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  • Writer's pictureDave Jackson

How to get from Bocas del Toro to Boquete without a shuttle

Boquete is the natural next stop on the Gringo trail when working through Panama from Bocas del Toro. Boquete is famous for having the most expensive coffee in the world "Geisha", Boquete is also home to some of Panama's most amazing hiking opportunities, check out Volcan Baru, Lost Waterfalls Hike, Pipeline Trail and our personal favourite La Piedra de Lino hike.


Those living on a budget will want to avoid tourist shuttles as they are always more expensive. I have covered the cost of both the tourist shuttle from Bocas del Toro and how to get from Bocas del Torro to Boquete by public bus.


**This blog was written based on our experience travelling in June 2023, therefore the prices and schedules were correct as of that time.**



Bocas del Toro to Boquete by shuttle


For those not watching the pennies, the shuttle from Bocas del Toro to Boquete is the easy way. Hello Panama offers $30 for a package which includes the boat and shuttle wrapped in one price. The shuttle works both ways and you can book it on Hello Panama's website and confirm your pick-up time.


Bocas del Toro to Boquete without a shuttle


Boat from Bocas del Toro to Almirante


As I’m sure you would have guessed, the first step when leaving Bocas del Toro is to get a boat to the mainland. Depending on where you are in the archipelago will depict the cost, if you are heading from Bocas Town it costs $6 for the 30-minute boat (it’s $10 return if you buy it when you are heading out to Bocas del Toro).


Upon arriving at the port in Almirante it’s time to make your way to the Terminal de

buses a Panamá on the outskirts of Almirante, which is a 25 minute walk or a short taxi if you need to get out of the heat.


Bus from Almirante to David


Unfortunately, there is no direct bus from Almirante to Boquete, unless you take a tourist shuttle. Therefore you will need to get to David and change there. To get from Almirante to David, the bus is an air-conditioned 20-seater shuttle. Our bus left at 11:20 am and arrived in David at 3:25 pm. The bus stops halfway for a 15-minute rest stop, where you can purchase a meal or snacks.


The journey is comfortable but it is windy through the mountains & Becca was glad she had her travel sickness bands on as the driver seemed to be seeing how high he could get the G force on some of the bends. If you suffer from travel sickness and don't have bands, maybe grab yourself some tablets for this bus route.


AC shuttle, $ 9.70 (but we didn’t get change from our $10 😂) and takes about 4 hours. Buses leave roughly every 20 minutes.


Bus from David to Boquete


The final stop on the bus from Almirante is the Terminal de Autobuses David, which luckily is where the bus from David to Boquete leaves from too. When you exit the bus, you need to head into the main terminal as all the drop-offs happen outside the terminal. Inside there is a row of signs detailing where all the buses head to. About halfway down the terminal is the gate where the bus to Boquete leaves from. Ours was a chicken bus, but the earlier bus was more like a coach, also our bus back from Boquete to David a few days later was an airconditioned coach, so it’s a bit of luck of the draw. The buses in Panama don’t get anywhere near as packed as further north in Central America in places like Nicaragua, Guatemala or Honduras, so even the chicken bus was comfy & plenty of room aboard. The buses from David to Boquete leave every 20 minutes.


The bus journey from David to Boquete takes just over an hour, the cost is $1.75 and we travelled by chicken bus but the bus type does vary for the same price.


Summary

You can take a shuttle to travel between Almirante and Boquete and it will be slightly quicker as there won’t be a stop in David. However, the shuttle costs around $30, whereas the local bus is roughly a third of the cost. Happy days! Now you're all set to go, check out our guide to Boquete.


If you take this journey we’d love to hear how you got on and please let us know if any prices change.


Happy travels!


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