Adios travel

Bocas del Toro, Panama

The school

The Spanish school on the tropical island Bocas is very spacious and open. The lessons are given in the garden or on the veranda. You can choose between four hours of private lessons or four hours of group lessons a day. You can also choose mini group lessons, for example when there are two or three of you travelling together, this way you wil form your own group for classes. This is ony possible if you are all of the same level of Spanish. A group contains no more than four students. In case you book group lessons and there are no other students with the same level of Spanish as you, you will get private lessons for the same value as group lessons.
There are usualy lots of young students studying Spanish here and the amount of rooms in the school are limited so make sure you book in advance!

On weekends the school organizes a barbecue where the students also bring food or drinks.

The school offers several excursions: snorkelling trips, mountain bike tours to Playa Bluff with a walk through the jungle, a picnic lunch on the beach or a visit to an Indian village on a neighbouring island or a sailing trip on a catamaran along the islands which were made famous by the TV series "Survivor".

The accommodation

In the price for private classes, we have included stay in a single room, with group classes you will stay in a shared room. If you book group lessons but prefer a single room, this is possible when available and on request. You can use the kitchen and the veranda, including the hammocks. Be aware, the accommodation at the school is very limited so you need to reserve in advance. The school can also book a hotel for you on Bocas when you prefer to stay in a hotel. You pay the hotel yourself on arrival ($ 14 - $ 20 per night).

Voluntary Work

The school organizes voluntary work itself; you can work as a student in the hospital or you can read, in Spanish, for the elderly in an home for the elderly which is a good way to practice your Spanish and help the locals at the same time. The school also gives free English lessons to the local population and your help is always welcome. For you as a student this is a good way to get into contact with the Panamanian population and to practice your Spanish. On Bocas del Toro there is a project protecting sea turtles. You can help out when the turtles make it to the beach at night to lay their eggs. This is between March and August.

The Trip

It is cheaper to fly to San José then to Panama City. You usually arrive in the late afternoon in San José and you will have to spend the night there at a hostel. Take a look here for different hotels in San José which you can reserve on line for $ 10 per night per person. The hostel can arrange a transfer from the airport, you will pay this on arrival. The next day you will take a bus to the border at Sixoala (6 hours), and from there you go on by bus to Almirante, from where you can take the boat to Bocas. If you want to make this trip we will give you extensive travel information about it. You can also fly from San José to Bocas with Natureair for about $115.

Another option is to fly direct to Panama City and spend one night in a hotel. We can arrange an airport pickup package from the airport of Panama City. The package with transport from Panama City includes:
Meet and greet by a taxi driver carrying a sign with your name, at the International Airport. He will then take you to a hotel in Panama City, where you will have a private room, breakfast and internet use. Next morning or afternoon you will be taken from the hotel to the domestic airport, for your less than one hour flight to Bocas. At the Airport of Bocas, there will be another taxi driver waiting to take you to your accommodation and show you around some important places in town. Afterwards, you will be brought to the school where a representative of the school will give you information about the school. This package costs $ 185.

You can also book your own a domestic flight to Bocas del Toro. A one way ticket is ± $ 55 and you can book this very easy on the Internet at www.aeroperlas.com. If you like, someone from the school can pick you up at the airport and take you to the school. This service costs $15.

Included in the standard package in Bocas del Toro

  • Private or group lessons of 4 hours per day, five days a week.
  • Study material.
  • Registration fee.
  • Accommodation at the school in a private room if you book private classes and in a shared room in case of group classes during the study period from Saturday to Saturday.
  • Optional: Airport pick up in Bocas from the local airport($ 15)
  • Optional: Panama City package ($ 185)
All prices are in $ US Dollars. hpd = hours per day
Panama Classes hpd 1 wk 2 wks 3 wks 4 wks extra week extra night transfer
Bocas del Toro
shared room
group 4 $ 235 $ 445 $ 655 $ 865 $ 225 $ 10 $ 15
Bocas del Toro
private room
group 4 $ 270 $ 515 $ 760 $ 1005 $ 260 $ 15 $ 15
Bocas del Toro
host family
group 4 $ 265 $ 505 $ 745 $ 985 $ 255 $ 15 $ 15
Bocas del Toro
shared room
minigrp 4 $ 265 $ 505 $ 745 $ 985 $ 255 $ 10 $ 15
Bocas del Toro
private room
minigrp 4 $ 300 $ 575 $ 850 $ 1125 $ 290 $ 15 $ 15
Bocas del Toro
host family
minigrp 4 $ 295 $ 565 $ 835 $ 1105 $ 285 $ 15 $ 15
Bocas del Toro
shared room
private 4 $ 355 $ 685 $ 1015 $ 1345 $ 345 $ 10 $ 15
Bocas del Toro
private room
private 4 $ 390 $ 755 $ 1120 $ 1485 $ 380 $ 15 $ 15
Bocas del Toro
host family
private 4 $ 385 $ 745 $ 1105 $ 1465 $ 375 $ 15 $ 15

The owner has also a school in Turrialba in Costa Rica and in Boquete, Panama. When you decide for a combination of at least 2 schools you will receive a nice discount of 10% on the total price of classes.

COUNTRY INFO: PANAMA

Panama is a Central American country that is hardly known as a tourist attraction. This is quite strange considering what it has to offer: tropical rain forests with jaguars and cougars, no less than 1600(!) islands, white sandy beaches with palm trees and a deep blue sea. If you want to learn Spanish on a Caribbean island in the middle of the jungle, Panama is the place!

This long stretched, relatively small country (slightly bigger than Holland) has a staggering 3000 kilometres of coastline. The inland consists of a mountain range from which it is possible to see, on a clear day, both the Caribbean sea and the Pacific ocean. In this sparsely populated country the capital Panama City is only a few miles away from a deep jungle that has over 940 different species of birds. There are still parts of the rain forest that are practically impossible to visit. In the Caribbean sea are two large Panamanian island groups: The San Alas islands with its Kuna population and the 'Bocas del Toro' archipelago. The Kuna get their livelihood from trade in coconuts and they make beautiful molas ( textile products that are unique to these islands). It is a very impressive place to visit, but one needs time and money for it. Bocas del Toro however, is easily reached by boat or plane.
Panama's main tourist attraction is the Panama canal, it’s strategical position has made it a powerful political instrument. It took 33 years to complete. A French company started the project in 1881. It was thought they had enough experience after working on the Suez canal, but after two years, and 22.000 workers that had died from malaria, they went bankrupt. An American company took over, eradicated malaria in Panama, and finished the job. On August 15, 1914 the first ship sailed through the Panama canal. The US were in control of the Panama canal until December 31, 1999, when the Panamanian government officially took over the control of the canal. At this date the US also closed its permanent military bases, so now Panama is completely independent. From the millennium on Panama seems to cope very well without the American presence and is completely independent now.

Activities Panama

  • Especially for men: A trip from Panama City to the Panama Canal (women are usually less enthusiastic about this trip, and I can personally vouch for this!)
  • All beach activities such as: surfing, diving, snorkelling, sailing and water-skiing.
  • Horseback riding
  • Mountain biking
  • Visit the San Blas islands with its Kuna Indians.
  • Visit Boquete (1000 meters) at the foot of the volcano Barú (3475 meters).
  • Go hiking in a national park.
  • Transport: bus or cheap domestic flight.

CITY INFO: BOCAS DEL TORO

Bocas del Toro is the name of the province, the capital and the island archipelago. The city of Boca del Toro lies on the island of Isla Colón. There are only 2500 inhabitants, but, nevertheless, this is a town with a lot of bars, restaurants, hotels and the school with which we work. It is quite easy to take a boat and go to other, some deserted, islands which have beautiful, empty beaches.
The nearby coral reef is a paradise for divers and snorkelers alike. Bocas del Toro is still very tranquil; you will not find big western discos here and there are, as yet, only a few tourists. There is, on the island of Carenero, a 2 minute boat ride from Boca, one hot spot of nightlife, a local calypso dance hall that everybody in the surroundings visits. It is great fun seeing all the locals dress up for the weekend and dance all night. It is no problem if you don't know how to dance the salsa, merengue or calypso, the locals will have no qualms teaching you!
There are several small restaurants, mostly on the beach itself, that offer simple but delicious meals, consisting of course mainly of fresh fish. There are a couple of bars where travelers meet where one can have a nice cocktail or a cold beer and there are some establishments, mainly filled with locals, where you can play pool and practice your Spanish.

Activities Bocas del Toro

  • Mountain biking
  • All beach activities such as: surfing, diving, snorkeling, sailing and water-skiing.
  • A visit by boat of one of the mostly deserted islands here.
  • Go dancing on Caranero (1 minute by boat from Bocas).
  • Enjoy the nightlife.

Travel tip

Combine Turrialba, Costa Rica and Bocas del Toro and or Boquete in one trip with 1 or 2 weeks of lessons in Turrialba and one or 2 weeks of lessons in Bocas del Toro or Boquete.

CLIMATE

The temperature on Bocas del Toro is on average 28º C during the day and 22º C at night. Most rain falls in July, November, December and January, usually late during the day or at night. Boquete has a mild climate with an average temperature of 20º C. Here the current weather conditions in Panama City:

Come with Adiós Travel to learn Spanish in Bocas del Toro, Panama

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