Bocas del Toro is an incredible place to visit. I literally had the time of my life there and I really recommend it! It is right on the Carribean of Panama and is made up of nine main islands. You need to take a water taxi just to get here and it really is amazing!
Bocas del Toro pulls in a younger crowd. There still is older adults there but for the most part, especially with all the bars at night, it really is full with younger people (mostly twenties with some thirties and up).
This place has a lot to offer with nine islands, endless beaches, a wide variety of tours, and if partying is your thing, literally non-stop parties. I have never danced and drank so hard. Lots and lots of day-drinking with an endless amount of people to meet and party with.
The main island, Colon has the biggest party spots. That is where most people congregate at night. You also have many hostels there and this is where the locals have their festivals. In relatively speaking with hostels, they are quite expensive. The cheapest ones I found were fifteen a night and that was still in off season, just approaching the busy season. Calypso was the hostel I found for fifteen a night. It was right on the main drag, right down the road from all the bars so the location was nice. I wasn’t too fond of the hostel though. Pretty basic but the location was good.
Selinas hostel is a little more expensive but they have a nice atmosphere in my opinion, still walking distance to all the bars, plus Selinas is a bar itself. It is right on the Caribbean so you can go to the bar at the hostel and just a few feet away hop right into the Ocean.
There is a cheap hostel in the island of Bastimentos and that’s a really cool spot. The hostel is right at Red Frog Beach which is a must do if you are staying over night or not. It’s a really good beach with day drinking, a bar and a restaurant. The water is so warm it feels like bath water and the the water is super clear. To get to Red Frog from Colon, the main island, you have to take a water taxi. The taxi is eight dollars each way and it is five dollars to enter Red Frog Beach so it is quite expensive but it is fun to spend the day there. You might be able to swindle for a five dollar boat ride each way. You can say, “oh, I only have five dollars on me.” Or something like that.
If you are looking for something low key, I would recommend blue coconut. You also have to take a water taxi to get here and it costs ten dollars round-trip. The bar is right on the Caribbean pretty much just all by itself. It’s pretty sweet. The bartenders are awesome and they make really good drinks! At least when I was there. Soooo good!!!! They also give you snorkel gear for free. You can have some cheap beer or some fancy drinks, go tanning, swim around, bull-shit with people and just have a relaxing day there. When I was there I saw more of an older crowd there, (thirties to sixties.)
If your looking for a good all day tour and want to do some day-drinking, you can go to Isla Zapatilla. A lot of people go there for day-drinking. Bring your cooler with lots of beer or rum or something. There is a bar there, kinda, but I think it is only for locals. I made friends with the captain and the captain took me across the island through the jungle to the “bar.” I don’t know if tourists can go there or not. I didn’t see any.
Bocas del Toro can get quite expensive because pretty much anywhere you want to go, you have to take a water taxi. There is also only one ATM machine in all of Bocas and when I was there, it actually ran out of cash so a lot of people were kinda screwed there. I brought with me a good amount of cash there. I know it’s not good to carry around a lot of cash with you but with only having one ATM, it’s kinda sketchy.
The bars on the main island are hoping, like all night long. The bars close I think at 3 am but if there is a good amount of people there, they will stay open till five am. I am guilty for closing the bars some nights at five am. People are really into dancing so bring your dancing shoes!!!
If you go to La Iguana’s on the main island, they have one dollar tequila shots!!! This bar offers a mix of American and Latin music. Keep in mind, on the main island, there is a strip with a lot of bars so it’s all walking distance. Summer is right next to it and can also have some pretty good parties.
My favorite bar was La Iguana. I just always had really good vibes there. Great people, great dancing and great music in my opinion. Next to that was Barcos. Barocs is a straight up Latin Bar. Super good dancing. I had so much fun there every time I went. My third favorite bar was Aqua Lounge. This bar is a must do on Saturdays!!!! Just like most of the bars, Aqua Lounge is right on the Ocean, but what makes it special is there are swings, a trampoline and places to jump off of. There is a ledge probably a good twenty feet high. It is so much fun!!!! This bar plays mostly American music. You need a water taxi to get to Aqua Lounge but it only costs one dollar to get there each way. It is very close to the Main Island. All three of these bars I had so much fun and danced so hard I would be sore for days lol. Super recommended.
There are so many tours that are offered in Bocas. There are a lot of shops so I would just walk down the road and check out all the different things you can do. If you are alone, you need to jump on in with a group of people. The tours are cheaper with the more people you have. You can arrange deals with the locals. You can also check the hostels and hotels. They also have tours where the locals will pick you up right at your place and have a whole day of fun.
If you are into diving, you can dive here too. They also offer to get your open water and advanced diving certification. There isn’t the best diving in Bocas so getting your certification is relatively cheap.
I hope you get to experience Bocas. I literally had the time of my life there. I went there once, left to keep on traveling and ended up going back because I missed it so much. I really want to take my friend here. This would definitely be a place to bring your besties and have a great time! I went alone and had an amazing time so I can only imagine with a group of friends.
If you have ever heard the saying “what ever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” No. “Whatever happens in Bocas stays in Bocas.” I went to Vegas three times and each time I had a ball but Bocas in my opinion squashes Vegas!!!!
I met a local and he said there were three lies in Bocas. One- I Love You (all the locals and even the travelers are out to have a good time and you will have a hell of a night, but that is all it is, a hell of A night.). Two- I am not drinking tonight. I personally broke this one. I told myself I wasn’t drinking on Sunday night to recover because I was so worn out from drinking and literally drank. I surprised myself on that one because I was so set on not drinking. And three- I am leaving tomorrow. I broke two out of three promises on this trip.
Also there is star fish beach. It costs a lot to water taxi it over there. You can take a bus there and a water ferry for soooo much cheaper!!!!! Don’t let the prices fool you. Ask around!!!!
Oh and one more thing. When you travel here, you arrive at Almirante. That is the closest town to Bocas and the last ferry heading to Bocas is at six PM. So make sure you arrive at Almirante no later than 5:30 PM.
It’s a hell of a time. Have a blast!!!!!
Thank you for reading!!!!