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13 days in Costa Rica and Panama

Randers
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13 days in Costa Rica and Panama

Hi,

is it possible to go to Arenal when we also wish to visit Panama? Or should we just head to the carribean cost? It seems, like there is far less to se and do there.

In Panama we are looking at Boquete and the Islands.

Any hints? It is our first time in Costa Rica and Panama. We are arriving late saturday in San Jose and leave early on friday, 13 days later.

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Panama
Panama
Central America
Atlanta, GA
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1. Re: 13 days in Costa Rica and Panama

Getting from Arenal to Boquete is tricky. best bet would probably be to fly from San jose to bocas del toro (nature air), and then you have to land transfer or air panama over to boquete from there, then air transfer from David back to panama city and home. Doable, but a lot of internal air which can get expensive. It would be less expensive to skip Boquete, do Arenal, Costa Rica Caribbean coast (using shared shuttle transportation or a rental car), and then you can Caribe shuttle to Bocas, maybe fly nature air back to San Jose. If you're coming from the US, most times, the air roundtrip into San Jose is usually less expensive and offers better flight schedules than Panama City. There is Copa service between SJO and PTY daily, but Air Panama for internal air in Panama isn't always reliable. Boquete to Bocas is a 5-6 hr bus ride. There is a lot in terms of tours and attractions in the southern Caribbean of Costa Rica, and the area is really beautiful and relatively less touristy than most of the other beach areas in the country.

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Panama City
Panama City
Panama Province, Panama
Panama
Panama
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Caribbean
Caribbean
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Slovenia
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2. Re: 13 days in Costa Rica and Panama

13 days and you are afraid that you will be bored, if staying only in Costa Rica??!! Don't be, even the Caribbean side (Sarapiqui, Tortuguero, Puerto Viejo) has more then you could possibly explore in 13 days.

If going to Panama is "must-do" then follow the above advice and do the shuttle tour from puerto Viejo to Bocas del Toro.

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Caribbean
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Panama
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Randers
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3. Re: 13 days in Costa Rica and Panama

I am comming from Europe, and are flying in to SJO and home from PTY.

I would love to see both countries, and on a map, it seems doable to go from San Juan to Tortuguero on a organized trip, on to Puerto Vieje, then to Bocas, Boquete and David for the plane to Panama City.

How does this sound? Alternative more time in Costa Rica, a few days in Bocas then plane to Panama City to se the canal. But then we would miiss out on Quetzal hike in Panama. So where can we do a one-day walk/hike in Costa Rica?

And finally - reading different countries travel advise, it seems Costa Rica is more "dangerous" than Panama . any thoughts?

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San Juan
San Juan
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Panama City
Panama City
Panama Province, Panama
Panama
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Chicago, Illinois
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4. Re: 13 days in Costa Rica and Panama

1. San Jose overnight

2. Transfer to Tortueguro for 2 nights

3. Transfer to the south Carriibean coast for 4 nights. Visit Jaguar Rescue Center, hike at Cahuita National Park, spend a day at the beach at Punta Uva or take a surfing lesson

4. Take Caribe shuttle to Bocas del Toro for 3 nights. Check out great snorkeling by boat here.

5. Fly Bocas/Panama City for 3 nights - spend 1 day seeing the canal, 1 day on a boat trip upriver on the Chagres to visit the Embera people and 1 day to explore the city.

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Panama City
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5. Re: 13 days in Costa Rica and Panama

When are you going....there's kind of a season for the best opportunity to see Quetzals. You can hike just about anywhere, but there are areas where you chances of specifically seeing a Quetzal are increased (along with time of year). It depends on what sort of environment you want to hike around in...there's 4 kinds of forest to see in Costa Rica alone. Your plan to do San Jose, Tortugero, Puerto Viejo, Bocas, then Panama City makes logistical sense. Most of Tortugero is packages including meals, transportation and some tours. You will need to depart from San Jose (pickups are usually early in the am), but they can drop you off in Moin or Guapiles where you can pick up a transfer to Puerto Viejo and go on from there. In terms of safety, Panama City is substantially larger than San Jose and Panama doesn't get as much tourism press as Costa Rica does, so it may be a matter of volume of reporting. I've never personally had an issue in either place, but I feel safer in Costa Rica than I do in Panama a general rule. Once you get outside of San Jose, the crime rate goes down. Take normal tourist precautions.

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Panama City
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Randers
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6. Re: 13 days in Costa Rica and Panama

We are arriving in early february. We love to do 1 day hikes by ourself to keep cost down. Comming from Denmark, all kind of rainforrest or other kind of forrest is of great interest and very different than what we are used to.

My wife are afraid of the water, so snorkeling and sufring is not an option :-) Should we go to Boquete and spend 2 days there, instead of snorkeling and surfing?

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Denmark
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Punta Uva, Costa...
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7. Re: 13 days in Costa Rica and Panama

I would do as crfan suggested in previous post. Since wife doesn't like water, maybe skip Tortugyuero and add Boquete, be warned that the bus ride from Almirante to Boquete and then to Panama City is long.

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Almirante
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Bocas del Toro Province, Panama
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8. Re: 13 days in Costa Rica and Panama

A lot to do in 13 days. Some cutting would make it more comfortable. Suggestion. Make a list of the places in order of your priority. Some could be considered more of the same. Folks could then offer suggestions that are more meaningful to you. As to the canal.. are you taking one of the tours into the wildlife areas or just going to Miraflores locks. The latter is interesting but after watching the ships going up and down a couple times you are ready to leave. Safety. This is my field. Costa Rica gets a bad rap...partially linked to days gone by and excontras who settled there. Ticos still say Nicaraguans are responsible for much of the crime. Downtown San Jose around the bus station and warehouses can be dangerous...especially at night. The commercial and business areas of downtown face mainly pickpockets and opportunistic bag thieves. I've never been robbed.. but then I never am. Once out of San Jose the crime rate drops. Things happen. People get mugged in Vatican City. Paris and the gypsy kid gangs are more dangerous. As to Panama, I rate it quite a bit more dangerous. Colon is a no go. You can be violently robbed in the middle of the day on a main street. Panama City isn't overly safe. I once was on the Malecon taking photos. A local came up and said be carefull as there had been a lot of robberies in the area. In all of Central America none of the capital cities are pleasant and secure. San Jose is probably the safest. Panama City about mid range.

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Paris
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Ile-de-France, France
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Panama
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Panama City
Panama Province, Panama
9. Re: 13 days in Costa Rica and Panama

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