Bocas del Toro

The province of Bocas del Toro (dt. “The bull's mouth's“) is located in the northwest of Panama closed to the border of Costa Rica. The archipelago contains six islands, Colon Island, Bastimentos, Zapatillas Islands, San Cristobal Islands, Popa and four smaller islands. Bocas del Toro is divided in three districts (distritos), Bocas del Toro, Changuinola and Chiriqui Grande. The province is after Panama City the most popular travel destination of travellers coming to Panama, especially sportsmen. Bocas has grown massively. Especially the provinces capital Bocas del Toro Town, which is located on Colon Island has evolved the past years and has become a center of commerce. But you can not only find tourists over there, but also the Ngobe Bugle territory, which is one of five indigenious tribes in Panama. The territory contains wide parts of the province and is since 1997 considered an autonomous province. The region is inhabited mainly by caribbean immigrants, blacks and indigenous tribes. This particularly affects the way of construction of buildings, which are mainly built made of wood, bamboo and other natural construction materials. Bocas earned a lot of fame being the shooting spot of the latinamerican survivor series. Moreover its steadily used as venue for international surf competitions.

Colon Island

Colon Island

Colon Island is an island on the northern caribbean side of Panama, it belongs to the province of Bocas del Toro and was named after its

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Isla Bastimentos

Bastimentos Island

Bastimentos Island is located in the province Bocas del Toro in Panama. It is the most central island of the archipelago and known not

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Boca del Drago

Boca del Drago represents one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. Despite its sometimes slightly crashing waves Boca del Drago

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Isla Carenero

Carenero Island

Carenero Island is a small island in the archipelago Bocas Del Toro at the Caribbean coast of Panama. If you intend to visit Carenero Island,

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Isla San Cristobal

San Cristobal Island

San Cristobal Island represents an important section of the Admiral Bay. From the touristic point of view this island has been ignored most of

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Cayos Zapatillas

Zapatillas Islands

Zapatillas Islands - two islands in the Atlantic Ocean. While the smaller one, Zapatillas Menor, is located in the west, the larger island,

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Isla Solarte

Solarte Island

Solarte is one of the numerous islands of Bocas del Toro in the north-west of Panama. The island is located at 8 ½ degrees north

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Cayo Coral

Coral Cay

As one of many other islands Cayo Coral is located directly at the frontier to Costa Rica in the Caribbean zone of Panama. This area is

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Bocas del Toro

Things to do in Bocas del Toro

The province of Bocas del Toro is by far one of the most popular provinces of Panama. There are several reasons for its popularity: The picture-book like surroundings, the breathtaking white beaches, the nice people and the caribbean flair. Bocas offers something for every kind of tourist.

Relaxing – If you've had enough of the citylife, Bocas is the place to be. The province is suitable for family trips, spending time on the beach with friends, enjoying the delicious seafood and exploring the surroundings.

Surfing – Bocas is famous for being the venue of several internationally known surf competitions. International surfer stars discovered the province as there favourite wave. Under those you can find surfers like, Matt Archbold, Dan Malloy, Russel Smith, Billy Hume, Brett Simpson, Ben Mcbrie, Nick Jiampa and Sam Hammer, just to mention a few. The Bocas waves claim amateurs, as well as professionals. The most popular beaches are Bluff Beach, Red Frog Beach, Carenero and Dumpers.

Snorkeling – The archipelago is predestinated for snorkeling fans. The many reefs and the uniquly vivid underwater world invites visitors to make long snorkeling trips. In Bocas alone you can find 74 of 79 coral types of the Caribbean. The most popular snorkeling spots are the Zapatillas Islands and the Starfish Beach, as well as Bastimentos Island. A lot of fish can be observed in Bocas del Toro, under those are parrotfishes, triggerfishes and a lot of different types of rays.

Scuba diving – There exists no doubt that Bocas is a paradise for passionate divers. A big part of the archipelago forms the famous Isla Bastimentos National Marine Park. The national park is a safe haven for the many animal species. The fully functioning ecosystem of the national park makes it home to several different animal species like sloths, howler monkeys, frogs, turtles, snakes and many exotic insects and makes diving trips an unforgettable experience.

Kayaking – A lot of people practice kayaking in Bocas del Toro. You don't have to be a professional to enjoy the waters of the archipelago in a kayak. Just like on the Zugspitze there are different routes for beginners and advanced sportsmen. The only risk is forgetting about the time, observing this amazing flora and fauna, as well as the underwater world. A popular starting point for kayaking trips is Bastimentos Island.

Canopy – Bocas offers a wide range of possibilites for canopy lovers. While doing the canopy tour visitors can observe the Caribbean in its pure form or explore the rainforest of Bocas. Canopy is among the most popular things to do in the archipelago. Experienced tour operators not only ensure safe trips but inform their guests about the rich flora and fauna of the rainforest.

Boat trips – In Bocas you can enjoy different types of boat tours. The tours are not only for sportsmen, but especially for families that want to enjoy a nice afternoon. There are boat trips where you can observe dolphins and wales. If you plan to visit Bocas you shouldn't miss a boat trip in this amazing archipelago.

Highlights of Bocas del Toro

  •  Bastimentos Island – Bastimentos is one, if not the highlight of Bocas. The incredible wildlife and fauna, as well as the unique underwater world makes the trip to Bastimentos Island an absolute highlight.

  •  Zapatillas Islands – Zapatillas Islands are two islands in the middle of the archipelago of Bocas. The two islands are named Zapatilla Mayor y Zapatilla Menor. The islands are perfect for relaxing, swimming, snorkeling and diving.

  •  Solarte Island – Solarte Island is another highlight of Bocas. There you can have an exceptional diving experience. The hotspots for diving are Punta Hospital and The Garden, which both are very popular sights for divers in the archipelago.

How to get to Bocas del Toro?

By plane – Flights into direction Bocas takeof from San Jose, Cota Rica and Panama City, Panama. The domestic airline AirPanama offers minimum two daily flights from Panama City to Bocas del Toro. The plane starts from Albrook Airport and usually makes a pitstop in Changuinola. The flight duration totals around 45 to 60 minutes.

By bus – Starting point for travelling to Bocas by bus is the main busstation at Albrook. From Panama City you can reach Bocas by going to Almirante first. The drive takes around 9 to 12 hours. From Almirante you take the ferry to Bocas del Toro Town on Colon Island. The corssing takes about 45 minutes and costs 8$.

By car - The journey to Bocas by car is just like travelling by bus.

Panama Travel Tip

Boat trips where you can observer dolphins and wales in their natural habitat, as well as other animals, promise to be a special experience. The variety of Hotels in Bocas starts with really affordable hostels and ends with luxurous hotels and resorts. The speciality of the restaurants and bars are fresh fish, seafood and tropical fruits. If you prefer international cuisine you can get that served as well.

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