I just had to drive on that road the other day. I bought a used car in Panama City (lots of people are selling these days) and I had to drive it back to Bocas del Toro. There's only one road to Bocas, it's through the mountains from the PanAmerican highway to the port town of Almirante on the Atlantic side. The road was in terrible shape, but there are make-shift bridges and cut-backs where the worst of the mudslides took place, so it's passable for pickups and smaller trucks. For about a two hour stretch there is no asphalt on the road, only loose gravel, which is pretty scary that high up in the mountains because the traction isn't great. I saw several pickup trucks on their sides, it was very slippery and I had white knuckles for a good part of the drive. The government estimates that it will take about a full year to repair the road again. The island ran out of supplies for a few days after the initial mudslides when the road was completely closed and no fuel and food could get through. Now things are mostly back to normal. We need diesel to run the power generators on the island for the electricity grid (as well as our vehicles), so that now gets sent on a barge from Colon, on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal instead of coming over the mountains from David.I see hurricane Lota is putting a hurting on parts of Central America. Here in Cartagena there are a lot of parts of the city under water.... but honestly that seems pretty normal to me. I hope everyone in the path of this storm is safe!
(Not a huge fan of this fellow's videos normally but he has a lot of coverage of the damage the storm has done in parts of Panama)
The drive did take a lot longer than anticipated, so I missed the ferry (it's once a day, leaving at 7 am), and had to load the car up the next day.
That's not a problem for me really, there's a place in Almirante where you can park your car for $3.00 a day, and it's all fenced in. The town itself is a bit primitive, but there are water taxis back to the island every half hour or so, up until 6 pm when it gets too dark.
The journey through the mountains itself is always pleasant enough in daylight hours, sometimes the clouds will move in when you're way up at the peak of the drive, in a place the locals call "The Devil's Chainsaw". It actually gets pretty chilly up there. There are a lot of little places to stop along the way and buy fresh food, fruits and vegetables from the Indians who live up there