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Published: September 18th 2012
From David that is all it takes... It is quite simple really to get there. Hop the bus in David going to Changuinloa and the second to last stop on the 4 hour ride is Almirante. You will know you arrived when you pull into an abandoned gas station also known as the bus stop.
From there jump in any of the waiting taxis and head to the docks. Grab a water taxi in the mangroves and off you go. 20 minutes more to Bocas del Toro... Be sure and arrive Almirante before 5pm or you may be stuck at the docks. Almirante and it is not exactly a town to spend the evening in. However once I arrived in Bocas I kind of wish I missed the boat.
The ride to Almirante is beautiful as you drive through mountains towards swaying palms and acres of sugar cane. The weather changes quickly from humid to hot. There are no toilets on the bus but the bus does stop 2.5 hours into the trip at the one and only restaurant. And just because your white bus with the turquoise curtains arrived first, does not mean that 20+ more white buses
Into the THROBBING jungles
Well THAT is what the sign said....
with the same curtains don´t arrive shortly after while you are in the bathroom. Take note of your bus´s license plate otherwise mild panic sets in as you bounce from bus to bus trying to figure out which bus is yours and has your luggage stowed on the roof under identical black tarps.
Did I mention someone brought a rooster along for this trip and some puppies- inside the bus of course.
Bocas del Toro looks like a mini Key West. Once I got off the dock and into the street I was sorely disappointed. If you are looking to party your face off, this might be the place for you. If you are looking to get a great tan then it is a good place to find a bed and use all the water taxis to go to other islands that have beaches sans sand fleas. If you are searching for the Panamanian experience I suggest you go elsewhere as everyone here wants to only speak english with the tourists. The island lacks the caribbean feel and the joy I was expecting.
The island has 3 small streets of touristy kitchy shops and hostels. Bring cash
as many of the places do not accept credit cards. Things here are much more expensive as well. Once I settle in with my new family I will tour some of the beaches to say I went.
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