Bocas del Toro

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Have a look at the comments below for helpful traveller advice. Add your comments and send us some photos to help improve this page!


Bocas del Toro to Santa Catalina

From Samuel, Feb 2019: “Since I’ve heard there is many who struggled to get information about how to get from Bocas del Toro to Santa Catalina in one day, I would like to share my experience. There is shuttles to Santiago for $33 per person, local buses to David, or the bus to Panama City. We decided to go with the Almirante-Panama City bus to Santiago. It leaves at 8am in the morning but arrived around 7.30am to pack the bus. Many locals take this bus, so I guess it’s cheap. It is usually full, so book a ticket in advance at the Taxi 25 deck in Bocas Town. There’s a green booth called Transbocia or something like that. The price from Almirante to Santiago is $19.5. Boat taxis to Almirante from Bocas Town start at 6am and leaves every 30 minutes. If you leave 6.30am or 7am, you will still manage to catch the bus. Takes about 30 minutes. When you but the ticket to get to Bocas, buy the return ticket for $10 instead of $6 one-way. Valid for one month. Same at every boat taxi company. As you reach Almirante, take a taxi to the bus station outside of town. $1 per person. There is another booth where you can get your ticket if you haven’t booked in advance. After a long but scenic bus ride we reached Santiago at 2.30pm, and the next bus to Sona leaves at 2.45pm. There’s a lot of traffic and the taxi charge $2 in total, so it’s convenient to get a taxi. They pass the bus station frequently, although you might need to wave one in from the main road. Don’t waste time as you might miss the bus to Sona, otherwise you will miss the last bus to Santa Catalina. The bus to Sona takes about an hour and cost $2 per person. At 4.30pm the mini van/colectivo left Sona, not 4.45pm as the schedule shows. We travelled on a Monday. That’s why it’s important to catch the bus in Santiago.
We arrived in Santa Catalina about 5.45pm and the price is $4.95 per person. If you miss the bus there’s taxis that charge $40 per taxi. You don’t want to do that.
Bocas Town to Almirante: 6.30am/7am – $5
Taxi to bus station: $1
Almirante-Santiago: 8am to 2.30pm – $19.5
Taxi to bus station: $2 per taxi
Santiago-Sona: 2.45pm to 3.45pm -$2
Sona-Santa Catalina: 4.30pm to 5.45pm – $4.95
Total: $34,45
Expensive, yes. Although, I haven’t found a faster option expect the shuttle. I guess this is the cheapest option to get to Santa Catalina in one day”


Isla Colon (Bocas Town) to Puerto Viejo

One traveller named Melanie shares some really helpful info (March 2018). She wrote:

As we didn’t see a lot of information on traveling from Puerto Viejo to Bocas del Toro and vice versa, and we met a lot of travellers who are doing this route, we wanted to share our trip with you. We went from Isla Colon (Bocas Town) to Puerto Viejo and it went as follows:
– 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)).
– done!!

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, 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 Sixaola topic, you need to pay $7 or $8 to get out of CR. In and out of Panama is free.


Bocas del Toro to Panama-City by night bus

Thanks to traveller, Julian Van T Hof for this info:

“Apparently if you want to travel from Bocas del Toro (Isla Colón), you buy a ticket which not includes the powerboat ($6) from the island to Almirante for the trip with the nightbus to the city of Panama. The tickets ($27.80) are sold by Taxi 25 (see picture) left of the big police station in Bocas town. The green ticket office is located in the back close to the water and opens at 6:30 – 12:00 and 1:00 – 5:00. The bus stop for the bus to Panama-City is located just outside Almirante near the highway and you can take a taxi for $2 from the harbor to there. The bus leaves at 7:30 pm. If you want the ticket on the same day of your travel it’s highly recommended to go to the office at the time they open up”.


Puerto Viejo to Bocas del Toro

Here is a route from a couple of travel bloggers you may find helpful: Border crossing from Puerto Viejo to Bocas del Toro.


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We do not 100% guarantee that all schedules, times and prices are exact. The information in this website is based on personal experience. Information has been gathered from station schedules, station managers, bus drivers and driver helpers. We have done our best to get as much accurate up to date information as possible, but prices and times change. Also, remember that you are responsible for your own health and safety. Travel safe and travel smart - and have fun!





Ticket booth in Bocas del Toro with schedule for the night bus to Panama-City. The green ticket office is located in the back close to the water (docks) and opens at 6:30 - 12:00 and 1:00 - 5:00.

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11 travel tips for Bocas del Toro - share your tips below!

  1. Harm

    Bocas – Santa Catalina (2024)
    Via David

    Hi all, I tried this trip today and it worked!
    IMPORTANT: Not a sunday, different bus times = worse connections, maybe impossible.
    WARNING: easiest is still via Santiago directly from Almirante as Samuel Described, but book a ticket in advance! We didnt and therefore went via David.

    1. Bocas Town to Almirante with the boat. Upon entering a few days earlier we paid a return boat ticket for 10$, with Valencia Transportes. Boat at 06:30.

    2. Arrived at Almirante and took a 1$ Taxi to the terminal that’s right outside of town. We took the bus to David at around 07:30, for 6,80$. Arrived in David at 11:30.

    3. Once in David, walk back the road you entered to the terminal, and across the road will be a small bus stop station ‘terminal buses santiago david’. The folks have red t shirts. The bus left at around 12:00. 9$.

    4. Arrived in Santiago 14:45, at the correct bus terminal right away. Ask around and immediately you’ll find the bus to Soná. It left at 15:05 and was only 2$.

    5. Arrive in Soná at 16:30. Ignore taxi drivers that say the buses don’t go. Find or ask locals for the bus to Santa Catalina. 4,90$, 1.5h.

    6. Arrive around 18:30 finally!

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