We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Costa Rica to Bocas del Toro, Panama with kids

So. Cal.
Level Contributor
22 posts
3 reviews
Save Topic
Costa Rica to Bocas del Toro, Panama with kids

My husband and I did the Central/Fortuna/Monteverde/Tamarindo route spring 2006 (no luggage, just a backpack and duffle bag). Spring 2007 we're taking our 9 and (will be) 15 year-old; this time to the Caribbean side(Puerto Viejo, Cahuita). We also want to go to Bocas del Toro. Any suggested routes or where to start and end? We have 9 nights and stuffed backpacks. We really want to get a feel for the way the locals live and nature, wild life (especially sloths and monkeys), beautiful beaches...no fancy resorts...Somewhere nicer then a tent, but NOT Four Seasons. :) Lonely Planet is helpful, but I need more details.

1. Re: Costa Rica to Bocas del Toro, Panama with kids

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

TripAdvisor staff removed this post because it did not meet TripAdvisor's forum posting guidelines with prohibiting self-promotional advertising or solicitation.

We ask all of our members to keep their forum messages free of self-promoting advertisements or solicitation of any kind - members affiliated with any tourism-related business should not include commercial contact information or URLs in their forum messages.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 2:27 pm, October 04, 2006
San Isidro del...
Level Contributor
938 posts
43 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Costa Rica to Bocas del Toro, Panama with kids

Every time we have tried to go to Panama through PV it has flooded so can't help you there. From what I hear it is pretty easy.

You mentioned wanting to see the way locals live. You might want to look into el Puente (The Bridge). It is an organization that works with the local Indians to help them. elpuente-thebridge.org

I would send you the actual link but my computer is acting strange today.

Up around Cahuita is the buttercup foundation with their b&b Aviarios del Caribe.

No problem if you don't want to stay in a four seasons type place. They don't have them on that side.

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
1,282 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Costa Rica to Bocas del Toro, Panama with kids

Yup, the ground crossing at Sixaola is indeed easy. You walk across (get to the crossing from PV or any town nearby by a regular public bus) and then grab a bus or taxi to the docks which take you to Bocas. You might want to to fly back from Bocas to San Jose on Nature Air (www.natureair.com) for $100/pp as you'll otherwise kill lots of time using ground transport to go straight back to San Jose.

CostaRicaTraveler is right on about El Puente The Bridge. Good people... The website she was referring to is www.elpuente-thebridge.org. You can also inquire in Puerto Viejo and Cahuita about various encounter programs with the local Bri Bri people.

A real gem in that area is the unspoiled Gandoca-Manzanillo Reserve down on the Panama border. Less accessible than Cahuita National Park, but more wild.

U.S.A.
6 posts
1 review
Save Reply
4. Re: Costa Rica to Bocas del Toro, Panama with kids

Yes, I went to Bocas del Toro in 1997. Quite an adventure & thoroughly enjoyed it. I took the bus from San Jose to Sixaola (don't remember the stops or changes of busses along the way), but a most interesting trip. At the CR/Panama border, we walked across a bridge into Panama & then took a car taxi & then boat to Bocas. If I remember correctly, we almost missed the boat ride we paid for due to the time change. We were still on CR time & didn't realize that Panama was an hour earlier...not sure if this is a year round thing in Panama, but you may want to check on this when you take boat to Bocas, especially if you buy tickets a couple hours before boat leaves. God bless and have a great trip! CR is truly a beautiful country -- I was just recently in Cahuita & loved it...quite laid back little town, beautiful national park (which you can rent bikes & ride through nat'l park), gorgeous beach but take caution where you choose to swim as the first part of beach near park entrance is not very safe...much safer on down shoreline.

So. Cal.
Level Contributor
22 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Costa Rica to Bocas del Toro, Panama with kids

Thanks! You all have been so helpful. I have the same topic on other posts and have received so much input. I was explaining to my husband how I feel when I read these posts. When I describe CR to people who've never been or have no interest...they just don't "get it." You people get it! It's like a bond with strangers. On a less sappy note: Since we have 9 nights, is it safe to say we could do 3 in PV, 3 in Bocas del Toro, 3 in Cahuita and make it to San Jose the day of our flight?...Or should we play it safe and spend the last night near the airport?

Thanks again! :)

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
1,282 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: Costa Rica to Bocas del Toro, Panama with kids

What time is your flight back from San Jose? If you are taking a public bus, figure 4-5 hours from Puerto Viejo/Cahuita back to San Jose, and then another 20-30 minutes in a taxi to the airport. First bus probably leaves around 6am -- but check.

Everything in the PV area is quite close. You could stay 3 days in PV and 3 in Cahuita if you wanted to, but I'd think more in terms of what you want to do/how you want to explore the area. You might want to stay right near the Gandoca-Manzanillo park, too.

Because of the added travel time to Bocas, especially if you want to go further afield than Isla Colon, you might want to add another day or two there, doing a 5/4 split with Costa Rica

7. Re: Costa Rica to Bocas del Toro, Panama with kids

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

TripAdvisor staff removed this post because it did not meet TripAdvisor's forum posting guidelines with prohibiting self-promotional advertising or solicitation.

We ask all of our members to keep their forum messages free of self-promoting advertisements or solicitation of any kind - members affiliated with any tourism-related business should not include commercial contact information or URLs in their forum messages.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 12:45 pm, October 11, 2006
U.S.A.
6 posts
1 review
Save Reply
8. Re: Costa Rica to Bocas del Toro, Panama with kids

Hi again momcano -- I just read that you were going to be in Cahuita for 3 days on your recent post. I was just there this summer (& visited Cahuita several times while living in CR for 7 years in the 90's). What a great choice! Cahuita was my first destination/hang out this summer & I spent 3 wonderful, relaxing days there. I've stayed in numerous places at Cahuita through the years. The place I personally enjoyed the most was the Kelly Creek Hotel due to good price & location right at the doorstep of the Cahuita national park. Entrance to the park is on a donation basis. You can walk through this nat'l park or even rent bicycles for $1 an hour & ride through the park. Cahuita is a very laid back town & a great place to relax. I saw and heard numerous howler monkeys, which is a really cool thing. On the other end of town (bike to end of main road/opposite end of nat'l park), then turn left & bike ride some more (10 minutes or so, maybe a little more or possibly less...my memory fails me!) to beautiful Playa Negra and Playa Chiquita. There is a cool eatery right across from Playa Chiquita (which I think you come to b4 Playa Negra). I think it's called "Sobre las Olas", but not 100% certain. Nice little tables you can eat at right near the ocean & watch the crashing waves before your very eyes, as well as seeing playa chiquita (which is "chiquita" very small, but gorgeous). Some of my favorite places to eat were at Miss Edith's, Cha Cha Cha and I loved a good cup of cafe con leche at the restaurant national park. Also, I ate many economical & tasty meals at the Sol y Mar restaurant. By the way, the ice cream with pineapple & caramel sauce at Cha Cha Cha is out of this world! It's a little pricey but you can just go for dessert if you want. Anyway, I've been wordy enough here. As mentioned in my previous entry on your post, the swimming at Cahuita's "Playa Blanca" (the main beach w/white sand in the national park), is wonderful if you go down the shoreline a bit. Don't swim near the beginning of national park as waves are quite rough & swimming is more risky. On down beach, just before the shoreline starts to curve around to the left-- it's heavenly! Have a great time on your trip momcano!

So. Cal.
Level Contributor
22 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Costa Rica to Bocas del Toro, Panama with kids

Hey tigagringa-

We are not flying from Panama. We planned on taking buses from SJ and making our way to Cahuita, PV & Bocas (maybe not in that order). Then we'll bus it back to SJ. Our flight home is in the late afternoon or early evening. I think we're leaning toward Cahuita for 3, then Bocas for 3, and PV for 3. If we take the early bus to SJ, we should be okay. We won't have luggage, just backpacks. My husband's so excited about Cahuita. I can't wait for hin to read your post. Several of the things you mentioned are in our plans. Thanks for the confirmation. Is PV worth the 3 nights? Thanks again!

Panama
Destination Expert
for Bocas del Toro Province
Level Contributor
297 posts
45 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Costa Rica to Bocas del Toro, Panama with kids

Just some more info about flying back from Bocas to SJO do not forget the ticket is $100.00 but then you have as well a $25.00p.p. airport tax. there are no flights on sundays and Air panam and nature air are flying from the island. Difference is that Air Panama has a stop in David and lands on the intern. airport .nature air flight is nonstop and you arrive in the national one.

Passing the boarder from Sixaola do not forget there is an hour luch break between 12.00pm and 01.00pm. Please how nice the little kids at the boarder or water taxi are be careful there have been several thefts been reported and the tourists were sure it only could have been this kids. Please know as well that the taxi from the boarder guabito to Finca 60 (place where the water taxi leaves) is $5.00 p.p. not more .

good luck

Amanap