We had the pleasure of spending two weeks in Bocas del Toro, Panama. For us it was a very laid back visit. We did do a couple of great days of diving, but other than that we focused on exploring the townsite and surrounding area. I have to be honest, Bocas is not an area I would consider living full time, but as a holiday destination I think it is well worth the effort to get to. Bocas del Toro is all about the surfing, and as we don’t surf we obviously were not getting everything out of the area we could have. There are plenty of diving opportunities (see previous blog) around the islands if that is something that interests you.
We rented a condo at Bocas Condos. An excellent location run by Jim, a fine gentleman who goes out of his way to make sure you are happy. As well I have to mention that it had the fastest internet we had experienced thus far in Central America, a very nice surprise.
One of the joys of staying right in the centre of town is you get exposed to how some of the locals live. Things like combustable garbage disposal. We found it not unusual to see a small fire burning garbage in someone’s yard. Or our personal favourite, the chained up dog barking incessantly in the yard next door. Those items aside, we enjoyed our time in Bocas. There were plenty of stores to get your groceries at reasonable prices. The selection of restaurants is outstanding. We cooked most of our own food, but had the pleasure of discovering a couple of excellent restaurants.
My personal favourite was La Mariposa, fantastic curry and very friendly staff. Jim also directed us toward Pin Up restaurant. A great little place with incredible thin crust pizza and cheap beer.
When our clippers finally died I was forced for the first time in 25 years to find a barber. The Wizard was the place to go. Great price while the barber sang and danced while he cuts your hair.
To look a bit further about we rented bikes and went for a ride up the east side of the island. Our goal was a place called Bluff Beach. When we arrived we found a gorgeous beach with perhaps a dozen people on it. There were some surfers out enjoying the waves as well. The surf is way too strong to enjoy just going for a swim in the water, but just relaxing and enjoying the views was wonderful.
In town there are dozens of bars to enjoy. Our preference were those that had seats out over the water. It is therapeutic to enjoy a refreshment while watching boats cruising back and forth over the waterway.
Bocas del Toro is a great place to unwind and relax. If you want a 5 star resort I would look elsewhere, but if you want to interact with locals and enjoy some surfing or diving, come on down.