The Panamanian Caribbean reserves paradisiacal landscapes along with a rich ecological diversity. Discover the history, main attractions and tips to enjoy this true dream setting.

Paradise has an address and is on the north coast of Panama Caribbean, right on the border with Costa Rica. Bocas del Toro, as many people think, is not a beach or a specific island, but an archipelago full of breathtaking natural attractions. In total, there are nine main islands and more than 200 uninhabited ones, the main one being Colon Island, where is located Bocas Town, capital and main hotel region.

It is only 50 minutes by plane from the City of Panama until Bocas del Toro. The region houses the First National Marine Park of the Country, considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and has one of the richest biodiversity in the world. Want to know more about Bocas del Toro? Check out this article we made in partnership with PANAMA CONNECTION, an agency specialized in receiving Brazilians in the country.

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Bocas del Toro it also preserves a lot of history – and part of it explains its unique and picturesque atmosphere. Of indigenous origin, the archipelago was colonized by Spaniards, English, Germans, French and North Americans, but everything changed when the United Fruit Company, a company specialized in bananada production, arrived in the region at the end of the 19th century. It was she who took Jamaican workers to Bocas who, together with their descendants, gave rise to an incredible cultural miscegenation in the region.

In 1920, with the end of commercial banana production, a lot has changed, but some buildings from the time, such as the charming colored wooden stilts, remain to this day and have become part of the identity of the place. Over the years, the Panamanian paradise was, little by little, discovered for its natural beauty and attracting more and more visitors. Currently, the region is a route for travelers, backpackers, surfers and families looking for hours of tranquility and peace in a stunning setting.

Unlike other popular Caribbean destinations, Bocas del Toro still preserves a rustic essence. There are no luxury resorts or large hotels on the islands, but charming inns and cabins that present the visitor with the local characteristics. This different Caribbean has a wonderful vibe and several attractions of natural beauty. In many of them you will be a single spectator and will not need to share space with the crowd. In others, there will be fun, good music and dancing. In all, the certainty of being in a unique place in the world.

Things to do in Bocas del Toro

Photo: Etched99 / Wikimedia Commons

island colon

Bocas Town is the capital of Isla Colón, and where most of the region's restaurants, hotels and bars are located. It is also where most boat trips depart to explore the other islands of Bocas del Toro. Nightlife in Bocas Town is one of the liveliest.

The best thing about going on tours on Isla Colón is how easy it is to get around there, as some of the beautiful beaches can be accessed by bicycle, car or even ATVs. Some of the main surf spots are located on the island, which has a unique tropical atmosphere. Among the most famous beaches on Isla Colón are Paki Point, Big Creek, Playa Paunch and Playa Buff.

Dolphin Bay

A must-see for anyone visiting Bocas del Toro, Bahía de los Delfines is a strategic stop for tours that take in the region's beaches and islands. Amidst the mangroves and the calm waters of Isla San Cristóbal, approximately 20 minutes by boat from Isla Colón, the boatmen turn off the engines and the bottlenose dolphins begin to appear. The friendly animals put on a show with their acrobatics and jumps, often right next to the boats. Due to its calm waters, which attract small fish and crustaceans to the water, the bay becomes the perfect habitat for the friendly animals, which usually appear in groups. The best time to see dolphins is between June and July, when the waters of the bay are even calmer.

Coral Cay

A visit to the small island of Cayo Coral is essential for tours that lead to Cayo Zapatilla. Perfect for those who enjoy stunning underwater scenery, the island is surrounded by coral mangroves and colorful fish, a stunning view that calls for snorkeling. Many tourists are fascinated and surprised by the beauties hidden in the water. In addition to this exuberant nature, the island offers typical Caribbean dishes with seafood.  

Cayo Zapatilla

You may have already seen some images of Cayos Zapatilla, as these are the beautiful islands that always appear in Bocas del Toro publicity images. The site, which brings together two mangrove islands, surrounded by golden sandy beaches and colorful coral reefs, is truly impressive. The two islands, Zapatilla I and Zapatilla II, are part of the Isla Batimentos National Marine Park area, but only one of them is dedicated to tourism, while the other is practically uninhabited.

Several beaches can be accessed from inside the island by a wooden trail that leads the visitor to several stunning locations. With white sand and preserved nature, Cayo Zapatilla is one of the most beautiful places in Bocas del Toro.

Isla Carenero

With a calm and cozy climate, Carenero Island is the closest to Bocas Town. In just five minutes by boat you will be in this little paradise, which can be explored on foot in about two hours. The island has some charming hotels and some of the best restaurants in Bocas del Toro. In addition, Isa Carenero is the perfect destination for those who are just starting to surf. Due to its calm waters, it is also the ideal place for those who want to practice SUP in crystal clear waters full of colorful corals. Fun and easy, it will only take you a few minutes to learn to float and slide with the board admiring incredible scenery.

Isla de los Pajaros

Located about 45 minutes by boat from Bocas Town, Isla de los Pájaros – also known as Cayo Cisne – is a paradise in the open sea. The place gets its name due to the large number of native and migratory species that nest in one of the many rocky refuges that the island offers. If you enjoy bird watching, you have found the ideal place to spend hours contemplating beautiful pelicans and seagulls. Many of these animals also find a safe breeding place on the island. Take advantage of the moment of silence to enjoy a unique landscape, where the sunset is a gift to be admired.

Paki Point

In the middle of Isla Colón, this beach, which is also known as Playa Paunch, attracts many surfers looking for good waves and a relaxed atmosphere to spend good hours of rest. The structure of the place is perfect for relaxing and enjoying the scenery with friends. Paki Point is the ideal beach to enjoy a snack, have a drink or a cold beer and enjoy good music or live music. With a chic and unpretentious atmosphere, the place has comfortable sofas, beach chairs and reclining armchairs spread out in an atmosphere of pure peace and fun.

Playa Buff

Also located on Isla Colón, Playa Buff is one of the most beautiful and with the most relaxed atmosphere possible. If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Bocas Town, this is the ideal getaway. The place is very popular with surfers, therefore, the sea is a little rough – and, in the surf season, the boards also transit to and fro. Outside the surf season, which takes place between December and April, the destination is quiet and people can swim peacefully in its beautiful waters. Playa Bluff is also an area where some species of endangered turtles appear frequently.

Playa de las Estrellas

Unlike any other beach in Bocas del Toro, Playa de las Estrellas is located on the remote side of Isla Colón. With a bay-shaped coastline, the beach waters are calm and transparent, creating a beautiful and relaxing atmosphere. There are small restaurants on site and people often rent kayaks and float out to the mangroves. In them, it is possible to observe hundreds of sea stars, which give the island its name. The water is so transparent and calm and it resembles a swimming pool, so the place is also suitable for children. It is possible to take a 20-minute hike from Playa de las Estrellas to Boca del Drago, a beautiful deserted beach with untouched nature.  

Red Frog Beach (Rana Roja) and Isla Bastimentos

One of the most beautiful islands in Bocas del Toro, Isla Bastimentos is one of the largest in the region and is home to one of the most famous and popular beaches in Panama, Red Frog Beach. Perfect for those looking for a rustic and preserved environment, it is known for the perfect waves for surfing and for its friendly inhabitants, the famous amphibians that bear the name of the beach. These little red poisonous frogs are rare and very beautiful. If you pay attention, you might find attentive little eyes under the leaves.

The beach waters are a little rough for swimming. However, a few meters from the coast, a strip of sand creates a calmer and more suitable area for those who do not dare to surf. Red Frog Beach is undoubtedly one of the most popular beaches in Bocas del Toro, due to its location and beauty.

Other stunning beaches to visit on Isla Bastimentos are: Playa Wizard, Playa Tortugas, Playa Caimán and Playa Larga.

How to get to Bocas del Toro

Photo: Dronepicr / Flickr

The plane is the easiest option to get to Bocas del Toro. the companies AirPanama and Aeroperlas operate two flights a day with small planes, so be careful with excess baggage. Departing from Albrook Airport in Panama City, the journey takes an average of 50 minutes. For those departing from Costa Rica, the nature air operates with a line that runs from San José to Bocas del Toro every Thursday and Sunday.

Tourists also have the option of taking a bus from Panama City to Almirante, from where ferry boats depart every half hour to Bocas del Toro. However, it is worth noting that this option takes longer, from 7 to 9 hours on the road. The route to Almirante can also be done by car.

Best time to visit Bocas del Toro

Photo: Marissa Strniste / Flickr

It rains a lot throughout the year on the Caribbean coast of Panama. With this, the chance of the tourist being welcomed with rain is great, but the sun always manages to appear to bring more colors to an already stunning scenery.

It is important to be aware of the period with the highest incidence of rainfall, from April to August and from November to January. In the months of February, March, September and October it rains less, but that doesn't mean you don't have to face a few drops of the humid tropical climate of the region.

The tip is: include an extra day in your itinerary so you don't run the risk of disturbing your attractions schedule. This way you don't lose anything if it rains and, if it doesn't, you get an extra day to enjoy all the paradisiacal scenarios of the archipelago. For those who enjoy surfing, the busiest wave season is from November to February.

Transfer and reception service

Photo: Dronepicr / Flickr

Did you like the tips and attractions to visit in Bocas del Toro? THE PANAMA CONNECTION, a Panama agency specialized in receiving Brazilian tourists, offers special packages for those who want to know everything the country has to offer with personalized service. The Brazilian tourist can rest easy, relax and enjoy the most paradisiacal attractions with a unique travel experience.  

In addition to the variety of programming and incredible tours, the PANAMA CONNECTION It also provides transfers to the airport, offering reception and all support to those visiting attractions in Panama.

+ info:

Phone: +507 6578-4858
[email protected]

» Attractions to visit in Panama
» What to do on a connection in Panama?
» Is it necessary to obtain a visa for Panama?
» 80 paradise islands to visit around the world


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