Bocas del Toro: Things you need to know

Introduction and History

Bocas Del Toro is a renowned tourist spot and a province of Panama. It consists of a series of islands that are its main tourist attractions. A hefty amount of tourists visit these islands to enjoy the unparalleled surfing experience as well as its beautiful beaches.

Bocas Del Toro covers an area of approx. 4700 square kilometers and has a population of around 125,000 as of 2010 census.

The province is a host to parks such as Isla Bastimentos National Marine Park and La Amistad International Park. The former one, as the name suggests, contains Bastimentos as well as some other small islands. La Amistad ranges along the border of Costa Rica and Panama while having most of its area in the Costa Rican side.

It is said that Bocas Del Toro was first visited by Christopher Columbus and his son in 1502. They were searching for the way to the Pacific Ocean. Columbus originally named it Isla Del Drago and with further iterations received its current name. It was actually a part of Costa Rica once but then, Columbia took over it in one of the territorial disputes. It then remained the part of Chiriqui and Colon of Panama and was founded as Bocas Del Toro Province in 1903.

Main Attractions and Activities

Bocas Del Toro has a lot to offer for its wildlife visitors. Starting with marine turtles, just like Tortuguero National Park, the four main species of Turtles can be spotted at the beaches of this province such as the hawksbill, leatherback, loggerhead, and green ones. Various species of birds can also be seen here. Moreover, the jungles of these islands due to lesser human interaction are a good spot for trekking. Hence, wildlife fans and trekkers may find this place a bit more captivating than the general community.

To explore Bocas Del Toro, sailboats are available to rent and enjoy the beautiful islands through the naked eye. Moreover, the boat captains may also aid you in reviving the history of those islands for a vivid experience. Additionally, one can also enjoy the sightseeing of natural wonders such as coral reefs or sea life or feed the animals along the way, while on a slow boat ride.

Bocas Del Toro is also a good spot for snorkelers or scuba divers. There are some spots such as Admiral Bay where the water gets clearer and the waves are stable, making it just the point to experience coral reefs for snorkelers. Some other spots such as Boca Del Drago, Hospital Point are suitable for scuba divers as the coral reefs reach tens of feet of depth there.

As told before, Bocas Del Toro’s Islands provide a unique surfing experience to its explorers. The surfing season is usually from December to March with water being warm and clear. The waves are usually high in this season and can be up to 12 feet in size. For lower sized waves, May – July season is more appropriate.

How to go to Bocas del Toro from Puerto Viejo

Bocas Del Toro is no more a part of Costa Rica. Costa Ricans need to cross the border bridge between Sixaola and Guabito. Before we talk about the rides, it is imperative to mention the border taxes that one has to pay for this journey. From Costa Rica, it is around $9 that you can either pay in little offices near the border or you can pay in a number of banks around Costa Rica. In addition, the taxes may also differ if you decide to cross the border by air. The officials at Panama can also demand a printed proof that you are going to leave the country again.

Bocas Del Toro actually cannot be travelled by roads as you can reach there only by plane or boats just like TortugAs Bocas Del Toro is no more a part of Costa Rica so, Costa Ricans need to cross the border bridge between Sixaola, Costa Rica to Guabito, Panama. Before we talk about the rides, it is imperative to mention the border taxes that one has to pay for this journey. From Costa Rica, it is around $7 that you can either pay through ATM type machines near the border or you can pay in a number of banks around Costa Rica. In addition, the taxes may also differ if you decide to cross the border by air. The officials at Panama can also demand a printed proof that you are going to leave the country again. uero National Park.

Ways to travel from Puerto Viejo to Bocas del Toro

Now talking about the ways in which you can travel from Puerto Viejo, there are a bunch of options to choose from. The easy way is the shuttle service as they can assist you in your luggage as well as taxes. They will help you cross the bridge where you will find another shuttle or van. From there, you will be taken to Almirante which acts as the jumping-off point between land and boat travels. The average price that all this transportation will cost is approx. $32 excluding customs or immigration fees that you may be charged. So better take extra sum with you in this errand.

Another way that you can take for this journey is through a bus, or a rented taxi although a taxi may cost you up to $50. If you are looking to travel by air for this journey, then you will have to book a flight from San Jose Airport to Bocas Del Toro as Puerto Viejo doesn’t have an airport. So, You will first have to go to a suitable spot with an airport such as San Jose and then make the journey. Hence, the easiest way from Puerto Viejo to Bocas is through shuttle service as the costs are a lot less than any other service.

Accommodation in Puerto Viejo

This article relates to the topic of visiting Bocas Del Toro while staying in Puerto Viejo so we will discuss here the accommodation in Puerto Viejo. Our first choice will always be Vista Verde Guesthouse, where you can enjoy a beautiful nature garden, yoga retreats and classes and much more.

In second place, Tripadvisor.com lists Hotel Banana Azul and Hotel La Costa de Papito amongst best-rated hotels in Puerto Viejo. Both hotels are in the range of $70 to $80 and provide facilities such as free breakfast, free Wi-Fi and free parking.

When it comes to restaurants, tripadvisor.com mentions Tasty Waves Cantina and Port Vell among top restaurants of the place. Both of the restaurants offer foods in the range of $3-$10 and have vegetarian-friendly and gluten-free diets.

Concluding Remarks

Bocas Del Toro is a captivating tourist point with some great attractions as mentioned above. If you are a fan of seeing raw nature, then Bocas Del Toro of Panama might just be the spot for you to visit.

Leave a Reply