Cerro Punta to Island Bastimentos Panama

Cerro Punta to Island Bastimentos

-via Bocas del Toro, Panama-

Island Bastimentos

©Exploramum and Explorason – This area is known as cloud forests

Today we journey from Cerro Punta to Island Bastimentos in Panama BUT when we set out this as NOT our planned destination!  I have not been feeling well (since I have a head cold). So the day starts slowly because we are meant to head off about 7:00 a.m. But it is after 9 by the time we bid farewell to our new friends Cerro Punta and heads down the hills to David. One of the best ways to enjoy your family travel adventure in a place is always to use friends like these. They have been great luxury travel experts for us, offering us the best advice throughout our single parent travel in the area.

The sky is grey and spots of rain splash on the windscreen. It is a good day to be on the inside of a vehicle and heading to the Caribbean Islands.

Arriving at The Bus Terminal

We farewell the volcano in the distance and drive into David, which is out of control. We queue with our bags for over two hours. About one in 50 people are tourists. So I ask a couple from the USA if I am waiting for the right bus. I get “we hope so” as an answer. Yikes – I consult my map and it seems to be the right place we are heading to.

There are two towns we can use to catch the dispatch boats. I select the one closest for a shorter water taxi ride and I hope this is right. I am traveling ‘blind’, with no information.

Island Bastimentos

©Exploramum and Explorason – David Bus Terminal

Front of Minivan

Now, this bus terminal has minivans down one end and buses down the other so we have to find where to go. We ask to sit at the front of the minivan as my son gets motion sickness. The hills are so windy, it was nice to be at the front.

Island Bastimentos

©Exploramum and Explorason – Enjoying the front seat of the minivan

The hills were indeed so windy because we are heading through the mountain ranges or the cloud forest. But it was so lovely to have a great seat – and a window we could open.

No Restroom

One thing that is difficult with travel we are fast learning is the lack of restrooms.   I get so dehydrated as I can’t drink enough water all due to the lack of toilets.

Island Bastimentos

©Exploramum and Explorason – We pass a beautiful reservoir


As the minivan winds its way through the pretty countryside we notice that the houses look quite poor. However, every now and then you spy a grand home.

Island Bastimentos

©Exploramum and Explorason – Country families are often poor

Livestock Onboard

This family in the photo below has been on the bus with us. The girl has some sort of live bird in a plastic bag. She has queued the 2 hours with us. This poor bird has had no food or water and my son is quite upset about this.

Island Bastimentos

©Exploramum and Explorason – There is a chicken in the black bag

A Wee Break

We finally get one toilet stop in five hours! Then we get to Almirante and have to catch a car taxi to the water taxi. The water taxi will take us to Bocas del Toro.

A German traveler helps us work out where to go. It is getting late – 5:00 p.m.but this is definitely the right place, as we once more have tourists around us.

Island Bastimentos

©Exploramum and Explorason – At the boat dispatch area

Water Taxi

As we get into the water taxi to Bocas del Toro, there behind us is the USA couple that helped us at the David bus terminal. They were on the bus before us and actually arrived after us.

Island Bastimentos

©Exploramum and Explorason – on the water taxi

My son thinks ‘hitting the water’ to Bocas del Toro is fabulous. He enjoys as the water taxi hits the water like cement and we have rock-like thuds. It makes me feel revolting. The worse I feel, the more he laughs.

Island Bastimentos

©Exploramum and Explorason – Laughing at his mother


The sun is setting as we head towards Bocas del Toro and we unknowingly see an island Isla Bastimentos in the distance. I have no accommodation booked but part of me loved the adventure of it all.

Island Bastimentos

©Exploramum and Explorason – The sun begins to set

Bocas del Toro

Bocas del Toro has developed so quickly and it is not the quaint town I pictured it to be. We wander the streets for 2 hours with all our bags trying to find a hotel or hostel. The taxis refuse to stop for us and I do NOT like this town at the moment.

Island Bastimentos

©Exploramum and Explorason – Heading to Bocas del Toro

Let’s change destinations!

Fortunately, I suddenly remember a guy we met in Cerro Punta. He had written the name of a German Guesthouse on a close-by island called Island Bastimentos.

So we head back to the wharf for another water taxi. My son has had enough by now and he just wants me to get him something to eat!

Island Bastimentos

©Exploramum and Explorason – This boy has had enough!

We arrive at Guesthouse Tio Tom’s and they say at first they are full. But then they change their minds and decide we can have the ‘Kindergarten Room’ with ensuite bathroom.

Now keep in mind this is NOT a luxury stay – this is basic island living but we do not mind.

The beds are low as this is a child’s room. I am fortunate that I am lightweight and they allow me the use of the room albeit basic, we are happy. Sometimes it is not luxury that matters, but the experience.

I could have hugged them!

Over The Water

It was a nice clean room over the water – literally. You could not get any closer to the water unless you swim in as it is right below the floorboards.

Island Bastimentos

©Exploramum and Explorason – The bright bedroom area

Island Bastimentos

©Exploramum and Explorason – The kindergarten suite


We head down along the water’s edge and find a nice guesthouse that makes dinner. As we sit over the water, we are thankful that everything has turned out just fine.

Island Bastimentos

©Exploramum and Explorason – Dinner over the water

We are on a Caribbean Island on Isla Bastimentos – yeah!

Sleeping Over The Water

Sleeping OVER the water on Isla Bastimentos is one of the amazing world experiences we have had. We like staying in unusual places, ad we make the best of every situation.  This is definitely a unique place to stay with friendly service.
Island Bastimentos

©Exploramum and Explorason – Relaxing in a hammock

Isla Bastimentos Panama And Illness When Traveling

Reader Questions and Comments

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  • Have you ever been to Isla Bastimentos?
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