Bocas del Toro is not the easiest destination in the world to reach. From Costa Rica and within Panama is the easiest. If you are coming from outside the country, then you most likely will take 3 flights.
When I was planning my trip, I looked at the various ways one can arrive to Bocas. It was very confusing at first. There is an overnight bus route from Panama City – I did not want that option as I knew I would not be able to sleep knowing I was bringing a lot of possessions with me.
There was a ferry and another bus ride option, which I also did not want to do as I had two carry-ons with me and expensive equipment to shoot footage with.
The easiest option was to take a plane into Bocas del Toro – which I am so happy I did!
Air Panama operates the flights between Panama City and Bocas del Toro.
Air Panama has a fleet of Frommer 55’s which are bigger than seaplanes, but still have that seaplane feel to them. There are about 4 flights daily ranging from 6am to 6pm the latest.
Since I was coming from New York, booking my flights to all happen in one day was actually really tough. I could have gone from New York to Miami and probably still made the last flight into Bocas, but it would have been too tight.
Many flights from the USA land in Panama City in the evenings. For what reason this is, I do not know.
Another important thing is that the flights to Bocas del Toro DO NOT leave from PTY airport. You need to get to Albrook Regional Airport which is about 30-60 minutes away depending on traffic. Now that is what makes the planning more difficult since you need to prepare time for switching airports and check-in.
I took Delta from Atlanta and landed in PTY around 9pm. I planned that I would spend an extra night in a hotel before I take Air Panama to Bocas the next morning. I also did the same on the way back. I took the latest flight out of Bocas at 6pm and spend a night at the airport hotel so I can catch the earliest flights out back to the USA in the morning.
What did this all cost me?
Well, Air Panama per one-way is about $100. That really isn’t bad in my opinion!
Rather than paying $20 for the overnight bus, I got to Bocas in one hour flight time, was providsed with snacks and beverages on the flight, and did not have to blink twice about where my carry-on bags were.
My hotels the night before and after were both $55 per night right at the airport. I stayed at Albrook Inn and Express Inn International.
Albrook Inn was a beautiful hotel in the jungle which I wish I spent more time at. There will be more on that in a future blog post. Express Inn was a hostel which offered single rooms. It was very plain and mainly everyone who stayed there had a layover. Free shuttles to the airport are provided and complimentary breakfast, The rooms are a good size, but very basic. You have white walls, a bed, a chair, and a TV on the wall. Private bathrooms are there as well.
How have you gotten to Bocas?