The drive from Boquette to Almirante wasn’t too bad. We took Calle 10, which cuts through the mountains. We did backtrack down the hill to David,
which meant driving through the chaos of the Pan-american morning traffic. Let’s just say that Central America driving has its own set of rules, and if they are posted, it’s in Spanish.
If your GPS tries to take you on a “short cut,” be careful it’s not a dirt road. Dirt roads can lead somewhere amazing, or lead you to your doom!
We’ll take route 2 please!
The trip took us about 3.5 hours, but if you get stuck behind a truck, be prepared to tack on extra time to your adventure. We got lucky with traffic!
We did get caught in a cloud at the high point, so it was a tad difficult to see at times, but most of the drive was just amazing views! We stumbled across a beautiful reservoir, and even passed a cool waterfall. Bonus!!
The road is very winding and lots of ups and downs through the mountains. Central American drivers can be quite aggressive, and they tend to take up most of a narrow road, so be careful going into turns. The roads can be a tad bit uneven in some areas! This area has seen some earth movement for sure!
Some of the villages along the way are primitive. Homes sitting high off the ground, some with their livestock tied right underneath. It is not uncommon to see a family walking the main road with small children. It reminds me of areas in Costa Rica. The oddest sight is when a teen walks out of the jungle with cell phone in hand! “Umm! How are you getting service? I have one bar…barley!”
When you get to the Caribbean side, you will need to take a ferry from Almirante to any of the islands. Bocas del Toro Province, being the most popular. Later, I’ll share how we missed it! Almirante is a town that you definitely don’t want to be in after dark, so plan your arrival early enough in the day. We were meeting Jack, the proprietor of Star Fish Reef, at the marina, where we would be leaving our rental car for $3/day.
Since we were headed to his island for four nights, we stopped at the local grocery.. Shopping in Central America is an experience of its own. This store was crowded, hot, cluttered, and the people sketchy. Glad we were just driving through this area of the Caribbean.
The islands have many places to stay! We chose a small quiet Island in a cool little cabina, that we thought was run by a couple, but turned out it was, “Just Jack!”