Here we share with you the blissful beaches and jaw-dropping snorkeling spots that you can reach using the kayaks and stand up paddle boards offered for free at our hotel.

bocas diver paradise

Is there anything nicer than the feeling of paddling across glass-like waters? Gliding in silence, observing the landscape, having time to meditate and connect with nature while you exercise. Seems pretty surreal to us!

At Divers Paradise Boutique Hotel we have kayaks and stand up paddle boards available for our guests and we would like to offer some suggestions of  places you can discover while using them. These sites are easily reachable from our hotel in Bocas Town, Panama, and they will surely make your vacation even more worthwhile.

Before you depart on your paddling adventure, we recommend that you take a mask and snorkel with you since there is a lot of marine life in Bocas del Toro that would be a shame to miss. If you are paddingly with a buddy you can also take turns observing our incredible underwater ecosystems while your buddy relaxing on the board simply floating on the sea. In case you don’t know yet,  we also provide free snorkeling equipment for our guests! Now that’s one-stop shopping at its best!

As soon as you paddle away from the hotel dock, you will find a sunken plane that you absolutely can’t miss out on if you are a lover of marine life. It is quite shallow and very easy to free dive down to explore. We also have a sunken boat and an environmental aquatic esculture with the shape of a heart that you can free dive.  While it is usually the attractions that kids love the most, its wonders are just as breathtaking for guests of any age. A visit to us in Bocas del Toro with or without kids is sure to be an excitement-filled vacation and exploring the sunken plane is just one example. 

If you decide to take the route to the right of our dock you will weave between moored boats until you find Bocas Marina, a great place to have some lunch while you enjoy the ocean view. If you keep going and pass several mangroves  you will reach the Floating Bar. Here, you can tie up your stand up paddle or kayak, have a break and enjoy a few drinks while you cool off in the sea. This small restaurant bar also has a second floor where you can appreciate the gorgeous sunset from a different perspective than other places on the island.

If you continue paddling a little bit further past the Floating Bar you will see a white buoy in shallow water that marks a diving and snorkeling site called Punta Manglar. In that spot you can find different corals of colorful shapes and textures, parrot fish, rays, and if you pay close attention and you have a little luck, even seahorses hidden amongst the corals. Witnessing incredible sea life just below the water’s surface – and even from the comfort of your paddle board or kayak – is one of the special activities Bocas del Toro has to offer!

While paddling, kayaking, and snorkeling at Punta Manglar can be quite exciting, it is important to note that boats circulate around that area very often. That’s why you must always make sure they can see you in order to prevent any accidents. The safest way to snorkel is to tie the stand up paddle board rope or kayak to one of your feet so it works as a buoy while you dive under the water. This way the boats can see you when they pass by and avoid any unwanted interactions.

If you are still enthusiastic about snorkeling in other locations you can continue paddling in the same direction as before (diagonally forward towards the right) until you find a second buoy of the same color in about 3 meters deep of water. Near this second buoy is a small shipwrecked ferry that sank more than 17 years ago. The ferry is located a little to the left of the buoy, between 7 and 12 meters deep. On sunny days with calm seas you can even see it from above the water’s surface. In that same spot you can also snorkel in shallower waters and enjoy the various marine life of Bocas.

Another interesting route you can take from our hotel dock leads you to visiting  Isla Carenero. To get to it from Isla Colon (where our hotel is located) you have to paddle to the left along the coast until you can see its palm trees and beaches from across the water. Then, simply work your way across the short bay from Isla Colón until you reach Isla Carenero. The row can take up to 30 minutes, but it is well worth the exercise.

Isla Carenero is the closest island to Bocas Town and also a perfect place to relax if you want to get away from town and be on a quiet beach. There are two main beaches: Bibi’s on the Beach and La Punta. You will see Bibi´s on the Beach first from your paddle board or kayak, whereas the second is further down the island towards  the other end.  This one is the favorite of the locals because it is even more sparsely populated.

The Carenero beaches are known for having very calm waters, ideal for those who like to swim in the sea without waves. You can leave your kayak and paddle board on the beach while you bathe, but please remember not to lose sight of them amidst your relaxation time.

If you go at noon and want to have lunch on Isla Carenero, Leaf Eaters (an incredible vegetarian restaurant) or Bibi´s on the Beach (next to the beach with the same name) are very good options. You can also enjoy a walk around the island on its sandy path lined by palm trees and teeming with nature.

As a third adventure route option, and if you feel physically fit and want to paddle a little more, we recommend visiting Isla Solarte. The tip of this paradise is called Punta Hospital and it is one of the best snorkeling spots on the island. Paddling there can be transformed into a fascinating adventure.

It has a small beach where you can leave your kayak or stand up paddle, as well as two buoys where you can moor them if you don’t want to go ashore. These buoys also mark the reef. Punta Hospital is usually a very remote  place where silence and nature abound.

Its reef is made up of a narrow wall of coral. If you want to snorkel in shallow depths we recommend that you choose to dive where the wall begins in the cove near the beach. You will still find abundant marine life just beneath the surface. However, if you would like to do some freediving you should venture further along  the wall where you can dive a little deeper.

Although some tourists often choose to hire a tour to get to Isla Solarte, if you can get there on your own this experience can be incredible. The paddle will probably last about 1 hour or maybe a little longer, but this ocean adventure is worth it. Always remember to take daylight into account when using stand up paddles or kayaks. It is just as important that the other boats can see you as it is that you can see them.

Bocas is so beautiful that the best thing you can do for yourself is to paddle at a gentle pace and enjoy each and every place around the islands and connect with nature. A slow and steady pace is also ideal should you forget to save any energy for your return to the hotel.Now that you know a few routes to take once you arrive, we hope to see you soon on the island so that you can enjoy your vacation  and all that the ocean has to offer!

If you want to visit Bocas del Toro and stay with us, please write to info@diversparadise.com.