What originally put Bocas del Toro on the map was its beaches. There are so many stunning Caribbean beaches that chances are you will have an entire beach to yourself. Many beaches are easily accessible from town and as follows is a list of some beaches in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago and how to get to them:
BEACHES ON COLON ISLAND
- Playa El Istmito (Las Cabañas): it’s the local beach and the first beach you’ll encounter just out of town, where the fair grounds are. Lined up with several local restaurants and bars, it makes an easy and quick trip just out of town to catch some sun and have some drinks or a nice local meal by the beach. It’s one of the few beaches with some dark sand and the tides bring in sea weed from time to time so it won’t hurt if you skip it. Most of the times it is suitable for kids and great for learning how to surf and body board when the swell is up.
- Costa Azul Beach: right after The Ismito Beach, you will find Costa Azul Beach. Located just before Playa Tortuga it is a relatively small golden sand beach and is certainly nicer than Istmito. Just a 4 minute drive out of town.
- Big Creek: a 6 minute drive out of town after Playa Tortuga you will encounter one of the calmest beaches in all Bocas. A rather extense and protected bay, Big Creek offers a vast stretch of white and golden sand beach perfect for kayaking and even snorkeling at the very end of it. Great for kids.
- Bluff Beach: after Big Creek, the next beaches you will encounter are more exposed to the surf and are home to some of Bocas’ most popular surf breaks such as Tiger Tail and Paunch. You’ll only want to get into these beaches if you surf or if there is no swell at all (great snorkeling). One beach that is quite popular with non surfers is Flat Rock Beach (again if there is too much surf, not good!). The very last beach on this stretch of road (20 minute drive out of town) is Bluff Beach and is one of Bocas del Toro’s most gorgeous beaches with about 5 kms of pristine powdered golden sand. As mentioned before, these beaches aren’t really for swimming unless there isn’t any surf!
- Starfish Beach: in this white sand beach you will find an amazing amount of Starfish… it’s just unreal how beautiful it is! This beach is located on Boca del Drago, about a 30 minute drive from Bocas town. Public buses make the journey back and fourth everyday and cost $5 for a roundtrip.
- Mimitimbi and La Piscina: these beaches are more secluded and difficult to get to. If you’re staying in Bocas for a while and are up for the adventure, we’ll help you get to them!
BEACHES ON BASTIMENTOS ISLAND
- Wizard Beach or Playa Primera: the north shore of Bastimentos Island is lined with some of Panama’s most amazing beaches. Golden and white sand beaches which are great when the surf isn’t too big (otherwise surfers paradise). To reach this first beach in Bastimentos you have to grab a boat to the town of Bastimentos ($3 each way) and the hike up north through the jungle for about 30 minutes (carefully follow the signs). Chances are you will have the beach with just a few other people.
- Red Frog Beach: arguably Bocas del Toro’s most popular beach, Red Frog is where to go if you want to hang out with other travelers at the beach. To get there you have to get a water taxi to the Red Frog Marina ($3) and then pay a $3 fee for the use of the dock and walk about 10 minutes north until you reach Red Frog Beach. There are a couple of restaurants on this beach.
- Turtle Beach, Polo Beach and Playa Larga: much more secluded beaches on Bastimentos Island, which can be reached by hiking from Red Frog or by hiking from Bahia Honda (the Sloth’s Trail). Great snorkeling at Polo Beach and some of the best surfing ever in Playa Larga.
- South eastern side of Bastimentos: mangrove coastline with very calm water year round. The landscape is much more dramatic, with large rock faces, stretches of long beaches, in addition to coves and inlets.
OTHER BEACHES IN BOCAS DEL TORO
- Cayo Zapatillas: two of Bocas del Toro’s most beautiful islands are home to some of Bocas del Toro’s most pristine beaches. Boat tours that include a visit to these islands normally cost $25 per person.
- Beaches on other islands in Bocas del Toro: the rest of the islands in Bocas del Toro are even more secluded and all of them have impressive virgin beaches. Take your pick, explore the archipelago and reach a beach that will make you feel you’re the first person to ever be there. You’ll find virgin beaches at Isla Popa, Cayo de Agua, Isla San Cristóbal, Escudo de Veraguas and on mainland as well at Cuzapín.