The Bocas del Toro Province lies in northwest Panama and includes an archipelago (of the same name) consisting of seven large islands and hundreds of smaller ones. The region is characterized by its landscapes, amazing variety of aquatic species, coral reefs, mangroves, tropical forests, beaches with crystal clear waters, and undisturbed jungles.
The origins of the provinces name are unknown but despite this, among locals there are several stories that are said to be true, such as, when Christopher Columbus, was sailing towards Isla Carenero, he observed a rock similar in shape to that of a "bull lying with its mouth open". it is also said that the sound of the immense waves that hit a large rock in Isla Bastimentos, makes a sound comparable to the roar of a bull. In turn there are those who say that the last native chief of the region was known as "Boka Toro".
Its capital is located on Isla Colon, where you will find its main airport, once there you will be able to explore the island by bicycle or reach to surrounding islands on their charming water taxis. Bocas del Toro offers amazing adventures for nature lovers or those who prefer a laid-back island experience.
These islands are also very popular among divers, birdwatchers, and surfers. They have great seafood and Caribbean cuisine restaurants. Bocas del Toro is known for its Afro-Caribbean vibe blended with the regions indigenous culture, which translates into a joyous and relaxing atmosphere.
This province is home to some UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Panama's first marine park.
Bocas del Toro is considered one of the best ecotourism destinations in the country. Known as the "Galapagos of the Caribbean" it is one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet.
Cayos Zapatillas, Red Frog and Playa Estrella are the 3 most beautiful beaches of the Archipelago, a must visit.
Bocas del Toro is known by many young people who attend it throughout the year as a fun place with the many clubs and party hostels, among the many parties available in Bocas del Toro surely the most famous is Filthy Friday, is Central America’s first and only island hopping day party experience – happening every Friday at 3 picturesque locations across 3 tropical islands in the Caribbean paradise of Bocas del Toro, Panama.
How to get to Bocas del Toro from Panama City?
There are daily flights of about 40 minutes with Air Panama from the "Albrook Marcos A. Gelabert" airport, (also known as the Albrook airport).
The other option (cheaper and more popular with tourists) is the bus journey, lasting about 10 hours. There are departures every day from the Albrook Terminal, the departure times are 6pm, 6:30 pm, 7pm, the ticket cost of only one way is $ 27.80. We recommend buying the ticket the day before the journey directly into the Albrook Terminal, The return reservation must be made at one of the offices in Bocas del Toro, as it cannot be done in Albrook Terminal.
Just a few minutes away from Panama City, and only reachable by "pirogue" (a motor canoe), is the Community of Emberá Querá, located at the mouth of the Gatún River. This indigenous group is native to the Darién, and have come from Chocó, Colombia. The live at the edge of the river in little communities of thatch-roofed palafittes named tambos, which counteract humidity and are made to avoid floods. Men dedicate themselves to manufacturing the famous pirogues, which are canoes made by shaping logs and used to navigate, even during the dry season. Women make splendid baskets, plates, and masks out of vegetal fiber and delicate knitting. They wear collars known as chaquiras that are made out of old silver coins. All of the members of the community use genipa juice to paint their bodies with geometric designs; apparently, that works very well as repellent and has healing properties. The Emberá are also opened to receiving tourist and telling them about the history of the tribe, its cultural wealth, and its traditions.
Our Emberá Community Tour is available every day, visit our Emberá Tour.
Also known as the San Blas Islands, it has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Panama. Famous for its amazing white sand beaches, its clear waters, art and the magnificence of the Guna culture. It is composed of 365 small islands near the Darien coast.
The area was formally known as San Blas, along with the indigenous name of Kuna Yala. In 2011, Panama recognized the wishes of its people and changed it to Guna Yala, since their native tongue the is no phoneme for the letter "K". Guna Yala means "Guna Land" or "Guna Mountain".
These majestic islands are characterized by their beautiful white sand beaches, clear blue-green waters, amazing reefs and aquatic life which include dolphins that seem to greet visitors. It is no wonder that tourists from around the globe flock to these islands, especially during the dry season which spans from December to April. Most of the islands are very small and those that are inhabited are made up of mostly rustic huts.
The Guna women's main pastime is the making of molas, which constitute the main source of income for many families on the island. They are a matriarchal society with a socialist system, where women stay at home sewing and men take care of the coconut plantations along the coast. Some islands are greater in size. As society they are resourceful and independent, operating many of their own island tours and "cabañas". Even though they do not provide all the comforts of the western world, the fish and seafood are some of the freshest most will every try. Traveling between the islands is very easy, our tours to the San Blas Islands are available every day, you can see them on this page.
These islands are truly unique and the perfect place to relax in a hammock between two palms.
Casco Antiguo Spanish School is the only language school located in the UNESCO world heritage site of Casco Viejo, the safest neighborhood in Panama City and one of the coolest in Latin America. The Small Group Intensive is the school’s most popular course and is the fastest way to learn Spanish in the shortest time possible.
The small class sizes, average of 2 to 3 students per group and maximum of 4, ensures you get the personalized attention and practice needed learn how to speak. From total beginners to advanced speakers we offer groups at all levels. The classes are very interactive and focused on conversation, to ensure when you have the confidence to speak the language when you walk out of class.
The course includes a workbook / textbook, free coffee, tea, wifi, and all the material we use in class as well as free daily activities such as sunset bike ride, brewery tour, salsa lessons, and volleyball. These activities are a great way to meet other students and practice your Spanish outside of class.
Cost of each week of Small Group Intensive Course varies depending on the number of weeks you sign up for. The prices for the course are as follows:
1 week: $249
2 weeks: $479
3 weeks: $679
4 weeks: $859
Additional weeks after 4th week: $195
The Casco Door Project is an event organized by the Association of Neighbors and Friends of Casco Antiguo (AVACA by its initials in Spanish), in order to raise funds to promote projects that will culturally and socially improve the essence of Casco, boosting the quality of life of neighbors and residents, while working with public entities to ensure compliance with the law and thus preserving this emblematic historic center, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997.
This event represents the essence of Casco Antiguo, where each door is unique, beautiful and has its own historical and cultural value. All these doors are collected from remodeled buildings of the neighborhood and, it is trough the touch of each artist that their value and authenticity are enhanced.
This emblematic event has grown over the last 5 years and this edition will feature 30 doors painted by a wide range of national and international artists. The exhibition will take place at Casa Pérez Alemán in Casco Antiguo on September 18,2019.
Among the artists that will be participating is Achu Kantule, a painter born in the region of Guna Yala, who is internationally known for his works inspired by the geography, beliefs and traditional arts of Gunas, where the colors of Panamanian molas are combined with textures, under an environmental and ecological approach. Kantule's door reflects his concern about turtles disappearing by plastic pollution, featuring a "nuchu", or sacred element in the Guna culture traditionally carved in human form and used to take care of the house, but in this case, it will protect the turtles.
Ian Begg captures the essence of Casco Antiguo in two original doors. The first one features giant Monstera leaves that represent the abundant nature of Panama; giving new life to the door with acrylic techniques and oil bars. The second door celebrates history by capturing six architectural images of Casco Viejo. The event will also involve Pablo Arosemena, Markelita Reyes, Harry Siegel, among other artists and after the exhibition, a silent auction will be held where it is possible to participate through an app that AVACA will soon release.
The most cosmopolitan capital in Central America, Panama City is both vibrant metropolis and gateway to tropical escapes. Many worlds coexist here.
Welcoming both east and west, Panama is a regional hub of trade and immigration. The resulting cultural cocktail mix leads to a refreshing ‘anything goes’ attitude, more dynamic and fluid than that of its neighbors.
Unflinchingly urban, the capital rides the rails of chaos, with traffic jams, wayward taxis and casinos stacked between chic clubs and construction sites.
A center of international banking and trade, it has a sultry skyline of shimmering glass and steel towers that is reminiscent of Miami. In contrast, the colonial peninsula of Casco Viejo has become a hip neighborhood where cobblestones link boutique hotels with rooftop bars and crumbled ruins with pirate lore.
Escape is never far away.
Day-trip to sandy beaches (Pacific or Caribbean), admire the canal, or explore lush rainforests of howler monkeys, toucans and sloths.
Up until 70% off your shopping price. Black weekend is here full of offers discounts and the best prices. Take advantage of Panama Black Weekend from 13 until 15 of September 2019.
PANAMA BLACK WEEKEND - includes all shopping centers, after the V regional Congress of Hotel and Tourism: ends, the following day will start BLACK WEEKEND from September 13th to 15th in all of Panama shopping malls - with discounts of 30% up to 70%.
Feeling a little tongue-tied? The following glossary will help you break the ice with the Guna.
Be ready with the Guna language before your San Blas Trips.
Note: the second entry in all listings is Spanish, and third is Guna.
Food & Drink
The famous German beer festival originally held in the Bavarian city of Munich since 1810 and better known as Oktoberfest, is currently celebrated in every corner of the world and Panama in not an exception.
This great beer event is organized by La Fábrica in collaboration with Beermarkt, with the scope of enhancing this traditional holiday preserving every detail, from the German decoration with large wooden tables to share fun drinking games and typical German food. All these elements are part of a festive atmosphere cheered up by Oktoberfest's popular "Ein Prosit" song.
The Oktoberfest of La Fábrica will take place on October 5th and 6th at the premises of this original La Fábrica Brewery and Gastrobar, located at the beginning of the Amador Causeway. For this special occasion, La Fábrica will launch a unique craft beer with the name of "Oktoberfest", and customers will also enjoy different original German beers in bottles and cans imported by Beermarkt.
In addition to this wide range of beers, La Fábrica will present a special menu for the event that will feature typical German dishes, including pretzels, sausages and sauerkraut. All these dishes can't be miss at any real Oktoberfest, as well as a delicious smoked surprise prepared especially for the occasion, which is a mystery.
The Oktoberfest begins with the traditional opening ceremony, where everyone will shout aloud "O' zapft is!" when opening the first keg of beer.
With this gesture, the traditional beer festival will begin on October 5th at 3:00 pm.
From that moment on the party will start until the last drop of beer is finished and everyone is invited, from friends, families and pets.
Enjoy La Fábrica's most authentic and challenging games that will take you to the edge like the original "King of kegs", where both teamwork and strength will be tested by having to throw a barrel over a bar that will rise with each try or the original "Ironmano", where whoever has more resistance holding the full mug of beer will be the winner, among other games that will cheer up the event and test your skills.
Tickets are available in the three branches of Beermarkt located in Via Israel, Clayton and Condado del Rey, or at La Fábrica. Presale tickets cost $15 per person and directly at the event $ 20 per person. This price includes a special edition glass beer mug and two beers during the Oktoberfest Panama. In addition, by registering at www.oktoberfestpanama.com you can win different prizes and surprises. For more information, follow them at @oktoberfest.pa and keep up with the new, activities and fun.
La Fabrica is an authentic brewery and gastro bar whose originality lies in the craftsmanship of practically all its gastronomic offer, from the varied beers that supply the creative handmade siphons, to the bread that is baked daily with its own stamp to design a simple and entertaining menu where the original flavors and ingredients made at home are reflected in each of their dishes created to surprise palates.
You can enjoy there thematic evening parties with live music rock bands or retro music nights and during the afternoons it is difficult to find a free table. Unique atmosphere and amazing and friendly staff of La Fabrica makes you feel at home.
The food menu includes culinary suggestions and it is all fresh made and produce by La Fabrica Chef starting with Chorizo, Home Maid bread, Hummus, Moroccan style fish and many more specialities of the house. Let yourself be challenged! Ask for 'El Nino' - competition for the beer experts. It consists of drinking of 2.5 litres jar of beer in 5 minutes without stopping; or the 'Great Temple' this challenge is to eat a huge burger tower in 18 minutes.
San Blas Dreams Panama invites you to visit La Fabrica! World's 1st steampunk themed brewery where you will try crafted beer & extraordinary food all that in great welcome atmosphere.
phone+507 302 6266 • +507 655 06502
addressLa Fabrica, Amador, Causeway, Panama City
All people can be part of this blog, tell us about your experience in San Blas Islands or some tips for traveling to Panama.