How to get to Bocas del Toro

Coming from San Jose, Costa Rica


There are three ways to get here, by bus, by rented car and by plane


The port of Almirante is 280 km away from San Jose Costa Rica, then the island is just a 25 min boat ride from there.


If you have to stay the night in Costa Rica we recomend to stay in one of the hotels near the airport, Whyndham, Marriot, Ramada, etc.

To move around San Jose we recommend using Uber.

If you want to split the trip in two days try to spend the night in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. It is a very  nice caribbean town which is worth checking out.


By rented Car

Plan your trip to not leave San Jose later than 11: 00 AM in order to have plenty of time to make it all the way to the island.

Keep in mind that Panama is one hour ahead of Costa Rica and that the border closes at 18:00 Costa Rican Time and the last taxi boat to the island leaves at 18:30 PM


The only company that allows the car to be dropped at the border is Alamo. Tel +506 2242 7733 and when you do the reservation you must tell them that the car will be dropped at the border Sixaola and tell them the dropp off time. it costs around 100.00 usd for an economic or 160.00 usd for a large Toyota 


At San Jose‘s International Airport there is a free shuttle to takes you to the rental company. From there you have to set your destination Sixaola (which is the border between Costa Rica and Panama) 250 km and usually is driven in 4.5 to 5 hours. 

Once at the border you leave the car at Mayelas parking and give the keys to the parking staff.  They will charge you one dollar.  In case you drop it off at a different time call Alamos office in Puerto Viejo and let them know +506  27500579


The border procedures takes around 20 min, although sometimes there are lots of people and can take up to an hour.

Once in the Panamenian side you can take a taxi to the port of Almirante (40 km and its done in 1 hour)  which price should be around 30.00 usd for a private or 10.00 usd for a shared bus.


At Almirante you have to take a water taxi to the island which takes around 30 min. Tell your driver to drop you off at TAXI 25. They leave every 30 mins and the price is 5.00 usd.


Once on the island you walk to your left towards the port or ask anybody direccions to La Buga, we are 400 mts away from Taxis 25 office.



By Plane


it’s a 45 min flight and the airport it’s right in the middle of town, within walking distance to the main street and  700m away from La Buga flyes on Fridays and Sundays and the round trip price is around 240 us. They use Pavas airport in San Jose and they leave SJ at 11:40 AM. Return from Bocas its at 16:05 PM and their contact phone is + 506 4000 2030

By Bus


Transportes Mepe  ( tel +506 27580618) terminal is downtown San Jose and they have buses leaving direct to Sixaola border at 6:00 am8:00 am10:00 am2:00 pm and 4:00 pm. it takes around 5.5 hours. The price is about 11.00 usd one way.


Once at the border the procedure is the same descrived above in the rented car section.