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Travelling with an 18 month old toddler

San Francisco
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124 posts
7 reviews
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Travelling with an 18 month old toddler

We've been to Bocas 4 times and it's really our destination of choice now. We usually rent out in Big Creek and just enjoy the water, seafood and the jungle. We'd like to come during the Christmas holiday this year and are considering bringing our 18 month old daughter. She walks and talks, but we're a little concerned about whether a trip down there might be too rustic for her. Would you travel to Bocas with a small child? Is there adequate medical care if she became injured or sick? What precautions would you take if they were on a boat? Is the in-country flight from PC safe with a child on your lap? Is there any type of child care available? (not to leave our daughter alone with, but rather to accompany us on a boat ride).

I realize that our activity options will probably be severely limited, but it would be nice just to have the whole family relaxing together.

Thanks for your help.

LN
Panama City, Panama
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5,784 posts
75 reviews
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1. Re: Travelling with an 18 month old toddler

If you are that fearful, I would say no to bringing a baby that age to Bocas.

Adequate medical care for first aid, but no major medical facility there - would have to go back to Panama City for emergencies, etc.. Are the in-countyry flights in America safe to travel with a child on your lap? If that is a yes, then you would be fine doing it here - small seats, smaller places. Can the child FIT on your lap?

Better to take your daughter along on everything .......I would rather do that than leave her with anyone you don't know.

You know what Bocas is like having visited four times, so you know if it is a good idea or not.

If you do come, baby insect repellent - children playing in the sand are very susceptible to being bitten by sand fleas. Do bugs like her at home, does she have a problem with bites getting inflamed or blistery? If so, I would

not recommend taking her to Bocas.

Hope this helps....

Isla Colon, Panama
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258 posts
3 reviews
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2. Re: Travelling with an 18 month old toddler

I got a 7 month year old, a 2 year old and a 3 year old.... and we live in Bocas =).

There are loads of both local and foreign families with very young children. At the nursery where we take our 3 year old there are easily 20+ foreign kids.

If it wasn't safe I don't think it would be so popular amongst expat families with young kids.

At the beginning of November (National Holidays) my family from Panama City came to visit and we took our 2 and 3 year olds on the boat trip to Dolphin Bay and Coral Cay. We also did the zipline in Bastimentos and took our 7 month old on that boat trip (my parents stayed with her on the beach at Red Frog). Before moving to Bocas we bought life jackets for all the babies, because you won't find them here. NEVER TAKE A BOAT AT NIGHT!

Yes, the domestic airlines don't charge you for kids under 2 or 3 if they travel on your lap... I don't exactly remember. It's only an hours flight...

The hospital is not first class, but it is a hospital at least, with two ambulances and 24/7 emergency services. Doctors and nurses always on site... I don't know how many beds but I've never heard of it being full.

We live way after Big Creak and the other day an indigenous neighbor went into labor and they asked us to ring the ambulance. It arrived in 15 minutes (what it takes to drive from town to our house).

About a month ago, my 7 month old did spent several nights in the hospital because she got a chest infection and had to receive antibiotics through a drip. Was it the best hospital experience? Not really... we've been spoiled in the past by the public hospital in David which is truly first class (even better than the private ones in David) but my Dad's a doctor in Panama City and according to him they did everything just how the should have...

There is no surgeon though... if anyone has a major accident, it's a 30 minute boat ride to Changuinola's hospital.... but I guess in the States, Canada and the UK, because of the distances, it can take about the same time to get to a hospital sometimes...

For childcare, I would approach a nice hotel once in town and ask them, or maybe even the two nurseries...

Children adapt a lot easier than adults. It would be the weirdest thing in the world to see a kid younger than 5 say to his parents: this is a bit too rustic for me!

Atlanta
Destination Expert
for Jaco, Bocas Town
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3,971 posts
128 reviews
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3. Re: Travelling with an 18 month old toddler

The answer really is if YOU want to deal with a toddler in Bocas. Yes there are kids and babies in Bocas. The local kids learn to crawl and walk on docks without falling in, but they have been raised this way. For me it is not a vacation when I have young children to deal with. I don't even want to bring my teen boys to Bocas because I don't want to deal with one of them pushing the other off a dock and one getting hurt from hitting coral, or not paying attention getting into or out of a boat. I can just see one of them holding onto the side of the boat going up to a dock and getting their fingers broken. That is my hang up. Bocas is where I go to totally relax, and my kids would ruin that for me. For some it is no big deal. Just depends on the person.

San Francisco
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124 posts
7 reviews
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4. Re: Travelling with an 18 month old toddler

Hey, thanks for the great replies. I appreciate it.

I fully recognize that it's my worrying that's hanging me up (you get that way with your kids) and that she would probably be fine. I'll post a trip review if we decide to go.

Thanks!

San Francisco
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124 posts
7 reviews
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5. Re: Travelling with an 18 month old toddler

Just got back from our trip and had a fantastic time. The toddler had a great time. Jungle, water, Indian, and even some monkeys--she loved it all. There was a bit more rain than we were expecting but at least it was warm. I couldn't understand where all of the Christmas crowds were that we were expecting. It just seemed like Bocas as usual.

Thanks for the pre trip info.

LN
Panama City, Panama
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5,784 posts
75 reviews
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6. Re: Travelling with an 18 month old toddler

Good, I am happy for you. You didn't let fear rule you and you went and had a marvelous time! Happy New Year! and come back soon!

Atlanta
Destination Expert
for Jaco, Bocas Town
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3,971 posts
128 reviews
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7. Re: Travelling with an 18 month old toddler

So glad you had a great trip. The best education for kids is traveling IMO. It is wonderful you are giving that to your child and the experience as a family.

Washington DC...
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2 posts
4 reviews
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8. Re: Travelling with an 18 month old toddler

Hey Panamajoules,

Thanks for the post. We are strongly considering coming to the Bocas this summer for some unspoiled fun. I have a 5 year old son and a 1 year old daughter. Are there activities for kids on the island or can we set up a play date (smile)? What is the name of the nursery where you send your kids? My son is in a preschool now that speaks all Spanish to him so I would love to let him play with a couple of kids his age while we are down there.

Thanks for your help!

Isla Bastimentos
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421 posts
5 reviews
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9. Re: Travelling with an 18 month old toddler

The schools name is The Tangerine School and it´s very highly rated. Bocas is a wonderful place to bring little kids, some of the calmest, cleanest water on the planet, the ¨Parque¨just installed a kids fun zone, Panamanians love their kids so the lifestyle accomodates. The boat tours a a thing of wonder for little kids, bring a kids mask and snorkle and you won´t be able to get him out of the water!

Panama City, Panama
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1 post
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10. Re: Travelling with an 18 month old toddler

Wonderful! My husband and I are planning on going to Bocas with our 1-year old in a couple of weeks. Do you mind sharing where you stayed? I think I'd like a place with a beach so that the little one can hang out in early mornings when he wakes up, but maybe we don't really need it. How was boating with the toddler? Any other activity tips would be appreciated.

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