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Perks of Crossing into Panama

Perks of Crossing into Panama from Costa Rica: buying and then refunding a $1000 plane ticket to get through customs 


Oh the joys of getting from point A to point B, especially when it’s from one country to the next. I’m not sure why this activity makes me anxious … I’ve literally travelled to over 10 different countries by myself and yet every time I need to figure out how to get from one place to the other- my mind goes off. 

I have just landed at my second homestay in Bocas del Toro on the back of my Spanish teachers motorcycle and from what I can see so far, it’s the island of very colourful buildings, bars, and coffee shops! I think I’m going to like it here. But before I jump into Bocas, let’s retell the tale of how I managed to get here. 

The last two days have been very busy travel days. I took a local bus from Jacó to San Jose, that I almost missed because I was sitting at the wrong bus stop across the street. Whoops. Luckily my seat was beside a super sweet chick named Laura who was from San Jose. We had many things in common like learning to surf, travelling, etc and when we got close to San Jose she offered to drive me to my hostel. This was a really nice offer because my hostel had warned me of scamming taxis at the bus station so I happily accepted. It’s these little connections that make me believe that people are good. 

San Jose was nothing to get excited about (to be fair I didn’t really give it any time) and I just stayed the night hanging out at cafe beside my hostel and then to bed. I stayed in a dorm room that had single beds and not bunk beds, which made it feel much quieter and it was very easy to get to sleep. Thank you fellow backpackers. 

Maza Cafe beside Hostal Casa Del Parque

This morning my shuttle picked me up on time and I was lucky to only share the shuttle with one other girl. We arrived in Puerta Viejo with two hours to spare before getting into a separate van to take us to the Panama border. Once you pay the exit fee of $8USD you walk across this no mans land bridge towards the Panama border. 

This is where the fun began. The new guide told me that the border does not accept boat or bus tickets out of Panama, it needed to be a airplane ticket. Since I am going through San Blas with Sean on the 30th, I didn’t have a plane ticket out. Luckily there was wifi so I could buy some sort of ticket out of Panama back to Canada. 
I was running out of time so I ended up purchasing a $1000 ticket from Panama City to Toronto. Thank god for credit cards. Here is the proof l showed to the customs guard:

He looked at it for approximately 10 seconds and then stamped my passport. 

The rest of the trip was smooth sailing (well kinda rocky speed boat ride). Another car took us to the marine dock and then we took a speed boat to Isla Colon in Bocas del Toro. It felt kinda like Muskoka without the massive boathouses (although I’m sure there is an island here like that!) 

Now when crossing into the other countries I am headed towards I will make sure to do my due diligence before just showing up at the border. 

Spanish class starts again tomorrow at 8am. Hasta luego! 


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