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How much time between airports?

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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705 posts
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How much time between airports?

Just found out my Aviance flight was cancelled, which means instead of arriving PTY Wed night and departing PAC early Thur, we now arrive Thursay at 1:00PM and have to take the 4:00PM flight to Boca.

My question: is 3 hours enough time to go through customs/immigration and taxi over at that time of day? I know it "should" be, but would you consider it a safe connection?

If we have to wait until the next morning, we miss a day of diving, and our long weekend trip is no longer worth the hassle.

This is for Memorial Day Weekend, so if I need to plan something else I'd like to cancel this entire trip and plan something else soon.

Thanks!

Willemstad, Curacao
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1. Re: How much time between airports?

It will be very tight.. Sometimes customs at PTY takes a long time 1.5 hours... and sometimes it took me like 15 minutes.. What time is your checkin for your flight to PAC?

Panama City, Panama
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2. Re: How much time between airports?

As mentioned it is hard to say.

If you are lucky, you could be at Albrook before 2; unlucky and it could be after 3.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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705 posts
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3. Re: How much time between airports?

Its too early to buy my Air Panama ticket, but it's a domestic flight to Bocas del Toros. I don't know check-in time, but I assume an hour? We'll have all our dive and photography gear with us so will not be travelling light. Just realized add to that time waiting for bags to arrive at PTY.

Not sure if I want to take this risk.

Damn. This was a perfect weekend planned and researched to death and now back to the drawing board.

Willemstad, Curacao
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4. Re: How much time between airports?

Boca Del Toro is not far from Costa Rica.. I dont know if perhaps you can fly via Costa Rica to Boca del toro.. Also if your flight to PTY has a delay it will be more problematic.. In case that you wait a long time at immigration I assume that your luggage should be ready to be picked up.. (I never really had to wait a long time for my luggage).

Another option would be to take a night bus to Boca del Toro (approx 25 dollar PP) and take the airplane back.. I believe that the night bus leaves Panama City at 8PM and arrives at Almirante at 5 AM, from there you take a water taxi to Boca del toro. In that case you wont miss a day of diving.

Willemstad, Curacao
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5. Re: How much time between airports?

Another option could be to take the plane to David and from there a bus to Almirante (3.5 hours).. Stay the night there and take the first water taxi (6.AM) to Boca del Toro..

Panama City, Panama
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6. Re: How much time between airports?

I have only had to wait for my bags recently, now that they allow residents to go through the faster queue at immigration.

Atlanta, Georgia...
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for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
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7. Re: How much time between airports?

Flying in from Costa Rica could be more problematic because the planes are much smaller and if you are carrying dive gear and UW photo gear, that could be an issue. Plus, their schedules are far less frequent.

I've brought dive gear to Bocas on Air Panama twice. That was before I upgraded my camera system to something that now has to go in a Pelican case. Usually, we carry our regulators and computers in our carry on. But, Air Panama is very strict about carry-on luggage; both weight and size. They fly commuter jets to Bocas and to David. The overheads have about six inches of room, and the space under the seats is also tiny. They made us repack the regs in with the dive gear, but they didn't charge us additional weight. (We were overweight and paid a very minimal charge.)

Air Panama also gives extra weight allowances for sports equipment, such as surf boards and scuba gear -- unlike Delta, who charges an extra $100 if you admit you have sports equipment in your luggage.

I would say your chances of getting to Albrook in time for the 4:00pm flight are 70/30 in favor. It all depends on how many flights are arriving at Tocumen and how long the line is. Unlike Beardo, you won't have the option of going through the residents' line.

I'm curious -- why are you going to shoot UW at Bocas in May? You're going to have a lot of sediment in the water then and you won't be able to get out to the barrier reef -- The Wall. That doesn't happen until September through most of November when the seas calm down enough for the six-packs. However, you will have a lot of macro material to shoot.

Also, I hope you're going with Bocas Water Sports. Leandro is an excellent DM/guide. His specialty is finding sea horses and the little critters.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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8. Re: How much time between airports?

Gb, I dont think the jets are going to Bocas yet. I have seen, and HEARD, some private jets coming and going but not Air Panama... Yet.

Cuttraveler, Almirante is not a place to spend the night, especially with anything expensive.

Chavala,look up flights for Air Panama leaving from PTY to Bocas,there are a few a week.

Atlanta, Georgia...
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for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
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9. Re: How much time between airports?

geo -- you're right. I meant turbo props. Although there's little difference inside. More seats in the Air Panama craft than a CRJ, but no more room. At least it gets you there in less than two hours.

I can't imagine much worse advice than stay overnight in Almirante ... unless it's stay overnight in Changinola or downtown Colón or Corundu. Although, just as bad, I can't imagine riding all night in a freezing bus with only half the toilet facilities surrounded by people talking at high volume into cell phones and pulling into Almirante before daylight, trying to wrestle all that gear on a water taxi (although I have seen people strapping queen size mattresses to the canopy) and then attempting to dive during the day???? How else do you spell "insane?"

Willemstad, Curacao
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10. Re: How much time between airports?

Well you can also take a plane to David and stay the night there but you will lose valuable time.. and I believe the OP will have a time problem if they dont get on BOC in time..

Its not the most wonderful way to go to take the night bus but at least its an option if you dont have enough time and the alternative is that you might miss the plane and dont go on holiday at all...

BTW nothing wrong with an adventurous trip in Panama! :)