The time is 5:43 am and I’ve just arrived in Panama City via a night bus from Bocas Del Toro. The bus actually leaves from Almirante which is a dingy port town where most people find themselves should they wish to take a water taxi to Bocas Del Toro. We decided to end our time on the island by having a few beers at the Bocas Book Store as it seemed like the logical thing to do. As we left it began to rain aggressively, a sign it was time to leave.
While crossing on the water taxi we experienced torrential rain and it was very rough going. We arrived at Almirante at 6:35pm after catching the 6pm ferry aka the last one of the evening. A $1 taxi ride will get you to the bus station. Should you find yourself taking the bus, dress warmly as it is literally an icebox. Seems like all buses of this nature in C. America or S.E Asia are beyond freezing so dress accordingly. The bus made great time and sped here the entire way. We left at 7pm and arrived at roughly 5am so the voyage took approximately 10 hours. Not bad for those of you searching night bus panama city bocas.
I will note that after years of experience I’ve decided that the best thing to do on these buses besides trying to sleep is nothing. By nothing I mean drink nothing and eat nothing. There is often no bathroom and if there is one, it’s oddly locked. Also the rest rooms at the bus stops they bring you to are a nightmare, I won’t expand on the horrors I recently saw on my single trip to visit one on this recent journey. Also the food can be dicey, if you are going to eat something stick to chips or say chicken that was just fried in front of you.
We had nowhere to stay planned and met these German ladies as well as a Canadian who already had plans and we followed suit. I’m writing this now from the hostel lobby and they have no private rooms. The only logical thing to do is crash until day light before securing a room and hunting for a new laptop. Supposedly laptops and electronics are not cheaper in Panama than say the United States. It’s maybe $100 more a laptop aka not worth a flight home for one. Finally, if you’re in Panama City, $3 or so should be the cab fare you pay for most places you go.
The bus wasn’t great but between the two of us we saved over $200 by skipping the plane, not bad?