Panama Life

All about traveling, retiring and living in Panama


Bocas del Toro

We took a overnight bus from Allbrook bus terminal in Panama City to Bocas del Toro. If you want to travel by a bus you can purchase tickets one day before or on the day of your travel at the bus terminal in Allbrook for $28. The buses leave at 7 PM and 7:30 PM. We took the 7 PM bus and it was a eleven hour bus ride in a freezing cold bus (definitely bring a sweater, jacket or a blanket). If I had known, I would have taken a bus to David and then from David to Almirante. It was not a comfortable ride. I believe we got about 45 min. sleep on the bus and got to Almirante in the early morning just before the dawn. From the bus station it was a short ride by a taxi ($1.00 per person) to the ferry. The 30 minute ferry ride was $6.00 per person to the island. If you drive, you can leave your car in a fenced area with a 24 hr. security guard for $4 a day.

Bocas del Toro Panama means the” Mouth of the Bull”. It is a province located on the Colon Island on the Caribbean side of the Republic of Panama. Bocas Town is mostly a tourist area with many hotels and hostels,  restaurants, several grocery stores and local residences. Definitely visit the Super Gourmet grocery store which is not too expensive compared to other grocery stores. You can buy fresh made sandwiches for lunch, fresh brewed coffee and local chocolates.

Water taxi’s are everywhere, so it’s very easy to get around and see the different islands and beaches. There are day trips to the other islands, where you can go snorkeling, whale watching, have a lunch on the beach and enjoy sight seeing.

Since it’s a rainy season, we were lucky, it only rained twice, one time in the early morning and second time at night. My favorite beach was the Red Frog Beach. We took a water taxi for $7 (round trip) and had a wonderful time on the nice sandy beach with clear Caribbean waters. Lot of trees and greenery, so it was easy to find some shade and get out of the sun.

There are many hotels in the town, but if you want to have a relaxing quiet time and be away from the town, Hotel Playa Tortuga is the place to go.

The week came to an end and we headed to Costa Rica for a boarder crossing. Several transfers, first it was a taxi ride from the hotel, then a ferry, then a taxi to the bus station in Almirante. In Almirante, we got on the local bus heading to Changuinala, from there we got on another bus that took us to the border, town called Sixaola. This border crossing was very easy and simple. Last time I crossed the border was about three months ago. A few things have changed since then, there is a new Panama exit fee  $3 and a Costa Rica exit fee $7. If you use a credit card, you will be charged additional $10 transaction fee, (found this out when we got back home and checked our charges on the credit card). The man at the Costa Rica border told us if we pay by credit card it’s $7 or pay cash $9 at a nearby drug store.  The entrance fee back to Panama is additional $3.

As I was crossing over the bridge to Costa Rica, a little boy not more then 5 or 6 years old  followed me, speaking Spanish to me. I didn’t see adult or parent with the little boy. I don’t speak Spanish, but with the little I know, I asked him about his father and mother? He replied, I don’t have a father or mother. I was puzzled that this little boy was all by himself, walking across the long bridge to Costa Rica. As he followed me (pic included), I was going to give him couple of dollars and some cookies but as I got to the end of the bridge, I realize he had turned around and was heading back to the Panama side.

From the border we took a bus to the beach town called Puerto Viejo in Costa Rica, which is about a 90 minute bus panama immigrationride.  We spendt the night in the town and the next morning returned back to the border. From Almirante to David the bus ride was more enjoyable with great scenery of the mountains and the islands. From David we got on the bus to go back to Gorgona, where we arrived very late.

It was a trip to remember and great memories were made.


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New Airport in Rio Hato will be in operation on March 15

First Flight with Tourists to New Airport
April will see the arrival of Canada ‘s first commercial flight to Scarlett Martinez International Airport which was recently opened in Rio Hato.
Scarlett Martinez airport terminal in Rio Hato will receive its first commercial flight next month. Juan Carlos Pino, manager of Tocumen SA withheld the name of the company, but said it was a company that will make ​​direct charter flights from Canada to the airport.

“The terminal will be operational on March 15 and in April will see its first commercial flight,” confirmed Pino. “Air Canada, Air Transat, Can Jet and Webjet are some of the private airlines who inquired about the airport last year.”

Furthermore, ” … charter flights are being negotiated from Colombia , Venezuela and Spain. These will start when the hotel being constructed by the Spanish Riu chain on Playa Blanca comes into operation”.

The manager added that this month Tocumen will be putting out to tender the shopping areas in Rio Hato airport, Colon and David.” The bidding will be open and will not be made in blocks , ie , according to line of business.”
Source: Prensa.com


Coconut water

Today ​I spent a morning relaxing at El Palmar beach. When I returned back to my car, a young man was knocking down coconuts of the tree. I asked him if I can have one, he didn’t hesitate to offer me one. He opened  the coconut with machete, gave it to me to take it home. Once I got back home, I put the fresh young green coconut in my refrigerator for about two hours.
I enjoyed the delicious and refreshing drink that can not be any fresher.
The benefits of a coconut water are endless. Cheers to coconut water.
 
  • Keep the body cool and at the proper temperature.
  • Orally re-hydrate your body, it is an all natural isotonic beverage.
  • Carry nutrients and oxygen to cells.
  • Naturally replenish your body’s fluids after exercising.
  • Raise your metabolism.
  • Promote weight loss.
  • Boost your immune system.
  • Detoxify and fight viruses.
  • Cleanse your digestive tract.
  • Control diabetes.
  • Aid your body in fighting viruses that cause the flu, herpes, and AIDS.
  • Balance your PH and reduce risk of cancer.
  • Treat kidney and urethral stones.
  • Boost poor circulation.


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Todo Sabor – hidden treasure in San Carlos

Great Italian restaurant located in San Carlos run by chef Alfredo from Italy and his lovely wife Barbara.  If you are looking for a good Italian food, this is the place. Everything is made fresh and it changes from day-to-day. From fresh sea food, home-made pasta, pizza, home-made ice cream, desserts, great selections of wines and a wonderful service. chef todo sabor
The place is cozy, relatively small, about nine tables with simple decor. We really enjoyed the food, good prices, aroma of great Italian cooking and some relaxing Italian music. The chef makes his own liquor and brought two complimentary bottles to our table. Highly recommended.


Nice little BBQ stand

Just recently driving from Panama City back home to my condo by the beach,  I spotted a nice little BBQ stand on the right side of Pan-American Hwy. I decided to stop and check it out. The place makes their own sausage, as you see it in the pic. The sausage is smoked and barbecued. The also offer BBQ pork and chicken.
A nice young man was helping us and was happy that we stopped by. Shortly after we stopped, two more cars pulled over and were curious what’s cooking. He turn on the music and asked if we would care for a glass of passion fruit shake (I highly recommend).
It’s nice to see a new place where one can stop and enjoy local flavor. One thing they don’t offer is beer.
roud BBQroud bbq


Amador Causeway must on your list when visiting Panama

​Located at the southern entrance of the Panama Canal and stretching nearly three kilometers pc viewinto the Pacific Ocean, this popular causeway features many hotels, restaurants,  jogging and biking trails. If you don’t feel or can’t do a lot of waking, there is bike, moped  and surrey bikes rentals. Also, on the causeway you will find the pier where you can take the ferry to island Taboga. Amador Causeway has some of the most amazing views of the Panama City skyline and the Pacific entrance of The Panama Canal. There is a duty-free shop located toward the end of causeway and it’s worth checking out. Bring your passport when making  a purchase at the duty-free shop. All the way to the end of the causeway make sure to stop and see multi-million dollar yachts.

Ferry schedule to Taboga island.
Departs from the  Causeway Returns from Isla Taboga
Sat, Sun and  Holidays 8:00am, 10:30am, 4:00pm Sat, Sun and  Holidays 9:00am, 3:00pm, 5:00pm
Mon and Fri 8:30am,  3:00pm Mon and Fri 9:30am,  4:30pm
Tue, Wed, and Thu  8:30am Tue, Wed, and Thu  4:30pm
Weekends get more crowded, so weekday is a good time to go if one can.
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