your posts and photos…LOL!!

  • Mary Edwards says:

    Your pictures are amazing. Those colors are gorgeous. I can’t wait to visit Panama myself. I will be sure to bring sunblock and bugspray!

  • I’m seriously loving all the colors and vibrancy! It looks so incredibly beautiful there!

  • Dogvills says:

    I never would have thought of visiting Panama, but after seeing all these pictures and finding out how affordable it is to travel there, I am adding Bocas Del Toro to my bucket list.

  • Cheryl says:

    I love discovering places that I never would’ve thought to go to on my own. I’ve always wanted to island hop, and this sounds like a fun island to visit.

  • Lisa Favre says:

    So amazing that you can actually find a private room for $25 a night! That is totally a rate that I can get on board with. Looks like a fantastic place to travel to.

  • Marysa says:

    Sounds like a pretty cool place, and I love the photo of the colorful buildings on the water. I don’t think I know anyone who has gone to Panama. We have enjoyed traveling in that direction and I would be interested to check it out.

  • This is a great resource for people looking to visit Thailand for the first time! You rpictures alone make me want to visit.

  • Jenni says:

    This place is so beautiful! Wish I could visit there one day!

  • That looks like a great town to explore and you can use dollars. I love to go off the beaten tourist path so this would be a perfect alternative.

  • I have always wanted to go to Panama. It’s beautiful and there’s so much to explore not to mention that I’ve always loved places that will allow me to enjoy the beach! I think this is an awesome guide!

  • Rosey says:

    I know a blogger from Panama. She loves it there and I’m happy to see the inside glimpse!

  • Kathy says:

    I love all these photos. They’re very beautiful. I hope I could go somewhere this beautiful some day.

  • Vicky says:

    Wow, those colorful buildings really remind me of Venice. I love hearing about places I may not have heard of before like Bocas Del Toro. There is no better way to learn a language than to immerse yourself in the culture while enjoying a wonderful vacation.

  • Travel Blogger says:

    I have never heard of this city before, but it sounds like such a great place to vacation. It looks gorgeous too! It is nice that they take USD too. I will have to keep this in mind for our next vacation.

  • I’ve never been to Panama before, but would love to go someday. Looks like a beautiful place to visit. Thanks for the tips.

  • Kita Bryant says:

    I’m drooling at this trip. These are awesome tips and I always love hearing from someone who’s actually experienced it.

  • Jilly Spellman says:

    I wish I was there right now. This looks like a fabulous place to have a vacation. I love all your beautiful photos.

  • Annemarie LeBlanc says:

    Thanks for letting me know about this awesome place. I love how inexpensive it is! Beautiful blue sea and awesome coastline. I love those houses on the water!

  • My Teen Guide says:

    What a lovely place to visit! I have not traveled to Central America but Panama is one place I would love to see. Those pretty colorful houses on the water is so nice!

  • Eloise says:

    well that place looks like paradise, it almost doesn’t look real because it’s so beautiful! I love the colors and style and everything… thanks for sharing all the info that one wants to know before traveling : )

  • sara says:

    I have never been to Panama before, but after seeing your photos, I understand why so many people go there!

  • Eva says:

    I love the beach… love love love it! I am definitely adding this one to my list.


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