Farewell Isla Careneros – Hello Bocas del Toro Panama

Farewell Isla Carenero

Hello Bocas del Toro Panama

Bocas del Toro Panama

©Exploramum and Explorason – Farwell to Isla Careneno as we head to speed off in our boat.

We would like to spend some more time at our resort before we head to Bocas Del Toro Panama. We really don’t want to leave because this island feels like paradise.


©Exploramum and Explorason – Planning our day with our travel guidebooks

Paddle Boats

So our morning seems to drag. Once again we are entitled to include free activities. So we select the paddle boats and take off after a healthy breakfast.

island fun

©Exploramum and Explorason – exercise after breakfast

Being on the road this long has turned us into reputable travel experts so we are told. People who understand that the beauty of family travel is in the details. As a single Mum, I tend to consider any activity that would be fun for me and my son. It is the secret to having a fun-filled travel life.

Paddle boat

©Exploramum and Explorason – it’s sunny as we head off on the paddle boat

We head out around the rocks and paddle as fast as we can go. It is so shallow and hard work and we go nowhere fast.

paddle boat

©Exploramum and Explorason – Explorason is quite a ways out to sea

Crystal Clear Water

But then we are out in the sea between Bastimentos and Carenero. It is beautiful, blue and clear.

clear water

©Exploramum and Explorason – swimming in the clear blue ocean

My boy decides it is time to feel the water and jumps in, off the paddle boat. The water is divine. It is so warm and clear and so I am in before I know it.


©Exploramum and Explorason – Explorason takes a jump

Then he decides it is my turn to paddle while he sits at the back and is chauffeured around. I can feel myself burning off yesterday’s birthday food – a great idea!


©Exploramum and Explorason – jumping off the back of the paddle boat

Time To Go

We head back to our room and pack up. It will be so sad to leave this place. We have to go to Bocas del Toro Panama for just one night so we can get the early bus out.

No Taxis

Once we get to Bocas del Toro Panama I immediately remember how much I do not like this town. We can’t get a taxi – in fact we get ignored for over 1/2 hour. This happened last time we came through here too

Bocas Del Toro Panama

©Exploramum and Explorason – our cabana on Bocas Del Toro Panama

Arriving at our Accommodation

We finally get to the Hostal Mar Iguanas and it is way out of town. The room is not ready, but the manager is nice and the place is of a cleanly standard. We have decided to stay at hostels vs hotels because we want to meet people and have felt hotels for one night don’t give us such an opportunity.

Pirate - Bocas del Toro Panama

©Exploramum and Explorason – sightseeing around Bocas del Toro

Time For A Bus

We watch a movie and wait for the next bus time for the Starfish Beach.

We wait and wait and wait for a bus. It never comes, and after 1 hour I am a right complainer! My son actually tells me to “suck it up, Mum”. I am learning that Bocas del Toro Panama is a layback town where things just happen in people’s own time.

ATM Runs Out Of Money

I laugh as we walk 20 minutes to the bank after there is no bus and we give up trying to go that direction by bus to Starfish beach. But, the day goes on with challenges and they seem to go hand-in-hand with Bocas del Toro Panama so we seem to find.

The ATM cash machine at the bank then runs out of money! Yep – it gives me $200 in $5 notes and then quits. So, we wait for 1/2 while it is refilled because we need cash for our travels the next few days.

We need so much cash since we will be going to a remote area, but I hate carrying so much cash. In fact, this is the one thing I rarely do. However, we soon learn that hiding cash can be a godsend when ATM’s fail to work, or can’t be found.

delicious food

©Exploramum and Explorason – talented chef

Looking Around Bocas Del Toro Panama

Without private transport, we find it difficult to look around the island.  We tend to have to walk and it is hot.

Bocas del Toro Panama

©Exploramum and Explorason – giant nail and screw

Attitude Check

I start to grumble about how much I don’t like this place. My son tells me off again! Travel can present way more challenges than day-to-day life back home.  Things do not go at YOUR pace, and it is important to learn to go with the flow and lose the stress whenever you can.

We get information that there is a BBQ and music night at the hostel. I groan – oh no – we need an early night and it will be noisy, but I realize I need an attitude check, so I pull myself into line. Tonight we ARE going to have a good time!

Bocas del Toro Panama

©Exploramum and Explorason – Enjoying the company of happy locals

Having Fun

That night we meet some fab fun staff at the BBQ.

The cook is one heck of a muscly guy and full of smiles.  He has that Caribbean flair to him and he is like a magnet to happiness.  He awesome and engages with my son well. He makes him a great chicken dinner and the food is delicious. This is where experiencing new foods has cured my son of his fussy eating too.

Fussy Eating Kids – Cure Them With Travel

A Great Night Singing

It ends up being a great night and my attitude shift works. We realize we would like to return to Bocas Del Toro Panama with a planned time at a resort.  We would also like to rent our own vehicle next time and go exploring.

But meanwhile back at the BBQ. there is a guy on guitar singing reggae. We sing along to any of the songs that are in English.

Bocas del Toro Panama

©Exploramum and Explorason – BBQ dinner


It starts raining heavily so the night ends early and we head off to bed. The music goes on as we fall asleep but I don’t mind.

It has ended what could have been a bad experience into a good one and I am learning to make the best of what we get. It is a good attitude check!

As I fall asleep, the ‘drip, drip, drip’ starts as the room leaks in the corner. This happens in several places later on in our travels.  I pull our stuff away from that corner and fall asleep.

Tomorrow we have a new adventure, But for tonight, I drift off to the tapping rhythm of the rain.

Questions and Comments

  • Have you been to Panama?
  • Which island in panama did you tour?
  • How was your experience?
  • Do share your opinions and comments with us below.

Search through Bocas del Toro

special deals HERE

2 thoughts on “Farewell Isla Careneros – Hello Bocas del Toro Panama

  1. Hi..my husband raves about Panama as a great (and cheaper/less developed) alternative to Costa Rica. It’s great to find a blog on someone who has taken kids so I don’t have to just rely on the word of my husband from his visit 20 years ago! We have 5 & 6 year old boys. I’m going to go through your other posts but did you do anything jungle orientated (on a par with Costa Rica?). Thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *