blog post deals with the lovely Bocas del Toro, an archipelago that belongs to Panama. In fact, it’s a province of Panama. In addition to the nine islands in the archipelago, the Bocas de Toro also has a mainland called Isla Colón. The Bocas del Toro’s capital “The Bocas Town” is located in the Isla Colón mainland.
Next to Bali in Indonesia and Maui in Hawaii, the Panama is the most visited place in the world by the Americans. I remember reading about Panama’s development 40 years ago and today, it matches with any top American city for the infrastructure, tourism, and contemporary nightlife.
The nine islands of Bocas del Toro archipelago are:
- Carenero island
- Solarte Island
- Popa Island
- Cristobal Island
- Cayo Agua island
- Isla Escudo de Veraguas
- Isla Pastores
- Colon Island
- Isla Bastimentos
Apart from these 9 islands, Bocas del Toro archipelago comprises of 50 cays and 200 islets.
How do you reach Bocas del Toro?
Reach Panama City from anywhere in the world by plane. Then, take a connecting flight to Isla Colón from Panama City. It’s a 45 minute flight.
Another option which seems more thrilling than flying is to drive to Almirante, a city in Bocas del Toro and ride in a fast boat to Bocas del Toro for two hours.
Bocas del Toro’s main attractions are:
- Sunny beaches
- Bio Diverse Forest
- Great night life
- Exotic Caribbean sea food and plenty of booze
- Rare sea creatures
To cater to the high influx of tourists, Bocas del Toro offers very many options to stay, ranging from all-inclusive beach resorts, star hotels, and budget accommodations. Let us explore a few of them that would give you an idea of what to expect if you have planned to visit Bocas del Toro.
Simply the richest travelers, book luxury resorts built on private islands that are known to offer royal luxury.
I will first introduce to you the budget accommodations as they are the accurate metric to know how the high-end hotels would look like.
Budget Accommodation in Bocas del Toro
- Mondo Taitu Hostel, Colon Island
If you are a night bird, the Mondo Taitu would be your first choice because of vibrant nightlife.. It offers both rooms and dormitories. You get free internet access plus a light breakfast comprising of pancakes and coffee. It’s a laid back place and both the food and the beer are very cheap.
- Palmar Beach Lodge is located in Isla Bastimentos. It’s on a lovely location and the rooms and bungalows are right on the beach but under a lot of canopies. Actually, the canopies are part of a big rain forest. If I were to go to Bocas del Toro, I would not look for any other place to stay but this.
Other reasons for choosing this as the best hotel in Bocas del Toro are:
- Free boat shuttle twice a day to Bocas Town
- The presence of Bastimentos National Marine Park
- Red Frog Beach (yes, you can see red colored frogs)
- The rain forest
- Zipline adventure
- Bio-luminescent waters
Look at the images at their site’s link below and you will agree with me.
The unique aspect of Palmar lodge is, it is solar powered which is found in abundance in Panama.
- La Loma Jungle Lodge & Chocolate Farm, Isla Bastimentos
The La Loma Jungle Lodge justifies its name; it is surrounded by all kinds of tropical trees such as mangrove, coconut, and banana.
Here is one more reason to stay at the La Loma Jungles. There are 3 tree houses that are reached by climbing a plight of stair for 5 minutes. The view from the tree cabin lodges offer unhindered Caribbean sea view. The rates are very affordable at $130 per person in one of twin sharing cabins. Wait! Here is the surprise pack; the rate is inclusive of breakfast, lunch and dinner. Wow! Isn’t that a deal?
- Faro del Colibri
This hotel offers independent aesthetically colored wooden cottages right on the water of Carenero Island. It is only a 3 minute boat ride away from Isla Colon. Every cottage is built with an open deck and you will feel as if you are sitting on a catamaran.
The rooms are fitted with air-conditioners, television and wireless internet access. The tropical breakfast served on your deck is complimentary.
- Bungalows at Urraca Private Island
Urraca Private Island as mentioned above is only for the privileged people who could afford to stay in a private island. It is located at an half an hour boat ride from the mainland Bocas del Toro.
There are 5 solar powered spacious bungalows situated on the sea water and each of them is inter-connected by wooden planks. Every bungalow has a deck on the water.
For more details about the accommodations in Urraca Private Island, please visit:
Attractions in Urraca Private island are many and the most notable is the presence of a wildlife called kinkajou that is also called as the honey bear.
The usual sea-side water sports such as snorkeling and kayaking can be indulged in.
A visit to the Ngöbe Indian village is a must when you stay here.
The Urraca island, Bocas del Toro is one of the very few places in the world where you can see the bio-luminescent waters at night. It is due to the light emitting sea creatures. What a wonderful sight it will be!
Here is another unique attraction in Urraca Island. There are two uninhabited islands called Cayos Zapatillas. They can be seen during the day when you laze around in your hammock placed on the first floor of your over-the-water bungalow. These mangrove filled islands are home to the rare sea turtles called the ‘Hawksbill’.
These water bungalows and cabins attract tourists who just love such luxuries.