Here is the information you need to know if you are planning your scuba diving vacation in this Caribbean archipelago.

 

If you are thinking of having your first experience scuba diving or getting your diving license then Bocas del Toro may be the perfect place to do it. Our archipelago has warm waters- between 27 and 29 degrees – which makes the experience particularly comfortable, especially since you have to spend a lot of time in the water doing exercises when learning to dive.

The dive sites around the archipelago create an ideal place to learn to dive because  the waters are typically very clear- between approximately 12 meters of visibility- and thus allow even the most timid of divers to relax under the sea and feel comfortable in this magical new blue environment.

As a dive location, Bocas is popular for its colorful coral formations and for having three shipwrecks that you can visit. Additionally, it has a plethora of different marine species such as southern rays, spotted eagle rays, lobsters, nudibranchs, parrotfish, barracudas, squid, starfish, crabs, trumpet fish, seahorses, puffer fish, etc. When luck is on your side you may also encounter nurse sharks and manta rays.

Not only is the sea life remarkable, but you don’t even have to dive very far to experience the best of the best. Most of the dives that you will do in Bocas are usually between 12 and 16 meters deep. Of course, there are always exceptions and indeed there are some sites where deep diving can occur for anyone interested. Furthermore, when planning your dives, you also have the possibility to dive beyond the bay depending on the currents and how rough the waves are at that particular time.

For the best water conditions, we recommend avoiding the surf season and the rainy season due to the harsher visibility brought on by increased water movement, silt and runoff. For this reason, September, October and early November are usually the most recommended months for diving. However, it is important to clarify that due to global warming everything is changing these days and thus it becomes a little more unpredictable to know exactly when there will be heavy rains and big swells.

If you are looking for accommodations to pair with your scuba diving, it is worthwhile to note that we are the only Diving Resort in the archipelago. We have a restaurant and a dive center located on our premises. We also have a sunken plane just a couple meters below our relaxing dock so you can easily snorkel anytime you want and experience the variety of sea life that calls our foundation home.

Once a month we carry out underwater clean-ups that are free to join and open to the entire dive community. All the divers divide into teams and work together to collect the artificial debris on the bottom of the sea. If you would like to participate in one of these clean-ups, you just have to send an email to info@bocasdivecenter.com and we will save your place! It is a simple, easy, and impactful way to help us keep our slice of paradise looking like paradise. The only necessary requirement is that you must already have your Open Water Diver license for liability and safety reasons.

Where do we dive?

Bocas del Toro has infinite places to dive. Here we will describe the most popular and preferred by divers who come to visit the islands.

Isla Solarte:

Pandora: With a wall of colorful reefs and very calm waters, Pandora is one of the best places to dive in Bocas del Toro. In addition, about 20 meters away is a sunken ship with its sail upright and open on full display.

Buoy Line: At 17 meters deep, this site has a trimaran shipwreck that has been sunk for more than 5 years and is teaming with marine life. This dive site is usually a strong bet for finding rays and sometimes sharks. The coral and sponge formations that dot the seafloor are abundant and colorful to add to the underwater excitement.

Casa Verde: An easy reef dive, this location is ideal for one of your first dives due to its shallow and calm waters.

Hospital Point: It is a very notorious coral wall that is located just at the tip of Isla Solarte and its name comes from the old hospital that was once there. Hospital Point is a great location choice for a group, for if someone is not inclined to dive, no problem! You can opt to snorkel at the beginning of the wall by the shoreline and still experience very vivid and beautiful corals starting at about a few meters deep depending on the tide.

Saché: When there is no current, this site is usually one of the most beautiful around the island. Bursting with color and life unseen in other locations, the chances of finding a shark are significantly higher. When the water is calm the visibility is usually very good and its unique combination of reef and rock formations is totally different from the others on the island.

Chiquita Channel: This place is usually chosen for deep diving. It is a wall that begins at 12 meters and if you descend along it and head towards the sand you can reach more than 30 meters deep. And, if you continue to follow the reef for 12 meters you can find the Buoy Line trimaran on the other side.

 

Colon Island:

The Ferry Wreck: This small sunken ferry that has been underwater for more than 15 years. A true underwater dream due to the number of small fish, arrow crabs and cleaner shrimp that live on it, this shipwreck is also usually home to a couple of puffer fish and a small seahorse. As the ferry is about 7-8 meters deep depending on the tide, this spot is a typical choice for beginner students doing their PADI Open Water course. It is also one of the most popular dive sites for night diving due to its active sea life and spooky crevices. And, when there is a new moon, you can fully appreciate the dazzling bioluminescence and enjoy the natural light of the ocean.

Mangrove Point: Here you can find many starfish, coral formations, parrotfish, trumpet fish, arrow crabs and puffer fish, among other marine animals 8-10 meters beneath the surface. It is an easy place to dive because there are usually no currents amongst its calm, clear waters , but remember to pay attention to the taxi boats that pass above head especially when diving in the shallows.

 

Out of the bay:

Tiger Rock: Despite its far distance from shore, this is undoubtedly one of the best sites to dive in Bocas del Toro. Accessible only when there are no waves due to the tricky rock formations, Tiger Rock is significantly outside the bay by Isla Colon and near the indigenous community of Kusapín. It is a deep dive and has depths far deeper than sites inside the bay. Moray eels, sharks, rays, lobsters are some of the magical creatures that can be found in this dive spot. When the water is clear the visibility is usually better than at the other dive sites in the archipelago.

Polo Beach:  Diving the caverns that create a labyrinth of rock off the coast of Isla Bastimentos feels like being on a National Geographic expedition. Corridors between steep walls of rock, encounters with a sleeping shark,new surprises around windy corners, closed and open structures, a totally different dive from the others on the island. Stonefish, rays, lobsters are usually the most common marine life seen on this dive. It is recommended to dive this place with experience, having good buoyancy to make the diving safer.

 

How is our work team?

We have a professional team of scuba diving instructors, all PADI certified, many of them local and living on the island a long time ago, so they know the dive sites perfectly.

 

Other activities you can enjoy while you are staying with us

Our clients can enjoy the benefit of using our kayaks and stand up paddles for free. We also have snorkeling equipment to use within the hotel area.

We hope you can enjoy the underwater bottom of our island soon! If you have questions or comments you can write to us at bocasdivecenter@diversparadise.com so we can provide you with more information. Traveling to Bocas is an ocean adventure that you will not regret!

 

Written by Martina Álvarez

@oceanomartina

Edited by Maria Mc Donough