This guide breaks down the best things to do in Bocas del Toro on each of the 5 main islands of the archipelago: Isla Colon, Isla Carenero, Isla Bastimentos, Isla Solarte, and Isla San CristobalThis list has been compiled based on our experience of living, guiding, and adventuring in Bocas del Toro since 2015. There are many other activity guides for Bocas del Toro out there – but most are written by bloggers who only visited for a few days. Keep that in mind while doing your research!

Check out our Bocas del Toro Surf Guide for information about surfing in Bocas!

ABOUT BOCAS DEL TORO

There isn’t anywhere else in the Caribbean quite like Bocas del Toro. The lush, rainforest-covered island archipelago is dotted with beaches, small towns, amazing waves, and filled with experiences for all tastes and ages.  The mix of people and cultures and the varying landscape from the mountains on the mainland to the mangrove forests and coral reefs of the islands make the Archipelago unforgettable and unique!

There is also a huge variety and diversity of things to do in Bocas del Toro, many of which are not listed on tour boards of Bocas Town. In fact, most the best things to do won’t be found there, or anywhere other than our guide!

As we said before, the weather plays a huge role in what you are going to do each day – so going with the flow is mandatory. Be ready to get on a boat and do a far-flung adventure when it is sunny. And if it’s raining, we like to head to the jungle! Either way, this guide will give you plenty of ideas and options for your vacation in Bocas del Toro. Enjoy!

Jump to an Island: Isla Colon | Isla Carenero | Isla Bastimentos | Isla Solarte | Isla San Cristobal

MUST-FOLLOW BOCAS DEL TORO INSTAGRAMS

Follow these Instagram accounts to stay up on the latest Bocas del Toro news, activities, restaurant specials, ect. They are essential to helping you have the best Bocas experience!

  • Bocas.Buzz – Bocas Buzz stays on top of all the weekly and daily restaurant and bar specials, events, and unique activities going on around the islands. If you want the current, “I wonder what nightlife is going on tonight,” or, “I wonder what events are going on this week,” kind of information – follow them!
  • The Bocas Breeze – Bocas del Toro news – Covid-19 updates, general news, and also events and local business promotion.

ABOUT TOURS IN BOCAS DEL TORO

Boom! You just arrived to Isla Colon in Bocas del Toro and you are ready for the adventure of a lifetime. You’ve read all about the amazing things to do here and you can’t wait to jump right in on the activities. Luckily for you, the second you walk near a tour station you are bombarded with eager and aggressive tour hawkers who are promising life-changing experiences for a very special price – sounds great! Doesn’t it?…

Here’s some advice…

Do not buy tours without talking to your accommodation. They will (or they should) know the best guides – guides that they trust and have a history of good reviews with, that can take you on private tours throughout the islands. The tours on offer in the streets of Bocas town are for, well, tourists. And they do not represent nor show the best side of the islands. If you cannot afford a private tour (as they are more expensive than the public tours) there are still good and bad public tour operators and your accommodation should know who is who.

TRY THESE CAPTAINS FOR BOAT TOURS:

  • Captain Ricky: +507-6667-0143 (Insist that he is your captain)
  • Castillo’s Charters: +507-6542-3249
  • Junito: +507-6774-7337
  • Luis: +507-6888-2590

THE BEST THINGS TO DO ON ISLA COLON

Isla Colon is the main island of the Bocas del Toro Archipelago and where most of the restaurants, shops, nightlife, hotels and hostels are located as well as the airport, bank, and hospital. Everything you might need during your time in Bocas can be found here. However, Isla Colon is a lot more than just Bocas Town and many of the best things to do here are located farther out in the nature of Isla Colon.

ACTIVITY: FLYING PIRATES ATV RENTALS AND JUNGLE TRAIL

Flying Pirates ATV rental splashing through a river in the jungle of Isla Colon is one of the best things to do in Panama.
How the Flying Pirates like to shower!

Renting a quad from Flying Pirates and exploring their jungle trails out past Bluff Beach is one of the most exciting and extreme things you can do in Bocas. The trails take you through the raw tropical rainforest, coral rock-covered beaches, deep mud, and past some incredible views. Howler Monkeys are often seen in the trees and the occasional sloth can be found. You will also pass by two of the most unique swimming holes in Bocas! The terrain out there is as beautiful and stunning as it is rugged and challenging so be prepared to test your limits!

(Call for trail and price updates) Flying Pirates ATV Rentals cost $110 for half-day and $140 for a full day. Check out their website for more information

ACTIVITY: EXPLORE ISLA COLON BY BIKE

Exploring Isla Colon by Bike is one of the best things to do in Bocas
The Best way to Explore Isla Colon is by Bicycle! via mokumsurfclub

The best way to explore Bocas Town and the rest of Isla Colon is how the locals do… by bicycle! Bocas Town is full of bike rental shops where you can get a nice set of wheels for around $2 an hour. You can ride the bikes all the way to Bluff Beach or to Starfish beach, both in about an hour. There are plenty of beautiful view points along the way so taking it slow and stopping occasionally is recommended!

We recommend Ixa’s Bike Rentals for reliable bikes at a good price! Bocas E Bikes also rents motorized bicycles.

EXPLORE THE WATERS AROUND BOCAS DEL TORO WITH PANAMA SAILING OR JAGER KNIGHTS

The Catamaran from Panama Sailing

We missed this activity the first time around (sorry!), but here it is now! Panama Sailing and Jager Knights offer all sorts of sailing experiences based out of Bocas Town on Isla Colon. They’ve got a Catamaran for day cruises, sunset cruises, panga boats for tours and surf guiding, and even sailing lessons! With experienced, high-quality equipment, and great ratings, these are the two companies you don’t want to miss for all your sailing needs!

For more info: check out the Panama Sailing and Jager Knights Websites

ACTIVITY: EXPLORE THE JUNGLE AND COASTLINE PAST BLUFF BEACH BY HORSEBACK

People riding horses through a river and rainforest of panama
Horseback Riding through the Tropical Rainforest of Bocas del Toro

Another (more natural) way to explore the jungles out past Bluff Beach is by horseback! Bluff Beach Retreat does horseback riding tours run by local guides that take you along some of the same trails as Flying Pirates but in a more relaxed and environmentally friendly way!

Tours leave at 10:00AM and 1:00PM and cost $50 per person. Check out their website for more information!

ACTIVITY: SPEND THE DAY AT BLUFF BEACH

A Surfer walks into the surf at Bluff Beach in Bocas del Toro
Bluff Beach by local photographer Gaby Floyd

Bluff Beach is most famous for the incredibly powerful waves that break here which draw in surfers from around the world. The waves are so powerful and break so close to the shore that it is extremely dangerous to swim or even try to put your feet in here. When the surf is really small you can swim or if the waves are big you can watch the surfers! There are many accommodations at Bluff Beach and a few really good restaurants to have lunch at.

How to get to Bluff Beach: Busses leave every 30 minutes from the central park in Bocas Town and cost $3 each way. You can also bike to Bluff which takes about an hour, or you can hire a private taxi that costs around $15.

ACTIVITY: SPEND THE DAY IN BOCA DEL DRAGO AT STARFISH BEACH

An Empty beach with calm, clear water at Boca del Drago in Bocas del Toro
Spend some time to explore the Boca del Drago Beach, via MokumSurfClub

Boca del Drago is the area of Isla Colon that is home to the famous Starfish Beach. There is a small local community in this area and most live off of the tourism that Starfish Beach has created. The coastline here is beautiful and you will have to walk along it to get to Starfish Beach from where the busses will drop you off.

A woman orders a drink at a pink beach restaurant at Starfish Beach which is one of the most popular things to do in Bocas del Toro
Caribbean style beach restaurants line the shore of Starfish Beach. via MokumSurfClub

Starfish Beach is a very popular beach for tourists and local people alike. It is a slender strip of beach with bathtub-calm water that is great for swimming. Palm trees and beach shacks line the shoreline where locals set up small bars and restaurants to serve the people that visit each day. There are lines of beach chairs, souvenir stands, beach volleyball, and even an inflatable hotdog to ride on. Starfish Beach is the most touristy beach in the archipelago but it is a good time no doubt!

How to get to Starfish Beach: Busses leave from the central park in Bocas Town. Look for the busses that say Starfish Beach on them! Cost is $2.50 each way and the ride is 30 minutes. If you are a bigger group you can hire a private boat to drive you out to Starfish beach for $5 per person.

ACTIVITY: LEARN SPANISH WITH HABLA YA SPANISH SCHOOLS

Habla Ya Spanish Schools is the #1 way to learn Spanish in Panama, and they are now offering an awesome COVID-19 adapted way to learn in Bocas! Here is what they are offering:

“Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic we’re currently not offering on-site Spanish lessons in a traditional group setting but instead in a TRAVELING CLASSROOM that delivers a teacher directly to you in a COVID safe way wherever you are, be it your hotel, home, park, on tour, at the beach or in any other place where social distancing is comfortably and safely possible.”

How cool is that? Now you can learn Spanish anywhere in Bocas with a private teacher!

Contact Habla Ya: Whatsapp: +507-6617-3021, or Email: info@hablayapanama.com. You can also check out their website, here.

ACTIVITY: VISIT BIRD ISLAND

a landscape view of bird island, Isla de los Pajaros, in Bocas del Toro, one of the best things to do
Bird Island is one of the gems of Bocas!

Bird Island looks like something the creators of Jurassic Park would have thought upbut instead of Dinosaurs you have hundreds of rare tropical birds everywhere! The small rock island is located in the open ocean just a few minutes off of the Boca del Drago side of Isla Colon. There is only a small part of the Island that you can step foot on and the main attraction is viewing the tropical birds that nest here. Bird Island is the only place in Panama where the Red-Billed Tropic Bird is known to nest!

How to Get to Bird Island: Bird Island is included as a stop on many of the boat tours. You can either book a tour to Bird Island from Bocas Town or hire a private taxi or guide to take you there! The Bird Island Tours often include stops at Starfish Beach and maybe La Piscina if the ocean is calm enough.

DON’T MISS OUR ULTIMATE GUIDE!

Learn everything you need to know about Bocas del Toro, Panama, with our ultimate travel guide. It’s essential reading for anyone thinking about visiting the islands!

WHAT TO DO IN BOCAS TOWN: RESTAURANTS, SHOPPING, AND NIGHTLIFE

Drone view of bocas Town on Isla Colon with colorful houses and green trees.
Drone Shot of Bocas Town, Isla Colon

Bocas is famous for its wild, island-style nightlife where anything goes. There are island-hopping pub crawls, pirate ships, floating bars, aqua lounges, and nightclubs open till 4AM. Live music is happening somewhere every day and we even have the most advanced music venue in all of Panama. Partygoers will find everything they want – and more – in Bocas!

Bocas Town is also full of some really good restaurants, artisanal shops, trendy boutiques, and plenty of local characters. You can easily spend a few hours exploring the town and checking out the shops and restaurants.

THE BEST NIGHTLIFE AND DAY PARTY OPTIONS IN BOCAS DEL TORO:

Filthy Friday – the island hopping party crawl!

[Nightlife Update] Nightlife is open until curfew – so check the current curfew times. Clubs are closed but bars are open, with social distancing and mask wearing. Unfortunately, Filthy Friday and the Black Magic Pirate Ship are still on pause.

THE BEST RESTAURANTS FOR DINNER IN BOCAS TOWN:

above view of eating caribbean food in bocas del toro panama
Octo serves up authentic Bocas Flavor
  • Om Cafe – Amazing Indian food made from scratch, overwater and open-air
  • El Ultimo Refugio – International Cuisine in an overwater open-air setting
  • BocArt – Fusion Cuisine + Best Sushi in Bocas, all with a creative and artistic flair
  • Falafel Bocas – Israeli operated Falafel joint with very good middle eastern food
  • JJ’s at the Bocas Blended Bus
  • Octo – Caribbean Grill serving some of the best and most unique seafood in Bocas
  • Azul – 6 Course fine dining experience with local ingredients for a great price
  • La Italiana – Our favorite Pizza place in Bocas Town!

THE BEST THINGS TO DO ON ISLA CARENERO

Hilltop view of carenero point with waves lining up
Isla Carenero is best known for the left hand point break called Carenero Point, via monoloco

Isla Carenero is just a quick 1-2 minute water taxi ride away from Isla Colon. The South end of Carenero is full of tourist accommodations, resident expats, a local community and a few really good restaurants. The interior of the island is dense jungle and the exterior is dotted with small protected beaches. Carenero Island is famous for the surf spot Carenero Point and is also home to a few other breaks that are great for learning to surf.

ACTIVITY: RELAX AT BIBI’S BEACH AND BIBI’S RESTAURANT

visiting Bibi's beach on isla carenero is a great thing to do on an afternoon
Bibi’s Beach and Restaurant are a great option for a sunny afternoon! via Flikr

Bibi’s Restaurant is an iconic Bocas del Toro landmark located on the East side of Isla Carenero. They serve local style food in a relaxed atmosphere at their overwater restaurant that has amazing views. Bibi’s is known for their Ceviche and is a great place to spend an afternoon swimming, enjoying live music, and throwing back a few happy hour cocktails during the sunset.

There is a small beach nearby that is popular with locals and tourists and is the closest beach to the center of Bocas. The water in front is generally calm and shallow and is great for swimming. Bring your bug spray as the local sand flies are active in this area!

How to Get to Bibi’s Beach: Take a water Taxi to Bibi’s Dock for $2 from Bocas Town. Check out Bibi’s facebook page here!

ACTIVITY: HAVE LUNCH (OR DINNER) ON THE BEACH AT RECETA MICHILÁ

Receta Michilá serves tapas style dishes packing huge flavor with local ingredients. It is, in our humble opinion, the best food in Bocas. They also have great drinks that can be taken right on the beach under a palm thatch umbrella with a beautiful Caribbean view. We love it for lunch and an afternoon in the sun close to home – but their dinner atmosphere is also excellent.

ACTIVITY: HIKING THE EAST SIDE OF ISLA CARENERO

Isla Carenero has beautiful caribbean beaches to explore. Hiking around is the island is one of the best things to do here.
There are many beautiful views to be found when Hiking Isla Carenero!

Hiking up the east side of Isla Carenero will bring you along a beautiful coastline. There are also multiple viewpoints where you can watch the surfers at Carenero Point. This hike only takes about 30 minutes and is a good, quick activity to mix up a day spent on Carenero Island.

ACTIVITY: SURFING AT CARENERO POINT AND BLACK ROCK

Two of the most popular surf spots in Bocas are located along Isla Carenero’s coastline. Carenero Point is a long left hand point break. Black Rock is an A frame reef break that is a great spot for beginners to learn how to surf. Check out our post on Everything you Need to Know About Bocas del Toro Surf for more information on these spots!

ACTIVITY: HAVE LUNCH AT LEAF EATERS CAFE

Leaf Eaters Cafe on Isla Carenero is an overwater vegan and vegetarian restaurant and one of the best things to do
Vegan and Vegetarian food over the water on Isla Carenero!

Leaf Eaters Cafe is an overwater cafe serving some of the best vegan and vegetarian food in Bocas. They have a great location and view of Bocas Town across the narrow channel in between the islands. They also have really good fish tacos!

Check out the Leaf Eaters Website here!

ACTIVITY: SPEND THE AFTERNOON AT AQUA LOUNGE (CURRENTLY CLOSED AND FOR SALE!)

Aqua Lounge on Isla Carenero is one of the best things to do for people who like to party
Swim around in the cut-out deck pools at Aqua Lounge!

Update: Aqua Lounge was an infamous Bocas del Toro party spot that has unfortunately fallen victim to the Pandemic. The bright side is that this iconic hostel and overwater bar is for sale for $500,000. It needs some love, but no doubt this location is one of the best moneymakers in Bocas!

Check out Aqua Lounge here!

WHAT TO DO ON ISLA BASTIMENTOS

Drone view of Isla Bastimentos and the town of old bank in bocas del toro. Visiting Old Bank is a great thing to do.
The Town of Old Bank on Isla Bastimentos is Authentic Caribbean, via Flikr

Isla Bastimentos is the largest island of the Bocas del Toro Archipelago. It is most known as the home of the Afro-Caribbean town of Old Bank. The island is located about 10 minutes away from Isla Colon by boat and has the second largest population of the Archipelago. Isla Bastimentos is covered in thick rainforests and some of the best beaches and adventures to be found in Bocas!

ACTIVITY: EXPLORE THE AUTHENTIC CARIBBEAN TOWN OF OLD BANK

a girl runs down the sidewalk in the town of Old Bank on Isla Bastimentos
Kids rule the streets of Old Bank, Isla Bastimentos, via Flikr

Everyone who comes to Bocas should plan a few hours to visit the community of Old Bank on Isla Bastimentos. Old Bank is said to have one of the last remaining Arfo-Caribbean populations in the world that has stayed together and held onto their culture. The local people speak a dialect called Guari-Guari and many speak English. The town is traditional Caribbean with colonial style houses painted in bright colors. People here enjoy life in a way not seen anywhere else!

How to get to Old Bank: Water Taxis from Bocas Town run $3 in the day and $5 in the night.

ACTIVITY: VISIT UP IN THE HILL ORGANIC CACAO FARM

A woman holds a tray of cacao treats from Up in the Hill on Isla Bastimentos one of the best things to do in Bocas.
Up in the Hill Organic Cacao Farm on Isla Bastimentos has all the treats!

Up in the Hill is a popular Isla Bastimentos landmark and one of the best off-the-beaten-path locations in Bocas. They are located on the highest point of the island about 15 minutes up the trail that leads out of Old Bank from the main park. Their specialty is their cacao and permaculture farm tour. They used to have a cafe that was open to the public – but now it is tours only. It is very highly rated, very delicious, and you will not only see wildlife like strawberry poison dart frogs, but you’ll also learn a lot about permaculture, cacao, and living off of the rainforest.

Check out Up in the Hill Here!

ACTIVITY: VISIT WIZARD BEACH

A Drone view of wizard beach on isla bastimentos with surfers riding waves which is one of the best things to do
Wizard Beach on Isla Bastimentos is wild and undeveloped

Wizard Beach is one of the top 5 beaches in Bocas. It takes 30 minutes to hike here through a generally muddy and difficult trail but is worth the challenge for the adventure seeker. Wizard is one of the few beaches in the Archipelago with 0 development along the entire coast. Once you emerge from the jungle trail onto the beach you will only see the rainforest, sand, and blue sea stretching out to either side of you. Be aware of rip currents when swimming and only bring what you need to the beach!

How to get to Wizard Beach: The start of the Wizard Beach trail is located on the East side of Old Bank town just a few houses past the new basketball court and soccer field. You can also walk to Wizard Beach from Up in the Hill after you stop there for a snack!

ACTIVITY: HAVE A LOCAL LUNCH OVER THE WATER AT ALVIN & KECHA’S

Alvin and Kechas restaurant in Old Bank serves some of the best local food in Bocas del Toro
Authentic Caribbean Food that will, “make yo belly full!” on Isla Bastimentos

After you visit Up in the Hill and then hike down to Wizard beach for the day, you can stop back in Old Bank at Alvin’s & Ketcha’s overwater restaurant for lunch. They serve up some of the best caribbean food in Bocas with an Afro-Caribbean style!

How to get there: Alvin and Ketcha’s restaurant is located over the water a few houses to the west of the main park in Bastimentos.

ACTIVITY: GO ON TITI’S POLO BEACH HIKING TOUR

A local bastimentos man climbs a tree in search of fruits during his tour which is one of the best things to do in Bocas del Toro
Titi climbing a tree to pick fresh tropical fruits.

Titi is a Bastimentos local who owns a small farm on the way towards Wizard Beach. He is a professional guide and a pioneer of one of the best hiking experiences in Bocas!

The tour starts out in the Afro-Caribbean town of Old Bank where you will make your way up to Titi’s farm to see how he lives and to taste some of the fruits that he grows. Next, you will begin a 3-hour hike through the heart of Isla Bastimentos, along Red Frog Beach, past Turtle Beach, and finally arriving at Polo Beach. Once you arrive at Polo Beach you can swim, snorkel, or sip on rum coconuts while Polo cooks you a fresh fish lunch!

Contact Titi for the tour: +507-6788-1331 – Prices vary by group size

ACTIVITY: VISIT RED FROG BEACH FOR FISH TACOS AND BEACH VOLLEYBALL

Visiting Red Frog Beach is one of the best things to do in Bocas del Toro for fish tacos and beach volleyball.
Red Frog Beach on a perfect day! via Flickr

Red Frog Beach on Isla Bastimentos is one of the most popular beaches in Bocas. Red Frog has more development due to a booming tourist scene here. The beach features several accommodation and restaurant options serving pizza and fish tacos. They have beach cabanas to rent, beach volleyball, and other activities like slack-lining. The walk to the beach takes about 10 minutes through a nicely groomed trail where you can spot Sloths, Monkeys, and Cayman Alligators.

How to Get to Red Frog Beach: You get to Red Frog Beach by taking a water taxi to the Palmar Dock on Isla Bastimentos. From there you pay the entrance fee ($5 per person) and walk to the beach. Water Taxis from Bocas Town to the Palmar dock cost between $5 and $8.

ACTIVITY: VISIT POLO BEACH FOR A UNIQUE BASTIMENTOS EXPERIENCE

A woman walks along the shore of Polo Beach in Bocas del Toro
Some of the best snorkeling, diving, and unique experiences to be had at Polo Beach

Polo Beach on Isla Bastimentos is our favorite beach in the Archipelago. It is also home to one of the most unique characters you will meet on your trip. Polo is a 75+ year-old man originally from the town of Old Bank. Legend has it that he ran away from home when he was 14 years old due to heartbreak and ended up living on the beach that is now named after him.

Today he survives in a small shack and loves cooking up fresh fish and lobster for the tourists that manage to find him. The beach itself is stunning and the barrier reef that lines it is a great place for snorkeling and diving. Monkeys and Sloths are often found in the trees nearby!

How to get to Polo Beach: To get to Polo Beach you can either hike or take a water taxi. Hiking from Red Frog Beach takes about 30-45 minutes on a nicely made trail. Water taxis will bring you here but only when the sea is calm. Prices for the water taxi will vary depending on group size, it is about a 25 minute boat ride.

ACTIVITY: EXPLORE THE ZAPATILLA ISLANDS

drone of isla zapatilla one of the best islands to explore in bocas del toro
The Bird’s view of Isla Zapatilla off the coast of Bastimentos, via HenPics

The Zapatilla Islands are the #1 Tour in the Archipelago – and for good reason. They are two small, slipper-shaped isles located off of the far corner of Isla Bastimentos inside the Bastimentos National Marine Park. They are lined with white sand and turquoise water and their interiors are dominated by high-reaching palm trees. The only development on the Zapatilla Islands is a few structures for the park guards and the sea turtle conservancy volunteers who help study and protect the sea turtles that nest here.

The Zapatillas can get crowded with day tours but it is easy to find a corner of the island with no one around. We recommend skipping the jam-packed boats that leave from Bocas Town and booking a private driver instead. For around $35 a person you can find a local to take you out to the islands where you can have more freedom to do what you want. For a good tour guide, try Adrian: +507-6776-0026

ACTIVITY: EXPLORE THE NIVIDA BAT CAVE WITH A LOCAL LEGEND

a group of tourists wades through waist high water inside the nivida bat cave on isla bastimentos in bocas del toro
One of the best things to do in Bocas del Toro is exploring the Nivida Bat Cave

Exploring the Nivida Bat Cave with Rutilio Milton is one of the most adventurous and unique tours on offer in Bocas. The cave is located deep in the jungle of Isla Bastimentos in an area inhabited by the Ngobe Indigenous people. Legend has it that the cave was known about for many years but none of the locals dared to enter the cave out of fear for what was inside it. 20+ years ago a team of Dutch conservationists first stepped foot into the cave to explore its’ inner chambers. Rutilio was the first local person to brave the cave and has been leading eco-tours there ever since.

portrait of Rutilio Milton who leads bat cave tours in Bocas del Toro Panama
Rutilio Milton, the Batman of Bahia Honda

Rutilio’s tour departs from the community restaurant in Bahia Honda and meanders slowly down a creek that cuts deeper into the island. After a relaxing 30 minute journey through the mangrove and jungle, spotting sloths, cayman aligators, and tropical birds, you will arrive at the dock of a small indigenous village. From here you will hike another 10 minutes deeper into the jungle to the mouth of the cave. The cave is full of bats on the ceiling and has a fresh water stream running through it. To reach the end of the cave you will need to swim, climb, and feel your way through three challenging stages. At one point you can even jump off a small cliff into a freshwater pool…

Contact Rutilio at +507-6726-0968 or visit his website to set up a tour! The tour costs $35 and includes pickup in or near Bocas Town. A local lunch in the community can be added for $5 per person!

WHAT TO DO ON ISLA SOLARTE

hospital point on isla solarte with palm trees green water and blue skies bocas del toro panama
Hospital Point is a popular hiking destination on Isla Solarte.

Isla Solarte is the least populated of the Bocas Islands. It is primarily covered in thick rainforest with gigantic old trees, tropical birds, and calm waters all around it. There is a maze of jungle trails throughout the island and hiking to Hospital Point is a popular activity. Isla Solarte has a central location in the Archipelago and is easily accessible from all of the other islands.

How to get to Isla Solarte: Isla Solarte is located about 3-5 minutes away from Bocas Town and can be easily reached by water taxi for between $3 and $5.

ACTIVITY: SCUBA DIVING SHIPWRECKS OFF ISLA SOLARTE

One of the best things to do on Isla Solarte is to scuba dive one of the two shipwrecks located just offshore.
Two sunken boats rest in the water in front of Sol Bungalows on Isla Solarte, via BocasDiveCetner

The most popular and frequented dive spots in all of Bocas are located directly in front of our Overwater Bungalows. There are two shipwrecks, a deep water wall and several reefs that are visited daily by all of the dive shops in Bocas. Snorkeling around in this area is also a great option and snorkeling at hospital point is a favorite activity for visitors to Solarte.

The best way to Dive the Shipwrecks in Bocas del Toro is through one of the many dive shops around the islands! We recommend La BugaPanama Dive School, or Bocas Dive Center.

ACTIVITY: HIKING AROUND THE ISLAND

A orange strawberry poison dart frog rests on a colorful tropical leaf in bocas del toro panama
Watch your step while hiking on Isla Solarte – the poison dart frogs are everywhere! via Flickr

Hiking around Isla Solarte is one of the best activities to do on the island. Every island has a different kind of rainforest and Solarte’s is the most unique that we have experienced. You really have to watch where you step as the small, orange colored poison dart frogs are everywhere! Tropical birds hum around in the trees and the trails lead to different beautiful viewpoints. Hospital point is generally the destination and hiking there and back from our Overwater Bungalows takes about 3 hours.

Call Adrian for a guided hike of Isla Solarte: +507-6776-0026

ACTIVITY: SNORKEL AND EXPLORE HOSPITAL POINT

Drone view of hospital point on isla solarte which is one of the best things to do for hikers!
Drone’s view of Hospital Point on Isla Solarte, via LaVidaSolarte

Hospital Point is located on the western tip of Isla Solarte. It is named after the hospital that was built here by the United Fruit Company in the year 1900 to treat workers who were sickened with yellow fever and malaria. The Hospital was eventually abandoned in 1920. Today the area is best known as being a great spot for snorkeling and scuba diving!

How to get to Hospital Point: Hospital Point is located just a few minutes away from Bocas Town and can be reached by water taxi for $3-$5. You can also hike there from other parts of Isla Solarte along the jungle trails.

ACTIVITY: VISIT THE BLUE COCONUT

One of the best things to do in Bocas del Toro is to visit the Blue Coconut overwater bar and restaurant
Another overwater bar/ restaurant to be experienced!

The Blue Coconut is a popular overwater bar/restaurant built off of a mangrove island just off the coast of Isla Solarte. It is 10 minutes away from Isla Colon and is the second stop of the famous Filthy Friday Island Pub Crawl. The Blue Coconut is a great place to come for an afternoon to relax in the sun and swim or snorkel around the mangrove. They serve typical Caribbean food, frozen drinks, and cold beer.

How To Get to the Blue Coconut: The only way to reach the Blue Coconut is over the water so taking a $5 water taxi from Bocas Town or you can also kayak or paddle board there! Check out the Blue Coconut Here.

ACTIVITY: KAYAK OR PADDLE BOARD AROUND THE ISLAND

drone angle of the mangrove islands of isla solarte in Bocas del Toro where kayaking is one of the best things to do
There are an endless amount of mangrove islets to explore around Isla Solarte, via LaVidaSolarte

Isla Solarte is one of the best Islands for kayaking and paddle boarding. The waters around the island are generally calm and are mostly protected from the open ocean swell. The water on the south facing side of the island is known to be some of the clearest in the Archipelago. The abundance of tropical birds and seabirds around the island makes for an exciting and relaxing adventure!

Sol Bungalows provides Kayaks and Paddle Boards for all of our Guests!

WHAT TO DO ON ISLA SAN CRISTOBAL

Drone View of the indigenous community on Isla San Cristobal in Bocas del Toro Panama.
The Indigenous village on Isla San Cristobal is home to over 800 people. via @travelswithtucker

Isla San Cristobal is most known for the large Indigenous village that is located there as well as the area known as Dolphin Bay. San Cristobal is about a 10-15 minute boat ride from Bocas Town with the area of Dolphin Bay being about 20-30 minutes away. San Cristobal is located close to the mainland of Panama and is completely protected from the open ocean swell. There are several Eco Lodges in this area as well as Cacao farms. It is a good island to stay on for nature lovers who really want to be away from the rest of Bocas.

The Dolphin Bay Area is one of the most popular destinations for day tours in Bocas. Unfortunately, this breeding ground for the unique bottlenose dolphin species that calls it home is under immense pressure from the 100+ motor boats that pass through here daily during the high season.

Because of this, we have to insist that you only visit this area with a guide that knows the correct dolphin watching techniques.

How to Get to Isla San Cristobal: To get to San Cristobal you need to hire a water taxi. Prices will vary depending on group size – for 2 people it can cost $10-$15 per person.

ACTIVITY: VISIT THE SAN CRISTOBAL NGOBE COMMUNITY AND GO HORSEBACK RIDING

Horseback riding on Isla San Cristobal is a great thing to do in Bocas del Toro.
Connect with the San Cristobal Rainforest on Horseback!

A local man named Narcisso lives in the San Cristobal Ngobe Village and does horseback riding tours. You will get to visit the large Ngobe Village and see how the local Ngobe population of Bocas del Toro survive on the islands. Narcisso is a prominent local figure and a fun guy to hang out with for the day as he guides you through the rainforest.

Check out the Panama Horseback Adventures website for more information!