Bocas del Toro | Central America | Panama

Bocas del Toro why do you need to visit tremendous island

I have completed my stay in El Salvador. The time there passed very quickly. I spent only six days there, but it was memorable and remarkable. I flew from San Salvador with Avianca Airlines to Panama City. My next destination was Panama. The flight took place in the evening. After a 2 hour flight, I landed at Panama City Airport. The idea for the post ‘Bocas del Toro why do you need to visit the tremendous island?’ was born on the plane. I had to drive about 20 more kilometers to the hotel. I had planned earlier that I would spend no more than one day in the capital of Panama.

So I started the next day with a visit to Albrook Mall. I spent quite a bit of time working and ordering a very filling lunch. Time passed, and the departure time to Bocas del Toro was approaching. A few dozen meters away, long-distance buses depart from the Gran Terminal Nacional de Transporte. My bus trip from Panama City to Bocas del Toro passed at 7 pm. 

Finally, the trip was very comfortable and cost $34. In the morning, I arrived in Almirante. There, cabs were already waiting. Cabs take travelers to the ferry terminal. From Panama City, it is also possible to fly directly to Isla Colon with Air Panama.

Bocas del Toro why do you need to visit tremendous island

Best time to visit Bocas del Toro

Bocas Town is teeming with visitors all year round. But no matter how busy it gets, there are always beautiful stretches of white sandy beaches that you can have to yourself. The weather is always warm in Bocas Del Toro. It is one of the few places globally with only about three degrees of variation in daily maximum air temperature per year and four degrees in daily water temperature per year.

What is the best time to visit Bocas del Toro? Mid-December to April is considered the high season, but it doesn’t seem overcrowded. This time of year has the most live music, but you can find live music somewhere in Bocas Town every night.

Locals will tell you that September and October are their favorite months, but each month is attractive to visitors given the temperate weather and constant sea breeze.

Shorts and a t-shirt are enough to feel comfortable all year round. Average daily highs range from 83° F to 86° F. At night, the high temperature is rarely above 88° F and below 70° F.; this allows for warm days and comfortable sleeping conditions.

Experience a local climate

The ocean is still ideal for swimming, with average water temperatures between 82°F and 86°F year-round. While this makes swimming comfortable, the water temperature is too warm for our coral reefs, a global problem.

A tropical forest surrounds Bocas del Toro, so the area experiences significant rainfall and cloud cover. However, most days see many sunny hours. The average duration of storms is between one and one and a half hours.

With winds averaging 11 to XNUMX kilometers per hour, the area almost always has a comfortable breeze. The current in Bocas Bali is especially constant because of its proximity to open water. Most villas are pretty comfortable without ever using air conditioning.

Please don’t believe the online weather forecast for Bocas del Toro because it constantly predicts rain even in good weather. Part of the reason: the mainland of Bocas del Toro is on the other side of the mountain from Bocas Town and Bocas Bali.

Bocas del Toro why do you need to visit tremendous island

Where is Bocas del Toro located

Where is Bocas del Toro located? It is the capital of the province and is located on Isla Colon in western Panama. Moreover, it is the main island of the Bocas del Toro Archipelago.

The only way to reach Isla Colon is by ferry. In fact, they are water cabs that run very frequently and take up to 10 people. It rained very hard that day and so the rainy season is still a long time away. It rained very hard that day and so the rainy season is still a long time away. 

The trip to Bocas del Toro was not very complicated or tiring. I found all the information on the internet. This allowed me to plan each leg of the trip well. 

Things to do in Bocas del Toro

What are the best things to do in Bocas del Toro? Discover its different islands, fauna, flora, and culture, and you won’t have time to get bored!

Bocas del Toro is one of the paradisiacal archipelagos of the Caribbean coast of Panama. Located on the border with Costa Rica, these islands attract more and more travelers each year, eager to experience and discover.

I will not give you advice on how to prepare for your stay in Bocas del Toro. I talk about it here, but rather give you a selection of activities and places you should know during your trip.

Top 5 things to do in Bocas del Toro

There are dozens of activities that you can do by yourself or not. It is not possible to be bored in this small corner of paradise.


And yes, it is one of the favorite destinations of surfers and riders traveling to Panama and Central America in general. Here, a calm and relaxed atmosphere, white sand and turquoise sea, everything you need to surf or even learn to surf.

The archipelago of Bocas del Toro has several surf spots all around its islands. You will often have to take a “lancha” (small motorboat) to get to these different spots. If you do not bring your equipment, you will find several surf shops to rent your board for a day or several days. The longer you rent, the more the daily price decreases, a bit like car rental.

You will find your wave in beach breaks, reef breaks, and some point breaks!

Some spots not to be missed: Carenero (the most famous, the easiest to access from Isla Colón), Bluff (not for beginners), or Wizard Beach (on Isla Bastimentos).

Many other sports and beaches will offer you ideal conditions to slide between the tubes of the Caribbean. Some without the name, others more difficult to access, ask the locals, and good glide!

Animal watching

Bocas del Toro has an exceptional fauna and flora that you can discover by yourself during your trip to Panama.

The list is long: sea birds, monkeys, sloths, dolphins, turtles, reptiles, manatees. The list is long. You will have understood: pay attention!

Take a day trip through the archipelago – a classic tour that is still a must – and choose the right people to do it in the best way. In one day, you’ll have the chance to see sloths on their island, dolphins playing on the bow of the lancha, sea birds flirting with the sea, and more. You’ll be amazed!

If you are an avid bird watcher, don’t miss the Isla de los Pájaros.

If you want to see the nesting of leatherback turtles, to name a few, you will have every chance of seeing them between June and September. Ask the ToutPanama team for advice and follow the rules they will give you not to destroy such a fragile ecosystem.

If the marine fauna attracts your curiosity, a simple mask and a tuba will allow you to see beautiful fish.

Bocas del Toro why do you need to visit tremendous island

Scuba diving and snorkeling

Bocas del Toro is the ideal place to go underwater and discover the wonders of the Caribbean, whether for a snorkeling tour, a first dive, or for experienced divers. 

For beginners, there are spots like Coral Garden, Hospital Point, or Blue Coconut, also famous snorkeling spots. The last one is also equipped with a bar where you can sip a piña colada while getting out of the water.

For more experienced divers, immersion in a catamaran wreck, on the Shashe site, or in the Polo caves will glimpse the archipelago’s underwater wealth.


You will quickly realize that the bicycle is the means of transportation used by the majority of the locals on Isla Colón (the main island of the archipelago).

Alone, with family or friends, rent a bike, electric or not, and go for a ride at the rhythm and the Caribbean atmosphere that reigns on the island. Be careful not to go too far. You have to be able to come back afterward and pedal under a significant heat, which makes an effort more complicated (bring water, it is essential).

You will discover dream beaches and be able to observe the tropical forest and take your time because, in travel, it is also good to take your time.

The party

Bocas del Toro is also appreciated for its nightlife. Its restaurants, bars, and discotheques will give rhythm to your Caribbean nights. Every day has its atmosphere! But if there is one day that many travelers look forward to, it is Friday. For a few years now, Friday has been “Filthy Friday .”Do you know the idea of “bar crawl”? Well, it’s the same principle. During the whole day, you will party on different islands and bars of the archipelago. You either love it or hate it, but I’ll tell you about it!

Otherwise, many bars – mainly in the center of Isla Colón – can occupy your evenings. You will appreciate each one with a terrace in front of the sea! I will retain the Barco Hundido (the most local of all), the Summer, or the Aqua Lounge, each one having days more animated than others.

Best beaches in Bocas del Toro

What are the best beaches in Bocas del Toro?

Playa Estrella

As its name lets you guess, the beach with the starfish is a beach very appreciated by travelers. It’s not the most deserted beach, but you’ll quickly understand why once you get there!

About 40 minutes by minibus from the main square of Isla Colón, it is also possible to go there by bike for the more sporty. Destination for all: Boca del Drago. You only have 15 minutes to walk along the Caribbean Sea between palm trees and crystal clear waters. This path is simply magnificent. Please take advantage of it to take some pictures.

You will then arrive at Starfish Beach. There are a few bars, deckchairs, and a primarily calm sea:

  • An ideal place to go to the beach.
  • A little snorkeling to see the starfish in the water of adequate temperature.
  • Rest.

It is also possible to go there by lancha (taxi-boat).

Red Frog Beach

This beach is worth visiting for two things: its beach and the path to get there.

Located on Isla Bastimentos, you will have to access the national park of the same name to get there and pay the entrance fee (5.00 USD, bring cash). A walk will start through the jungle on a well-marked trail that is easy to follow.

Being attentive and with a little bit of luck, you will be able to see this famous strawberry frog (the one that is red with small black spots). We look at it, but we don’t touch it. You can see monkeys, sloths and other animals that we like less. I recommend that travelers put closed shoes and flip-flops in their backpacks.

After walking this way for 30 minutes and enjoying its nature, you will arrive at a vast sandy beach: Red Frog Beach. The current can be strong, so be careful. You will find something to eat if you need it.

Cayos Zapatilla

If there is an island, or rather a group of islands, that attracts everyone’s attention in the archipelago of Bocas del Toro, it is the Cayo de Zapatilla (“slipper” in Spanish).  Seen from the sky, you can distinguish two islands one next to the other, and with a little imagination, you can see two steps. Hence its name!

But if they are proposed in the numerous tours, it is especially because they are two deserted islands, surrounded by a turquoise sea and encircled by a spectacular reef. Can you see the scenery? Not bad!

Considered as two of the most beautiful beaches of Bocas del Toro and protected by their belonging to the National Park of Bastimentos, you will enjoy your excursion commercial page activities.

Playa Bluff 

Playa Bluff is one of the beaches (among many others) not missed during your stay in Bocas del Toro. Located on Isla Colón, accessible by minibus, cab, or bicycle from the center of the archipelago’s main island, you will arrive at this vast beach.

Known and recognized by surfers as one of the best spots in Bocas, it is also the place where some species of turtles lay their eggs. For swimming, be careful: the currents are strong, so stay on the shore to cool down. But if I appreciate this beach so much, it is above all for its wild side, its jungle nearby, and the color of the water, which contrasts with that of the sand.

What to do in Bocas del Toro when it rains

What to do in Bocas del Toro when it rains?  It would seem that there is nothing to do on rainy days in Bocas del Toro. I never thought rainy days on the island could be dull. Not even once. There is plenty to do on rainy days. An excuse for such days might be to stay in bed all day with your favorite book. Sometimes, it is good to forget your sorrows and lock yourself in a cozy place.

Additionally, rainy days are perfect for taking care of your soul and body. I thought here about meditation and yoga.

When I was in Mexico, I often used body massages and spas. I felt like a newborn. With the sound of the sea and the rain falling in Bocas del Toro, you will find the perfect place to relax. Anything can be the ideal activity on a rainy day. Sometimes, there are several rainy days in Bocas del Toro. You can experience better waves in the Caribbean on rainy days. Why not take advantage of them? I highly recommend snorkeling during this time. The underwater world is fascinating. The rain does not affect the visibility underwater. 

If you are not a fan of water sports

On the other hand, no problem if you are not a fan of water sports. You can rent a bike, scooter, or quad and go to the beach or explore the jungle. The beaches in Bocas del Toro are among the most beautiful in Panama. Moreover, the quality of many of the roads is far from satisfactory. Therefore, to get to most places, you will need an ATV. Be prepared to come back from your trip to the jungle very dirty with mud. Isn’t that fun? 

Another suggestion is to walk. You will get wet, but it is a jungle after all. Just walk ahead, observe the colors and listen to the sounds. Enjoy nature, which in Bocas del Toro is unique. 

Bioluminescence Bocas del Toro

Every movement in the water produces light. From the swirl of a paddle to the motion of your body as you swim! Bioluminescence is the production of light by living organisms through a biological process.

Around the New Moon, bioluminescent plankton can be found all over Bocas del Toro. That’s the darkest part of the night, and the seas begin to glow with a greenish-blue glow.

The plankton emits light as part of a natural chemical process that serves as a defense mechanism against predators. That means that any movement in the water, such as hand movements, swimming, or kayak paddling, will be met with a light show!

Plankton can be found on beaches, particularly near mangroves and seagrass, lining many islands. If you take a water taxi between the islands at night, you’ll notice what appear to be sparks flying out from beneath the boat!

Swimming or snorkeling at night might be a little scary for you, and that’s fine. From! a boat, kayak, or paddleboard, the magical plankton is just as impressive


The region of Bocas del Toro is excellent, and the “Caribbean” atmosphere is particular. For my part, not necessarily looking for the big animation, I stayed in Isla Colon: calm, beautiful vegetation, beaches, and local life. Isla Colon is more “developed.” The nightlife is more animated.

Otherwise, I keep a perfect memory of the coast of Bocas del Drago at the north-western end of Isla Colon: superb deserted beaches, white sand, coconut trees, calm sea. On the other hand, I don’t see where Cahuita is. Have a nice trip.

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  1. Wow, Bocas del Toro is beautiful! I would love to try surfing. I have been once before, though I cannot say I am an expert or even close.

  2. Such stunning photos! I would love to visit someday and I agree that bicycling is a great way to explore an island

    1. Hi Jennifer πŸ™‚ Thank you so much! I explored the island on foot and by scooter. If it’s not raining, biking is a great way to explore the island. I recommend it highly πŸ™‚

  3. Only three degrees in temperature variations? Wow! Bocas del Toro sounds incredible, and your photos are stunning. I had actually never heard of it before reading this, so I appreciate you sharing this gem with us! I’ll need to add it to my list 😊 . Xx Sara

    1. Hi Sara! Thank you so much for this comment. This is my first stay in Bocas del Toro and I can recommend this place to anyone who dreams of Caribbean views and amazing atmosphere πŸ™‚