Bocas del Toro travel guide

Bocas del Toro Tourism | Bocas del Toro Guide

You're Going to Love Bocas del Toro

Situated on the breathtaking Isla Colon in the heart of the Bocas del Toro archipelago, Bocas del Toro is a lively town with modern comforts.

Travelers from around the world come to this town for its upbeat atmosphere. It also makes for a great launching point for expeditions all around the island.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Bocas del Toro

1. Stunning Beaches

The lush islands melt into tropical blue waters at Starfish and Red Frog Beach, offering plenty of chances to relax, swim, and enjoy the sun.

2. Amazing Scuba Diving

There are numerous dive companies in town, including Scuba 6, that take divers into shallow waters.

3. Waterside Bars

Many visitors come through to Bocas del Toro to take advantage of the town's many waterside bars, such as Iguana and Buena Vista.

4. Great Eats

As the most developed town on the islands, Bocas del Toro feeds hungry adventurers at restaurants such as Om Cafe and El Ultimo Refugio.

5. Hidden Resorts

The nearby islands abound with secluded resorts like the Dolphin Bay Hideaway.

What to do in Bocas del Toro

1. In The Heart Of A City

The Bocas Del Toro Archipelago is compact, accessible and, best of all, features parks and beaches at every turn. The Simón Bolívar Park is no exception, with that familiar "island vibe" attracting visitors from all around Bocas. Its mature mango trees give the space a fragrant, fruity smell and the royal palms provide plenty of shade to set up a picnic while the kids play a round of frisbee. Once you're done basking amidst its flora, head to the north end of the park, where the beautiful Palacio Municipal stands.

2. Watching The Stars

Starfish Beach does not disappoint. Located on the west end of the island, this is just one of the many beaches that pepper Bocas Town, along with the tiny little island of Isla Zapatillas, Isla Colon and Red Frog Beach of Isla Bastimentos. Make sure to visit all 6 of the little islands, especially if you're up for a round of surfing. There are plenty of waves that hit each of the shores, calling for varying degrees of experience. Back on Starfish Beach, you'll be able to partake in all the usual suspects: boating, swimming, parasailing and more. But the highlight of this beach, of course, is its delicate and interesting population of starfish. Its white sand beaches attract plenty of visitors but its low waters and tidal pools are home to star fish and even baby mantas.

3. A Deeper Look

Above the surface, you may spot plenty of seabirds, starfish and mantas. But below the surface is a whole other world that revolves around the biosphere of the reefs of Bocas del Toro. Here, giant, unblinking sea turtles swim placidly through the waters and schools of fish dart and weave through the 155 miles of reefs that line the coast. So grab a snorkel and set a wishlist of creatures you hope to encounter. Among the watery waves filled with sea-life, be prepared for dolphins, lobsters, crabs and octopus as well as cuttlefish and even nurse sharks.

4. Hitch A Ride

Grab a bike and pedal those pipes! The hour ride to Punta Bluffs is a scenic and memorable ride that is worth experiencing on two wheels rather than four. In fact, renting a bike to get around the island is the best way to experience all of Bocas: from the beaches to the trails and the streets.Don't forget to stop at the lovely Paki Point, where you can catch a quick wave or two, kick back with a beer and then continue on your journey.

5. Brews By The Beach

Just outside of Bocas Town, the Bocas Brewery is where you want to head after a day on the road or after hitting the waves. The Bocas Brewery serves up fresh, locally-brewed, ice-cold Bocas brews on tap and, in addition, a whole smorgasbord of authentic Panamanian snacks.

1. In The Heart Of A City

The Bocas Del Toro Archipelago is compact, accessible and, best of all, features parks and beaches at every turn. The Simón Bolívar Park is no exception, with that familiar "island vibe" attracting visitors from all around Bocas. Its mature mango trees give the space a fragrant, fruity smell and the royal palms provide plenty of shade to set up a picnic while the kids play a round of frisbee. Once you're done basking amidst its flora, head to the north end of the park, where the beautiful Palacio Municipal stands.

2. Watching The Stars

Starfish Beach does not disappoint. Located on the west end of the island, this is just one of the many beaches that pepper Bocas Town, along with the tiny little island of Isla Zapatillas, Isla Colon and Red Frog Beach of Isla Bastimentos. Make sure to visit all 6 of the little islands, especially if you're up for a round of surfing. There are plenty of waves that hit each of the shores, calling for varying degrees of experience. Back on Starfish Beach, you'll be able to partake in all the usual suspects: boating, swimming, parasailing and more. But the highlight of this beach, of course, is its delicate and interesting population of starfish. Its white sand beaches attract plenty of visitors but its low waters and tidal pools are home to star fish and even baby mantas.

3. A Deeper Look

Above the surface, you may spot plenty of seabirds, starfish and mantas. But below the surface is a whole other world that revolves around the biosphere of the reefs of Bocas del Toro. Here, giant, unblinking sea turtles swim placidly through the waters and schools of fish dart and weave through the 155 miles of reefs that line the coast. So grab a snorkel and set a wishlist of creatures you hope to encounter. Among the watery waves filled with sea-life, be prepared for dolphins, lobsters, crabs and octopus as well as cuttlefish and even nurse sharks.

4. Hitch A Ride

Grab a bike and pedal those pipes! The hour ride to Punta Bluffs is a scenic and memorable ride that is worth experiencing on two wheels rather than four. In fact, renting a bike to get around the island is the best way to experience all of Bocas: from the beaches to the trails and the streets.Don't forget to stop at the lovely Paki Point, where you can catch a quick wave or two, kick back with a beer and then continue on your journey.

5. Brews By The Beach

Just outside of Bocas Town, the Bocas Brewery is where you want to head after a day on the road or after hitting the waves. The Bocas Brewery serves up fresh, locally-brewed, ice-cold Bocas brews on tap and, in addition, a whole smorgasbord of authentic Panamanian snacks.

Where to Eat in Bocas del Toro

Travelers looking for local eats can dig in at Bongos Cafe, which serves up Caribbean specialties. La Ballena is a pricey restaurant serving pizza and European wine. Expect to pay around B/. 6 balboas for an quick meal and much more at an upscale establishment.

When to visit Bocas del Toro

Bocas del Toro in October
Estimated hotel price
$152
1 night at 3-star hotel
Bocas del Toro in October
Estimated hotel price
$152
1 night at 3-star hotel

The region sees heavy rains throughout the year, but October, January, and March are relatively dry.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Celcius (°C)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Bocas del Toro

Plane

A small airport, Bocas del Toro Isla Colon International Airport (BOC), on the island has daily flights to Panama City and San Jose. It costs about B/. 130 to get to Panama City in 45 minutes. You can walk from the airport into town.

Boat

The town must be reached by boat, and ferries run from Almirante for about B/. 5.

Car

It's possible to get into town on a car ferry, which leaves Almirante at 8 am every day but Sunday. The price is B/. 15 for the car and 1 additional Balboa for each passenger.

Bus

Buses run from Sixaola in Costa Rica as well as David. If you leave from Costa Rica, expect an B/. 8 exit fee and a B/. 4 entrance fee. Buses from David to Changuinola cost B/. 9 and take four hours; ask the driver to stop when you hit Almirante.

Airports near Bocas del Toro

Airlines serving Bocas del Toro

United Airlines
Good (3,009 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,425 reviews)
Copa Airlines
Good (541 reviews)
Air Panama
Excellent (4 reviews)

Where to stay in Bocas del Toro

Isla Carenero - a quiet walking path encircles this nearby island, home to some top notch restaurants like Bibi's on the Beach.

Popular Islands Around Bocas del Toro

Isla Solarte - this large island is almost entirely covered in lush jungle, and is popular for snorkeling.

Isla Bastimentos - a quick boat ride from Bocas del Toro, Isla Bastimentos is home to some stunning coastline, which partially frames the Parque Nacional Marino Isla Bastimentos.

Where to stay in popular areas of Bocas del Toro

How to Get Around Bocas del Toro

Public Transportation

There is no public transport in town, as the entire area is quite small.

Taxi

Taxis abound and are quite cheap. Expect to get from one side of the town to another for B/. 0.60.

Car

It is very easy to drive in town. While there are no car rentals, an ATV rental from Flying Pirates costs B/. 140 for the day.

The Cost of Living in Bocas del Toro

Shopping Streets

There isn't a whole lot of shopping in Bocas del Toro, but there are a few surf shops, such as Aguamala. Prices for consumer goods are a bit higher than elsewhere in Panama.

Groceries and Other

Super Gourmet grocery store is located near the beach. Local food is priced competitively compared to other places in Panama, but imported items can cost a bit more.

Cheap meal
$15.86
A pair of jeans
$110.96
Single public transport ticket
$0.96
Cappuccino
$4.76
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