Visit Bocas del Toro
Bocas del Toro - as this incredible Panamanian archipelago is called - is also the name of the province and its capital, better known as Bocas Town. Located on Isla Colón, it is the most developed region of the entire archipelago and where most of the hotels and restaurants in Bocas are located.
The relaxed atmosphere among tourists visiting Bocas reflects the spirit of the most famous Panamanian archipelago. Located on the border with Costa Rica and facing the waters of the Caribbean, Bocas attracts travelers from all over the world interested in an exotic itinerary, little explored and, even so, with good infrastructure. Those who come to Bocas del Toro look for exuberant nature, beautiful beaches and - almost always - excellent waves for surfing. It is a destination for those looking for direct contact with almost untouched nature, without losing the comfort of good hotels.
Among the colorful houses of Bocas Town - built on stilts over the sea - travelers follow carefree in search of the next beach. Everyone looks at the sky, anxiously awaiting the appearance of the sun between the clouds, which so insist on covering the region. The weather, almost always cloudy, is not enough to scare away surfers in search of the best waves in Panama, let alone those in love with the colorful Caribbean Sea. The sun only opens for all the beauty of the islands to be fully revealed. Between boat trips, diving in crystal clear waters and islands with virgin forest, you will easily fall in love with Bocas del Toro.
The territory - originally indigenous - was colonized by Spaniards, English, Germans, French and North Americans, in addition to having been the target of pirates and privateers. History, however, was especially marked by the installation of the United Fruit Company at the end of the 19th century. The company, specialized in the production of bananas, brought to Bocas not only the architecture of wooden houses - which are still a trademark in the region - but also a large portion of slave workers, especially from Jamaica. The population of Bocas is largely descended from indigenous people and these workers, two peoples who greatly influenced local customs.
The mix of cultures in Bocas is maintained to this day. The region no longer lives on bananas, but on tourism. It is not uncommon, in the archipelago, to find foreigners who arrived only for a few days of travel and ended up moving there permanently. And that is the hallmark of Bocas del Toro: being a little paradise for locals and travelers from all over the world.
Departing from Bocas Town, five minutes by boat, a beautiful region of beaches is concentrated on Isla Carenero. There, restaurants, such as Bib’s on the Beach, are located over the sea and offer outdoor seating, in the best climate of the Caribbean. They are excellent options to watch the sunset accompanied by a delicious drink with ceviche. Although the main attraction is the beautiful view, the restaurants have good food and are also an excellent choice for the evening, especially as they are located very close to Bocas Town.
In Boca del Drago and Playa Estrella, located on Isla Colón - the opposite end of Bocas Town - there are some simple but tasty restaurant offerings. You can spend the day at the beach without having to bring anything. The stalls offer homemade food, with lots of fish, shrimp and even lobster - always prepared al ajillo, creole or a la plancha in the Panamanian style. The same happens in the few restaurants on Cayo Coral, where the boats going to and from the tours to Cayo Zapatilla stop for the tourists' meal.
You can eat very well and at excellent prices in Bocas del Toro. There is no lack of options and the dishes cost, on average, US$ 15. The most expensive will not exceed US$ 30. It is a place for great meals, especially after spending a lot of energy on the beach.
Consider staying in Bocas del Toro a little longer than initially planned. The weather there is not the best and you can get a sequence of endless days of rain. In order not to leave Bocas feeling unlucky, seriously think about staying a few extra days or have plans up your sleeve to change the date of the return trip and try to see the sun for a few more days.
Bocas del Toro has an extremely humid tropical climate, even the driest months have a high incidence of rain. The rainiest season is from April to August and from November to January, that is, almost all year round. For those who want to try to escape the rain, it is best to choose the months of February, March, September and October. The temperature in the region is constant throughout the year and has an average maximum of 26°C and minimum of 22°C. It's hardly cold there, but sea trips may require a coat or raincoat (especially with rough seas).
It is worth mentioning that it is often raining in Bocas Town, but not on islands like Cayo Zapatilla. Before going on a tour, confirm with the company you have hired whether it is worth taking the trip (or not). It is common for tours to be postponed for a few hours or even cancelled, as is common for passengers to give up due to bad weather. Therefore, leave the package to close only on the morning of the activity.
Another factor that influences when choosing the best date to travel to Bocas del Toro is the sea. It varies greatly between months of the year. The high season in the region runs from November to February, when the sea is excellent for surfing. The problem is that this means bigger waves and much more agitated waters, that is, it is not the best period for those who enjoy the beaches, boat trips or practice diving. For these tourists, the ideal period to travel is between September and October, when the sea is very calm and transparent. Regardless of the time chosen to visit Bocas, the weather there will be constantly on vacation.
Average annual rainfall in Bocas del Toro:
January - 197mm
February - 163mm
March - 136mm
April - 244mm
May - 230mm
June - 321mm
July - 394mm
August - 292mm
September - 192mm
October - 190mm
November - 312mm
December - 274mm
Bocas del Toro has an extremely relaxed atmosphere. Even in constantly hot weather, remember to bring a light jacket for boating and overnight. Remember to bring a raincoat, it can be very useful while you are in Bocas.
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