Practical Information in Bocas del toro

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Residing in Panama, Bocas del Toro sits on the coast of the Caribbean, on the border of Costa Rica and in the rain forest. Bocas del Toro is just now receiving international travel acclaim, and therefore it's still immaculate and unspoiled by tourism.

Current Inhabitants

With a population of 10,000, the island is home to indigenous tribes, many of which live in villages throughout the islands, as well as Afro-Caribbeans originally from Jamaica. Visitors will find the culture similar to the Caribbean Islands. The way of life is slow paced and low key.

Languages Spoken

Two main languages are spoken, English and Spanish, making communicating with the locals easy.

Traffic Jams

Locals travel between the islands with canoes, most of which don't have motors. Waterways are clogged with canoes, mostly in the morning hours while locals travel to and from the mainland.

Currency and Prices

Currency in Bocas is the Balboa, similar to the American dollar (which is also an accepted currency). Balboa consists of only coins, no bills. Some shops and restaurants do not accept credit cards. Prices here are fairly reasonable. Lodging can range from $50 to $150 a night, while dining is low as $20 for two. Meals generally consist of rice, fresh fish and fruit, beans and various juices.

The Landscape

Originally discovered by backpackers and surfers, Bocas del Toro is one of the top eco-friendly and eco-conscious cities in Panama. A national marine park protects the natural resources of the area, including the rain forest, wetlands, mountains and coral reef. The rain forest takes over the town, where overgrown foliage envelops plantation-style homes and dirt roads. The town has more of a "rough" feel, but is an inspiring beauty.

Adventures and Animals

Between the waters and rain forests, the adventures are endless, ranging from deep-sea fishing, diving, kayaking, surfing, snorkeling, zip lining, catamaran cruises and plenty of deserted beaches to relax on. Water inhabitants consist of dozens of coral types, hundreds of fish, shipwrecks, caves and kelp forests. Consider always carrying an underwater camera. This gives the opportunity to take water adventures home. While on land, visitors see sloths, spider monkeys, toucans, iguanas and poison dart frogs. Rent bikes for a day of adventure to see it all.

Practical Information to Know

When visiting Bocas del Toro, expect a lot of walking. Land taxis are hard to come by, and the majority of taxis travel on water from island to island. Also remember to pack shorts. The days are warm enough where pants become unbearable. Bring bottled water if possible. Bocas del Toro mainly uses rainwater, and although not terrible, some with a sensitive digestive system may find bottled water a better option. It is otherwise expensive and hard to come by.

Always remember to pack a snack and sunscreen when heading to the beach. Beaches are remote, and visitors will not find much around to feed a hungry belly or save sunburned skin. Bear in mind riptides are strong in this area. It is recommended visitors search for clear seas, rather than sandy waters for best avoidance.

There are plenty of public phones that accept phone cards and coins. Important numbers to know include the Police: 104, Fire Department: 103, and Hospital: 757-9201.

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