Have you ever heard of Bocas del Toro? In english would be “bull’s mouth”. This is a group of paradisiac islands that if you are in Panama it’s a must visit.
There are a few ways to get there. We crossed the border of Costa Rica to get to the islands. We took a bus from Manzanillo to the Panama border (you’ll literally pass the border by foot ). Once you’re at the border you get your passport stamped and after we took another bus to the closest port where we took a boat.
If you wander where to stay, there is a wide range of hotels in the area, especially on the island of Colon, which is the largest in the archipelago. The choice is yours. Depends what you want, a more chill area or a more touristy area. We chose a more chilled place, but we wandered on the streets also, among people.
As we stayed in isla Colon we also enjoyed its lively streets, restaurants and shops. If you want to buy souvenirs, then head to the main square. Here, you will find multiple shops offering everything that you need
If you wander what to do in Bocas del Toro, well this is a world of things to do. Of course, there are plenty of amazing beaches with great snorkelling.
PLAYA DE LAS ESTRELLAS
We wanted so much to visit Playa de las Estrellas, Starfish Beach in english and I wasn’t disappointed at all, because this beach was fabulous. To get to Starfish Beach you can take Collective, a minibus from the central square in Bocas Town. It takes about 40 minutes to get to Bocas del Drago.
Then you have to walk thru a wood of palm trees to get to the beach. How cool is that right? It’s impossible not to be captivated by the beautiful surroundings. Palms hanging over, the blue sky, turquoise water. White sugar sand, cristal clear water. This is place is a dream. You’ll be amazed by the amount of starfish which inhabit its water.
Be careful and never touch them, not even for photos. If you’d like a picture with them, pose next to them but keep a safe distance. Be respectful with the wildlife!
BASTIMENTO MARINE NATIONAL PARK
Enjoy direct contact with the wildest and most beautiful nature in the Bastimento Marine National Park. An immense natural area where you’ll find marshes, mangroves, tropical forests, reefs and amazing beaches.
There are coral gardens and underwater caves that are popular spots to snorkel and scuba dive. The coral here is in pretty good shape and is home to a nice variety of fish, some estimates claim there are over 200 species.
There are many wonderful beaches in Bocas del Toro, but if you want to relax on a desert island, then you should visit Cayos Zapatillas, an island of incredible beauty with white powdery sands and coconut trees which is located in the middle of the sea.
On our way to Cayos Zapatillas we’ve been super lucky to spot and get close to 3 beautiful Macaws. It feels awesome to see them in their natural habitat, not caged, happy and healthy. And they were curious and playful too. We had a good laugh.
Once you are here don’t forget to bring a bottle of water and sunscreen because here the sun hits hard. Also get ready the camera and GoPro because this place is AWESOME. Even if you are not super passionate to photography, it’s impossible not to take as many photos as you can. It’s also impossible to take a bad picture here.
This little island is inhabited and you can’t find any bars or restaurants, so maybe you should bring your own food. In case you’re wondering, it’s pretty easy to get to the island. Just get a boat tour from Bocas Town. When we went, we saw dolphins, snorkelled and also saw a few starfish in the water.
The full circumference of the island can be discovered on foot in under 45 minutes. The only thing I could think was “a beautiful day in paradise”. Here is the perfect place to relax and to enjoy wonderful views. It felt pretty awesome to have this lovely place to ourselves. Also we’ve been super lucky because there was none of the crazy Panamanian rain, despite the fact we went during the rainy season. The rainy season is between May and November.
It was a wondeful experience to explore this spectacular island! And the best one! This was one of those moments when you are super grateful to enjoy such a lovely place. We have also seen many groups of wild dolphins super close, swimming and jumping next to our boat. What a joy!
On our way back to Isla Colon we went through the mangroves with sightings of starfish and sleepy sloths (when aren’t they sleepy right? hahaah). I couldn’t recommend Cayos Zapatillas enough. If you believe Heaven is real, this might be it.