There is something amiss is Bocas del Toro. I call them my “Bocas Brigade”. Being run by in my opinion opportunistic fraudsters that move the goalposts, rife with crime, a dirty shithole, and an airport that is embarrassing. But wrapped around all this shit is some of the most beautiful land on the planet. Loaded with nature and culture. It is currently being prostituted. There are some nice places “Red Frog” despite it’s duplicities does have villas. “Bocas Bali” is a new addition but wonderful. But the potential for REAL people to go and make this the true gem of Panama should be are not allowed due to the systems in place
RICARDO will fix this. It took years and billions to fix Tocumen. BDT is a drop in the well to make millions. An area this beautiful can’t rely on backpackers and weed smokers. It is CUBA without the embargo. Just missed opportunity. There are groups that own wonderful property that are working hard to make this more than an unruly “one horse town”
Copa Airlines’ popular Panama Stopover program is back, allowing travelers to add a one- to seven-day stopover en route to 36 destinations in South America at no extra cost. There are fewer Americans here than in neighboring Costa Rica, and with hundreds of islands on both the Caribbean and Pacific sides, you won’t be fighting for beach real estate. Make like the mammals and freshwater fauna of the Pliocene era, who migrated between North and South America when the isthmus of Panama formed, and linger awhile to explore Panama’s biodiverse jungles and beaches.
Bocas del Toro is a must-visit, with sprawling beaches that never feel too crowded and turquoise waters home to 95 percent of the coral species found in the Caribbean Sea. Memorable wildlife encounters include nighttime snorkeling in bioluminescent waters and exploring the subterranean lakes of Nivida Bat Cave with the help of headlamps and a knowledgeable guide from Hello Travel Panama.
The mountainous region of Chiriquí is equally enchanting, between its beaches and highlands, where active Volcán Barú looms large. Check in at the new 10-room boutique hotel Finca El Oasis and leave at midnight to hike the summit by daybreak for a panoramic sunrise above the clouds. Fuel your hike with locally grown coffee that you can’t find back home, like Chiriquí’s highly valued Geisha coffee. If a hike sounds too intense, there are off-road tours to the top of the volcano too, and canopy zip-lining right on the property. —Amber Gibson