In times when everything is beginning to open again, albeit little by little, we’re here to encourage you to visit our piece of paradise and enjoy the beauty that Bocas del Toro has to offer.
Here’s why you should hop on over to our island oasis:
1) A unique experience to get here: It only takes 40 minutes to get from Panama City to Bocas del Toro. During your flight, you enjoy the beautiful landscape of our tropical islands, its turquoise waters, and the small colorful houses that make up our wonderful town. If you decide to travel by car (9 hours) or bus (around 12 hours), the long stretch through the Panamanian countryside to reach Almirante still makes for quite a unique experience. Not only do you get to take in much of what makes the country so beautiful, but once you arrive in Almirante you get to take a water taxi to reach your final destination! Around 20 minutes long, the quick sea trip is peaceful and there is a lot of nature to take in. You can see mangroves, birds and the great blue of the ocean until you start to see Bocas Town with its Afro-Caribbean architecture. Let’s be honest, you are already living an adventure before even arriving at the site!
2) The local gastronomy: People from all over the world live in Bocas del Toro and this diversity is reflected in Bocas’s delicious flavors. Of course, there is always the delectable taste of home as well. You cannot leave the island without trying a flavorful plate of Caribbean food packed full of rice, beans and patacones with braised chicken or fresh fish taken straight from the sea. What’s one of the best parts of vacationing on an island? Oceanfront dining! Our restaurant, Pier19, is located right at the edge of the sea where you can enjoy mealtime with an incredible view of the ocean view , where everything has a special flavor!
3) Connecting with the indigenous community the Ngäbe-Bugle Comarca: When you learn about the original cultures of the places you visit you can better understand the hows and whys behind your surroundings. Panama has 5 indigenous regions, and one of them is in the province of Bocas del Toro: the Ngäbe-Bugles. They are one of the most important groups in the cultivation of cocoa. The Ngäbe women often wear very beautiful dresses of different colors and styles, making them easily distinguishable from their peers. Kusapin, where there’s a big Ngäbe community, is one of the closest places to visit from Isla Colón, only about an hour away by boat taxi. However, you will also see members of this indigenous group on Isla Colón, Isla Carenero and other surrounding locations. This community definitely continues to have a large impact on the Bocas culture today
4) Dreamy beaches: Bocas del Toro is characterized by having white sand beaches with warm, turquoise waters. Yes, I mean that Pinterest photo that just popped into your head. Yup, that one.. Among the most popular beaches are Bibi’s, Wizard, Starfish beach, Red Frog and Bluff Beach. For those who like to swim quietly or snorkel, Bocas has a few spots right up your alley. And, for those who come to surf the barrels and get immersed in the movement of the waves, we have a variety for you as well! Each beach is different and the good thing is that you can visit a new one every day. If you want to know more about them you can visit our article The Dream Beaches of Bocas del Toro.
5) Surfing: Your visit to our slice of paradise can mean a great sea adventure as you enjoy the Bocas waves. There are surf spots for beginners, intermediates and advanced surfers. Also, if you have never surfed before but would like to try it, there are many surf schools that can take you for your first lesson. The main surf season is from December to March, but if you are lucky you can have some waves until May or June! Also, there is usually a small swell in July to spice things up a bit. Most of the surf spots are coral reefs, yet some are beach breaks. A great place to learn to surf is “Black Rock” located in Carenero, for its waves are wide and slow, awesome for beginners just starting out.
6) Snorkeling: If you like the water and the marine life that lives below its surface, Bocas del Toro is the place for you! Our waters have many coral formations and reefs inhabited by arrow crabs, starfish, parrotfish, nurse sharks, southern rays, lobsters and even seahorses among other things. Bocas’s marine life is easily observed due to the many snorkeling sites that are accessible to you simply by paddling or swimming a little away from the beach. Pro tip: we recommend that you start this trip with a pair of fins and a mask in your suitcase, so you can enjoy the beauty of the sea at any time.
Color data: If you stay at our hotel, we provide you snorkeling equipment for free.
7) Diving: For the bravest of the bunch and those seeking an adrenaline experience, scuba diving is for you. Located in the Caribbean Sea, our islands have few currents and quite warm water (from 27 degrees), making it the perfect place to take your first dive. In addition to the aforementioned marine life in the archipelago there are four sunken ships, one of which is at our hotel, Divers Paradise Boutique Hotel. To complement the awe of this sunken ship, we also have a plane that can also be easily explored right from our dock. For your convenience, we have an adjoining scuba diving center just outside the hotel, Bocas Dive Center. You can have more information about the dive center by clicking here. No one can argue that venturing to the bottom of the sea and breathing bubbles isn’t an unforgettable experience!
8) Dolphins at Cayo Zapatilla: Arriving at Dolphin Bay during your excursion to Cayo Zapatilla and seeing dolphins jumping around the boat is yet another unforgettable experience that Bocas has to offer you. This bay is home to bottlenose dolphins for the majority of the year. Better yet, dolphins are usually observed in pairs or in groups of 5 or 6 called pods. The excursion includes snorkeling at different dive sites, seeing sloths and exploring the beaches of the Cayo Zapatilla national reserve, one of the most incredible places in Bocas del Toro. This tour is one of the most recommended on the island and costs between $30 and $35 usd per person?. Money well spent for a priceless experience!
9) Starfish at Starfish Beach: This beach on Isla Colón is ideal for those who enjoy calm waters without waves and simply want to relax in the Caribbean sun. When you visit, remember to bring your mask and snorkel to see the starfish, but please don’t take them out of the water so they remain alive and healthy. Additionally, there are many restaurants where you can eat fresh fish or lobster with a good portion of rice and beans. To get to Starfish Beach, you have two options: 1) from the town with public transport, which costs around $2.50 usd per travel allowance or 2) by hiring a tour and arriving by boat taxi. The boat taxi usually costs between $15-and $25 usd depending on the places you visit and the number of people who take the taxi. It is advisable to go on a weekday since there are usually more people on weekends.
10) New friends from all over the world: Every year, Bocas is visited by thousands of tourists from different countries. Without a doubt, your stay in this special Caribbean archipelago will give you fun-packed friendships that connect you to different and remote places all over the map. Added bonus: you can also enjoy making friends with the locals who are always dancing, singing and smiling everywhere you go.
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