After all the research and modifications (see Panama Trip and Beware of the Fine Print posts), our plans are set for our exploratory trip to Panama. In mid-November we are heading to the Boquete, Panama area to check it out and see if it might be the next place we want to live (for a few months).
After discovering the air fare was very expensive for a short flight, we decided we're going to try taking the bus - quite a bit longer, but a WHOLE lot cheaper. We'll also get a chance to see some new parts of the country. Some of you have asked about what kind of bus we'll be taking. It's not a "chicken and goat" bus, nor is it an old school bus or a retired Greyhound bus from The States. They are nice, modern buses - pictured above. It will be interesting taking a 9 hour bus ride (includes 2 hrs for border crossing and some meal/rest stops). I haven't spent that much time on a bus since I was in college.
Here's a look at the route I assume we'll be taking:
The bus schedule is not very desirable, as far as our itinerary goes. We will get into David, Panama (where we will pick up our rental car) about 9pm. When we return, the bus comes through David between 5-6am. For that reason, we decided to spend the first and last night in David, rather than driving to or from Boquete, which is about 35-40 minutes away.
Here's what the whole trip entails:
- Take a taxi from our apartment to the bus depot in Atenas (normally we would walk, but we'll have luggage)
- Take a bus into San Jose (about 1 hour)
- Take a taxi from the San Jose bus depot to the Tica Bus depot (also in San Jose)
- Take the Tica Bus from San Jose to David, Panama (approx 9 hours)
- Take a taxi from the David bus depot to the hotel, spend the night
- Take a taxi to the airport in David the next morning to pickup our rental car
- Drive to Boquete where we will spend a week in a hotel. During our stay we will drive to different destinations and look for an area where we would want to live. We also plan to connect with the expat community, which is quite active in Boquete, to get some tips and advice.
- The evening before our return, we'll return our rental car to the airport in David and take a taxi to a local hotel (the same one we stayed at the first night)
- Take a taxi to the bus depot EARLY in the morning
- Catch the Tica Bus back to San Jose
- Take a taxi from the Tica Bus terminal to the downtown San Jose bus depot
- Take a bus from San Jose to Atenas
- Take a taxi from the Atenas bus depot to our apartment
Sounds pretty simple, huh?
We're looking forward to visiting a new country and exploring the Boquete area. I have to be frank, though, I'm not looking forward to the bus ride(s).
We'll let you know what happens.
Posted by Mark