By Kimberly Roberts

Being a writer, a business consultant, and a lifestyle strategist, I’ve got a few things on the go at all times. So ‘getting things done’ is kinda a natural state for me. ‘Getting things done’ in a foreign country though, admittedly, has been learned over several bumps and bruises in many countries.

‘Getting things done’ on the islands? Well, that my friend, is a whole nother thing!

They say that its all in who you know, right? Well, here in the islands of Bocas del Toro, I have learned that is ever more true. Like Oscar and Big Bird sang about during my childhood ‘The People In Your Neighbourhood’ – knowing the people in your neighbourhood is critical to getting things done here.

With that in mind, let me introduce you to the folks in my lil’ neighbourhood here, who along the way, helped me ‘get things done’ here – Bocas-style:

At the Banco Nacional, there is the security guard who I see frequently. You see, there is only one ATM site on all the islands, and it’s here where he works. Always greeting me with a smile and a wave, he is also a frequent resource in knowing where to find the ‘best of’ anything. If you’re on a quest for something – he is your guy!

Then there is the ever resourceful ‘Richard’ who is a super friendly Asian man at one of the local hardware stores and owner with his family of the local, sweetly air-conditioned BR Mall. He is a master of orchestrating getting over seemingly insurmountable obstacles; you know, like getting a fridge, and a stove, and propane tank from one island to another.

If you have a need for internet at your Bocas home, and let’s face it – in this day and age, who doesn’t? – then you will need to know ‘Victor’ and his team down at the Cable Onda office (just down the street from the Banco Nacional). This is where you go to get your internet set up. Your only requirements are your passport and dinero. Oh, and a happy little surprise is, that unlike their internet counterparts in North America, they really did (at least for me) come at the time they said they would. Shocking!

You’ll definitely want to know ‘Mary’ – the owner of the local marina on Isla Carenero. She has been an islander for 19 years and has carved out a beautiful life here for herself. She also knows e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e and is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to all things water pumps. (Thanks again Mary for the insights!)

If you’re interested in great stories, you won’t find better characters to hang out with, enjoy a view and a brew with, than the gang at ‘The Pub’. It’s here I’ve had the privilege to hang with accomplished authors, surfing vets, hospital super stars, poets, chefs, artists, other bar/restaurant owners and more. Why, I even met with the daughter of one who started Peace Corps with JFK! Can I just tell you – WOW! What conversations I have had here! Oh, and by the way, take it from this farmer’s daughter – you gotta have a burger at ‘The Pub!’ BEST I’ve had since leaving the US!

This list I’ve shared, doesn’t even take into account the far-too-many-to-mention smiles and generous spirits of the unnamed locales I’ve met along the way, who gave a hand when needed, jumped in to offer assistance or advice and more.

Yes, Big Bird – it really is all about ‘The People In Your Neighbourhood’ and I love my Bocas del Toro neighbours!


Written by: International Speaker & Lifestyle Strategist, Kimberly Roberts is the Chief Rebel-rouser, founder of Rebel Livin’. In her 20+ years of corporate management, she saw too many punching in and out of life, so she made it her mission to influence others to live their ‘somedays’ TODAY!  Her adventures include holding an elected office at 16, going from fair queen to soldier, driving a CASCAR and IndyLite car, being featured on Vanity Fair – all to have kickass stories when she’s 90!  When not helping others with their adventures, this proud mom can be found tweeting @RebelLiveN and writing for