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We've been writing about all things Panama for over 10 years. So search our blog to plan your vacation. 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 on vacation!


12 places that will help you to hit the ground running in Bocas del Toro

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Bocas Town may not be a large place, but it’s a hub of activity and it helps to get yourself well acquainted with it early on during your time at the school. Ludo and Cesar at the front desk will give you some insider tips along with some maps when you arrive, but if you want to know more ahead of your trip, I’ve outlined some of the places close to the school that will make it even easier to settle in.

Supermarket

Mini Super y Hospedaje Calle 8 is the nearest large supermarket to the school. Bocas Town has a plethora of large convenience stores, and while this one may not necessarily be the best, you’ll be able to get most things you’ll need on your way to or from school.

Refresqueria

This tiny corner shop sells a tasty selection of desserts, such as banana bread and pumpkin pie. Each piece costs around 70 cents and it’s a convenient place to quickly grab something sweet during the short mid-morning interval between classes. It should certainly keep hunger at bay until lunch - letting you focus on your studies, rather than your stomach.

Stationary Shop

A trip here might not be on your highlight reel, but it’s good to know where to find this store it you want to avoid losing your class notes in a heap of scrap paper.

Mamallena

This relaxed, spacious bar is popular with Habla Ya’s students and teachers alike, who can often be found around the pool table. The deck is a wonderful place to study your class notes, watch the sunset or simply sip a beer while observing passing schools of fish. If joining them becomes too tempting, dive straight in and swim alongside! There’s a shower on the desk to wash the sea water off afterwards.

Bocas Blended

This restaurant is likely to become a staple of your time in Bocas. Located in a blue minivan next door to Mamallena, it’s particularly convenient for students who only have an hour break between group classes finishing at noon and private classes beginning at 1pm. The $8 lunch deals here are the most popular, with customers choosing either a chicken, fish or vegetarian wrap with a range of fillings including ‘The Buffalo’ (salad with a spicy sauce), ‘The Mediterranean’ (roasted vegetables, olives and hummus) and the Hawaiian (pineapple, cream cheese, peppers and carrots). This comes alongside a separate salad - either caesar, thai, green or fruit - and a drink. The drink options include coconut water, mojito lemonade and berry iced tea. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to study again in no time!

Ixa Bikes

A hundred metres up the road from Mamallena’s is Ixa’s Bike Store. The bikes cost $10-a-day to rent, and are a great way to explore the coastline towards Bluff Beach. Alternatively, if you’re feeling more adventurous you can cycle all the way to Boca del Drago on the other side of Colon Island. As with other bike rental stores in Bocas, the bikes are almost all fixies, and therefore don’t have brakes on the handlebars. Instead you brake by cycling backwards. Don’t worry - although it will feel counter-intuitive at first, you’ll quickly get used to it!

Lavamatico

It may not be very exciting, but washing clothes is a chore almost all of us will need to complete during our time at the school. This is one of several laundrettes in town, and the one closest to the school. It charges $5 to wash and dry your clothes and you can return to collect them a couple of hours later.

Diving Pirates

Along with Bocas Dive Centre at the other end of town, Diving Pirates is an excellent place to learn to scuba dive. It is less than 10 minutes walk from the school and differs from other operators by also running night time algae and bioluminescence tours. This should be on everyone’s to do list while studying in Bocas. Swimming in the sea while the water glows around you is something you will never forget.

Bank

As the only cash machine in town, it’s a good place to know about. The ATM is available 24 hours a day, but be aware that on rare occasions it does run out of money so make sure you aren’t down to your last dime when you make a visit - just in case.

Legumbreria

Stores selling fresh fruit and vegetables can be hard to find, so familiarise yourself with this store early in your stay at Habla Ya. Remember, a healthy body equals a healthy mind.

Water taxi point

There are several different places in Bocas Town to jump on a water taxi, depending on where you want to go. The one marked on the map is closest to the school and will take you to Carenero Island. The trip will cost $1 per person to get to Aqua Lounge, where you can enjoy jumping straight off the bar’s swings and diving platforms. From there, you can walk to Bibi’s bar, and then beyond that to beautiful Black Rock Beach. If you’d rather stay on the water a little longer though, the same water taxi will take you there for $2 more.

Simon Bolivar Park

The park is in the centre of town and comes alive during Bocas’ many street festivals. At other times it is a relaxing spot to collect your thoughts after class. Locals of all ages congregate here, making it a great place to watch the world go by.

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We've been writing about all things Panama for over 10 years. So search our blog to plan your vacation. 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 on vacation!


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