Bocas Del Toro is a province in Panama, which has nine small islands alongside the mainland. The area has been growing in popularity, however you still get the feeling of an untapped area, mainly accommodated by Latin Americans, West Indians and the occasional tourist.
This is a particular favourite for people who are after an eco-style holiday, while it has also made itself popular with the surfers and the beach lovers. I hope you enjoy my list of the top things to do in Bocas Del Toro.
1 Horse Back Riding
The views from the hilltop is amazing, while you are surrounded by jungle, however it can be a bit exhausting walking around in that heat. You can therefore make the most of the decent priced horseback riding available in the area.
2 Scuba Diving
As with any island in this area, scuba diving is always going to be appealing, with beautiful fish swimming around the coral. It was even nicknamed the ‘Galapagos of the Caribbean’, quite a hefty title considering the popularity of the Galapagos Islands.
Image by LWYang
3 Learn Spanish
There are so many areas in Central and South American where you can take a Spanish course in a relaxed and friendly environment, but where more tranquil than in Bocas Del Toro? You can either learn at an official language school or just get someone to teach you one-on-one on a beach, I know which option I would pick!
This one is unsurprising since I mentioned how many surfers visit this area, but you really can expect some decent sized waves across the Panama coast. Where ever surfers collect, you can also find surfing schools, teaching people at all levels, meaning you don’t have to worry if you’re an absolute beginner. According to a competitive surfer who has done it his whole career, “we are all beginners, even us professionals feel like we are learning every day when we’re out there, as the sea is such a tough teacher”; Wise words!
Image by Pablo Spekuljak
If climbing up onto a horse doesn’t fit your mood, you can go for the much easier option of biking through the jungle and taking snaps along the way. I try to hire a bike where ever I travel in the world and this is no different for Bocas, so I’d definitely recommend giving this a go.
Image by Ray LAC
6 Play Volleyball
I’m not going to pretend I’m not jealous, as I type this up from the cold of England, however I do miss playing volleyball, even if I was useless at it! I couldn’t hit a cow’s backside with a banjo in my hand, but that’s beside the point. This is a great area for playing volleyball, while other’s will regularly let you join in with a game if you kindly ask. It can also be a great way to get to know other people travelling across Central America, as well as practicing your Spanish linguistic skills on the locals (learn some sports banter to get a good giggle).
7 Watch Sunset
Grab a couple of beers with your new found friends and enjoy sunset from the pier. You can also head over for sunrise but I don’t wake up that early and I certainly can’t drink beer at that time, so hats off to you morning people. You can also find a great restaurant to enjoy the views from.
8 Yoga Class
I only just got into yoga over the past 3 weeks, since I got persuaded to attend a class in Brighton’s Fitness First, however I’m finding myself slightly addicted already. A number of people were trying to tempt me to give it a try while in Bocas, however I ran out of time. Everyone that did give it a go said it was surprising how much they sweated as it was a full on workout, however you can also pick your intensity level, with some great yoga coaches available.
Whether you do a quick 1 hour trip, a full day on a sailing boat or even an overnight stay, this is a popular option with many boats to choose from. It will include food and the captain, so you can focus on relaxing and enjoying the views. Personally I get a little seasick after a while, so two hours was enough for me, but I loved it and it made for a great way to see all the different islands.
Image by Aitor Montaña
10 Cooking Classes
Learn to cook like a local, with many Caribbean recipes taught by the on-site chef’s. Expect chicken on the bone in absolutely everything, with some great tasting sauces. I do love to learn new recipes as I travel, so this feels like a must for me, depending on how much time you have available.
Image by LWYang