Sailing out of Boca del Toro, Panama
The inhabitants of the islands of Bocas del Toro are a blend of indigenous peoples from the Guaymie, Ngobe and Teribe and tribes, people from mainland Panama and Afro Caribbeans.
Bocas del Toro has developed from the hunt for Carey turtles and the trading of cocoa and mahogany. It has been largely bypassed by tourism and as such remains underdeveloped.
The area is made up of an archipelago of small islands, bays and reefs. It is situated five degrees north of the equator and is on the Caribbean coast.
Bocas Del Toro and its archipelago of enchanting Islands are situated on the Caribbean coast, in north east of Panama, five degrees north of the equator. Fly into Panama City before catching a domestic flight to Bocas Del Toro. There are two airports in Panama city; the Tocumen Panama International Airport (PTY) for International flights and the Marcos A Gelabert regional airport (PAC) for domestic flights Most flights to the International Airport arrive in the afternoon or evening, although there are morning flights available. If you want to arrive in Bocas the same day that you set out then please ensure that your international flight arrives in Panama City in the early morning. If you don't take a very early morning flight then you will be unable to transfer directly to the domestic airport to get your onward flight to Bocas del Toro, hence a hotel stop-over is recommended (see "further information" for recommended hotels). If you arrive in the afternoon/evening, when you land at the International airport please take a taxi to your hotel. Taxis are plentiful and some hotels offer airport shuttles at a cost. The following morning, take a taxi from your hotel to the domestic airport. From there take a flight to Bocas del Toro "Isla Colon" airport (BOC).
Flights to Panama
Copa Airlines, United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Iberia have daily flights to Panama.
Flights from Panama City to Bocas del Toro
There is only one company that offers domestic flights within Panama. Find more details on their website, where you can book (in English):
It is also possible to fly from Costa Rica to Bocas del Toro with Nature Air (www.natureair.com) and this may be more convenient for some guests.
Panamanian weather is tropical, and uniform throughout the year. Temperatures range from around the mid to high 80's (approximately 27°C) all year round. It is not within the hurricane belt. It does have some heavier rain fall between mid June to mid August and again from mid December to mid February.
What to bring
Please pack as lightly as you can. Most of our guests wear only a fraction of what they bring! All you really need are shorts, tee shirts and beachwear. Soft luggage is preferable if you have it. We have some limited storage onshore for your empty bags, but please bring as little as you are comfortable with. Between meals, fresh fruit is available. If you like to eat more between meals, please feel free to bring snacks with you.
Please bring footwear for walking comfortably; either heel backed sandals or footwear, such as TEVA- style sandals, that you can wear wet for the land based parts of the itinerary. Flip-flops are not suitable. You will be barefoot whenever you are aboard.
It is advisable to bring a change of clothes and toiletries in your hand luggage. If your luggage got lost enroute it will not be able to be delivered to you until days later.
You will be around water for the week. If you are concerned about getting your purse, wallet or watch wet, bring a small dry bag. These can be purchased from sports and outdoor vendors. Some of them roll up and trap the air inside which has the added benefit of making the bag float.
All of our yachts have a fishing rod onboard - we usually troll a line when sailing from island to island and will often catch yellow fin, wahoo, mahi-mahi or similar ...... which might become lunch or dinner!
We strongly recommend that you purchase fully comprehensive travel insurance, as the relatively small cost of this will cover all eventualities from loss of luggage to accommodation due to flight delays, or even cruise cancellations. We have a partner with an insurance company Travelex Travel Select plan, please check here:
Your Government provide a service under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where you can find information that may assist you further. Useful information can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Electricity in Panama is 110 Volts, alternating at 60 cycles per second. You will need flat blade plugs or an adapter.
The US dollar is accepted throughout Panama. The Panamanian currencies are equivalent in size and value to those of the USA.
There is only one bank in Bocas del Toro, a branch of the National Bank of Panama (on the way to the airport). It is open Mondays to Friday from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm, and Saturdays from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. Please note that the ATM at the bank frequently runs out of cash. Credit card machines in the restaurants are not always able to process credit cards, and no travellers cheques are accepted in the area. It is therefore strongly recommended to arrive in Bocas Del Toro with sufficient cash for the week (2 dinners ashore, at approx US$150.00 per couple, spending money and gratuity).
We do not recommend that you stay in Bocas del Toro as it is too small. However, Panama City itself has some charming hotels. If you aim to stay overnight in the City, then we recommend a hotel fairly close to the Panama City Airport and in a nice neighborhood or taking a taxi and staying in heart of Panama City at a 4 or 5 star hotel. For longer stays we recommend the Los Cuatro Tulipnaes hotel in the old quarter of Panama city: Los Cuatro Tulipnaes, Casa las Monjast
Telephone +507 6717 4059
Alternatively, El Panama Hotel is a real 5 star Panamanian experience, in the heart of the city in the busy shopping and business district. From US$160 per night. Wear your Panama hat with pride and be prepared to enter "old world elegance!".
Radisson Decapolis Hotel is a trendy international hotel from US$120 per night.
For those with a lower budget Hotel Roma Plaza from US$65 per night. The hotel provides you with a friendly, decent quality service. It is located in the business district.
Visas and restrictions
For U.S., Canadian and European citizens, a valid passport and return/continuing ticket is required. A Tourist Card will be issued at the airport for all arriving passengers, after you cleared immigration. The card cost less than US$10 per person. If you are not coming from one of the above mentioned countries you can check on your status on the Panamanian Consulate web page.
Official tourism site
List of Panamanian Consulates and Embassies
Facts about Bocas del Toro
Please click here to read more about a sample itinerary for a crewed sailing charter in Boca del Toro, Panama.