How To Get Here
How do I get to Isla Bastimentos, Bocas Del Toro from Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica?
First, make sure you leave on the early bus to Sixaola. Panama’s time zone is one hour later. Departure from Puerto Viejo to Sixaola is at 6:15, 8:15, and 9:15 in the morning. The trip will take you just over 2 hours. After you cross the border, taxi’s and collectivos are waiting on the other site. To get to the dock in Almirante you have 2 options.
The cheap option, take a collectivo (yellow school bus) to Changinola for $1 per person. Here you switch to one of the mini buses to Almirante for $1, then take a taxi to Taxi 25 for $1. The trip takes a little longer this way.
A pricier but quicker option is to take a taxi for about $20 straight to the dock of Almirante, Taxi 25.
Once you get to Taxi 25 check in with the clerk and pay the $5 fare. The boat ride to Bocas Town is approximately 25 minutes.
Currently there are three water taxi companies: Bocas Marine Tours ($5 per person), Transporte Torres ($4 per person or $7 for an open return ticket) and Taxi 25. We prefer Taxi 25 for the convenience.
At the arrival dock in Bocas Town you can get a ponga (small boat) to Isla Bastimentos for $3. Just let the boat driver know you are staying at Hostel Bastimentos. They leave every few minutes all day.
How do I get to Isla Bastimentos, Bocas Del Toro from Panama City?
If you want to save some money, then taking an overnight bus from Panama City to Almirante (10 – 11 hours), and then a boat from Almirante to Bocas del Toro (25 minutes) is the way to go.
To make this happen you first have to take a taxi from Tocumen Airport ($35) or from your hotel in Panama City to Albrook Bus Terminal (Gran Terminal de Transporte, www.grantnt.com). And from there you can get your bus to Almirante.
The Bocas del Toro bus ticket office numbers are: 303-6326 and 303-6327 in Panama City, and 758-8127 in Bocas del Toro.
The only dates when you will not be able to easily catch a bus is when it is a Panamanian National Holiday or when there is school break (3 times a year and dates constantly change). On these days you are better of booking a flight from Panama City to Bocas del Toro because buses can get chaotic.
Once you arrive to Almirante, you can pay any taxi $1 to take you from the bus stop to the docks from where the boats depart to Bocas del Toro.
Overnight buses from Panama City to Almirante depart at 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m and take around 10 to 11 hours. Busses are air conditioned, modern and have reclining seats. You will arrive to Almirante between 6 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. The first boat to Isla Colón departs at 6 a.m. and takes 25 minutes. Boats depart every 30 minutes until 6 p.m. The cost for the overnight bus ticket is approximately $30 and the boat (water taxi) costs $5. On Sundays, there is also a bus that leaves Panama City at 7 a.m.
Currently there are three water taxi companies: Bocas Marine Tours ($5 per person), Transporte Torres ($4 per person or $7 for an open return ticket) and Taxi 25.
The bus that will take you back from Almirante to Panama City departs daily at 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Flying to Bocas Del Toro from Panama?
One way airplane tickets from Panama City to Bocas del Toro cost around $125. AirPanama flies from Panama City to Bocas del Toro both from Tocumen International Airport (PTY, the airport that you will be landing into Panama City) and from Albrook Airport (PAC, also known as Marcos A. Gelabert Airport or former Paitilla Airport). Bookings should be made in advance.