My Guide to Bocas

July 22nd, 2013
Convert article to PDF Printer friendly version Email article to a friend Larger text Smaller text Default text Email This Post

Joan Crabtree of Cosmic Crab RestaurantJoan Crabtree of the Cosmic Crab Restaurant

Congratulations! You’ve finally made it to paradise….now what do you do?

Bocas del Toro’s archipelago offers gorgeous beaches, snorkelling, diving, and surfing. The rainforests, with their exotic plants and creatures are waiting to be explored. Choose a zipline, a jungle tour, a boat tour, catamaran sailing, surfing, snorkling, diving, fishing, horsebackriding…. or of course just relax on some of the Caribbean’s most beautiful beaches.

Bocas Town on Isla Colón, has many hotels, hostels, restaurants and bars.

Carenero, the smallest of the inhabited islands, and the closest to Bocas Town, just a two-minute boat ride, but a world away with cool breezes and lush vegetation, also has a few hotels and excellent seafood restaurants.

Bastimentos, the largest island in the archipelago is the home of a protected National Marine Park, some of the Caribbean’s most beautiful beaches and also world class surfing. Old Bank is a small town center with small hotels and hostels, and a few restaurants.

All Day Boat Tour

The # 1 way to visit some of the islands, snorkle and beach all in one day is the All Day Boat Tour.

There are several offices on the main street where you can sign up for a tour, as well as street guides who will lead you to a boat. Most boats will take 12-16 passengers, usually departing appoximately 9:30 a.m., returning around 4 p.m.

Some supply snorkles and masks, or you may have to rent them when you arrive at Coral Cay.

Dolphin Bay

Dolphin Bay

Dolphin Bay

DOLPHIN BAY, usually able to view dolphins swimming, then on to CORAL CAY for about an hour of snorkeling, followed by lunch (you buy) in one of the restaurants over the water. After lunch, the boat continues on to either Red Frog Beach or Zapatilla.

Red Frog Beach

$20 for boat trip plus $3 for Red Frog entrance

Zapatilla

Zapatilla, $25 for boat trip plus $5 entrance.

For groups of 4-6 or more consider hiring a private boat and captain for the day, and include a visit to Salt Creek Indian Village on Bastimentos and/or jungle walk with chances to see sloths, Capuchin monkeys, caimen, red frogs, bat caves.

Catamaran Sailing

Catamaran Sailing is also a fun and a wonderfully relaxing full day on the water. The trip starts with a visit to Dolphin Bay and two snorkeling spots.

Bring a book, (maybe checkers, chess, backgammon, scrabble) and definitely remember a hat, towel, sunscreen and sunglasses.

$45 pp includes lunch, drink, snorkeling equipment. Sign up on Main Street, or call 757 9170 http://www.catamaransailing.com

Zip Line ($55) and/or Red Frog Beach

Seven different and exciting zips including Tarzan Swing, Rope Course, Sky Bridge, Vertical Rappel. Heights reach to 250 feet with speeds of up to 42 mph.

Take a water taxi to the Red Frog Marina, $5 pp each way or the Jampan Shuttle $7 pp which leaves 9:00, 12:00, 1:00, 2:00, 4:00 returns 11:00, 1:00, 3:00, 5:00.

Red Frog Beach is magnificent with a gorgeous view and big waves. Punta Lava Restaurant is right on the beach or walk down to the pub at Palmar Tent Lodge. Entrance fee for Red Frog Beach is $3 pp.

Wizard & Polo Beach are adjacent to Red Frog and are worshipped by surfers.

Boca del Drago & Starfish Beach

Boat Tour $25 (includes Bird Key).

Private boat to Starfish Beach approx $80.

Yellow Taxi $25-$30 round trip (max 5 people per car)

Mini Bus $5 pp round trip leaves Bocas Town Park 10:00, 12:00, 2:00 Returns 11:00, 1:00, 3:00, 5:00

From Yarisnori Restaurant at Boca del Drago….approx 20 min beach walk to Starfish Beach. Big starfish abound, but PLEASE leave them in the water!

Bird Key in Bocas del Toro

Bird Key.

Paunch Beach – Paki Point Restaurant

Good food, comfy lounge chairs, great beach with surf and gorgeous view. Bring water shoes for the reef at the beach. Can rent surf boards.

Bluff Beach

Gorgeous! three mile long stretch of sand, big waves! Beware of rip tides!

Watch out for turtle nests April-Sept. Night Turtle watches can also be organized when Giant Leatherbacks and Hawkbill are laying eggs.

Bluff Beach Lodge ( hotel & restaurant with swimming pool) can organize 2-3 hr jungle walk.

Diving

Padi certified dive shops include Bocas Water Sports, Starfleet Scuba, LaBuga Dive Shop, Bocas Dive Center, Dutch Pirate.

Also Padi certified dive center in Bastimentos, Scuba 6

Other things to do

  • Surf schools
  • Horseback riding
  • Finca los Monos botanical gardens
  • Butterfly Farm
  • Cacao farm tour
  • Turtle watch
  • Bat caves, jungle walk, Salt Creek
  • Ngäbe Bugle indigenous village, Saposo Naso indigenous communities-day trip or overnight.

Getting Around

By water taxi, of course. Coopetativo Carenero 757-7803. Bastimentos Boteros in the center of Town.

Rent bikes ($5-10/day) or rent ATV’S ($20/hour and half or full day rates (6689 5050 flyingpiratesbocas.com) or take Yellow Taxi.

Print

Get Connected!

Panama Maps

Check out our Panama Maps!
Sponsored by PanamaOne.com