By Kimberly Roberts

Forget apples and snakes in the original Eden story. Let me tell you the BEST ways to get to Bocas del Toro, the closest I’ve found to paradise on earth!

Recently, I’ve been helping my friend David navigate his way from the US to come visit me in Bocas del Toro. So let me share with you, dear adventurer, what I’ve shared with David as the BEST options getting here….

Political location map of Bocas del Toro.

OPTION ONE – Via San Jose, Costa Rica
Now, if you’re in a hurry to get here (and why wouldn’t you be?), then the closest major international airport is San Jose, Costa Rica.

Direct/More Cost Method: It often has more frequent flights to San Jose and, also less expensive ones too. You can, if you want to allow for time, take some time to see yet another country, Costa Rica, before arriving here in paradise. There are also flights direct from San Jose to Bocas Del Toro via Nature Air. These ticket prices vary depending on season/deals.

More Time/Less Cost Method: If you don’t take a flight with NatureAir, then you will likely need to stay in San Jose overnight before catching a bus from San Jose to Changuinola, then to Bocas Del Toro. This requires a border crossing and switching buses/transport in Changuinola. Here is a great detailed step-by-step on how to do THAT. You can also find private shuttle/transport here. Either way, just figure costs of about $50 – $60 for bus, plus you’ll need $28 for exit fee from Costa Rica to Panama as well as proof on onward transporation.

OPTION TWO – Via Panama City, Panama (PTY)
Now the other way, and what I ended up recommending to David, was this option – direct to Panama City. Why? Well, less hassle basically. Easier. Bonus, as you are so close whether when flying in, or when you fly out, you should definitely arrange for extra time to visit the Panama Canal – a true engineering feat! You’re that close and you know you’ll regret it if you don’t – so just do it. 🙂

Direct/More Cost Method: Less hassle than going thru Costa Rica. You can also fly direct from Panama City to Bocas Del Toro via Air Panama (note: the link will come up in native Spanish, but at top right hand corner of website, you can switch language to English). Flights from here are a quick hop of about sixty minutes. Flight prices vary depending on season/deals but generally are about $120/each way.

More Time/Less Cost Method: Now, if you don’t fly direct to Bocas from Panama City, then again you are doing the bus and your best option here is the overnight bus. You must make it to the bus terminal before 7 pm when it leaves. You can just sleep on these modern, air-conditioned buses to Almirante, where you will arrive about 7 am the next morning, and wake up ready to take your first water taxi to Bocas; just another 30 minutes away. Figure approximately $65 (taxi to bus station, bus ticket), plus $6 for water taxi.

MISCELLANEOUS INFO – It should be noted here that there are indeed SEVERAL other methods to get here to Bocas Del Toro. These were just the two I picked as BEST for my friend and what I would recommend to you as well. Having said that, one of the best resources I found for getting to Bocas Del Toro is the info provided to students at Habla Ya Panama, one of the best immersive programs to learn Spanish here.

Whichever way you decide to make it to Bocas Del Toro, the islands, it’s beauty, I’m sure you’ll join me in saying Eden has a new address.

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