Best Beaches in Bocas Del Toro, Panama
Bocas Del Toro is an archipelago that consists of over 9 main islands, 52 cays, and hundreds of islets with coral reefs and mangroves all around. A week in Bocas Del Toro was just enough to explore the island life.
We based ourself on Isla Colon. Here you will find Bocas Town which is a great place to base yourself on if you want easy access to ATMs, supermarkets and night life. If you want peace and relaxation you will be better off on Isla Bastimentos. Below you will find the beaches we visited while in Bocas.
VISIT THE BEAUTIFUL ZAPATILLA ISLAND
One of the most beautiful beaches in this archipelago has to be Zapatilla Island. This island is uninhabited and protected as a part of the Bastimentos National Marine Park. There are two ways to get to this island: 1) hire a boat to take you to the island 2) buy a tour that stops at this island. Which ever way you decide to get there, just get there! In our case, we opted for the guided tour. These guided tours range in price from $25-$30 per person. You can shop around, but you will notice all the tour companies will be similarly priced. The tour took us to the following places:
Dolphin Bay: The boat stopped for about 10-15 minutes to spot some dolphins in their natural habit. We were lucky to have spotted a few.
Star Island: You can not get off the boat, but you will be able to spot tons of starfish. The boat will drive you around the island. The water is so clear you can spot the starfish right from the boat. It was the coolest thing ever and even more so because we were able to spot a 6 point starfish which is a rarity!
Snorkeling: We made a 30-40 minute stop for some snorkeling, which by the way, it was the best snorkeling!
Sloth Island: Similar to Star Island you can not get off, but the guide will help you spot some sloths. We were lucky to have spotted 2, one was sleeping and the other was making its way to the top of a tree.
Zapatilla Island: Since they always leave the best for last, the final stop of the tour was Zapatilla Island. The boat dropped us off and let us roam free for a good 2 hours. You can chose to lay around and enjoy some peaceful beach time or you can try walking around the entire island which only took us 45 minutes.
After Zapatilla Island, you will be taken to a restaurant for lunch. You will have about 40min-1hr to eat, then taken back to Bocas Town. We were also able to bring drinks and snacks as they provided a cooler to keep your drinks/food cold.
It was quite fun! We really enjoyed the tour and if you are tight on time, we would highly recommend.
RED FROG BEACH
Red Frog Beach is located on Isla Bastimentos and it is a total must. Red Frog Beach was also one of the most beautiful beaches we visited while in Bocas Del Toro. There is a restaurant or two near the beach. The day we visited there were few people around, we almost had the entire beach to ourselves! We spent and entire day here. We were prepared with plenty of water, snacks and SPF. They do have a $5 charge to enter the beach. You can arrange a boat by the pier to take you from Bocas Town to Red Frog Beach for as little as $5 each way.
Caranero beach is a great place to visit due to its proximity to Bocas Town. It is only a 5 minute boat ride away. It is also very inexpensive, it can cost as low as $1 each way. Get here early to enjoy some peace and quiet. This beach starts filling up quickly in the afternoon. Bring some snacks, plenty of SPF and water and enjoy a beach day at one of our favorite beaches.
DON'T MISS THE STARFISH AT STARFISH BEACH
If you are staying on Isla Colon, this beach is only a 30 minute bus ride away. It also only costs $5 roundtrip. We were told we would be able to see lots of starfish on this beach. We were lucky to have spotted a handful, but I can see why there are not many starfish that come around this area anymore. There are signs everywhere to not pull the starfish out of the water, but we saw so many people still doing this. This beach was pretty busy when we visited. There are plenty of restaurant shacks for you to grab a bite or a drink. If you visit, please be conscious and don't take the starfish out of the water!
OTHER BEACHES TO VISIT
Drago Beach: you will pass up this beach on your way to Starfish Beach. If you have enough time, it's a nice beach to visit.
Playa Bluff: this beach is on the east side of Isla Colon. You can easily rent a bike and make your way to this beach. They say the views on your way to the beach are gorgeous. We didn't have enough time to visit Playa Bluff, but we will leave it for next time we visit Bocas.
The dollar is used as main form of currency as well as the Panamanian Balboa. The Balboas hold the same value as dollars. Please note: there are no Panamanian bills only coins in circulation. There are ATMs available in town and most places take credit cards, but it's always good to carry cash on you.
I've noticed that some people tend to love or hate Bocas Del Toro and it is mainly due to the weather. It does rain a lot in Bocas and the locals gave us recommendations to never plan our day around what the weather channel tells us and boy were they right! If you wake up and it's sunny outside, make sure to make the most out of the day right then and there because you never know when it might rain. We were lucky to get very good weather while we visited.
Bocas is a very small town and it is very safe, but just like anywhere in the world make sure to keep your eyes peeled for petty crimes. There are tourist police always visible in town.
Please click here for transportation to and from Bocas Del Toro, Panama. Once you arrive, transportation to other beaches can be done via boats or “lanchas” that can take you from island to island. Transportation between islands is very affordable or tours are also available if you wish. Bocas Town is very walkable.