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Bocas del Toro

If you're looking for an unspoiled paradise – keep looking. The word is and has been long out on Bocas del Toro. Although you won't find McDonalds and Pizza Hut here (as of July 2008), the islands have been well and truly gringofied. It's a surf town and a surfer mentality that dominates here, with nothing but shades of the original Guari-Guari culture remaining. That being said, it is still a long way from cruise ships and Club Med. In fact, given its popularity as a mainstream tourist destination, it's amazing how sparsely populated the islands can seem, particularly during low season. It's not at all uncommon to have a beach to yourself, gentle waves and soft sand pulling you a million miles from the thumping discos of Bocas town.

If you've been to a surf town before, you'll find Bocas del Toro's vibe to be somewhat familiar. A few laid-back hostels, some excellent (and often viciously overpriced) restaurants, and a raging, promiscuous nightlife. One interesting quirk that sets Bocas apart is that, despite the relaxed attitude, men are strictly prohibited from going shirtless on the street. While fines are uncommon, many travelers have been sternly sent home and ordered to cover up. It's also a good idea to keep a copy of your passport on you when you go out. Although this is something you should do everywhere, police in Bocas have been known to make occasional sweeps, arresting tourists who cannot produce identification. Just why they do this is anyone's guess, but Viva's writer met a few people that had to spend a night in jail after one such crackdown.

Provided you manage to avoid such legal problems, you'll find that Bocas del Toro is a beautiful island. It may not be paradise, and if you're looking to get off the beaten path and away from the tourists you won't like it here. But it's a very fun place to spend a few days (or a few weeks... months) and a fantastic place to party or relax.









23 Nov 2006

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Things to do in Bocas del Toro

Bocas Sailing

104667Three types of tour / activity are offered. The first type of tour goes to Dolphin Bay to watch the bottlenose dolphins. From there the tour moves on to snorkelling to a coral reef, nearby ...
Boating
Panama

Snorkeling and Diving Islas Bocas

104719Overview The best way to get out to the dive and snorkeling sites quickly and efficiently is by tour. The standard trip is offered by almost all tour operators and is great for both divers and ...
Adventure Tour
Panama

Bocas del Toro Fishing and Sailing

111778Sailing charter on a 41 ft Catamaran all inclusive trip. Its the most confortable way to travel around the archipelago of Bocas del Toro. Will facilitate fishing, surfing, snorkeling and photo safari ...
Boating
Panama

Surf School La Iguana

Overview Bocas is a popular place for surfing and is home to the Atlantic's biggest wave, the Silverback, which was ridden by the Red Bull Surf Team for a video in March 2006. That may be too ...
Surfing
Panama

Diving

Diving in Bocas del Toro is quite popular, though their sites aren't particularly impressive. Sediment from the nearby rivers keeps the coral healthy, but it also reduces visibility, which on a bad ...
Diving
Panama

Kayaking

Kayaks are rented for around $3 per hour, or $18 per day. Waters are generally clear and calm, and Hospital Point is a popular spot to check out. “Discovery Bay”, a small sheltered area just ...
Kayaking
Panama

Surfing

Make no mistake, Bocas is a surfing town. So bleach your hair and start working on that laid-back drawl. Beginners should head to Playa Punch, or the Dumps if it's a calm day. The guys at Mondo Taitu ...
Surfing
Panama

Beaches

Gorgeous beaches are one of Bocas del Toro's main attractions. Isla Colon has several nice ones, including Drago Beach on the far side of the island. Our vote for the area's best goes to Wizard ...
Beach
Panama

The Bocas Sailing Club

142903The Bocas Sailing Club Sailboat rentals Sailing lessons ...
Sailing
Panama
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