Bocas del Toro Favorites

Bocas del Toro Sign

We spent longer than expected in Panama’s Bocas del Toro archipelago, mostly because of the community and activities. Also because we waited to get new lithium batteries. In all we stayed in Bocas for three months because there’s a lot to enjoy, so here are our Bocas del Toro favorites.


With a lot of different islands in the Bocas, there are also a lot of beaches. Not 365 beaches like in Antigua, but a good assortment with options for all different beach goals. There are more remote beaches with fewer people, like Wizard Beach on Bastimentos, busy party beaches like at Red Frog, lots of surfer beaches across the islands, and Starfish has a whole row of beach bars. Bocas del Toro will satisfy anyone’s beach day requirements.

Bocas Drago Beach Panama
Bocas Drago Beach, Isla Colon, Bocas del Toro

Our most visited beach was Red Frog, convenient from the marina and site of a cruiser groups’ regular bocce game. It’s a busy popular beach with some strong waves and riptides.

I also really liked Wizard Beach, but it’s more of an adventure to get there! We take the dinghy the couple of miles to the main dock of Bastimento, and then hike up and down the hill across the island to reach Wizard Beach. Once we tried the hike in December but it was still rainy season and a muddy mess so I called it off. Since the rain has abated, the hike is a lot easier. And the beach, because it’s hard to get to, is quiet and relaxing. We packed a lunch and some cold ones, and had a nice visit at Wizard Beach.

Wizard Beach Bastimentos Bocas del Toro
Wizard Beach on Bastimentos is remote and beautiful
Wizard Beach on Isla Bastimentos


This was the first place we’d ever tried ebiking and now we’ve done it three different times on Isla Colon in Bocas del Toro. When we lived in Toronto, we thought ebiking was cheating, but it’s great in Panama where the roads are not well paved and the terrain is hilly. You can cover a lot more ground on these fat tire machines, perfect for the gravel and sand on Isla Colon.

ebikes top things to do in Bocas del Toro Panama
ebikes ready for a tour in Bocas Town

On our ebike excursions, we visited beaches and a bat cave, saw howler monkeys in trees overhanging the road, checked out a bodysurfing competition, and stopped at a couple of fun bars and eateries on the island. We wouldn’t have done most of that on foot!

You can rent ebikes at a few different places on the island; for us, the easiest is Bocas ebikes in the middle of town by the square.

ebiking is a Bocas del Toro favorite
Riding ebikes on Isla Colon

Up In the Hill Farm

One of our favorite excursions in Panama was our visit to this jungle farm/restaurant. We booked the night before on whatsapp and then dinghied and hiked to the farm on Isla Bastimentos, and spent a few hours learning all about what grows in the jungle!

Walking to Up in the Hill Farm
Walking to Up in the Hill Farm on Isla Bastimentos

The day we did the tour it rained the entire time, but it was hot out so we didn’t mind. We sampled a lot of herbs, spices, veggies, and fruit all grown on the farm and followed it with one of the best meals we’ve eaten here, all sourced at Up in the Hill Farm! A truly great experience.

Lunch at Up in The Hill Farm
Lunch at Up in The Hill Farm

The Floating Bar

We are suckers for floating bars and the one near Isla Colon, in the south bay by Bocas Marina, is a good one. It has a covered upper deck with enough room for a live band, which we saw on a Monday night. They serve food and beverages, but we didn’t know they had food so just went for drinks.

The Floating Bar is located just outside of the south anchorage in Isla Colon, and people were swimming and snorkeling to and from the bar, surprisingly safely considering the dinghies and water taxis in the area.

The Floating Bar off Isla Colon
The Floating Bar off Isla Colon

Hiking Around Red Frog

Hiking around Red Frog is one of our Bocas del Toro favorites. The reasons we love it is because the scenery is pretty, the beaches are lovely, and there’s excellent wildlife spotting. On our walks at Red Frog, we’ve seen red frogs, birds, monkeys, and more sloths than we’ve seen anywhere else.

Hike View Bocas del Toro
View on the hike at Red Frog Resort, Isla Bastimentos

From my experience, this little parcel of land at Red Frog is the best place to see sloths of anywhere I’ve been in Central America. I was always on the lookout for them in Nicaragua, and saw them from afar a few times, but these 3 fingered sloths come close to us in Bocas del Toro! It’s truly spoiling us.

sloths in Red Frog resort, Bocas del Toro
We’ve seen this sloth with her baby too many times to count now!

As you can see, there’s plenty to do in Bocas del Toro. Hope you get a chance to visit and see my Bocas del Toro favorites in real life! We didn’t expect to spend over 2 months in this region, but it was well spent.

red frog in Bocas del Toro
A red frog by the pool at Red Frog Marina and Resort

Bocas del Toro Favorites: Restaurants

Restaurants in Bocas del Toro are mostly above average, although we did have a pretty disappointing Christmas lunch. It doesn’t surpass Cartagena for price or quality, but for a beach community Bocas has some good restaurants which rank in our Bocas del Toro favorites.

Receta michela

We found Receta Michela, a beachfront restaurant, by chance while walking around Carenero island, stopped for lunch, and had one of the best meals! Later we learned they source a lot of their fresh produce from Up in the Hill Farm.

Receta Michela a great restaurant and one of our Bocas del Toro favorites
At Receta Michela


Octo was our choice for our anniversary dinner, which happened to fall on American Thanksgiving this year. Yes, we’ve been here this long, which explains our need for a visa run. The menu is small, locally sourced, and we had a fabulous meal. I still remember the banana dessert all these months later.

Bocas del Toro Favorites Final Thoughts

We aren’t sorry we extended our stay in Bocas del Toro. It’s the end of our Caribbean tour, and it was nice to spend it with so many fun cruisers and such beautiful scenery.

If you’re like us and like to see and do as much as you can in a new place, save my Bocas del Toro favorites for when you visit. It isn’t full of museums, but the outdoor activities almost make up for the lack of culture.

Have you been to Bocas? If so, let us know your favorites in the comments.

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Author: Mel

Living aboard a sailboat, blogging about the places we visit and the adventures we have. Love hiking, cycling, scuba, animals and adventure.

13 thoughts on “Bocas del Toro Favorites”

  1. Wow, 3 months in Bocas sounds like a great way to really explore an area. I love that you enjoyed your ebike adventures, we bought bikes a year ago and use them so much. They’ve been great for seeing so much more of our neighbourhood, as well as the adventures we go on.

  2. We really do need to plan to spend more time in the Panama area. Good to know that we could find such a great variety of beaches in Bocas del Toro. And since we have an ebike at home in Toronto, we would feel right at home taking one for a spin on vacation. I love the views you got hiking – especially that sloth in the tree!

  3. Looks like you had a great time! I wish I saw this post before I went, will definitely save for my next trip! We loved Starfish Beach and Red Frog!

  4. What a gorgeous place! I’m so excited to have found your blog – I look forward to reading more about your adventures and boat-life!

  5. I would love to be at this beach right now! It looks gorgeous. I havent noticed the different types of bikes in a bike tour but the ebikes definitely make more sense. I’ve done one biking tour but it was tiring! Love that you could have seen animals like monkeys and sloths.

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