How To Get Around in Bocas del Toro | Public Transportation in Bocas

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Search our blog about all things Panama! From must dos, where to party or eat, to which beaches and hiking trails you shouldn't miss, in our blog you'll find great insider info about Bocas del Toro, Panama City and Boquete, as well as Panamanian culture, customs and traditions, and certainly tips and advice for learning Spanish! We've been writing about all things Panama for over 15 years and nothing beats local knowledge from the locals themselves.


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How To Get Around in Bocas del Toro | Public Transportation in Bocas

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The very first major purchase I made in Bocas was a used bicycle. It’s my ride to the club and class alike. A used bike can cost anything from $30 to $75, and a new one around $150. Bocas Town is flat so it's quite an easy ride.

Cycling to Bluff Beach in Bocas del Toro, Panama
Cycling to Bluff Beach in Bocas del Toro, Panama

For short-term visitors, however, there are a range of transportation options. Although Bocas is a small island, transportation is readily available, cost-effective, and easy to come by. Here are the best means of transportation for getting around the island or island hopping from one place to another.

6. Water Taxi

Water Taxis connect all the ports and islands together to make transportation between each place accessible to all travelers. Several companies provide water taxi rides. If you’re staying at a location near the water, it may be possible to flag down a water taxi in the same way you’d flag down a regular taxi.

Water Taxi in Carenero
Water Taxi in Carenero

Otherwise, head to the water taxi station on Calle 1ra B (1st Street) – next to Restaurante Tropical Birds (this is the "Carenero dock") or further south to the "Bastimentos" dock, right next to Bocas Marine Tours. A short water taxi ride (such as from the pier in Bocas town to Isla Carenero) will cost approximately $1. From Bocas Town to Bastimentos it's $3. A water taxi to the Red Frog Marina (from where you walk 15 minutes to get to the beach) costs $8 . From Bocas to Almirante (cacao farms and the mainland to catch a bus to Boquete or Panama City) costs $6. Isla Solarte cost about approximately $5 - $7. A water taxi from Boca del Drago to Starfish Beach costs $1.50.

As a rule, it’s important to clarify where the boat is going before you get on to ensure that you arrive at the correct destination- otherwise, prepare for an adventure. Be sure to ask about the return schedule as well.

5. Taxi

Bocas del Toro 29 - Hilux taxi

Taxis in Bocas are clearly marked with the universal yellow cab color. It costs about $.60 to get around Bocas Town ($1 after midnight). If you arrive at the local airport, a taxi to your hotel/hostel should cost $1-2. Many also take taxis to surf spots on Isla Colon ($3 - $10 depending on the distance) and to Pakis Point restaurant ($3). A taxi to the Big Creak area that has a nice beach close to town is $2.

4. Local Bus

Local busses or vans often marked “transportation collectivo” or with the name of the final destination such as “Boca del Drago” depart every two hours right in front of the Parque Central (the main park, where the municipality is); however, service can be irregular. Although you can generally catch the bus anywhere along the main roads, they are packed by the time they leave the park so it’s a best to get on at the park. Arrive at the park 15-20 minutes before the hour because the buses fill up quickly and depart once they’re full. The bus costs $1.50 while vans are $2.00.

3. Surfboard

Surfers looking for waves at Tiger Tail on Isla Colon, Bocas del Toro.
Surfers looking for waves at Tiger Tail on Isla Colon, Bocas del Toro.

Bocas is known for having some of the best surf beaches in the world. People come from as far as Australia and Hawaii to ride the waves. If you can’t make the journey with your surfboard, however, there are plenty of options for renting surfboards around town. You can rent a surfboard at Panthers Bikes, Mono Loco Surf School or Escuela del Mar for $15 - $20.

2. Skateboard

Local kids having a skate by Central Park
Local kids having a skate by Central Park.

For short distances, skateboards are a common way to get around Bocas. Many prefer the ease of transportation via a skateboard because you can easily carry it under one arm rather than worrying about locking it up as you would with a bike. Skateboards are available for approximately $3 an hour or $12 a day at Panthers Bikes or Escuela del Mar's Skate Shop just across the Police Station on 1st Street.

1. Bicycle

Although Isla Colon is not very big, the Caribbean sun can make a ten minute walk to the grocery store feel like a trek through the desert. Thus, the most common way to get around Bocas is by bike. Bicycle rentals run approximately $1 - $2/hr or $5 - $8/day. The main roads are paved and in relatively good repair, which makes getting around on a bike very easy. Two great options to rent quality bikes are IXA Rentals and Panthers Bikes. Both maintain and repair bicycles at their location.

Bikes for Rent in Bocas del Toro, Panama.
Bikes for Rent in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

Be prepared to leave personal identification or information in place of a security deposit to rent any means of transportation. It’s also important to make sure that you lock your rental when it’s not in use to avoid theft. The most important thing to remember, however, is to relax, enjoy the scenery, and don’t stress about the how’s and when’s of getting there.

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Search our blog if you're visiting Panama! From must do's, where to party or eat, to which beaches and hiking trails you shouldn't miss, you'll find great insider info about Bocas del Toro, Panama City and Boquete, as well as Panamanian culture, customs and traditions, and certainly tips and advice for learning Spanish while in our country! We've been writing about all things Panama for over 10 years and nothing beats local knowledge from the locals themselves.


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