Bouncing around Bocas
By Adam Williams
Though the Bocas del Toro archipelago is small, trying to visit all the islands during a short stay is a daunting task. There are a total of nine main islands, 50 cays, which are low-lying islands of coral, and more than 200 islets sprinkled amongst the clear blue waters of the Panamanian Caribbean Sea.
The archipelago’s main island, capital, and only spot on the islands with paved roads and cars. There is an airport, a downtown with restaurants and bars, hotels, tour operators and plenty of opportunities for fun. Snorkeling, kayaking, scuba diving, spear fishing, sport fishing, sailing and surfing are all available off Isla Colón.
Known for the famed Red Frog Beach, Isla Bastimientos National Marine Park is a nature lovers and water lover’s paradise. Rainbow colored corals inhabited by painted fish and sea creatures can be found just off the island at Cayo Coral and Salt Creek. Scuba diving and snorkeling here are nothing short of magical thanks to azure waters and fantastic visibility.
Isla Solarte, located just off Bastimentos, is better known as Hospital Point. During the days of the United Fruit Company, Isla Solarte was home to the only hospital in Bocas del Toro. Today it is a prime spot for snorkeling and dolphin watching.
Isla Popa and Isla Cristobal
The two least tourist-saturated main islands of Bocas del Toro are equally beautiful, each with verdant wildlife, stunning views of Caribbean paradise, and clear seas flecked with coral reefs.