The islands of Bocas del Toro are located on the Caribbean coast of Panama, just south of the Costa Rican border. They consist of hundreds of mangrove keys, virgin coral reefs, white sand beaches and pristine turquoise water set against the dramatic backdrop of the 10,000 foot peaks of the mainland. One of the main attractions of the area is Bastimentos National Marine Park. This is one of the most important marine habitats that exists in the world today and covers 30,000 acres. It is a protected zone for the endangered manatee and is a tarpon spawning ground.
This region, considered the most geographically diverse in the Caribbean, abounds with eco-tourism attractions such as bird, dolphin and turtle watching, jungle hikes and sailing tours. It is also the home of two tribes of indigenous people who are happy to share their age-old lifestyles and crafts with visitors. Opportunities abound for outdoor recreational activities including camping, surfing, snorkeling and diving, hiking, boating and beach combing on the many secluded islands.
The architectural style of Bocas del Toro is predominately Caribbean Colonial; a Victorian style that reminds many of the ambiance of Key West. The town is striving to preserve this old world character by requiring that all new construction or remodeling on the main street must conform to that Colonial style.
In addition to possessing small town rustic charm Bocas Town boasts paved streets, treated potable water, several new hotels and restaurants and such modern conveniences as cable television and wireless internet service. As in all of Panama the currency is the US dollar, and in Bocas you will find that many of the local people are fluent in English.
Bocas del Toro may be one of the last easily accessible areas where the dream of owning a piece of paradise for an affordable price is still a reality. Oceanfront home sites, tropical rain forest retreats, large secluded farms, ocean view properties; these can still be purchased at a fraction of the prices elsewhere.
The town of Bocas Del Toro, located on the island of Colon is reached by car, boat and air. It offers bars, restaurants, gourmet grocery, hardware stores hotel, hostels, and tour companies. The town can fit a backpacker to a penthouse traveler budget. Air Panama (airpanama.com) is the main carrier to and from Panama City and Bocas. Costa Rica has a new international flight several times a week from San Jose. Bocas has a modern airport and Panama City ( PTY) has a new ultra modern gateway international airport. Daily ferry service along with water taxis readily are available to and from the mainland. There are 3 marinas here for those who wish to travel here by their own sailboat or yacht.
Due to their idyllic location in a tropical rain forested region, the islands of Bocas del Toro are lush with countless trees, plants and gorgeous flowers. The jungles are home to many colorful species of birds and butterflies, as well as monkeys, sloths and tiny poison dart frogs, which are unique to the islands. Fresh water is a necessity for all life in the islands.
Most of the information you read will tell you that the country of Panama has two seasons–the dry season from January to April and the wet season from May to December. This is true of the Pacific coast and some other parts of Panama, but not necessarily of Bocas del Toro, which lies in the Caribbean Sea.
Rain may come at any time, but the two “dry seasons” in Bocas are generally February through May and September through October. September can usually be depended upon to give us the calmest sea conditions, while July and December are usually the wettest months.
The temperature in Bocas ranges from high 70’s to low 90’s Fahrenheit. While the humidity can be high, we can generally depend on a cooling ocean breeze.
Bocas Del Toro is safely situated in the western Caribbean that is below the hurricane belt. Due to the 2017 major hurricane season, there is renewed interest in the area for both boaters and ex-pats. Safe from the storms, it is a perfect hurricane hole for all transient boats and also a safer haven for ex-pat’s property.