Chasing the waves to Bocas del Toro? Here is a quick run-down of all the surfing need-to-knows for your time amidst the waves in the archipelago.
A mixture of beach and reef break waves, steep waves and comfier, fatter waves, our surfing community has a lot of options from which to choose. Your own surf experience simply depends on which surf spot you choose! While the best way to reach the waves is via taxi boat for only a few dollars each way, you can also paddle out from shore at most places.
Let’s find your wave:
Old Man’s and Black Rock
Accessible either from the shore of Isla Carenero or by a 3-minute water taxi from Bocas Town, Old Mans and Black Rock are surf spots right next to each other. Favored by those new to the surf community, many surf schools host their lessons in this area since the waves tend to remain smooth and long, the channels are clear and abundant, and the proximity to shore enables beginner surfers to feel comfortable and safe to end their session whenever they’d like.
Popular for its consistent, high energy waves, this reef break wave is best suited for intermediate and advanced surfers. Just a 15-minute bike ride from the center of town on Isla Colon, this location also offers a restaurant and beach bar for a post-surf smoothie or a relaxing drink after a sunset session. While the prickly reef may be a challenge on the way in and out to surf, its rolling waves are definitely worth it!
Whether you choose to take a 15-minute taxi ride or a 30-minute bike ride up the sandy gravel road of Isla Colon, Playa Bluff is your wild wave location. With a steep drop and a beach break wave unlike any other, this location offers you top notch surf amidst serenity with its 16 miles of beach nestled amongst the jungle. As the waters here are stronger than nearly anywhere else frequented by surfers in Bocas, be mindful of the riptides as you gauge your surf skills. Unforgiving and thrilling, Playa Bluff is visited by the island’s advanced surfers.
Seeking an adrenaline rush with a different landscape to put your surf skills to the test? Playa Wizard on Isla Bastimentos is the spot for you. Similar to Bluff with its tricky currents, Wizard is reserved for advanced surfers, primarily locals. A taxi boat can drop you off or you can follow the 30-minute jungle path across the island with your board in tow!
Uh oh! Did your surfboard not fit in your carry-on? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Only a 10-minute walk from the hotel
entrance to the center of town, these surf centers will give you the surfboard hook up you need.
Unsure of what size board is best for you? The size and weight of your board depends on a variety of factors such as your height, how often you surf, and how much experience you have. If you’re a novice just starting out, perhaps a smooth longboard or a thicker shortboard around 7 to 9 feet will be your best bet. If you’ve got some experience under your belt, perhaps a little smaller and lighter shortboard will allow you to keep improving your skills. Smaller funboards in the 5-foot range are advanced surfers best buddies. Just ask your surf center for their thoughts!
The Caribbean waves are calling you. Let us turn your surf vacation dreams into reality.
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Written by Maria Mc Donough
Photos by Martin Montes