Bocas del Toro is located in the northwest of the Panamanian Caribbean, and has 7 main islands, 52 cays and more than 200 small islands. The archipelago separates Almirante Bay and the Chiriqui Lagoon from the Caribbean open sea.
Thanks to its proximity to the Costa Rican border and being the most popular beach destination in Panama, Bocas del Toro attracts thousands of travelers every day from different parts of the world.
Bocas del Toro has approximately 8,000 inhabitants of diverse cultures: Spanish, indigenous, Afro-Antillean immigrants from the West Indies, mostly English speakers, as well as Germans and North Americans.
Isla Colon: It is the main island and the largest in the archipelago, also called “Bocas Town”, which is the regional capital. It has its own airport with flights arriving from Panama City, David and Costa Rica.
The most important street economically speaking, is Third Street, on the main road of the island, where commercial activity is concentrated during the day and at night. It is here you can find excellent nightlife places such as: Bar La Iguana, Munchies, OM Cafe, the restaurant Buena Vista and El Pirata.
El Pirata is the oldest and best known restaurant in Bocas del Toro. With its terrace on the water and an incredible view towards the neighboring islands, it continues to impress its visitors, offering delicious local and international food.
Bluff Beach, lends itself to activities such as ATV excursions, hiking, biking and horse tours. During the turtle nesting season it is possible to observe them during the night. If you like adventure, you should visit the cave called “La Gruta” where you can observe bats and other animals that do not exist anywhere else in the area.
Carenero Island: This island is very small, but very popular due to its natural beauty and its proximity to Isla Colon. It has its own gas station and a supermarket, but it is totally free of concrete roads and therefore of cars. Isla Carenero offers several lodging options (hostels, hotels and cabins on the water) as well as delicious restaurants, such as Bibi’s on the Beach, Cosmic Crab and Leaf Eaters. The rumberos will also find popular bars, such as Aqua Lounge.
Bastimentos Island: A large island with 52 km2, some of its beaches are part of the Bastimentos Island National Marine Park. In the north of this island is Playa Primera (Wizard), Playa Segunda (Red Frog Beach), Long Beach and Polo Beach. All these beaches are very attractive for surf lovers.
At Red Frog Beach, you can find the Zipline Canopy tour, which offers a good dose of adrenaline for those who love heights and speed. Red Frog is the most tourist and accessible beach in Bastimentos, since it has its own pier and easy path to reach the beach. You will also find several restaurants and bars of all kinds, where you can enjoy a very cold beer on the beach and with a little luck you can see the little red dart frog.
The weather: What to Bring to Bocas del Toro
The climate in Bocas del Toro is tropical, with temperatures between 70 ° to 90 ° F (20 ° – 32 ° C), there are no hurricanes, it rains more frequently during the night or early in the morning. The afternoons are generally sunny; As we are in the tropics it tends to rain a lot, but this does not mean that you can not do activities, activities like surfing and diving are fine to do despite the rain. The sunniest months are September and October.
We advise you to bring sunscreen, bathing suit and of course good vibes.
How to get to Bocas del Toro?
Bocas del Toro is accessible from Panama City, David or from Costa Rica. The Bocas del Toro airport is located in Isla Colón (BOC). You can fly with the local airline Air Panamà or AeroBell from Costa Rica, you can also take a bus to Almirante and then take a boat to Isla Colon.
Buses leave the Albrook terminal every day at 7:00 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. and arrive at Almirante at approximately 6:00 a.m. or at 7:30 a.m., tickets can be purchased directly at the Albrook Transportation Terminal.
The schedule of water taxis to and from Almirante and Isla Colón, is from 6:00 a.m. and the duration of the trip is approximately 30 minutes.
In Costa Rica there are buses from San José to Sixaola (border town), or Changuinola (Panamanian side). There is also a private transportation service (Caribe Shuttle) that operates from Puerto Viejo, Cahuita, Manzanillo in Costa Rica to Almirante.