Bocas del Toro Arhipelago,where did 18 countries film their Survivor series? The answer is the exotic Bocas del Toro Archipelago in the Caribbean of West Panama. Bocas is one of Panama's top tourist attractions. Here you can relax on beautiful beaches with scarcely a soul in sight and hike across rainforests so fine Lonely Planet Guide calls them "a biologists fantasy" and explore a fun, laidback seaside town.
Bocas del Toro is an archipelago with swirling aqua blue waters, palm lined beaches set against nature-dense rainforests and a fun, laid back town. Most hotels are located in Bocas town on Colon Island. The town is low key, friendly and has a surprising selection restaurants and nightlife spots. Many of the locals speak English. Bocas is perfect for both couples seeking a luxurious romantic getaway and families who want to have quality fun and experience nature at its prime. Boat tours to the nearby islands for beaching, snorkeling, diving, dolphin observation, rainforest sights and indigenous tribes are quite popular.
Like the rest of Panama, Bocas is blessed by nature: no hurricanes ever touch these shores, unlike some of its less fortunate Central American neighbors. Add to that relatively low prices, pristine beauty, a location in Central America's most sophisticated country, and you will understand why some people are talking about the "Bocas Boom." Bocas is not only a top tourism destination but also a popular place for second homes and retirement.
Christopher Columbus was the first causasian to anchor in this archipielago in 1502. He found the calm waters and rich natural surroundings the perfect place to repair his boat.
Take a Bocas Highlights Tour
The best way to get to know Bocas is to take a Bocas one-day boat tour. Boats can take you to Dolphin Bay to observe dolphins cavorting, gorgeous beaches like Red Frog or Zapatillas Keys, mangroves teeming with different species, lunch at Coral Cay in the middle of the ocean and some nearby snorkeling spots. Any and all of these activities make for for a truly memorable stay.
Red Frog Beach
If you want to sunbathe on sparking sand and get wet in aquamarine waters, the best place to go is Red Frog Beach. Just take the Red Frog Express- a water taxi from Bocas town to Red Frog Beach on Bastimientos Island. Red Frog is one of the most beautiful beaches in Panama and almosy anywhere else. For lunch or dinner there is an onsite attractive bar and restaurant.
On the short walk across the island to the beach, you see and hear the tiny famous red frogs that live exclusively on this island.
Diving and Snorkeling
The best places for diving are Coral Key, Dark Wood Reef, Hospital Point and Punta Juan Buoy. For snorkeling, we especially recommend Coral Key- with a variety of brightly colored corals and tropical fish. A water taxi can take you directly or you can go as part of an island tour.
When diving in Bocas will be able to observe some of the best preserved hard and soft coral in the world. You will also may see sting rays, lobsters, several species of crabs and a countless variety of tropical reef fish.
With miles of mangroves and jungles lining the coast it is easy have a close and personal experience with nature in Bocas. The exotic Bird Island has birds specific to this island. You will need a nature guide to fully enjoy the exotic scenery and so we recommend you take a tour with a tour operator.
Bocas is a low-key and friendly town where it is easy to meet with fellow travelers and the local people. In some places of town, every night it's a party.
On the water is the Buena Vista Deli & Bar, known for good times and good food. For a younger crowd, start with Mondo Taitu, to meet an international mix of young travelers and surfers, and an equally diverse menu of specialty island cocktails (think mojito with a twist), served by the young, hip and friendly bartenders. Also fun is the newer La Iguana, right on the water. Don't forget to visit the famous Barco Hundido, also known as the "wreck-deck," which is a good place to get your dance on. Like anywhere, it is advisable to practice discretion and stay on the lighted main streets at night.