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San Blas or Bocas?

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St. Louis, Missouri
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491 posts
105 reviews
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San Blas or Bocas?

We're planning a trip to Panama and have a few days in which I want to go to one or the other... both sound amazing. Does anyone have a preference? We are looking for natural beauty and relaxation. Any recommendations of where to stay are also appreciated!

Atlanta
Destination Expert
for Jaco, Bocas Town
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3,965 posts
128 reviews
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1. Re: San Blas or Bocas?

I haven't been to San Blas. Every year I look at going and research myself out of it. Mosquitoes and No Seeums love me. Usually at dusk I go indoors to avoid the worst time for getting bit. The affordable lodging in San Blas doesn't offer me enough protection from the blood suckers.

I love Bocas Del Toro. I can find an affordable place on the water with a/c (to keep the blood suckers away). I can be in a town or get away from everyone.

One day when I can afford to stay at the fancy a/c place in San Blas I do want to go.

Olympia, Washington
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321 posts
115 reviews
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2. Re: San Blas or Bocas?

When are you coming? What time of year?

Relaxing and natural beauty would also signal Boquete to me. But Bocas is ideal. We were there in September. Very Caribbean however.

If you want info on Boquete and this area let me know. Loved it so much we moved here!

St. Louis, Missouri
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491 posts
105 reviews
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3. Re: San Blas or Bocas?

Hi Florence, I'll be coming at the end of May or beginning of June.

I am DEFINITELY coming to Boquete! We are planning that as a for sure part of our itinerary.

We would like to hike the Quetzales trail and go to the hot springs. We'll probably be there 2-3 full days. Any other suggestions you have are welcome.

Olympia, Washington
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321 posts
115 reviews
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4. Re: San Blas or Bocas?

Let's see; Mi Jardin es su Jardin, Cafe Ruiz coffee plantation tour, Sitio Bariles.

Good places to eat; The Rock (high end restaurant), La Pianista (best pizza in town, the owner is Sicilian married to a Panamanian and been here 18 years), Machu Picchu (budget friendly local owner and local food.

5. Re: San Blas or Bocas?

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Philadelphia, PA
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59 posts
10 reviews
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6. Re: San Blas or Bocas?

we went to San Blas during our trip last week. I can't compare it to Bocas b/c I haven't been, but going to San Blas was neat. it was very pretty and cool to see all the tiny islands and go through the Kuna Yala village to see how natives live.

For San Blas you can travel by plane (with an overnight stay at their very basic village) or you can go for a day trip where you get up at 5am, spend 2 hours on a VERY shaky windy road +45 mins on a boat getting there, then spending ~4-5 hours going between a few islands, having a local lunch and visiting the village before the 3 hour trip home. We only had a day so did not spend the night. It cost is $135pp. Let me know if you want me to give you the email of the guide we went with. Have a great time!

LN
Panama City, Panama
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5,784 posts
76 reviews
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7. Re: San Blas or Bocas?

San Blas Islands are totally governed by the Kuna Indians. No other restaurants will be available, except at the island you stay on, usually not fancy food....hot dogs even for breakfast, lol. They have little "hut" stores where you can buy water, beer, snacks.

San Blas Islands are pretty much rustic places to stay and Kuna take travelers to different islands each day to snorkel in the clear blue waters. The only water taxis are the cut outs the Kuna travel in and if the weather is rough, it can be a scary ride and a wet one, lol. I suggest you read the reviews and stay at a highly rated place. There are some that are not clean, terrible food and termite eaten "hotels". Trust the reviews.

tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g150794-San_Blas_Paci…

Some travelers go on yacht trips, wherein they stay on the yacht, and the skipper cooks your meals.

San Blas is quiet............most of the islands only have electricity on for a short time in the evening, so bring a book light to read as that will most likely be your "night life".

Bocas can be a party place, but many many different restaurant options..

Depends on what you like.

Edited: 30 November 2012, 19:37
8. Re: San Blas or Bocas?

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