Bocas Del Toro, Panama

20 things to do in Bocas for less than $20

It can be easy to fall into the tour trap while traveling in another country. It can be difficult to see some of the things an area has to offer without going on a tour, but we’ve compiled a list of 20 things to do in Bocas without going on a tour, and without paying tour prices. Traveling to islands is always more expensive and Bocas is no exception. Not to worry because we’ve created a list of 20 things you can do in Bocas del Toro for less than $20.

1. Mimbitimbi – Blue Lagoon & La Piscina

Total Cost Notes
$3.50 – $15 Depending on the option you choose to get there, it can either cost $3.50 to take the colectivo to the end of Bluff each way or $10-$15 to rent a bicycle for the day.

ABOUT: At the very north end of Colón, past Bluff, is the area known as Mimbitimbi. There are no restaurants, homes or hotels up at this end of the island and because of this, it is a little bit more difficult to reach. However, the flora of the island changes up this way and becomes more tall grass/open pasture versus the lowland tropical forest that comprises the rest of the island. Mimbitimbi is famous for two spots – the Blue Lagoon and La Piscina.

La Piscina is a small bay where the ocean comes in and is sheltered from the relentless waves. This is a nice area for swimming since the water is calm. A little farther along is the Blue Lagoon. From the surface it doesn’t look that impressive, but from the water it is an incredibly beautiful experience. The water is clear all the way down to 15 feet and there are caves, slot canyons and other features of the reef that you can swim through and by. There are tons of small fishes and other sea life living in the sea grass along the side of the reef walls. Having a snorkeling mask here is a must!

I would highly recommend going to the Blue Lagoon, as it is one of the most beautiful areas on all of Colón. If you have time, there are more attractions farther past the Blue Lagoon. There are bat caves and more beautiful unnamed beaches, but to reach this far you will need to walk A LOT and start your day very early.

GETTING THERE:

Option 1 – Walk/Shared Van: You can either walk 3 hours from Nomad Tree Lodge, or all the way from town (which would take about 4 hours each way from town) or you can take a colectivo from town to the farthest end of Playa Bluff and walk the remainder (about 2 hours each way). This would be a full day adventure. There are a few restaurants along Bluff, but after that there are no facilities or places to get food or water, so make sure to bring everything you need.

Option 2 – Bicycle: You can bike there from town in about 2 hours. The road can be a bit bumpy, but is overall in good condition. After passing the gate, follow the trail called “Jungle Highway” along the coast. It is marked with signs occasionally and will always be the bigger and more maintained trail if the trail splits. You will eventually reach a sign that says La Piscina, and if you keep going straight on the Jungle Highway will reach a dead end, which is the Blue Lagoon.

OTHER INFO TO KNOW:

Technically all of this area is leased by Flying Pirates, but is free to enter if you are walking or bicycling. The area is blocked by a gate after the end of Playa Bluff so only people and bicycles can go by unless you have the code from Flying Pirates. Besides Blue Lagoon and La Piscina, the end of Playa Bluff is equally as beautiful to explore. There are also ruins of one of Pablo Escobar’s cocaine processing buildings along the trail to Mimbitimbi.

4. Aqua Lounge & Bocas Stand Up Paddle Club

Total Cost Notes
$17 $1 each way for the water taxi. $15 for a 2 hour stand up paddle board rental.
ABOUT:

Aqua Lounge is a restaurant and bar located on Carenero facing directly towards Bocas Town. This is a good place to chill during the day since they have a slackline over water, beach chairs to lay on, and a platform to jump into the ocean. It’s also a fun place to hang out to watch the sunset or to get drinks at the bar at night. Bocas Stand Up Paddle Club is located at Aqua Lounge, so you can rent a SUP from here and paddle around the calm water in the area.

GETTING THERE:

This is probably the easiest place to get to from Bocas Town. Grab a water taxi for $1 and tell them you want to go to Aqua Lounge – it will take all of 1 minute to get there. You can either have Aqua Lounge call you a taxi back or you can just wave one down from the dock.

OTHER INFO TO KNOW:

Filthy Friday uses Aqua Lounge as one of its stops. It’s often not possible to go here on Friday night, but if it is, I would suggest you still not go. Filthy Friday is a day long party of backpackers that moves from bar to bar around the islands. I would avoid any place associated with the event on Friday unless you want to go to Filthy Friday – then sign up the day before and follow the set schedule.

Written by Rebecca Hollman and Asher Kain
Photos by François Haché and Rebecca Hollman
www.everydaytravelguides.com

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★★★★★ — Amazing amazing amazing!!! Such a clean adorable cool place. We had a monkey hanging out right above our cute little A frame cabin right when we got there. We had the pool all to ourselves mid day it was so great. We had dinner there and got the Asian noodle dish and the brisket and both were AMAZING. We chatted with Amanda for a while while she made us some amazing mango margaritas – she’s super cool and friendly! Would recommend this place to anyone!

Kat — January 2020

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