Our alarm clock rang at 5:00 am in the morning. Then we waited for our 6:00 am bus to Soná, unfortunately the bus arrived at 6:30 am, anyway the bus was on time according to the driver’s clock. In Soná we changed the bus again to Santiago and there another time to David. For the last time we changed our vehicle and got on a bus to Bocas del Toro (direction of Changuinola). We finally arrived in Almirante at 7:30 pm. It was a hell of a ride and we were relieved that it won’t take any longer to reach the islands. Anyway, we hired a taxi driver to give us a lift to the harbour where the water taxis were. Then we found out, that the last official water taxi just left and the taxi service is closed for that day…. Fortunately, two young guys shouted on us:”Come here, we have a boat and we will give you a lift to the island!” My friends and I looked at each other and I told to my friends: we have no other choice, we have to accept the offer. The boat trip cost 10$ and we were really happy that we finally arrived on the island. The boat trip was as I think in the grey area. Safety measures were solala, life vest check, flashlight “check”. It was a toy flashlight, yeah in the end better than nothing :).
On the island we asked some tourists where we could spend the night. He recommended us a party hostel, but we declined and asked for a quitter one due to our lack of energy. Then he told us about a hotel with good infrastructure. We finally took our room, private room with two beds (one double and one single) also with its own bathroom and AC. I assume the price of 15$ per person and night was okay. Because the islands were the most touristic place I have been to in Panama and therefore the prices are higher. On the same evening I ate lobster with some side dishes in that Indian “freaking restaurant near the park. Freaking because of its interior and design inside the restaurant, if you are there you think that the time stands still and the room is timeless. Don’t ask, you have to experience it by yourself. The lobster was a little bit dry but still a dream. After the dinner we were witnesses of a Panamanian Christmas parade. Unfortunately, I have no pictures of it but enough in my mind. After the parade was finished we went to the park, in which a concert was held. Some minutes later we called it a day and went to bed.
We woke up to a rainy day (yeah it rained cats and dogs) and our motivation was not that high but we were lucky that everybody was really hungry and so our mission began to find a place to eat. After a while an unimposing sign got our attention. A French restaurant just opened and they offered French breakfast with croissants. We know we found our destiny and ordered a breakfast for champions. It was delicious nothing more. I totally recommend you the place for breakfast (see the fact part)!!! On that day we walked a little bit around and played some games. The weather was really really bad and we didn’t want to waste our money for a rainy rainy boat trip (or quad tour). I was kind of happy to have a day off from adventures :). On that night my friend and I went to the Selina Hostel to have a drink. The cocktails were tasteful and the atmosphere was appealing. Later that night we went to a f***ed up pub next to the park. Also the prices were really low. A beer for 1.50$. Also that night was “jamming night” / “freestyle night” and the time went by really really fast.
Some hours later we woke up, went to the French restaurant for breakfast again after we packed our lagguage. Then we started our journey to our jungle hostel Lost & Found between David and Bocas del Toro.
For the Hostel Lost & Found blog click here!
Facts of Bocas del Toro:
Santa Catalina to Bocas del Toro with normal buses around 13h. I recommend to shorten the distance with a stop in between.
Bus costs were around 20-25$ from Santa Catalina to Bocas del Toro plus 10$ for the water taxi. Normal water taxi costs 6$.
You should arrive there before 7:00 pm due to the water taxi service opening time.
Bocas del Toro is really touristy therefore take enough money with you, also you should plan what you want to do and also what will you do when it is rainy.
Selina Hostel was recommended us but we could not try it by ourselves, but the cocktails were delicious thou.
For drink: as I already wrote, visit the hostel Selina for delicious cocktails (happy hour was I think 6 pm to 7 pm. For a really cheap beer try the pub next to the Pin Up ice cream shop.
Hotel Don Chicho, 3 room private with AC and private shower, 45$ -> per person 15$.