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- 19 Oct 2021, 3 nights
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If you like your adventures heart-racing and your lifestyle laid-back, Bocas del Toro is the place to be. This Caribbean province consists of nine islands and dozens of cays and islets, each covered in white sands, rugged mountains or lush forests. Whether you fancy a jungle trek, a snorkel in turquoise waters or a lazy day on a beach, Bocas del Toro has you covered. The tiny town has a lively bar scene too, including island-hopping bar tours and rum cocktails by the sea.
Most Bocas del Toro hostels are on Isla Colón, Isla Bastimentos or Isla Solarte. You can find plenty within a few minutes' walk of a beach, some with waterslides, and even a Bocas del Toro hostel with a diving tower and a trampoline for jumping into the sea. To help travellers meet each other, many places host socials like BBQs, walks and film nights. Some hostels in Bocas del Toro offer free Wi-Fi, and to keep you cool after a long day of exploring, look out for those that provide air con in the rooms.
The main town of Bocas del Toro goes by the same name. You'll find it on Isla Colón – a well-developed island with great surfing, bustling beaches and a lively bar scene. Isla Carenero is a short boat ride away and is a great place to escape the crowds. You can sample delicious fresh seafood and walk the hour-long trip around the coast on this peaceful forested island. Isla Bastimentos contains turtle nesting grounds, coral reefs and jungles for hiking in, and is well worth a day trip by boat.
Bocas del Toro's attractions make the most of the area's natural beauty. Take a boat taxi to Starfish Beach to float in the warm ocean and watch the abundant starfish and crabs go by. Boat trips will take you to the edge of Sloth Island, where you can spot hundreds of these creatures living their slow-paced lives. Back on Isla Colón, you can visit Playa Bluff to do some surfing. For something a little quirky, go to the Plastic Bottle Village to see homes built from recycled materials.
You can fly into Isla Colón via Bocas del Toro International Airport, though you'll need to catch a connection in Panama City first. The town is less than 10 minutes' walk from the airport. To explore the islands themselves, you're best off on foot, although there are some buses on Isla Colón. The best way to get from island to island is by using a water taxi.