Bocas del Toro, Panama

The Bocas del Toro Archipelago is a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea in northwest Panama. The archipelago remains relatively undeveloped; Isla Colón is the only island with any roads or vehicles. This leaves visitors to enjoy the clean air, the sound of the waves, and the exotic noises of the jungle—home to monkeys, sloths, toucans, and a spectacular variety of medicinal plants and exotic fruits.

The sea is also full of life. Elusive manatees, endangered sea turtles, playful dolphins and vivid reefs fill the waters of the region. The opportunities for diving and snorkeling are endless, and the waves crashing over these reefs draw surfers from across the globe. The Bastimentos National Park encompasses one part of Bastimentos island and the Zapatilla Cayes. This park includes rich mangroves and over 57 different coral species.

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Latitude: 9.376079 Longitude: -82.258182 Elevation: 64 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Jen Frandsen


Bocas´ remoteness means that unique species have emerged - such as the emblematic poison dart frogs, whose jewel-like skins have evolved into different colors on each island and the mainland. Likewise, the region’s diverse cultures – from the indigenous Ngöbe and Naso, to the Afro-Caribbeans and Latinos - have retained their own languages, beliefs, and customs through the centuries, isolated as they are by water and impenetrable jungle.

The province of Bocas del Toro used to be home to a number of banana plantations operated by the United Fruit Company. Many buildings in Bocas del Toro reflect the rich history of Bocas del Toro, such as Hotel Bahia (the former headquarters of the United Fruit Company). There are many aspects of cultural life in Bocas del Toro that are of interest for tourists—such as local festivals, performing and creative arts, cuisine, and local handicrafts. In Bocas Town, restaurants and bars provide cultural entertainment in terms of music and dancing, and a wide variety of lodging, from backpacker hostels to high-end eco-resorts.

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