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Diving

Diving

The Bocas del Toro region is part of the larger La Amistad area, which holds Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site statuses for its rich ecosystems, including the reefs of Panama’s Bastimentos National Marine Park. The waters are inhabited by a wonderful variety of tropical reef creatures including starfish, sting rays, nurse sharks, lobster, angel fish, parrot fish, damsel fish – the list is endless. Dive schools regularly visit up to 15 locations with depth ranges from 2 to 18 meters inside the bay area. Many centers offer try-dives, open water courses and education right through to dive master. Some dive sites include Crawl Cay, The Wreck, Hospital Point, Buoy Line, Playground and many more. The best time of year for diving is April-May and Sept-October but there is good visibility year round.
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Surfing

Surfing

Bocas is one of the very few Caribbean surf spots with good sized waves. There may be better and bigger waves in the Pacific, but here, when you surf, you do it in turquoise waters, while you ride above colorful coral reefs or white sand. There are beach breaks, point breaks and reef breaks, lefts, and rights for all tastes and preferences. You can find breaks three minutes away from Isla Colon. The preferred surf spots are Wizard, Bluff, Punch, The Point at Carenero and Tiger Tail. It is important to visit these spots with somebody who knows the area, especially if you will be surfing over a reef break.
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Birding

Birding

Bocas del Toro is one of Panama's best places for birding. According to the Audubon Society, one can spot 300+ species of birds in a day. Bird Island is named for its glorious abundance of birds and can be accessed easily by boat when the water is calm. Bocas in general is a paradise for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. Planned birding tours include a preparatory talk about the geography and bird life in the area of Red Frog National Park. During the tour you'll have the opportunity to see and hear trogons, ant birds, forest wrens, puff birds, tanagers, parrots, mot-mots and many other bird species. You can also visit other hot spots in the region on some of the other islands. • Carenero • Bastimentos (Red Frog) • Bird Island
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Visit Nivida Bat Cave

Visit Nivida Bat Cave

Hire a boat captain at the Bastimentos boat dock on Main Street or arrange a tour with a tour operator and they will navigate you up the Bahia Honda River. You will then hike for about 20 minutes before reaching Bocas' most spectacular cave located in the Bastimentos National Marine Park. There’s a guide from the Bahia Honda community who will take you through the cave. The water comes up pretty high so expect to get wet. There are other bat caves in the area but not as impressive as Nivida.
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Visit an indigenous tribe

Visit an indigenous tribe

If you’re looking for a different side of Bocas, you’ll find it hidden in the indigenous villages tucked away in the forests on every island. The indigenous Ngöbe-Buglé and Naso continue to live without modern luxuries such as running water, electricity and medicine. They know how to get around the forests of the islands and speak their own language, make their own clothing and crafts, and cure illnesses with local plants prepared by medicine men known as curanderos. To learn more about living in the wild in these unspoiled communities, book a tour with an operator or if you’re staying in a remote hotel, ask the owners, there may be a village nearby.
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Finca Los Monos

Finca Los Monos

This beautiful farm located on Isla Colon has large collections of heleconias, gingers, palms, flowering trees, fruits, spices and ornamentals. While hiking through the finca you may see howler monkeys, sloths, iguanas, and tiny colorful frogs. There is a wide variety of fruits such as cacao, guava, mammee also known as mamey, nutmeg, passion fruit, pineapple, papaya, tamarind, and nine varieties of bananas, among others. A wide variety of birds call the farm home drawn by its abundance of fruit and flowers.
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Cosmic Crab Cafe

Cosmic Crab Cafe

The Cosmic Crab Cafe located on Carenero features fish and seafood appetizers and entrees, as well as an extensive menu featuring dishes like Mango Chutney Barbecue Ribs, and Jerusalem style Hummus. Crab cakes with a spicy remoulade is a Cosmic Crab Signature dish. It certainly has the most extensive and original cocktail menu in Bocas. Joan Crabtree, Cosmic Crab owner and top mixologist, serves up fabulous tasting cocktails such as Hot & Dirty Martini or Sex in the Mud. The Margarita family at the Cosmic Crab is worth trying: Razzarita, Minty Maggie, Mango Margo, Passionate Rita, and the Hot Passionate Rita - a jalapeño infused tequila with fresh passion fruit.
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Gran Hotel Bahia

Gran Hotel Bahia

Built in 1905, it is one of Isla Colon’s oldest historic buildings and was constructed to accommodate the main offices of the United Fruit Company, today known as Chiquita Brands International. Conveniently located close to all the main attractions on Isla Colon, Bocas del Toro, Gran Hotel Bahia offers 18 spacious and comfortable rooms, all of them with air conditioning, cable TV and private bathrooms with hot water. Its relaxing and friendly atmosphere makes you feel at home. After the latest renovation, the new Deluxe Plus rooms are available on the upper floor, each with a king size bed, full sofa bed, mini-fridge and flat panel TV. There also is a remodeled room on the lower floor to meet the needs of guests with impaired mobility, with two double beds and all the facilities required for their convenience.
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Bus

Bus

The bus station in Panama City is located at Albrook Mall – tickets to Almirante, Bocas del Toro can be purchased at wickets in the terminal or by phone. Once you have reached the Almirante port, take a water taxi to Isla Colon also known as Bocas. Boats depart every 30 minutes to Bocas starting at 6:00 a.m. and finishing at 6:00 p.m. If you arrive at the port after 6 p.m., you will have to stay overnight in a nearby hotel which is not ideal. The boat ride from Almirante to Isla Colon takes about 25 to 30 minutes.
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Bocas del Toro

Water Taxis

To reach the nearby islands and beaches, you can hire taxis operating motorized boats. As a general rule, you should always sort out the rate beforehand, and clarify whether it is for one way or round trip. From Isla Colon to most destinations on Carenero, rates range between $1.00 and $2.00. For longer trips, the rates will be higher. Try to negotiate nicely and remember the drivers are not trying to rip you off, they are providing a service and trying to support their families.
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