Bocas del Toro, Panama is any beach lover’s dream
Bocas del Toro consists of a collection of islands dotting the crystal clear blue waters of the Caribbean Sea at the border of Costa Rica and Panama. Mountains loom in the distant skyline and ocean water weaves itself throughout the multitude of islands and mangroves.
Many activities are offered to visitors in Bocas del Toro. People come from all over the world to surf the legendary waves. Wanna-be divers looking for a fast PADI certification pop into Bocas Del Toro to sign up for quickie courses. Beachgoers know there is an endless supply of white sands where you can relax and let the waves lull you to sleep. Backpackers can always find a friendly and affordable waterfront hostel to spend a few days exploring.
Excursions are offered on every street corner. You can horseback ride down the beach or swim through a bat cave. Hike the jungle in search of sloth or the famous poisonous red frog.
Here are my top 5 favorite things you don’t want to miss while in Bocas del Toro:
- Interact on the Monkey Island Tour – Enjoy a nice boat ride to this remote part of the Bocas del Toro province. Once on the island, you get the opportunity to interact with some of the eleven rescued monkeys that call the mangrove island “home.” There are currently four different species of monkeys living there – a Howler, a Tamarin, four Squirrel Monkeys, and five Capuchins. Some lucky guests get to hold the baby Howler, which is newly rescued and only a few months old. The Tamarin monkey loves attention and will hop right in your lap to be groomed, while the Squirrel Monkeys steal food out of your hand and run with it. Feed fruit and seeds to the sweet and amusing white-faced Capuchins. The tour is $20 per person. You have to arrange your own transportation from Bocas, which is fairly easy, as there are many Captains in the area. There is a bar on the island and you can order drinks. Lunch can sometimes be made available for purchase but must be arranged in advance. Reservations are recommended and tours are available from 10am-3pm daily. For more information, you can log on to https://monkeyislandtours.wordpress.com
- Visit the Chocolate Farm – Green Acres Chocolate Farm is situated on a hillside in Dolphin Bay. The working farm produces cacao and cacao byproducts each month. Visitors can tour the farm and learn about the abundance of flora and fauna that thrives in the lush soil. Learn firsthand about the stages of making chocolate, from growing the chocolate beans to fermentation and the drying process. The best part, you get to sample the chocolate along the way!Reservations are required for the tours ($15 each – transportation not provided). To make a reservation or learn more visit www.greenacreschocolatefarm.com
- Spend the Day at Red Frog Beach- The famous Red Frog Beach is perfect for everyone. Soft sandy beach, legendary wave action, and a selection of bars and restaurants will make you never want to leave! Located on the island of Bastimentos, this beach is named after the famous poisonous red frog which can often be seen there. The frog is a tiny little creature who is really only poisonous to other animals who eat it. You can get to the beach by either being dropped off at the Red Frog Beach Resort dock or the Palmar dock. You have to pay a $5 fee per person to enter the property. If you book the zip line excursion at the Red Frog Beach Resort ($55) the entrance fee is waived. There are several resorts with bars and restaurants all within a 10-15 minute walk of each other. There is the Point at Red Frog, Selinas, Palmar, and Nachyo Mamas, all offering cold drinks and unbeatable views. You can also rent kayaks and paddle boards at Palmar and several of the resorts offer yoga classes daily. For more information on Red Frog Beach log on to www.redfrogbeach.com
- Sunbathe at Zapatilla Beach – This is one of the most beautiful beaches in Bocas del Toro and is worth the boat trip to visit. Las Islas Zapatillas is actually made up of two beautiful, uninhabited islands which are part of the Bastimentos National Marine Park. These protected islands are close to the coral reef and there is unbelievable snorkeling in some of the coves around the islands. While many people do visit the islands, there is plenty of space to spread out and find a secluded spot if you are looking for privacy.
- Snorkeling – You can’t visit Bocas del Toro and not get in the water and experience the marine life first hand. Reefs are scattered everywhere and they are teeming with marine life. Many areas are shallow enough to stand up in spots, making them more family-friendly than similar reefs in the deeper waters. Fish of all colors and sizes call these reefs home and you can spend hours following them and exploring the colorful underwater miracle of nature. See crabs, lobsters, starfish, and moray eels interspersed with the tropical fish, coral, and sea anemone. For a special treat, book a day spearfishing with the local indigenous people, the Ngobe Indians, who have been fishing these waters for centuries.
No matter what activities you choose to do while visiting Bocas del Toro, or if you simply decide to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings, you are guaranteed to have the trip of a lifetime.
Have you been to Bocas del Toro? Please share with us your favorite experiences while in this tropical paradise.