Bocas Del Toro's


see the rating for the whole area at Bocas Del Toro


Description :  A long wild island boosting a small-very-laid-back afro community, a series of beautiful beaches, a magic mangrove bay and tiny red frogs !

Comments : In case Bocas Del Toro is too touristy or not Afro enough to your taste, consider forgetting it all on this island !

What to do ?  See Bocas Del Toro section. 

What you may not like ?  The lack of cheap places to stay / The untreated tap water and the very expensive mineral water (as bottles of L1.5 only) : bring supply if you do not have access to rain water ! / The lack of facilities / The muggy path to the beaches / 

Where to stay ? The infrastructures on this island are fairly more basic than in Bocas del Toro :

  • Mr Wolf's Place (7579923), near the pier, up the stairs after a blue building / w. fan & Mosquito Net $10(1) or 12(2) / Go there for the nice rooms with a view, the charming setting among flowers and the info from the German owner / What you may not like : the snorkel equipment ($5) and kayak ($12-15) are no longer free for the guests to use
  • Hospedaje Silvia (7579442), 200m down the road / $10 per room / Go there for the nice spotless rooms, the family atmosphere and good price / What you may not like : the environment could be noisy as right inside the village
  • Cabinas (no name & no phone), at the beach road level / w. shower $10 per room / Go there for the original & charming setting on stilts and the correct rooms at good price / What you may not like : it is basic (no fan nor Mosquito Net) 
  • El Pelicano (7579830), 50m further / w. shower $10(1), 16(2) or 21(3 or 4) / Italian management / Go there for the most comfortable rooms, with bungalows set in a green garden / What you may not like : it lack the originality & charm of some of the above
  • El Jardin del Bambu (no phone), 10mn away on the way to the beach / $5 p.p. / Go there for the complete isolation between the village & the beach, in the middle of nowhere and the cheapest room for Sgl / Rain water / What you may not like : the rooms are extremely bare & basic (no electricity & bad isolation between the rooms) it is not too clean and not so quiet thanks to the kids

Where to eat ?  There are a couple of small restaurants in the village with Rice & Beans being the tasty Caribbean specialty. Mr Wolf's Place charges $5 for an "all you can eat" option but El Jardin del Bambu cost $2 only. 

A day on the island ?

The village of Bastimentos is certainly very charming with its houses on stilts, flower garden & Afro culture but most people come here for the beaches. The first one can be accessed via a lovely little path crossing the island : take right from the pier and at the end of the road, turn left toward a cemetery. A bit after it, turn right and keep going. You will pass El Jardin del Bambu (the last place to eat or drink) and some beautiful countryside scenery. This path is very muggy in parts and you may reach the beach, about 20mn later, with weird looking shoes... And if you aren't careful, your face could also be of the same color...

This first beach is impressive enough with a long surface of white sand (well, yellow, actually) and big waves for surf. Do not venture too far as there are dangerous rip tides. About 300m to the right, you will reach a pond. The water in this area is slightly less wavy (only slightly less) and there is some marine life to be spotted. The best place to observe it without being shaken too much by the current is actually right under it, holding on the stilts. Just beware not to step on one of those big rusty nails... 

From the end of the beach, you will need to take a small path going uphill to access Red Frog Beach, about 1.5 hours from the village. Get ready for more mug ! This is also a very nice and rather clean beach but it is nearly as dangerous as the above. Stay close to the shore ! A bit before the end, after an house with a red-roof, there will be a path on your right. Follow it for 15mn to reach a very peaceful bay surrounded by mangrove. This is Magic Bay (magic indeed !), an excellent place for kayaking ! The pond offering the view is a private property but the owner is friendly and the door should be kept open.

Back on the beach, continue toward the end : you will find an abandoned path leading to a wooden platform. Worth a look. A bit before, there is a muggy path going up toward another house and, hidden behind it, the path to the third beach : Playa Paulo. I did not find this beach that attractive (lots of driftwood and some rubbish) but the path was the only place where I spotted a few tiny red frogs. It did not look like there was another path to another beach but I did not look for too long. It was getting late anyway and I had some swimming to do...

Altogether, walking, splashing, spotting, eating & sleeping, would require nearly the whole day. But if your time in the area is limited, you could combine Bastimentos with the tiny island of Carenero, opposite Bocas Del Toro. On the way back, ask to be dropped there to save half a dollar. 

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