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Bocas del Toro is an archipelago and the main place to go in Panama for relaxing on the beach, snorkelling, diving and many other marine activities. It's a popular place amongst travellers.
Held for four days in September every year, the “Feria del Mar” (Sea Fair) in Bocas del Toro is a spectacular event that celebrates the archipelago’s fishing traditions. There is plenty of music and dancing, and also a showcase for traditional handicraft products. The festival is held on Ismito beach near Bocas town.
The weather usually is tropical, with warm and humid weather year round. Daytime temperatures range from around 28 °C in October and November to around 32 °C in March and April. Nights are mostly around 22-23 °C. Although usually December to May is somewhat drier, the differences with the rest of the year are not as pronounced as elsewhere in the country. Heavy rainfall and thunderstorms are possible year round!
|Avg Max||30.8 °C||30.7 °C||31 °C||31.4 °C||31.9 °C||32 °C||31.5 °C||31.8 °C||31.9 °C||31.7 °C||31.6 °C||31 °C|
|Avg Min||20.4 °C||20.2 °C||20.5 °C||21.4 °C||22.2 °C||22.2 °C||21.7 °C||21.8 °C||22 °C||22 °C||21.8 °C||20.6 °C|
|Rainfall||123.9 mm||266.1 mm||83.8 mm||369.1 mm||178.3 mm||259 mm||420.1 mm||440.7 mm||311.2 mm||150.5 mm||291.7 mm||563.6 mm|
Bocas del Toro "Isla Colón" International Airport (BOC) offers flights to/from Changuinola, David, and Panama City-Albrook. Air Panama is the local airline. Nature Air has flights to San José, Costa Rica.
From San Jose, Costa Rica:
The bus departs the Coca Cola bus station at 9:00am for Changuinola in Panama. It takes about 7 hours to arrive at the border. From the border you have to go to the control booth on the right hand side before the bridge. From here you have to show your passport and hand in your Panama visa form. Be careful: the border here closes at 5:00pm. Once this is done you walk accross the bridge into Panama to another control booth on the left hand side after the bridge. You must then show your passport, after which, you head next door to again show your passport and you may or may not have to pay for a tourist card (depends on your nationality, USA cost is $5). Once you recieve this card you go back next door where you just were, and then they will stamp your passport. Welcome to Panama. Re-board your bus and head to Changuinola.
From the Changuinola bus station take a taxi to the boat (takes aobut 10 minutes, about US$5). Last boat leaves at 5:30pm and takes about 45 minutes to Bocas town. If you miss this boat or you are cutting it close, take a taxi to Almirante instead. The last boat leaves here at 6:30pm and costs US$3. If arriving in Bocas late, it is recommend to make an accomodation reservation prior to arrival.
You can take a boat to the Red Frog Beach (Playa Pristina), go snorkeling and dolphin watching. You should pay no more than US$15 for the whole day and you grab a boat leaving from the docks around 9:00am. Take plenty of water, some snacks, and a few dollars for lunch (be patient because lunch takes a while).
There are plenty of accomodations in the Bocas but a few recommended ones are as follows:
|Bocas Bound||Isla Bastimentos||Hostel||-|
|Panama`s Paradise Caribbean Cabanas Rafael`s House||Isla Bastimentos Main Street, Old Bank, Bastimentos Town||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Panama's Paradise Saigoncito's||Saigon Isla Colon||APARTMENT||83|
|Spanish by the Sea||Calle 4ta Isla Colon||GUESTHOUSE||87|
|The Palmyra||7th Street Isla Colon||APARTMENT||-|
|Mar e Iguana Hostel||Feria del Mar entrance, Isla Colon||HOSTEL||-|
|Casita Guesthouses by the Sea||Avenida Norte y Calle Siete||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Pukalani Hostel||Big Creek||HOSTEL||-|
|Jon´s Place||Saigon Bay Area Isla Colon||APARTMENT||-|
|Casitas Melrose||Calle 9||APARTMENT||-|
|Gran Kahuna Hostal||Main St. Isla Carenero||HOSTEL||-|
|Arno's Apartment||Saigon area Isla Colon||APARTMENT||-|
|Yemanja||Old Bank Isla Bastimentos||HOSTEL||-|
|Hostel International||Calle Tercera via el Ferri||HOSTEL||-|
Internet cafes can be found in cities and most major towns. Wifi is on the rise though with many hotels, restaurants and bars offering this services, especially in the major tourist areas like Panama City, Bocas del Toro and Boquete. Some mountainous or off the beaten track areas might not have any internet services at all.
See also International Telephone Calls
Panama's country code is 507. All cellular numbers start with the number 6 and have 8 digits. Land line phone numbers have 7 digits. 911 is the general emergency phone number.
Calls to the USA and Europe are between 4 and 10 cents a minute. The best way to make international calls from Panama is to buy prepaid telephone cards that are sold at every corner. The most popular is the TeleChip card. If you bring your cellphone, you can choose to buy a local simcard, instead of paying high charges for internet use through your home provider.
Correos y Telegrafos is the national postal company of Panama. It provides a wide range of services though you usually have to use the post offices for both sending and receiving mail and packages, including buying stamps. Post offices can be found in many cities and towns and are open from 6:30am to 5:45pm Monday to Friday and 7:00am to 5:00pm on Saturday. Domestic mail takes several days but to the USA and Europe for example it can take anywhere from 5 to over 10 days depending on the country. For sending larger packages, you might also consider using companies like FedEx, TNT, UPS or DHL, as they offer fast, reliable and competitively priced services as well.
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