This post is part of a Panama Trip series.

Higgins delivers Jack and me to the hellhole that is Almirante and sees us onto the water-taxi bound for Bocas del Toro, a province consisting of the Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Bahía Almirante (Almirante Bay), Laguna de Chiriquí (Chiriquí Lagoon) and the adjacent mainland.


I booked two nights at La Coralina on the main island based on the enthusiastic Tripadvisor reviews for both the property and the owner, Stacy.

Stacy had e-mailed me recently with her phone number, encouraging me to contact her to arrange ground transportation from the water-taxi landing to her hotel. I basically blew-off her e-mail because: 1) I didn’t know when we would arrive in Bocas del Toro; and 2) How difficult can it be to arrange ground transportation to La Coralina once we set foot on the small island of Bocas del Toro?

Not shortly after reaching landfall, I learn that: 1) We arrived at 1:00; and 2) Arranging ground transportation is pretty damn difficult.

Not that taxis are scarce in Bocas del Toro: they just refuse to take us to La Coralina. I ask why.

“Bad road.”

How bad can it be?

We eventually make acquaintance with a native who has a friend who has a cousin who owns an all-terrain vehicle, who is willing to transport us to La Coralina for the criminal price of $30. We hem and haw, but we have no choice. $30 it is.

We are jostled and jarred as our driver slowly and adroitly navigates his way through the trenches, potholes and calve-deep water between us and our destination.

Road to La Coralina Bocas del Toro

What have I gotten us into?

$30, 20 minutes and two sore butts later, we pull into the La Coralina driveway.

I’m afraid to look.

Read the entire Panama Trip series.

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