Bocas Del Toro

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12[b]Bocas del Toro[/b] 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.
16The archipelago separates Almirante Bay and Chiriquí Lagoon from the open Caribbean Sea. The archipelago is part of the Bocas del Toro District which is part of Bocas del Toro Province. The major city is Bocas del Toro, also called Bocas Town, on Isla Colón.
19==Sights and Activities==
22==Events and Festivals==
24===Bocas Del Toro Sea Fair===
25Held 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.
29The weather usually is tropical, with warm and humid weather year round. Daytime temperatures range from around 28ºC in October and November to around 32ºC in March and April. Nights are mostly around 22-23ºC. 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!
32==Getting There==
34===By Plane===
35[b]Bocas del Toro "Isla Colón" International Airport[/b] (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.
37===By Car===
38It is actually possible to take your vehicle on the island using a car ferry. The ferry leaves Almirante port every morning at 8:00am Monday to Saturday (no service on Sundays). Cost per car is $15 and there is an extra $1 charge per passenger. The same ferry goes back to the mainland on the same days at 4pm. If you wish to leave your car on the mainland, there is a secure parking available next to where the water taxis leave in Almirante. Cost is $3 per day.
40===By Bus===
41From [[San Jose (Costa Rica)|San Jose]], [[Costa Rica]]:
43The 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.
45===By Boat===
46From 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.
48[b]Day Trip[/b]
49You 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).
52==Getting Around==
53Bocas town is small enough to walk all over. If you need a ride, cabs are plentiful and usually only cost 60 cents or so to get around town.
55Bicycle rentals run approximately $2/hr or $10/day. The roads are flat and in good repair, which makes getting around on a bike very easy.
57Scooters can be rented for approximately $70/day.
61* [b]El Ultimo Refugio[/b] - Offers waterside dining on Avenida Sur, just down the street from the Ferry dock. Cuisine includes fresh seafood as well as variations on Norte Americano style dishes such as pork meatloaf. $35+ for two, including drinks.
62* [b]Om Cafe[/b] (Indian food), Avenue E and Calle 2 (upstairs from the surf shop). Breakfast really shines here with the wide variety of juice blends and shakes they offer, plus a very unique eggs vindaloo dish that is a must try. $30 for two, with drinks.
63* [b]La Ballena[/b] - Gourmet pizzas and European wines by the glass, which you'll pay dearly for. This may be the most expensive restaurant in all of Bocas town. The pizzas are large with generous toppings, and come in many interesting variations. Wine selection is impressive, though expensive. $40+ for two.
64* [b]Bongo's Cafe[/b] (On the main strip) - Popular bar/restaurant run by a charming Cuban woman named Giselle (known around the island simply as "La Cubana") who also happens to be the liaison between the public and the police. The seafood soup (Sopa de Mariscos) served there is simply delicious and Bongo's seems to be the only restaurant that freshly squeezes the fruit right in front of you.
68* [b]Barco Hundido[/b] - A disco, built on a wooden deck, above the water with a wrecked/sunken ship under the water just beyond the deck, illuminated by bright lights. Probably one of the better bars in town, and the one that most of the town winds up at by the end of the night.
72There are plenty of accomodations in the Bocas but a few recommended ones are as follows:
74* [[|Mondo Taitu]] - Dorm beds cost $8, it is highly recommended and fills up fast
75* [[|Heike]] - Same owners as Mondo, and an excellent choice
76* [[|Casa Max]] on Isla Colon - Accross the street from Mondo it costs a bit more, triple run $36 a night but have a ceiling fan and private bath.
79==Keep Connected==
82Internet 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.
85See also [[International Telephone Calls]]
87Panama'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.
89Calls 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.
92[[|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.
95==External Links==