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Travel Guide to Bocas del Toro, Panama

Map of the Area

Bocas del Toro Panama - Travel Guide - Tropical Discovery
  • 67.3 km2 (26.0 sq mi)
  • high: 83–90 °F [28–32 °C], low: 71–75 °F [22–24 °C]
  • Eastern Standard Time (UTC-5) -5 hrs
  • The Panamanian Balboa (PAB) B/1.00 = $1.00 USD.
  • Spanish
  • 7,366 (2010)
  • 9°20′0″N 82°15′0″W

Bocas del Toro, Panama

Natural beauty & Incredible diving

Bocas del Toro meaning "Mouths of the Bull" is a province of Panama. Its area is 4,643.9 square kilometers, comprising the mainland and nine main islands. The province consists of the Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Bahía Almirante (Almirante Bay), Chiriquí Lagoon, and adjacent mainland. The capital is the city of Bocas del Toro (or Bocas Town) on Isla Colón (Colón Island). Other major cities or towns include Almirante and Changuinola. The province has a population of 125,461 as of 2010.

Christopher Columbus and his crew first visited the area in 1502. Bocas del Toro borders the Caribbean Sea to the north, Limón Province of Costa Rica to the west, Chiriquí Province to the south, and Ngöbe-Buglé Comarca to the east. The Río Sixaola forms part of the border with Costa Rica. An old railroad bridge spans the river between Guabito and Sixaola, Costa Rica. The bridge is a border crossing used by tourists going between destinations in Bocas del Toro and Costa Rica.

The province contains two national parks, Isla Bastimentos National Marine Park and La Amistad International Park. The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute operates a research station on Colón Island just northwest of Bocas Town. There are many banana plantations in Bocas del Toro, often called the oro verde, or green gold of Central America.

Bocas del Toro, also known colloquially as Bocas Town, is the capital of the Panamanian province of Bocas del Toro and the district of Bocas del Toro. It is a town and a tourist resort located on the southern tip of Colón Island in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago in the Caribbean Sea. Bocas Town had 12,996 residents in 2008.

Bocas del Toro is served by Bocas del Toro "Isla Colón" International Airport which hosts daily commuter flights from and to Panama City and San José in neighboring Costa Rica.

Bocas del Toro Panama - Travel Guide - Tropical Discovery

Panamanian waters host an incredible array of diving possibilities almost unknown to many diving enthusiasts. The Caribbean offers its unlimited coral reefs, and incredible scenes of underwater life. A true explosion of colors and shapes that amaze even the most experienced and seasoned diver. The Bocas del Toro is one of these places with unique beauty both above and beneath the surface.

There are two ways to access this gorgeous Atlantic Coast: One is via the Panamerican road from Panama City (approximately 400 km), crossing the mountains and then taking another paved road to Chiriqui Grande (another 90kms) where you can take a water taxi or rented boat to Isla Colon. The second is taking a ferry from Chiriqui Grande, but this takes about 4 hours. Another possibility of getting there is by airplane, directly from Panama City to Isla Colon, which takes about an hour - flights depart daily.

Bocas del Toro offers many incredible diving sites like "Coral Islands", "Cristóbal Light" on Cristóbal Island and other interesting sites. When the water is calm, it is possible to visit a shipwreck and a series of underwater caves behind Zapatilla Cayes, as well as "Wild Cane Caye", a rocky formation with a vertical drop behind Bastimentos Island.

Other attractions in the Bocas del Toro region include fishing, watching the dophins at Bahia de Los Delfines, bird watching at Swan's Cay, surfing at Playa Bluff, visiting the indigenous communities at Salt Creek or the cloud forest at Chiriqui Grande, exploring the banana farms at Changuinola and much more.

Bocas del Toro Panama - Travel Guide - Tropical Discovery

Bocas del Toro, Panama

HISTORY

The province contains two national parks, Isla Bastimentos National Marine Park and La Amistad International Park. The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute operates a research station on Colón Island just northwest of Bocas Town. There are many banana plantations in Bocas del Toro, often called the oro verde, or green gold of Central America.

Christopher Columbus explored the area in 1502 while searching for the passage to the Pacific Ocean. Columbus's original name for the island was Isla del Drago. In colonial times, Bocas del Toro was part of Veraguas. It was originally part of Costa Rica until, in one of many territorial disputes, Colombia took control of it with armed forces. The then government made a reservation called Bocas del Toro in 1834. In 1850, Bocas del Toro became a part of Chiriqui, then was separated from it and became part of Colon. On November 16, 1903, Bocas del Toro was separated from Colon and became its own province. In 1941, Bocas del Toro was divided into two districts, Bocas del Toro and Crimamola. Four years later, it became part of the same division as before. In 1970, Bocas del Toro district became Changuinola, the district of Bastimentos was eliminated, and three new districts were added, making the province what it is today. The districts' areas changed in 1997 when the Ngöbe-Buglé Comarca was created.

The province is the home of the unique Bocas del Toro Creole of English.

 

Protected areas

The national parks in the province are Isla Bastimentos National Marine Park (Parque Nacional Marino Isla Bastimentos), which contains most of Isla Bastimentos and some smaller nearby islands and extends into the large nature preserve at the Red Frog Beach Island Resort, and La Amistad International Park (Parque Internacional La Amistad), which spans the Costa Rica–Panama border. Bocas del Toro contains most of the Panamanian section of the park, which covers 400,000 hectares (4,000 km2; 1,544 sq mi). The Costa Rican section of the park covers 584,592 hectares (5,846 km2; 2,257 sq mi). La Amistad International Park is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site.

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Eclypse de Mar Acqua Lodge

Eclypse de Mar Acqua Lodge Bocas del Toro Panama

Enjoy with us the experience to live in an unspoiled environment… and feel the amazing Nature (ocean and jungle) around you.

avg/night$90.00 SELECT
Punta Caracol Aqua Lodge

Punta Caracol Aqua Lodge Bocas del Toro Panama

Enjoy one of Punta Caracol’s exclusive cabins where you will have access to crystal clear waters from your private terrace and will be able to observe the impressive sunset interrupted only by playful dolphins.

avg/night$350.00 SELECT

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