To continue our “world tour” through Panama, we needed to get from the beachside town of Bocas del Toro to the mountains of Boquete. No matter which booking agency we went to, the advertised price for the Bocas del Toro to Boquete tourist shuttle seems to be a standard price of $30USD per person. We decided to be adventurous (and save a bit of money) and go the public bus route. We took the public bus from Bocas del Toro to Boquete, for $15.25USD per person, instead of $30USD.
Our journey consisted of one boat ride (aka water taxi), one short taxi ride, and two busses. The trip was very straightforward, but probably took 1 – 2 hours longer than taking the direct tourist shuttle. Door to door, it took us about 5 to 6 hours to get to Boquete, keeping in mind that we were fairly lucky with transition times and didn’t have to wait long between busses.
Keep reading before to find out how to bus from Bocas del Toro to Boquete in 4 easy steps:
Step 1: Take a Water Taxi to Almeriante
- Duration: 30 minutes
- Cost: $4USD per person
Take a water taxi to the mainland of Ameriante. The taxi departs from Bocas town, the main strip along the water. The prices seemed to be advertised for $6USD on the sign, but for some reason we were only charged $4. Perhaps it’s because we only needed a one-way journey? I’m not exactly sure, but we only paid $4 per person.
Step 2: In Almeriante, Take a Short Cab Ride to the Bus Station
- Duration: 5 mins
- Cost: $1USD per person
This caught us by surprise as we thought the bus was right at the dock. But turns out you have to take a 5 minute cab ride (or a 15-20 minute walk) to the bus station where the bus to David departs. Cabs drive by frequently on the road outside the dock.
Step 3: In Almeriante, Get on the Minibus to David
- Duration: 3 hours 45 mins
- Cost: $8.50
This is the longest part of the trip, where you go through the well-paved but curvy roads to David. They really pack people in the minibus, there were some fold down seats to make extra space. I was stuck in a middle seat between two strangers, meaning I couldn’t sleep at all during the ride. Despite that, it was a fairly scenic and comfortable journey, the bus was even lightly air-conditioned! We stopped one time for a 10 minute bathroom and snack break.
Step 4: In David, Get on the Bus to Boquete
- Duration: 45 mins
- Cost: $1.75
At the same bus station where you got off the last bus to David, walk around the terminal until you see a bus to Boquete. I spotted it because of the sign painted on the windshield, but otherwise, people are generally shouting the name of the destination anyway. It can get a bit hectic, but if you know what you are listening for (Boquete! Boquete), it’s not hard to find the bus. It was pretty much a straight road from David and Boquete, and before you know it, you’ll arrive to your final destination!