How To Spend A Few Days In Bocas Del Toro, Panama!

This archipelago of islands on Panamas northern coast is utterly Caribbean. It’s also a favourite among travelers. I’ve heard of quite a few people who ended up cancelling their plans and calling Bocas Del Toro their home for a few months, embracing the surf, the reggae music and the chilled out island life.


Everything You Need To Know About Bocas Del Toro


There are two main islands that tourists tend to visit. Isla Colon is the main island and where you will find their capital ‘Bocas Town.’ Don’t let the word capital fool you though, the island is still small and not over-developed by any means. Being the main island it is easy to get water-taxis to neighbouring islands to spend the day at the beach or go snorkelling.

We stayed at Selina Hostel during our time on Isla Colon and we loved it. Not only was there an awesome bar and restaurant directly on the water (literally, you could jump off the decks of the bar straight into the water) with $2 cocktail hour but the dorm beds were insanely cool, personal cubby houses with individual chargers and fans inside. Amazing! The staff at the front desk were irritatingly slow upon check-in but the free breakfast was pretty impressive. I definitely enjoyed my stay and would have liked to stay longer.


Everything You Need To Know About Bocas Del Toro, Panama!


The second island most people tend to visit, whether for the day or a few nights, is Red Frog Beach Island. This island is where you’ll get the best surf beaches in Bocas. Red Frog Beach itself is beautiful to boot too. If you are lucky you’ll see the famous Red Frogs, Monkeys and Sloths that roam the area. Be sure to make your way to Nachyo Mamas for some  delicious Fish Tacos on the beach (weirdly she doesn’t actually sell Nachos…)!

We stayed at Bocas Island Lodge, the only hostel on the island. Whilst it was conveniently located we didn’t love our time here. The beds were a bit damp, the bathrooms weren’t the cleanest and the gas ran out in the kitchen meaning we had to spend quite a lot of money eating out instead. But, we enjoyed our time on Red Frog Island so it was worth it. That’s the joys of traveling, hey?

Everything You Need To Know About Bocas Del Toro, Panama!

In order to arrive in Panama you have to have evidence of your transport out of the country. This is very difficult when you are a backpacker, you don’t always know how long you will be in a country or how you will leave it. When this dilemma struck at the airport we quickly found a shuttle bus that transfers from Bocas Del Toro, Panama to Puerto Viejo in Costa Rica. This company, Caribe Shuttle, was amazing. We emailed them twice, once to ask if we could change our departure date and once to change the name of our destination hostel and both times they were super accommodating and quick to respond. They also made the border crossing a breeze. If you find yourself in the same dilemma I highly recommend booking with them, they are so flexible and easy to use.


Everything You Need To Know About Bocas Del Toro, Panama!


We loved our time in Bocas Del Toro, Andy especially loved being in proper waves again.


Have you been to Bocas? What are your favourite tips?


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  • Reply nuria 23/07/2017 at 10:43 pm

    Hi Sasha! I will be in Panama this summer followed by Costa Rica and Nicaragua and I’ve found your articles on these countries very useful! So, thank you so much for sharing! :). In one of your replies on this article you also metion the volcano hike in Panama. Did you do it? If so, any info/tips? And how many days did you spend in each country? I might have too planned too many things for the time I have. Do you think San Blas, Panama City, Baru/Boquete and Bocas del Toro is too much for 8-9 days? I can still rearrange.. haha Thank you!!

  • Reply Angela Douglas 24/01/2017 at 2:34 am

    Hi Sasha,
    we are headed to Panama in March and I am wondering which you would recommend most- Bocas or San Blas? We likely don’t have time to do both as we are only there for 8 days and want to spend a few in Panama City.
    Love your blog!

    • Reply Seven Continents Sasha 24/01/2017 at 1:42 pm

      HI Angela, thanks for reading! I personally preferred the San Blas Islands- they were prettier, more authentic and more relaxing. I also have written a blog post on how to visit there on the cheap if you haven’t already read it. However 9 days could be enough to see it all if you really wanted to, you could spend two nights at each and an overnight bus to Bocas Del Toro (which would work if you are heading off to Costa Rica or Colombia afterwards). If you want something a bit more relaxed with less travel time San Blas and Panama City are your best options, there are also some other towns you could visit, including a Volcano Hike where you can see the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean at once. Let me know how you go, I would love to get an update!

  • Reply Natasha 20/04/2016 at 1:52 am

    You had me at “you can jump off the bar into the water”…. This is definitely on my list now! Thanks so much, girl!

  • Reply Margaret Owen 10/10/2015 at 1:26 pm

    Hey Sasha

    Your Mum gave me the link to your site – you sure are having a great time and seeing heaps. Robert and I are booked to go to Canada next year so loved reading the things to see and do there – we plan to spend some extra time in Vancouver to visit with friends who have just had twin boys so hearing about places we can escape to on our own was also good. Enjoy your travels and I will keep logging in to read all about it.

    Love … Marg

    • Reply sevencontinentssasha@gmail.com 06/11/2015 at 10:00 am

      Hi Marg! Thanks for reading the blog! You will both love Canada, it’s a beautiful country. Please be sure to visit Banff! Hope you are both well! x

  • Reply Robert Magness 06/10/2015 at 11:14 pm

    Hi Sasha,
    Saw you at the Red Frog Beach hostel when you were leaving. They got more gas for the stove about three days later.

    I liked your blog on Panama and the Bocas Del Toro province.

    Only tip I have is to pass on some advice a girl from your group gave me for my daughter: “Don’t pack too much!”

    I took a picture of your group leaving the hostel, but don’t see a way to post it on you site. I’ll try your Facebook page.

    Happy travels!

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