We made it to Panama! Whew! Sometimes adventures can be exhausting. We had an option to fly from Costa Rica to Panama- from San Jose to Panama City. But our first stop in Panama was planned to be the island archipelago on the northwest coast called Bocas del Toro. It’s only about 3 hours travel from Puerto Viejo by car and water taxi. Flying would have been 6 or 7 hours and much more expensive so we decided to do a land crossing. Sadly, we couldn’t take our trusty rental car Jeff Suzuki across the border – he had to stay in Costa Rica so the 5 adventurers had to find a different option.
Here’s how it went:
- Drive from house to rental car return (fingers crossed we don’t run out of gas)
- Take a shuttle from there to the border (we splurged for a private one. Since the kids aren’t vaccinated public transportation is not preferred)
- Collect our gear from the shuttle (it can’t cross the border either) and get our exit stamp from Costa Rica
- Walk across the bridge from Costa Rica to Panama with our stuff.
- Go through immigration in Panama
- Get in a new shuttle to drive to the boat dock
- Take the water taxi from the mainland to Isla Colon
- Take a regular taxi across Bocas town to our hotel.
- Breathe a sigh of relief as we put down our bags in our latest accommodations.
When written out like that, it sounds like a lot. It didn’t feel quite so painful as that list sounds, mostly because Caribe Shuttle took great care of us from the first shuttle pick up through immigration to getting us our spot on the water taxi. It would have taken less than 4 hours door to door except we were visited once again by our old friend the power outage. This time at the Immigration office leaving Costa Rica. The computers were out for about an hour so we waited at the front of the line for them to come back up.
The kids were real troopers the whole day – they walked, waited and carried their gear almost without complaint. By the time we got to the water taxi they were all so tired they napped on the boat.
The most unique thing we saw was that one of our fellow passengers on the water taxi was a live chicken. It wasn’t traveling alone, a teenage boy was carrying it in a bag but it was definitely a live chicken. It sat on the floor so we don’t think it needed its own ticket.
We picked a place close to our hotel for dinner. They had good Pad Thai and spaghetti with meat sauce. They also had a giant chess set. CreeperKitty beat Brian just in time for dinner to be served.
After dinner we tested out the wi-fi, settled in and hit the hay for our first night in Panama. Here’s hoping we left our power outages behind.