Why Colon to Bocas? My suggestion is to volunteer as line handlers on a Canal transit, and have one of the greatest experiences of your lives. Each yacht going through the Canal needs the Pilot (Panamanian), skipper
of the boat, and 4 line handlers. Usually, the yacht will hire one Panamanian who will bring 4 lines which meet the requirements, but that usually means the yacht will still need a couple of line handlers if they are short of crew.
I'd fly to Panama
City and volunteer at the Balboa
YC to be a volunteer line handler. I've done 3 transits, one as volunteer line handler (to get experience) and twice as skipper
. Transiting the canal is one of the greatest "bucket list" experiences you will ever attain. In my case, each time we moored overnight on Gatun Lake and went swimming in fresh water
. (I know, crocodiles and rules. Still, we did it, and I don't regret it!) And it's even more fun on somebody else's boat: less stress!
Panama is awesome, you will love it. Fly to Panama City and transit to Colon as a free line handler. Somewhere along the way, (probably your first day or three hanging out at the Balboa
YC!), you also will find your ride to Bocas, and maybe find a paying crew opportunity. Even if you don't, if you transit the canal on a yacht, you will have had one of the greatest experiences of your lives, I promise you!
(That's my home-made 48' steel cutter
next to the tug. You can watch the canal operations in real time via streaming web cams. That picture is a screen
cap of a Canal camera