Bocas del Toro, Panama

A Tropical Paradise made up of several islands with different vibes

The Bocas del Toro Vibe

The area consists of several small islands with the main island being Isla Colon.

This area is known for its vibrant culture, stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and amazing surfing.

The water is crystal clear and filled with beautiful starfish.

There’s definitely a backpacker vibe here, but honestly, I think you could find something for everyone.

We love this unique corner of Panama and think you will as well.

map bocas del toro

Map Of Bocas del Toro

The series of islands is located just over the Caribbean border in Panama. These islands are only accessible by a 45 minute boat ride from the mainland.

The main island is Isla Colon. The biggest town in the area (Bocas Town) is located here. 

If you are looking for more relaxed vibes we suggest staying on one of the other islands, but just keep in mind that you will have to depend on water taxis to get around. 

bocas del toro map

Explanation of Each Island

Isla Colon

The largest island and only one with cars. The airport is located on this island (near Bocas Town). 

Bocas Town is the main town and is filled with restaurants, shops, tour companies, and hotels.

If you take a boat from or to the mainland it will leave from here.

We suggest spending a night or two here, but ultimately the other islands are better to really embrace this tropical paradise.

Isla Carenero

Isla Carenero has a few hotels and good beach bars. This island is mostly filled with the houses of locals. 

We stayed here once and it was a good location because we could easily walk to the few restaurants on the island and it was cheap to take the water taxi to Bocas Town.

Isla Solerte

Home to some of the best snorkeling spots. There is not a lot here besides a few eco lodges and retreat centers.

Isla Bastimentos

A huge island with a few more populated areas. The most populated area is called Old Bank. 

For relaxed hotels with a few good restaurants around we suggest staying at Red Frog Beach or Wizards Beach.

Bocas del Toro at a Glance

Nearest International Airport

Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose Costa Rica

Popular Things to Do

day tours, relaxing at beach bars, snorkeling

Best Way to Get Around

walking and boats between islands

Best Time of Year to Visit

Dry season is from January – May and then again in September and October

Currency 

The main currency is US dollars. Keep in mind that the only ATM’s are located in Bocas Town. 

 

Getting to Bocas del Toro

Flights to Bocas del Toro

The fastest and most stress-free way to get to Bocas is by plane. Usually, you will fly to Panama City, Panama, and transfer to the Bocas Airport located near Bocas Town.

The problem is, from Panama City there are almost no good connections. I looked at flights from both Miami and from Boston and both were about 20 hours of travel time. Ugh!

Maybe you will get lucky though and find a good connection.

Also, keep in mind that you will have to transfer from the International Airport in Panama City to the domestic airport.