Posted by: baropbop | August 26, 2010

Guidebooks and tours in Bocas

The moment you arrive at the docks there will be no shortage of people trying to sell you tour packages and suggesting you where to stay. For the most part you will receive good information, but I recommend just walking around and taking a look at things for yourself.

The biggest pet peeve of my entire trip was seeing people who’ve  been “guidebooked.” I have several less flattering terms for this phenomenon but I guidebooked will work for now. I was astounded by how many people you see who are walking around central america with their noses so far into a guidebook that they don’t even see what is right in front of their own eyes!!! Once you are in Bocas long enough you can tell when a boat has arrived and I would spend every evening on a balcony watching the sheep walk right by the best places in town toward the shittiest place on the island. Why? Because it’s what the guidebook recommends! A ten second visual inspection would be more than you need to know that the people writing the guidebooks are full of shit!

Not to say that guidebooks are all bad. I definitely used them. But I used them when all else fails and not as my first resource. You will learn far more by talking to other travelers and reception than from any book.

If you want to do any sort of tours it’s best to make friends. Many of the companies that do snorkeling tours, etc, have very reasonable prices, but if you can get a group together it’s much better to charter your own boat. If you can get 5+ people together you can easily negotiate hiring a boat for the day and you will be able to travel based on your own interests and schedule. If you are aggressive or business is slow you can get some really good deals this way.

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