Why You Need to Visit Bocas del Toro

bocas del toro
about us

Hi! We’re Thomas (the German) and Sarah (the US-er).

We met in Virginia, moved to Germany, and now live in sunny Costa Rica.

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Alright I know we are a Costa Rica blog so please don’t judge us as we go total fangirl over Panama, but guys, you NEED to visit Bocas del Toro! It is seriously one of the coolest places I’ve ever been.

Here are all the reasons you need to visit Bocas del Toro with pictures.

VISIT BOCAS DEL TORO – You take a fun boat ride to get out to the islands

I can not get over how clear the water is here. Ugh its so freakin perfect!

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There are several boat companies offering rides out to the islands from the mainland. You don’t need to book anything ahead of time. Just show up and wait for the next available boat. Just note that the boats generally stop running at 6pm.

A friend of our arrived around 8pm to take the boat and a local agreed to take them to the islands. He didn’t have lights on his boat so he handed them flashlights and told them to point the flashlight at any boats they heard coming. She said it was absolutely terrifying!

If you need to know more about getting to Bocas del Toro from Costa Rica, we have a full guide for that here.

VISIT BOCAS DEL TORO – There are several islands depending on your vibe choice

bocas del toro ocean view

Most people head to the main island (Isla Colon) but all of the islands are unique and fun. We opted to stay on Isla Carenero because we wanted to be close to Isla Colon but also wanted a little more of calm experience away from the backpacker craziness.


Guys, I’ve never enjoyed bar hopping as much as I did in Bocas del Toro. We went with a tour (which was amazing, but I don’t think it’s running anymore ???? ), but you can easily create your own tour. Definitely go to Aqua Lounge, Bibi’s, Boca’s Brewery and The Blue Coconut. Oh and don’t forget to wear your bathing suit!

VISIT BOCAS DEL TORO – You can see starfish just chilling under the water

bocas del toro starfish

Thomas and I went crazy when we saw all the starfish hanging out on the bottom of the ocean. It was definitely one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced.

VISIT BOCAS DEL TORO – The water is seriously this clear

visit Bocas del Toro beach

Have you ever swam in water this perfect? if not, definitely plan you need to visit Bocas del Toro! The water was perfect temperature and it was so cool to see little fishies swimming by. We had snorkel masks with us which was absolutely amazing!

VISIT BOCAS DEL TORO – You can stay in ridiculously cute hotels

Visit Bocas del Toro hotel

We didn’t actually stay at the hotel pictured above (it was a bit out of our price range) but if you are interested in checking it out, it’s called Faro de Colibri. There are also tons of cute budget hotels! If you want some ideas, check out our Bocas del Toro page.

VISIT BOCAS DEL TORO – You can visit this island with undisturbed beaches

Visit Bocas del Toro beach

The highlight of our trip in Bocas del Toro was taking a day tour which included snorkeling and visiting the various undisturbed beaches. We paid $30 per person for a tour that left at 9 am and returned at 4 pm. There are plenty of shops in downtown Isa Colon that run tours but, also ask at your hotel. Sometimes the hotels partner with local companies and you can get a discount.


We spotted these dolphins while in Dolphin Bay. The day tour we went on stopped here for about thirty minutes. We were lucky enough to actually see tons of dolphins jumping. Unfortunately, we were unable to snap a great photo. 🙁

VISIT BOCAS DEL TORO – The kayaking is great (and affordable)!

Visit Bocas del Toro kayaking

The waters around Isla Colon (the main area in Bocas) are calm enough to kayak in. We rented kayaks from our hotel, but if your hotel does not have kayaks just ask at the front desk. I’m sure they can direct you to a good place to rent one. We paid $10 for a few hours. The water is so incredibly clear that you can see huge starfish just chilling on the ground.

VISIT BOCAS DEL TORO – Even on cloudy days it’s pretty

Visit Bocas del Toro cloudy day

I don’t think it is possible for Bocas del Toro to not look amazing. Just be warned, even when it’s cloudy the sun is strong! Thomas and I got sunburned pretty bad on our cloudiest day there. 🙁

VISIT BOCAS DEL TORO – The sunset view is on point

Bocas del Toro sunset

We loved sitting on the dock of the hotel we were staying at with a cocktail in our hands and watching the sunset. It’s just so pretty, especially because there are always boats cruising by!

VISIT BOCAS DEL TORO – Relaxation is taken very seriously

Bocas del Toro relaxation

Seriously how badly do you want to park yourself in one of those chairs and not move all day? We spent five night in Bocas del Toro but I could have easily spent a few weeks there. It is just such a chill place!



If you have any questions about staying in Bocas del Toro, leave them in the comment section below. We are always happy to help you out! 🙂 



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