Bocas del Toro Travel Guide

  • Things to Do
    by DaAGster
  • Bocas de Drago beach
    Bocas de Drago beach
    by elsadran
  • local kids will show you tiny frogs..
    local kids will show you tiny frogs..
    by elsadran

Bocas del Toro Highlights

  • Pro
    peggydaly profile photo

    peggydaly says…

     beauty, wildlife, great beaches, community, not too touristy 

  • Con
    Kindra profile photo

    Kindra says…

     Can be expensive due to American dollars, no beaches in town 

  • In a nutshell
    malecon profile photo

    malecon says…

     More Caribbean then Latin American. 

Bocas del Toro Things to Do

  • Snorkeling

    Scattered in the archipelago are wonderful places to snorkel. Most famous are Bocas del Drago, Hospital Point, the coral gardens at Isla Cristobal, Coral Cay (Cayo Crawl) and Cayos Zapatilla. As I'm born an Aquarius I'm crazy when it comes to do with water. I'm not a very good swimmer but I do love to go under waterI love very much nature above and...

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  • Bird Island

    Coming here with a water taxi, at first the ride it was not too good so much waves I thought we can't make it, but the boatman was struggle against the waves We finally made it hereThe water seems calm while he let his boat float while were taken the pictureHere you will find the only known nesting place Swans Cay is a rocky formation approximately...

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  • Wandering around the island

    The island is very small, manageable on foot, you can rent a bikeAll business in the island seems so close to each other, a small island with plenty of cafe/bars and restaurantsWhen the daylight fall into dark, the island alive during night timeBocas del Toro is one of the natural treasures that Panama is rich with a great diversityThere many...

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  • Starfish beach

    Famous for its abundance of starfish where you can find literally hundreds of on the beach, Starfish is a must visit of the Bocas del Toro Archipelago'sStarfish Beach is located on Isla Colon on the North West side the other side of Bocas Town. It is about 20 minutes by boat to Bocas Town from Starfish Beach. Because of its location, the waters are...

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  • Island Bastimentos

    We book the water taxi at our hotel reception to get to the beach, a few minutes later he came to pick up The island one of the most beautiful natural islands in Bocas del Toro is the island of Bastimentos. This island belongs to the Basimentos National Marine Park. The park is best known for its massive mangrove forests and a very colorful coral....

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  • Red frog beach

    One of the most beautiful beaches of Bocas del Toro Red Frog Beach. It is the only part of Bocas del Toro which prevent the red poisonous frogs. Often these frogs are no bigger than a pinhead. Be careful where you walk and go with a local guide on the road to see themThese special creatures can stay at Red Frog Beach easily one day. The beach is...

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Bocas del Toro Hotels

Bocas del Toro Restaurants

  • Raw Seafood / Worst service experience!

    Our experience begins waiting 1 hour and 15 minutes for 6 plates, The octoppus was nearly cocked (almost raw), so we ask kindly to the waiter for a chef opinion, leaving with long face, 5 minutes later the Manager-Owner tell us it was Imposible! pointing his finger to the seafood, so again i ask him if he can changed for another plate maybe? His...

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  • Stay away from this place

    When we sat down, we placed our food and drink order. My wife ordered a Caipirinha and when she received her drink it was apparent the drink was not what we had expected. It was extremely acidic and had way too much lemon juice in it. We asked that more sugar be added to the drink but this did not make much difference so we asked to have the drink...

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  • Delicious American food

    This friendly and quaint American-owned bar has a relaxed atmosphere with great music and five flat screens televisions with sports on all day. On the menu they've got burgers, quesadillas, chicken fingers and wings, salad, chili, mozzarella sticks, just to name a few things. All meals are $6 and under. While you wait for your food you can play...

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Bocas del Toro Nightlife

  • La Iguana

    La Iguana is a surf shop themed bar across from the very popular sushi resturant, The Blowfish. La Iguana typically opens around 7:00pm and stays open to around 12. Great cocktails and an awesome place to meet fellow travelers and locals. A popular pregamming spot before heading over to Barco Hundito. Island casual...flip flops welcome!

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  • Great bar in Bocas del Toro

    Toro Loco bar just behind the park on Avenue Central is a great place to go for delicious bar food and cold beer. They play great music and have 5 tv's so you can catch sports all day long. They've got free wifi, darts, and happy hour is everyday from 3-6pm. Live music usually once a week. Definitely a place to go while in Bocas del Toro. casual

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  • LOCAL PARTY PALACE

    THIS PROPERTY WAS BOUGHT BY AN AMERICAN WITH A SUNKEN SHIP IN THE WATER BELOW. HE PUT A RUSTIC STYLE BAR ON IT AND IT IS THE BEST PLACE TO GO ON THE ISLAND IF YOU WANT TO PARTY. NO CODE

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Bocas del Toro Transportation

  • Water taxi

    The transport to the islands is by water taxi, ideal to visit a secluded beach or to do any of the neighboring islands Boats departs frequently from the towns of Almirante and Changuinola. If you re coming from the Costa Rican border it is faster to take the boat in Changuinola (7 US$), if you re coming from David, it will be cheaper to take the...

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  • Getting from BDT to Costa Rica

    I signed up over the internet for a shuttle to take me from the island to the mainland, then to the border. THey walk you thru the border stuff, then pick you up on the other side and take you to your hotel in Puerto Viejo area, Costa Rica. If you buy a ticket at the office in Bocas, it's even cheaper. They go the other way too. $25-$34.

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  • Plane or bus?

    There are daily flights from Panama city with Air Panama and Aeroperlas. I took the second one because it was cheaper. It costs 93$ one way, 120$ return and takes you to Bocas in 45 minutes to one hour. The plane starts at Albrook Airport where Aeroperlas has an office (315 7500). I, personally, was directed to the famous Hotel El Panama, on Via...

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Bocas del Toro Shopping

  • Kindra's Profile Photo

    by Kindra Written Jul 12, 2006

    Shopping in Bocas can be expensive as they only use the American dollar and a lot of tourism has inflated prices and made people very reticent to bargain, even with champion spanish speakers.

    Common items to purchase are jewellery, bags, woven artesanery and hammocks. Vendors are in the streets and shops tend to be more expensive. Most of these items can be purchased in Cahuita or Puerto Viejo for less!

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Bocas del Toro Local Customs

  • elsadran's Profile Photo

    by elsadran Updated Aug 18, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness


    From September 11 to 16 the Fair of the Sea is held in the town and a beautiful Sea Queen is elected. The Fair is an opportunity for the promotion of local products and of course includes a lot of drink and food consuming...
    In late January the carnival is celebrated in the Caribbean way. Locals in the costumes of Devils come out in the street. Their red and black costumes are decorated with jingle bells that jingle all the way while they are dancing to the music of local comparsas. These are groups of dancers and musicians that parade in the streets of the town including the usual participation of beautiful girls. The Devils are usually found around the park and they inevitably attract a lot of tourists trying to capture this unique moment with their cameras. The whole town participates in the dancing to the sound of drums and their favourite music.

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Bocas del Toro Warnings and Dangers

  • Don't rent a scooter! Watch your back!

    There's a guy in town next to a juice van who has 2 scooters (one blue, one black, parked on the street) and rents them out for $25 for 2 hours. We made the unfortunate mistake of hiring one. It worked for the first 20 minutes then cut out when we were far from anything on a remote part of the island. We spent the next half an hour trying to start...

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  • minor problems....

    Tap water is not safe in Bocas. Use bottle water. In most other places in Panama I drank tap water and had no problem. But here I didn't make any experiments...Also they say surfing can be dangerous as there are riptides.At some beaches there are sand flies locally called 'chitras'. They are almost invisible but very bad...Use your repellent!

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  • Bocas Beaches - Red Frog

    Most island tours from Bocas del Toro will take people to Red Frog Beach as a place to go swimming. It's an incredibly beautiful beach formed by a white sand cove, complete with a thatched hut bar with seats swinging from palm trees. Beware that this beach can have deadly riptides. It can seem tranquil, but it has holes about 10-20 meters out that...

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Bocas del Toro Tourist Traps

  • Don't rent a scooter! Watch your back!

    There's a guy in town next to a juice van who has 2 scooters (one blue, one black, parked on the street) and rents them out for $25 for 2 hours. We made the unfortunate mistake of hiring one. It worked for the first 20 minutes then cut out when we were far from anything on a remote part of the island. We spent the next half an hour trying to start...

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  • BOCAS DEL TORO

    if you go to any of these resortsthere is nothing to worry aboutmost of the time you will haveescorts

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  • Bocas del Toro Hotels

    5 Hotels in Bocas del Toro

    112 Reviews and Opinions

Bocas del Toro Off The Beaten Path

  • TOUR

    AT ANY HOTEL YOU CAN JOIN A TOUR OF THE LOCAL AREAS THAT ARE GREAT TO SEE. IT IS FILLED WITH ABOUT 20 PEOPLE. WE CHOSE TO HIRE A TAKI TO TAKE US. WE WENT TO DOLPHIN BAY WHERE DOLPHINS COME UP AND DO TRICKS FOR YOU. THEY ARE SO FRIENDLY AND LOVE TO PLAY IN THE WAKES OF THE BOAT.

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  • RED FROG BEACH

    YOU TAKE A WATER TAXI TO THIS PLACE AND ARRIVE ON THE BACKSIDE OF THE ISLAND AND WALK THROUGH THE JUNGLE TO GET TO THE BEACH ON THE OTHER SIDE. THIS BEACH HAS GREAT WAVES IF YOU SURF.

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  • old fire engines

    Go visit the firehouse in Bocas. It's right next to Barco Hundido, along the water. Slightly entertaining to me were the antique fire trucks that were housed here. I'm not sure if all these trucks have practical use, but at least they are fun to look at.

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Bocas del Toro Sports & Outdoors

  • Scuba Diving BWS

    I first visited Bocas during the summer 2006 and wanted to get my Open Water Diver Cert. The staff of Bocas Water Sports was very professional and attentive during the training.They are a PADI certified SCUBA school. I recently returned again to Bocas this past December and got my Advanced Open Water as well as my Rescue Diver Cert. through them....

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  • Bocas Water Sports

    I took both my PADI open water and advanced open water courses here. My instructor was Carlos and he is possibly the most patient person you will ever meet. They impressed me with their absolute focus on safety, while remaining very laid back. I would recommend this dive shop to anyone. They have all the equipment you need.

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  • 60 ft. under

    Well, our last day of the Open Water Course, we did 2 dives at 60ft. each. We went to a site where there was a ferry wreck, with a regular visitor: a nurse shark 3 meters long! The nurse shark is inside the wreck, and you're not allowed to go in, just peek at it from the holes and openings in the wreck.That ferry wreck was placed there, it did not...

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Bocas del Toro Favorites

  • Crossing to the border

    We came from Costa Rica arrive in "Sixaola" station with the bus and we step out and the people said we have to walk cross to the bridge to get to the immigration office of PanamaThis bridge is very old, if you come from the neighboring country like Costa Rica and wants to continue traveling to Panama, the bus trip stops at the border and the rest...

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  • Starfish Beach

    Starfish beach is a beautiful, tranquil white sand beach where many starfish hang out! Although you can see them just walking on the beach, for the best effect, bring a pair of goggles. Also, because of where this beach is, the sun "sets" behind the trees quite early, so I would not go unless it was quite early in the day. From Isla Colon, near the...

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  • Closed borders and waiting for buses

    If you are crossing into or out of Costa Rica from/to Panama, be advised that the border CAN and will shut down around lunch time for up to 45 minutes. The Costa Rican border agent shut down in the middle of a big line and sat there while we all waited.The last direct bus leaves Sixaola for San Jose (via Bribri, Puerto Viejo, Cahuita and Limon) at...

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