When you visited San Blas you probably want more beautiful islands to explore. Therefore, we can recommend Bocas del Toro. This place is just like San Blas facing the Caribbean Sea but near the border with Nicaragua. Bocas del Toro is famous for its tourist facilities and offers more luxury than San Blas. You can enjoy its amazing Island jungles, biodiversity and ancient customs. You can snorkel, dive, forest trekking, surf and enjoy the booming nightlife.
Travel info on Bocas del Toro
Bocas del Toro is an archipelago and province of Panama. It covers mainland and hundreds of small islands. The most visited Islands are Isla Colon, Isla Cristobal, Isla Popa, Cayo de Agua, Isla Solarte and Isla Pastimentos. Bocas del Toro is located on the south of Isla Colon. It is the capital of the province and if you translate it you get “Mouth of the Bull”. Christopher Colombus first visited the place in 1502 and his legacy still lives on in Isla Cristobal. Most of the islands are national parks such as Isla Bastimentos National Marine Park and La Amistad International Park. Bocas, as locals refer to it, serves as a convenient base for exploring the Bocas del Toro archipelago. You can travel from island to island by water taxi and also visit the remote tropical beaches.
Top things to do in Bocas
In Bocas del Toro you can experience the best of both worlds. Visiting National Parks will warm up every explorer and nature enthusiast. These National Parks are one of the most preserved in Panama and offer a great biodiversity and marine life around them. You can take various tours to Isla Bastimentos and feel like an early explorer. Are you more into party and party? Then you should stay in Bocas del Toro town. This place offers clubs, bars and hotels, hostels combined with tropical white sand beaches to shake off your hangover. Additionally, you can surf on the waves of the Caribbean Sea. Two awesome bars to kick off the night are La Iguana and Mondo Taitu Bar.
Diving and snorkeling
The Caribbean Sea produces excellent water conditions for scuba diving and snorkeling. The best place for both is probably Admiral Bay (Bahia de Almirante). Law protects this place and therefore it is one of the most preserved coral reefs in the Bocas archipelago protect this place. The water is crystal clear and there are no waves or strong currents. You can scuba dive here up to depths around 20 meters or just use your snorkel and enjoy the more shallow reefs. Some other notable places for scuba diving are “Hospital Point” and “The Garden”. If you want to explorer one of the many other reefs we suggest asking local tour guides or water taxi’s to get you there.
Where to sleep in Bocas?
Since Bocas del Toro has a vibrant tourism flow all year round the islands offer many facilities to stay for the night. Depending on your budget and vacation demands we can suggest you some places to stay. The best option for luxury and private bungalows built on the water is Hotel Faro Del Colibre***. Looking for more beach and tranquillity for the same price go to the Island Plantation hotel****. If you are on budget or backpacking we can recommend you the cabannas from Panama’s Paradise Saigoncito’s or the Hostel Mamallena. Both places are on budget and perfect for backpackers! Nevertheless, you can find many more options to stay in Bocas on Booking.com since the area is pretty large.
Flying to Bocas town
When you don’t wan’t to travel over land or sail the Carib to Bocas del Toro you can fly to the airport of Bocas Town. There are frequent daily flights from Panama City Airport to Bocas del Toro. Be sure to book in advance since the flights are always fully booked.
From San Blas to Bocas del Toro
Travelling from the San Blas Islands to Bocas del Toro town is probably one of the longest journeys you can make in Panama. This is because you are diverted around the Jädeberi district, which is located on the direct route on the mainland. There are no roads passing Jädeberi. The fastest way to go from San Blas to Bocas del Toro is by sailing along the coast of Panama. This will only take you around one day but travelling like this is not that bad. The other route to Bocas is starting by taking a water taxi to Carti, from there you take a 4×4 jeep to Panama City. When you arrive in Panama City you can book a domestic flight to Aeropuerto Internacional de Bocas del Toro Isla Colon. The longer route is taking a bus from Panama City to David and transfer there to a bus to Almirante, from there you can take the ferry to Bocas del Toro.
How to get to San Blas from Bocas del Toro? There are three options to get to San Blas from Bocas del Toro. You can travel by plane, car or sailboat. Plane is the fastest but sailboat is the most adventurous.