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Bocas del Toro: Endless Possibilities for Unforgettable Experiences


© Getty Images Starfish Beach in Bocas del Toro, Panama. (photo via JohnCrux/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

By Mia Taylor, TravelPulse

Words hardly do Bocas del Toro justice.

An archipelago located off of Panama’s Caribbean coast and a section of the nearby mainland, the Bocas del Toro region is known for its biodiversity, ancient customs and stunning beaches.

It’s also a place where visitors will find lush tropical vegetation, fauna found only in this part of the world and unbeatable diving and snorkeling opportunities. There’s also Bocas Town, a central hub filled with restaurants, shops and nightlife.

The possibilities and opportunities for an amazing experience are practically limitless in Bocas del Toro. Here are some of the top things to see and do.


Bocas del Toro is a geologically gifted area that’s home to hundreds of bird species. The jungles and skies are filled with a variety of fascinating birds. For those who are avid birdwatching fans, Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge offers guides who frequently work with birdwatching groups and individuals with specific birding itineraries.

With or without a guide, birdwatching can be done by sea or by land. Seabirds are quite abundant and one of the biggest attractions in the Bocas del Toro area is the Red-billed Tropic Bird, which nests in the Swan Cay, the only place known in the Caribbean that these birds nest.

Swan Cay is also home to the brown booby, and the area has been declared a bird sanctuary.

Meanwhile, in the forests and jungles, it’s possible to observe hummingbirds, tiles, hawks, doves, parrots, owls, oropendolas, woodpeckers, toucans and more.

Forest Trekking

The interior portions of the islands that make up Bocas del Toro are filled with jungles. Adventurous tourists can hike in these untouched and pristine areas. There are some paths on Isla Bastimentos and within the island’s Marine Park visitors will find one of the more popular forests, known for its diversity of trees.

Additional noteworthy islands include Popa and Cayo Agua, where the forests include wildlife that are endangered species such as the painted rabbit, the green iguana and various types of howler monkeys, including the white-faced, spider and nocturnal.

For those who prefer hiking in more well-developed areas, there are footpaths built with tourists in mind on Major Zapatilla Key, within the Bastimentos Marine Park.

Indian Villages

Within the Bocas del Toro boundaries there are numerous communities of Ngobe Indians. Some of the most well-known include Quebrada Sal and Bahia Honda on Bastimentos Island; San Cristobal, Bocatorito and Valle Escondido in San Cristobal and on Popa, there’s Popa 1 and Popa 2, to name a few.

Those interested in Indian cultures can visit San Cristobal and Popa 2 to learn about the community and its customs.

Many Indian communities are very poor and rely almost exclusively on fishing to survive, as well as agriculture. Some of these communities have also begun getting involved in tourism to diversify their incomes.

Nativa Tours offers opportunities to visit a genuine Ngobe Bugle indigenous community.


While there are many stunning places within the Bocas del Toro islands to snorkel, one of the top options is Admiral Bay where there are more protected coral reefs and the waters are typically clear.

Additional noteworthy options include Hospital Point and The Garden, at the tip of Solarte Key. Mangrove Point, Big Baight and Boca Del Drago, on the bay coast of Colon Island are also popular, as are the reefs surrounding crawl Key.

Bocas del Toro reefs are known for being healthy and home to vibrant corals and colorful sponges.

Yet another not to miss option is exploring the mangrove islets of the Bastimentos Island National Marine Park. The park is home of the largest area of Caribbean mangrove swamp in Panama, featuring red and white mangroves, and the best-conserved coral reefs in the Caribbean coast. The clear waters here make it possible to see the beauty and vibrant colors of all the creatures that call the mangroves home, including sponges, fire corals, starfishes, and crabs.

The Visit Panama website provides information about this and many other activities in the Bocas del Toro region.


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Travel - U.S. Daily News: Bocas del Toro: Endless Possibilities for Unforgettable Experiences
Bocas del Toro: Endless Possibilities for Unforgettable Experiences
Travel - U.S. Daily News
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