Expect secluded beaches and turquoise waters with a touch of the dense jungle. Bocas del Toro has it all when it comes to nature’s beautiful creations. It is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Panama’s first National Marine Park, making its islands among the most biologically diverse destinations in the world.
Bocas is composed of nine main islands, Isla Colón being the most developed, but still authentic enough to remind you that you are not on urban grounds anymore.
Here are the top five locations we visited during our stay at Bocas del Toro:
1. Isla Pájaros
Isla Pájaros or Bird Island is a small but beautiful rock formation fifteen minutes north of Isla Colón. It acquires its name from its unique shape. A double arch in the island seems to form a bird crouching.
2. Playa Estrella
Starfish Beach. Yes, it is a beautiful Caribbean beach abundant with starfish. Located in the north of Colón Island, this beach’s shore doesn’t catch any swell, so you will enjoy a very calm ocean and get a good glimpse and great photos of the starfish. Remember not to take the starfish out of the water, otherwise they can’t breath.
3. Cayo Zapatillas
Cayo Zapatillas consists of two uninhabited islands belonging to the Islas Bastimentos National Marine Park. The islands serve as refuge for coral reefs, mammals, reptiles and birds. Their shores also serve as a nesting place for the critically endangered Hawksbill sea turtle.
Important to know: The islands are only open for tourists until 4pm to protect the endangered wildlife that depends on the islands to survive.
4. La Piscina
La piscina is a secluded cove in Isla Colón. “Piscina” stands for pool, which is what this location resembles. The sheltered bay is a great spot to have a relaxing swim in perfectly still water. It is complemented by a beautiful large tree with branches that extend all the way into the ocean.
5. Blue Lagoon in Bocas del Toro
You can find blue lagoon fifteen minutes north from la piscina (by quad). Here is where the ocean meets the jungle creating a vibrant blue still body of water. Bring some snorkeling gear since you will see all kinds of reef fish, and if you are lucky, you might even run into some sea turtles.
Additional Tips & Recommendations for Bocas del Toro
- It rains a lot in Bocas. March through December are the wettest months. Know that you will definitely get some rain during your stay, unless you go between September and October.
- Bring a good mosquito repellant. There are not that many mosquitos but after 4pm the sand flies will definitely come after you.
- Buy all your groceries at the department store Toto. It has the freshest food and best quality products.
- Best Pizza is at Ciao Pizza and best breakfast is at Cafe del Mar. Both located in Isla Colón.
- Rent a bike during your stay. It is the best way to get around the small town. Otherwise, taxis are also safe to get around.
- Want to read about another jaw dropping tropical destination? You can read my blog post about Bali