12 April, 2013
Friday, April 12, 2013 Airlines, Bocas Del Toro, Moving to Panama, Panama, Relaxation, Seat Sales, TSA, Vacations 3 comments
While still in Bocas, J and I started to compile a list of the pros and cons of the island.
It’s funny to me what made our list – J listed being able to flush toilet paper in the toilet as a major pro because in some countries/locations, you must dispose of used paper waste in a trash can because the plumbing is not equipped for anything except waste.
I on the other hand listed the amount of excess water bottles tossed around as a con. I understand it’s not North America, but the lack of recycling facilities bothered me. Even with the lack of recycling facilities, I was very impressed with how clean and pristine some of the beaches were.
J liked the idea of still being able to purchase oceanfront property. I too like this idea, but my expectations are that we still can’t afford even the smallest amount of oceanfront luxury in Panama.
I was also disappointed in the lack of quality fruits and vegetables. I understand we were on an island, but I thought nice fruits and vegetables would have been more readily available since the island is accessible by a 25 minute boat ride from the mainland where most crops are grown.
Before visiting, we were told to expect a party town atmosphere. We didn’t experience that at all. Yes, there were a lot of bars, restaurants and hostels, so I suppose the potential was there if the stars aligned, but we certainly weren’t witness to it during our visit.
The island certainly had a relaxed vibe to it. There was no hustle or bustle. Modes of transportation were limited but in the same respect, it was easy to get around – bicycle, taxi or water taxi seemed to be the most popular modes. There were very few privately owned vehicles, which made for less road traffic, which of course adds to the whole sense of less hustle and bustle.
If I had to pick what the major con was about Panama, I would have to say getting around the mainland itself. First landing at the international airport and then having to get across town to our hotel close to the domestic airport for our early morning flight to Bocas – 35 minutes later and $40 poorer. Similarly we had to reverse course coming back - landing at the domestic airport in Panama City and needing to get across town to our hotel close to the international airport involved a scary hour+ taxi ride and we were another $40 poorer. Unfortunately, it’s just how it is in Panama City. On the upside, they regulate taxi fares regardless of how long it takes, but still it’s not affordable.
Another con, it took our luggage 3 days to find its way home after we landed. Apparently TSA in Houston “holds” a lot of luggage coming out of Panama. There was nothing of value in it and everything did get to us eventually, it just one of those things we would need to expect and plan for.
As mentioned previously, Bocas Del Toro is still in the running. Next stop? Who knows? Only time will tell where a seat sale will take us…