April 2020: To me, Bocas Town looks and feels like it did 20 years ago. Peaceful, few cars, fewer boats, only a few businesses open. The Panamanian government has done a good job of taking serious measures to ward off the virus from coming to our islands. The borders and airports are closed. The only people here in Bocas are residents. All tourist have traveled back to their countries a month ago.
If your passport or cedula ends in a certain daily number you will be allowed a 2 hour time slot on your days to be on the street (with face mask) so you will be able to go to a grocery store, pharmacy or gas station. Men’s days are Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Women’s days are Mondays,Wednesday and Fridays. Sundays are off limits for everyone except police. Panama, always attentive to ex-pat retirees, states If you are over 60 years of age you can be in town from a special time of 11 am until 1 pm on your allotted days. We think the separation of men and women days is slowing the argument rate down considerably as most folks are not used to being together 24/7. You can see both sexes running down main street on their allotted day yelling ” free at last!” even if it’s only 2 hours.
So whats it like to be quarantined in the islands? As far as we are concerned, we could not be in a better local with the exception of people that have to live in town. The closeness of town can be stifling. Folks with property are free to walk their jungle, farm and sea fronts. Thus getting to stretch out without other people close by for real social distancing. Most local in-town people have gone back to their family farms where they can fish, gather and farm just like they use to, so the town seems more deserted. We all think that is healthier.
The reason for this quarantine blog is to answer the same beginning questions of “how health safe today is Bocas Del Toro?” and “what is being done with the virus situation?” People world wide now have the time and interest to research new locations for a new life style business after this pandemic is over. My business partner made the leap 23 years ago and I did 17 years ago from The States to Bocas Del Toro. We understand what it takes to make that move. Perhaps our little affordable piece of Caribbean paradise can fit your bill…With that said ,we are at your service!