Just a couple of hours from Puerto Viejo, across the border in Panama, is the archipelago of Bocas del Toro, a unique bustling set of islands where a boat is an ideal way to get around. The restaurants, bars, and hotels are built on stilts right on the water and the island lifestyle rules.
Our Bocas del Toro trips include round trip transportation from Puerto Viejo to Bocas del Toro via shared van and then on by boat to the islands and your choice of accommodation – either an economy/midrange option with stunning views on Isla Solarte, a superior option on the main island, or a deluxe option on Isla Bastimentos. Breakfast is included and depending on how many days you stay, an afternoon activity or a full day tour with lunch is also included. Our deluxe option includes all meals. For an extra charge, it is also possible to return to San Jose by land or air.
After picking you up at your hotel, you will travel to Sixaola by microbus, which is a town on the border with Panama. You will cross the Rio Sixaola, pass through immigration and then take another minivan to Almirante. Finally, a small passenger boat will take us to Bocastown on Isla Colon. Depending on where you stay in Bocas, you will have to take another taxi boat ride to Isla Solarte or Isla Bastimentos, or you walk to your hotel on the main island.
If you stay one night, you can either go snorkeling or deep boarding in the afternoon (deep boarding is not available for the deluxe option) before enjoying an excellent dinner in Bocastown or at your lodge. You are free to discover the islands or relax on a secluded beach the next morning. At noon, you will commence the trip back to Puerto Viejo. If you choose our deluxe option, we recommend to stay at least 2 nights.
If you stay two nights, you will have the rest of the day available to visit one of the nearby islands or walk around town. On the second day, you will go on a tour to Cayo Zapatillo, where you can try out deep boarding, the new way to snorkel (deep boarding is not available for the deluxe option). The tour includes lunch and snorkeling equipment. After a day on and in the water, you can enjoy the evening in Bocastown or at your lodge, returning to Puerto Viejo the next day after breakfast. If you require an additional morning to explore the world of Bocas, we can also schedule you for the afternoon shuttle (not possible for San Jose).
If you stay three nights, you will have one day to explore Bocas del Toro on your own or just relax on the beach.
For an extra charge, we can also pick you up and drop you off in Cahuita and San Jose. Or you can choose to fly from and to San Jose, although flights are not available every day.
While Panama is our neighboring country, tourism has a different significance than in Costa Rica. Though we select our providers carefully, you may get less value for your money. The weather can also play a role. When departing from Puerto Viejo, you are 3 hours travel away from Bocas del Toro and weather conditions can change quickly. Safety is the primary concern of the tour operator, and so they reserve the right to modify the overall itinerary or a single tour. No refund will apply in this case.
You choose the grade of luxury
Our standard package comes with the choice of a more economical/midrange option or the upgrade to a more luxury option. Both places have charm, and we believe that you get good value for your money. The more economic option is on Isla Solarte and offers peace and tranquility. Our more luxurious option is in Bocastown but has all the amenities you could want with a fantastic view over the water.
Bambuda Lodge – Economy/Midrange
Bambuda Lodge is on Isla Solarte, just a 5-minute taxi-boat ride from Bocastown. It overlooks a private bay with a coral reef and provides incredible views of the mountainous spine of mainland Panama. The lodge is on 14 acres of pristine tropical rainforest. The main building has large spacious decks out front for lounging or sunbathing around the massive swimming pool. The lodge offers a mix of dorm and private rooms. The private rooms are located in the second house at the back of the property, away from the front building. Breakfast and free WiFi are included. Children under the age of 16 are not accepted.
The accommodation offers spacious rooms, private bathrooms, handmade wooden beds, deluxe mattresses and hot water showers. The wrap-around veranda has a huge day bed and offers views of the ocean and jungle.
Tropical Suites – Superior
This oceanfront boutique hotel offers 16 suites with either inland or ocean view. It is ideally situated in the heart of beautiful Bocas del Toro. Resting on the tranquil Caribbean shoreline, the hotel is a short stroll to fantastic, over the water restaurants, and an eclectic mix of shops. In addition to incredible ocean view suites, the hotel’s modern concrete construction provides a quiet and comfortable refuge for the discerning traveler.
All rooms come with two double beds or a king size bed, private balcony (built over the water or with a town center view), generous bathroom with double sink vanity, premium LCD flat screen TV, fully equipped kitchen with mini fridge, coffee maker, air-conditioning and complimentary WiFi. It also includes an over the water, cooked to order breakfast.
Azul Paradise – Deluxe
Deep within the heavenly waters of the Caribbean, Azul Paradise brings the easy-going rhythms of the secluded Islands. This off the grid resort runs solely off water-catchement systems and solar power. Thatch roofs sweep the ocean front , and the suites harmonize with nature. A tropical escape along a pristine white sand beach, where culture coexists with exotic adventures.
The Deluxe Bungalow is the only unit that offers air-conditioning (being that we run on solar power this is an amazing feat). It also has a full wrap around deck, over-the-water hammock and is 30 feet removed from the other group of Bungalows. It comes with a king-size bed, private Bathroom and flat screen TV (with only Apple TV if internet is available). Beach towels, snorkel gear and beach lounges are included.
|Duration:||2 days/1 night, 3 days/2 nights or 4 days/3 nights|
|Cost per person:||2 day/1 night package: from $195.00 p/p (economy/midrange) or $235.00 p/p (superior)
3 day/2 night package: from $289.00 p/p (economy/midrange), $379.00 p/p (superior) or $899 p/p (deluxe)
4 day/3 night package: from $349 p/p (economy/midrange), $469 p/p (superior) or $1199 p/p (deluxe)
Note – Rates are not valid for holiday seasons
|Includes:||Round trip transportation from Puerto Viejo area hotels to Colon Island, Isla Solarte or Isla Bastimentos in Bocas del Toro, Panama • Lodging in one of our partner hotels • Deluxe option includes all meals • Local activity or one-day tour to Cayo Zapatillo • Gecko Trail Costa Rica service charge|
|Not included:||Exit and entry fees to be paid on both sides of the border (calculate another $16 for round trip) • Bocas airport departure tax $15 for those choosing the return to San Jose by air option • Additional charge for pickup in Cahuita or San Jose • Single supplement if single room(s) needed • Transportation to and from tour(s)|
|What to bring:||Bathing suit, sunglasses, sunscreen, towel, passport and onward ticket leaving Costa Rica (or Panama if you are ending the tour there) for border crossing.|