Bocas del Toro is easily accessed as follows:
Buses from Panama City leave in the evening between 7pm and 8pm from the Albrook bus terminal, and the journey takes about 10 hours to Almirante. From there, you will have to take a water taxi to the main island, which takes another 30 minutes and costs $6 per person. You’ll be arriving to Almirante at around 7.00 am. Tickets have to be purchased on the same day you travel at the Albrook Bus terminal ($30). The buses are ice cold at night, so make sure to wear a sweater and trousers.
If you prefer to travel during the day, you can catch a ride to David first (7 to 8 hours drive) leaving from the same bus terminal, and from David take a smaller bus to Almirante (4-4.5 hours). Busses to David leave every hour. Make sure to leave no later than 2pm from David however, as the last water taxi from Almirante to the island leaves at 6pm. It’s recommended to catch a bus from Panama City at no later than 7.00am if you want to go this route.
One of the most popular places to visit outside of Bocas del Toro is the highlands of Chiriquí, places like Boquete, Volcán and Cerro Punta are excellent places to discover and also very easy to access from Bocas del Toro thanks to shuttle services that run between Chiriqui and Bocas del Toro. There are two options available for shuttle Boquete to Bocas del Toro and vice versa.
Hello Travel Panama offers private shuttle services for the moment between Boquete and Bocas del Toro. The service has a max of 8 persons and costs about $200, reservations are necessary. Contact their office by visiting their website or via WhatsApp: +507 6771-0170
Panamá Adventours offers private shuttle services as well as daily shuttle services and private transportation in smaller vehicles. They offer daily shuttle services to both Boquete and David, Chiriqui at around $35/ per person. If you have a small group of friends you can rent their private shuttle service or even an SUV for a smaller and personal experience. You can also contact their office via WhatsApp: +507 6879-5506
Cut your trip down by a little over an hour with this option. Drive from Panama City to Chiriqui Grande, Bocas del Toro. After passing the town of Rambala you will see a gas station where most buses on their way to Almirante stop at for bathroom break and snacks. Instead of turning left, keep going straight into the coastal town of Chiriqui Grande. Once arriving to the end of the road inside of the town there is a stoplight. Turn left and you will find a gas station with a dead end road leading to a public dock. The road has a chain, park near the chain. On the left side of the dock next to the water there is a Maritima office with the office of PanaBocas Express located inside. They offer secure parking for your auto at $3/ night as well as transportation service from Chiriqui Grande to Bocas Town, isla Colón. The rate is $8/ per person and takes about 40 minutes to arrive. The ride is beautiful passing Loma Partida and the Solarte/ Isla Bastimentos mangrove islands. The service runs on a schedule, schedule your arrival a little before the next boat leaves. Waze works for most of the drive to Bocas, except when going over the highest parts of the mountains but once you arrive to Rambala it should work again. We recommend contacting PanaBocas Express via WhatsApp to confirm times and availability. WhatsApp Chiriqui Grande office: +507 6664-5430