Isla Colon (Bocas Town) to Puerto Viejo
Huge thanks to a traveller named Melanie for this info and the photos below (March 2018):
– 10am water taxi to Almirante. If you use the Valencia company, their dock is very close to the bus station in Almirante. Arrive 10.35am ($5).
– walk 1 min to bus station.
– take 10.45am bus to Changuinola. Arrive 11.40am ($1.45).
– Walk through market where you are dropped off to the real bus station (2min walk)
– Take bus to Guabito (just yell frontera and people help you) at 11.55am. Arrive 12.40pm ($0.95).
– Get exit stamp Panama and entry stamp Costa Rica. We didn’t had to show any onward travel when entering CR, not sure if that is the case for everyone.. We were done here at 1pm Panama time; 12pm Costa Rica time (remember to put your watch back 1h when entering CR)
– 12.30pm Costa Rica time bus to Puerto Viejo (buy ticket at counter). Arrive 1.50pm (Colones 1690 ($2.85)).
A shuttle cost at minimum $25 and as busses in Panama on this route go quite frequently (every 15min and every 30min), in Sixoala every hour, so you are also almost as fast as a shuttle. So, be adventurous and take public transport! Ps: in Panama (on this route) you just pay in the bus. Just take a seat and a guy will come up to you to pay. Ps2: you can obviously do the same route the other way around too. Just note that as already mentioned by someone else in the Sixoala topic, you need to pay $7 or $8 to get out of CR. In and out of Panama is free.
More Traveller Advice
Another helpful traveller left this information for everyone in the comments below:
“Hi! Just took the bus from Puerto Viejo to Sixaola. There are buses every hour from 6:30am. So it’s 6:30,7:30,8:30 etc. the cost is 1680 colones and the trip takes 90min. The final stop is the bus terminal in Sixaola which is right next to the border.
There are 2 options to pay the exit tax. Small store right next to the station or inside of the emigration office. Make sure you have USD if you are paying in the store, their exchange rate is horrible and they also charge 1$ extra for the service so in total 8$. My Visa pin and chip card didn’t wanted to work with the machine in the emigration office because it’s just ‘swipe’ type of operation but if yours work it will be 7$.
After presenting the receipt and your passport you’ll get stamped out of Costa Rica. Next cross the metal bridge and go into the Panamian side. The emigration office is after the bridge on the left hand side next to a duty free store. You need to present onward ticket and they are quite strict about it. You’ll get fingerprinted and photographed. Next you have 3 options. Shared shuttle van for 10$ per person, taxi for 10/15$ (For the car, depending on your negotiation skills) to Amirante or the bus to Changuinola. The bus stop is on the right side of the metal bridge after a small tunnel on the corner of a grocery store and the price the locals told me is ~1,5$.”