Provided by: Seaphotoart /
Section in Exotic Islands of Panama, Central America
Bocas del Toro
Of all the tourist destinations in Panama, Bocas del Toro is the place where you can really have it all. During the day you can take a tour to any of the amazing islands of the archipelago, sail, sunbathe, swim, surf, snorkel, hike, ride a bicycle around town, and visit an indigenous village or a botanical garden. At night you can literally go bar hopping, participate in a talent night, go to a costume party, and dance by a shipwreck, find excellent live music, and best of all, no need to drive. Bocas is constantly changing and transforming itself. There’s always something new and by walking in the streets, you can feel the energy of people coming and going who are happy and feel lucky to be there.


The Bocas del Toro region is part of the larger La Amistad area, which holds Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site statuses for its rich ecosystems, including the reefs of Panama’s Bastimentos National Marine Park. The waters are inhabited by a wonderful variety of tropical reef creatures including starfish, sting rays, nurse sharks, lobster, angel fish, parrot fish, damsel fish – the list is endless. Dive schools regularly visit up to 15 locations with depth ranges from 2 to 18 meters inside the bay area. Many centers offer try-dives, open water courses and education right through to dive master. Some dive sites include Crawl Cay, The Wreck, Hospital Point, Buoy Line, Playground and many more. The best time of year for diving is April-May and Sept-October but there is good visibility year round.
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Bocas is one of the very few Caribbean surf spots with good sized waves. There may be better and bigger waves in the Pacific, but here, when you surf, you do it in turquoise waters, while you ride above colorful coral reefs or white sand. There are beach breaks, point breaks and reef breaks, lefts, and rights for all tastes and preferences. You can find breaks three minutes away from Isla Colon. The preferred surf spots are Wizard, Bluff, Punch, The Point at Carenero and Tiger Tail. It is important to visit these spots with somebody who knows the area, especially if you will be surfing over a reef break.
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Bocas del Toro is one of Panama's best places for birding. According to the Audubon Society, one can spot 300+ species of birds in a day. Bird Island is named for its glorious abundance of birds and can be accessed easily by boat when the water is calm. Bocas in general is a paradise for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. Planned birding tours include a preparatory talk about the geography and bird life in the area of Red Frog National Park. During the tour you'll have the opportunity to see and hear trogons, ant birds, forest wrens, puff birds, tanagers, parrots, mot-mots and many other bird species. You can also visit other hot spots in the region on some of the other islands. • Carenero • Bastimentos (Red Frog) • Bird Island
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Visit Nivida Bat Cave

Hire a boat captain at the Bastimentos boat dock on Main Street or arrange a tour with a tour operator and they will navigate you up the Bahia Honda River. You will then hike for about 20 minutes before reaching Bocas' most spectacular cave located in the Bastimentos National Marine Park. There’s a guide from the Bahia Honda community who will take you through the cave. The water comes up pretty high so expect to get wet. There are other bat caves in the area but not as impressive as Nivida.
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Visit an indigenous tribe

If you’re looking for a different side of Bocas, you’ll find it hidden in the indigenous villages tucked away in the forests on every island. The indigenous Ngöbe-Buglé and Naso continue to live without modern luxuries such as running water, electricity and medicine. They know how to get around the forests of the islands and speak their own language, make their own clothing and crafts, and cure illnesses with local plants prepared by medicine men known as curanderos. To learn more about living in the wild in these unspoiled communities, book a tour with an operator or if you’re staying in a remote hotel, ask the owners, there may be a village nearby.
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Finca Los Monos

This beautiful farm located on Isla Colon has large collections of heleconias, gingers, palms, flowering trees, fruits, spices and ornamentals. While hiking through the finca you may see howler monkeys, sloths, iguanas, and tiny colorful frogs. There is a wide variety of fruits such as cacao, guava, mammee also known as mamey, nutmeg, passion fruit, pineapple, papaya, tamarind, and nine varieties of bananas, among others. A wide variety of birds call the farm home drawn by its abundance of fruit and flowers.
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