What Should I Pack for My Trip to Bocas del Toro, Panama?

What Should I Bring to Bocas del Toro, Panama?

If you're going to study Spanish at Habla Ya Spanish School in Bocas del Toro, Panama you should consider bringing the following items:

  • A Spanish phrase book (in fact you should read it before you come to the school, take useful notes from it and then practice a little bit before you arrive to Panama)
  • A good guide book of Panama (we recommend them in the following order: Moon Handbooks Panama, Frommer's Panama and Lonely Planet Panama
  • Appropriate clothing for 68° to 90° F (20° - 32° C) temperatures (the humidity can make if feel warmer). In other words, beach clothing for an island in the Caribbean.
  • A rain jacket with a hood (we're in the tropics!)
  • Good hiking or trekking shoes
  • Flip flops (sandles)
  • Sun protection (sunscreen, sunglasses , a hat)
  • A swimming suit (or several of them as we're on an island!)
  • Board shorts
  • If you surf, your surfboard (although you can also rent or buy a surfboard in Bocas del Toro, Panama)
  • In Panama we use the same plugs as in Canada and USA (110V, 60Hz) in case you need and adaptors/converters for your electronics.
  • A digital camera with enough memory space in it (and the charger!), or even better: a video camera
  • Binoculars (especially for bird watching)
  • A debit card (for ATMs) with a valid known PIN number and a credit card just in case (do let your bank know that you plan to use your cards out of the country because they could block your transactions as it might not be normal for your cards to be used overseas)
  • Decent insect repellent (30% to 50% DEET)
  • International Insurance coverage and a card with your blood type and any allergies you might have to certain medicines
  • Any other thing that you like to have in your normal life (moisturizer, a few good books for reading if you plan to use the bus a lot)

There are people who like to bring other stuff, so here a list of things that could be useful but that you don't necessarily have to bring (think about luggage space and carrying them all over the country)

  • An English/Spanish dictionary or the equivalent for your first language (although you can buy good and cheaper ones over here)
  • An unblocked cellphone (a mobile phone that will accept sim cards from other countries... it can be very handy if you want to make your own phone calls within Panama to setup things on your own. You can purchase a sim card upon arrival and put money into the phone with a "tarjeta" or pay as you go phone card which you can also used to call back home). If you bring your smartphone or your tablet you can also use it to call back home over skype. A laptop isn't really necessary unless you need to work.
  • A flashlight
  • An alarm clock (to wake up for early excursions or to just get on time for lessons)
  • A laptop only if you need to work but a smartphone or tablet should be enough (we have a free wireless Internet connection at our language school, but there are also plenty of internet cafes in town so there is really no need to bring one if you just need to do emails and download photos and it is quite a bit sad if you end up spending several hours each day behind a computer instead of enjoying your vacation)