10 days in Panama

Old Nov 18th, 2010, 12:57 PM
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10 days in Panama

I will be traveling to Panama for 10 days (9 nights) in January and would appreciate any constructive feedback or tips you might have.

I will be flying in/out of Panama City but do not plan to spend but more than a couple of hours in the city itself (a quick view of the canal is enough for me). I want to spend my time on/near the water. Although the order of this may be reversed (Carribean first vs. Pacific first) this is what I currently have:

1. Fly from Panama City to David, from there take the bus to the dock and spend 3 nights on Bocas Bravas (hotel Bocas Bravas).

2. Return to David and take a bus (currently Aeroplas has stopped their flights) to Bocas de Toro (approx. 4 hours) and spend 6 nights in Bocas at either Hotel Olas (I think this is my first choice due to location/price) and/or Carolina.

3. Fly from Bocas back to Panama City on early morning flight, I will then have 7 hours before my flight leaves back for LAX.

I was orginally thinking of stopping between the David and Bocas de Toro for a night in Boquette but not sure if it would be worth it.

I will be traveling solo but I am a relatively experienced traveler and have already spent time in both Costa Rica and Honduras.

Thanks in advance for your comments/suggestions!
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Old Nov 19th, 2010, 06:17 AM
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www.bocastesoroescondido.com my fav in Bocas the town vary dodgy they caught wild bill the sirial hostal killer round there recently.Boquete light years prettier than David
a pretty little cloud forest town.Santa Clara Las Sirenas
is nice on your way back down.Coiba best if diving.

www.mamellena.com good info for more exotic stuff like

Kuna Yala very amaing if time I love Yandup Island Lodge.

Happy Joureny,
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Old Nov 20th, 2010, 02:27 PM
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Thanks qwovadis ~ I'll look in to your suggestions.
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Old Nov 21st, 2010, 06:59 PM
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Okay we love the water and love the beach but we HATED Boca. Had planned on staying five days and had to find a last minute flight out of there by day two. (Zipped off to the Pearl Islands on Pacific instead). Boca has a creepy feel; like people running from the law and drug smugglers hiding out. Service people were rude. Just wasn't a good experience at all.

Inland -- loved Anton del Valle and Boquete -- each only a couple of nights -- small but beautiful, lush volcanic mountain towns. Cheap, cheap -- paid $40 per night for simple hotel.

Panama City is big and has lots to see. You may want to think about staying a couple of days there. It's a big, cosmopolitan city, but the most interesting part was old town. Great art, great food, hip and happening.
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Old Nov 21st, 2010, 08:19 PM
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SassTraveler ~ thank you for your reply! I still think I need to check out Bocas for myself but you've got me reconsidering at least a night in Boquete (which I will take from the time I had planned in Bocas)... do you happen to remember the names of the places you stayed at in Boquete and/or on the pacific coast islands?
With only 9 nights and my desire to see both coasts I think I'm going to have to settle for a day in Panama City...
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Old Nov 23rd, 2010, 08:32 PM
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My time on the Pacific Coast is set... staying 3-4 nights at hotel Boca Brava! Now just need to decide on Bocas... has anyone ever stayed at Dos Palmas? Hotel Olas just sent me an email that their rooms are $20 more than listed on their website
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Old Dec 1st, 2010, 05:07 PM
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3 of us in late 50's stayed in Bocas and loved it. This may be more than you want pay alone...they have 1 bedroom and cheaper 4 cash. Last February.
http://www.flipkey.com/properties/vi...del+mar+condo/
We loved that you can snorkle right from walk-to beaches. Plus easy split a water taxi with others for few hour hikes, beach, etc. Just stick to Authorized taxis. They have an symbol on vehicles/vessels. Did not feel creeped by locals at all. It does have normal peddlers as any place. Enjoy. we are going back in February to spend a month in Bocas as a central spot to stay. Ronga
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Old Dec 2nd, 2010, 02:25 PM
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Try going to island Bastimentos when you get to Bocas del Toro. There is a hostel there that is close to a sweet beach www.bocasbound.com and my friend said the zipline there is supposed to be really amazing.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2010, 04:57 PM
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Ronga and Villager9 ~ thank you both very much for your suggestions. I am definitely going to Bocas and have yet to confirm my reservation so I appreciate the links. There is a place that I was seriously considering, Hotel Angela. Are either of you familiar with that one? If so, any thoughts?
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Old Dec 4th, 2010, 05:47 PM
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Spent 9 days in Panama in April. It was about 8 days too long. Panama City offers very expensive taxis and hotels and not much to see or do aside from the canal. Flew to Boca and found reasonable accommodation on the island of Caranero. We chose Boca for the ocean sports but were disappointed in the beaches and the snorkeling and the weather. Didn't run into the serial killer but encountered lots of biting bugs and not so friendly locals. We snorkeled and took a sailboat tour of the area. Just ok. Boca Town gave me the creeps. Glad to leave for Boquete by bus. Boquete seemed very safe and is a lovely place but once again we struggled for stuff to see and do. Finally bused our way to David and flew to Panama City. Of the 5 Central American countries I've visited this was the least exciting place to be. Belize is my favorite for a fun/adventurous vacation with fantastic snorkeling as a bonus. I am glad I went to Panama cause I satisfied my curiosity and don't ever have to return.
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Old Dec 5th, 2010, 07:31 PM
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@Cher4 ~ thanks for your post... sorry you didn't love Panama. As far as Bocas it appears that people either really like it... or hate it... not much in between. I guess I'll be finding out soon. This will be my third Central American country (been to Costa Rica and Honduras...loved both) and will be going to Belize in late May... happy travels
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Old Dec 17th, 2010, 11:06 AM
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Bocas was beautiful, and the people friendly.
January is I guess a good time of the year, dry season or not so rainy season our guide said!
While in Panama City don't miss the opportunity to explore the area, we bought a package with a tour operator and realized that there are many attractions and things to do around Panama city.
Things we did:
Wild side of the Canal expedition boat tour, Embera indians by the river, Historic tour of Old Spanish forts. All of the tours with http://www.senderopanama.com highly recommended.

Be safe and enjoy Panama! We are doing Costa Rica this year around January, if you are there at that time let me know, love to learn about your travels.
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Old Dec 18th, 2010, 09:09 AM
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@momScanlon ~ thank you! I am confirmed to be in Panama Jan. 9-19. I am going to share my final itinerary and will post a trip report once I return. I have 7 hours between flights on my final day so appreciate the tour company information.

You will love Costa Rica! I was there a couple of years ago in late April (end of dry season... weather was perfect) and although next time I go I will change a few things (skip Jaco Beach and use the regional airlines instead of driving everywhere) I cannot say a single bad thing about my trip!

I look forward to reading about your experience! Safe travels...
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