Forever wanderlusting adventure couple Latai and Greg are back with us with reports from Bocas Del Toro, Panama. Read along for local Bocas knowledge all at your fingertips.
Growing up, I was always obsessed with Captain Jack Sparrow. Something about his reckless abandon for the ocean and the wild adventures he’d get into resonated with me. If someone told my 8 year old self I’d actually get to have a taste of what it’s like to be a Caribbean pirate, I’d probably laugh it off and think it was in my wildest dreams. Apparently, my wildest dreams manifest more often than not, and I can say with certainty the Caribbean is even more magical than I could have ever imagined. Specifically, the island chain of Bocas Del Toro, Panama.
If you ever find yourself looking for a tropical getaway or epic surf destination, Bocas is a place for everyone. Panama is bordered by both the Pacific and Caribbean ocean, and tucked away at the very Northwest tip of the country on the Caribbean side lie a group of islands which make up the province of Bocas Del Toro.
Imagine you’re on a boat arriving at a cruisey pace to some islands with colourful houses and restaurants hanging right over the water, music is playing, sunshine glistens off crystal clear blue ocean passing underneath you, and the warm salt breeze is brushing past your face. This is the first impression that sets the tone arriving to the main island, Isla Colon. There are so many things I love about Bocas, but the first thing that impressed me was how set up little Bocas Town is. Everything you need is accessible by bike and in one area, except if you’re in a rush (which you shouldn’t be) or want to surf multiple spots then you can hire a taxi or boat which are easy to flag down.
There are so many rad waves here! This is a topic in itself. Bocas Del Toro is a surfers paradise and reminded me a lot of Hawaii in a few ways. There are sandy beach breaks right next to the jungle, reef breaks in the middle of nowhere, point breaks, and can be both really fun on small days or when there is actual size. For the fearless, Bocas is home to the mighty Silverback, somewhere I know I will never surf in this lifetime ha. There are so many waves to go around, you could easily have a spot all to yourself for the day if you know where to look. Greg can surf anything - but I like to longboard - and it was awesome that we could both find spots to surf using different boards. We had a blast surfing a place we called Double Ups that only broke a foot or two when it was 10 ft everywhere else right in front of our host’s house.
That brings us to the people of Bocas, and they are such a friendly, diverse group of people. It truly is an example of a melting pot culture with the population being a mix of Spanish, African, and Caribbean flavour. Island time is very real here. Everyone seems to be going on their own way at their own time and it’s a steady pleasant change from all the hustle and bustle so easy to find in the world now days. It probably helps too that they live in paradise and are surrounded by nature and beauty everyday.
On the topic of beauty, I can’t think of many other places I’ve been that are quite as picturesque to put it lightly. There is a unique, matchless beauty about Bocas Del Toro. It is a natural masterpiece with starfish spotted beaches, coconut tree forested islands, wild dolphins swimming through mangroves where sleepy sloths sleep, the most aqua crystal clear water, islands that rise out of the sea in the middle of the ocean home to incredible birds, and dense untouched lush, green jungle. If you’re quiet you can hear monkeys howling far away in the night. If you want to go out one night for dinner or to have a drink, you can too. Bocas Town knows how to party. Whatever it is you’re looking for, you’ll find it in Bocas.
The thing that leaves the biggest impression on me when visiting a new destination is how versatile it is. Although it is very much an island lifestyle, where you don’t think about the time too much and days feel long but go by quick, we still found so much to explore and discover. Greg and I are lovers of the simple life and had an epic time experiencing what Bocas Del Toro has to offer. There is so much to do and see if you love nature and the outdoors. Some of the most dreamy places I’ve ever seen were discovered here and I find myself daydreaming back there more often than I realize. But thats what Bocas will do to you, once you've had a taste of its pirate life in the caribbean you only dream about getting back.