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Floods in Bocas del Toro and Chiriqui in Panama


Recent heavy rains and flooding have created havoc in Panama’s Bocas del Toro Province. A weather front stalled over Panama and Costa Rica’s Caribbean coasts has dumped rain for days. Resulting floods have cut off thousands of people. Foreign tourists are among those stranded. According to press reports United States Army Southern Command headquartered in Tampa Florida has flown four helicopters to Costa Rica’s Limón airport on their way to Bocas del Toro where the main airport has been shut down due to flooding.

Weather forecasts for Bocas del Toro Province are for more thunder storms for the next several days as roads have been washed out and residents in low lying areas have taken to the roofs of their homes above flood waters.

Bocas del Toro

Bocas del Toro is the Panamanian province next to Costa Rica on the Caribbean. Bocas Town is a world-renowned tourist destination located on the island of Isla Colon in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago. This is in the Caribbean Sea off the northwest coast of Panama. Bocas del Toro has numerous world-class resorts and plenty of Caribbean beach front property, on Isla Colon and the many surrounding islands. Bocas Town is a 20 minute boat ride from the mainland of Bocas Del Toro Province where there is an international airport for air access.

The problem in flooding in Bocas del Toro is not out in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago as the Caribbean Sea is not rising. The problem is inland along the many flooded rivers that flow from Panama’s highlands to the Caribbean. For tourists and the many foreigners owning real estate in the Archipelago and on the coast the problem is air access as the main airport is flooded.

Tourists Trapped

The Panamanian Tourism Authority is helping coordinate with the Tourist Center on Colon Island as well as helping provide information regarding the flooding and resulting tourism problems to the Panama Hotels Association. Tourists are not in any immediate danger from the flooding. Since tourists go to the coastal areas of Bocas del Toro or out on the archipelago they are just stuck for a few more days in a tropical paradise, albeit in the rain.

Long Term Affects of Rain and Flooding in Bocas del Toro

After the rains clear Panama is coming up on summer. Summer in this part of the world is the dry season which will be a welcome relief after the floods. Panama has flood damaged roads to fix and houses to repair. Food production may be down because of erosion damage to crop land but that is uncertain. The biggest problem will probably be getting the roads repaired so that trucks can bring in supplies. People can walk around washed out roads and do. Trucks need a road bed.

Despite current flood problems Bocas del Toro is a beautiful place and when the rains stop summer will come and tourists will not only leave but return. Sailing out in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago will attract boaters and the night life in Bocas Town ramp up for Carnival.

Panama’s people are strong and resilient. They survived Manuel Noriega and they will survive a little water.

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