Stay: This remote eco-adventure lodge has clean and comfortable cabins. Home-cooked meals are healthy and super delicious; you’ll be craving seconds of their fresh-baked chocolate coconut cake and other desserts! (Casa Cayuco includes meals in the rates.)
Play: Go stand-up paddleboarding, visit a local Panamanian village, snorkel with sea turtles, spot the monkeys that often visit the resort and see “star fire” bioluminescence at night.
Appeals to: Adventure-loving couples, families and small groups.
Location: Isla Bastimentos, a 45-minute, high-speed boat ride from Bocas town.
Stay: Bed down in one of nine cute, two-storey wood cabins built over the water. (Multi-generational families like the 1,000 sq. ft. “Master Suite” bungalow, with over 600 sq. ft. of additional deck space; it has a king bed up and four twin beds down.)
Play: Snorkel to your heart’s content right from your overwater bungalow. Paddle about the mangroves in a kayak. Get lost in a book while swinging in the hammock on your deck.
Appeals to: Water-loving couples and families.
Location: Isla Colon, a 20-minute boat ride from Bocas town.
Stay: Charming Bali-style digs, a garden pool, romantic restaurant and a beautiful beach all make this one of the most stylish places to stay on Bocas.
Play: Practise your sun salutations on Island Plantation’s hillside yoga platform, walk the beach, splash in the pool. And forget about the outside world (one of the best things to do in Bocas del Toro).
Appeals to: Couples who love beachy boutique inns.
Location: On Isla Colon, a 20- to 30-minute drive from Bocas town.
2 more best places to stay in Bocas del Toro
La Loma Jungle Lodge:
Tucked away in the tropical rainforest of Isla Bastimentos, La Loma Jungle Lodge is an award-winning eco-lodge with hand-crafted bungalows.
Wonderfully secluded, the only way to get there is by boat.
Tours of the onsite cacao farm, jungle hikes, and trips to nearby Red Frog Beach are all included in your stay.
Currently being renovated, the lodge is expected to reopen in late 2020, with several new indoor/outdoor bungalows and a new main lodge-and-restaurant.
A nice combination for a seven-night holiday would be to split your stay between two of the inns or hotels in Bocas del Toro covered here in this post.
Weather in Bocas del Toro, Panama
The islands are close to the equator, so the weather in Bocas del Toro is hot year-round.
Expect rain, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. It rains the most in May, July and August.
For good weather, the best time to visit Bocas del Toro are the months of January to March. September to November is also pleasant.
We visited in late January, and found it hot, humid and tropical. Great weather for an escape from the dreary North American winter!
Where is Bocas del Toro?
On the Caribbean side off Panama’s coast, the Bocas islands are tucked up close to the Costa Rica border.
How to get to Bocas del Toro
Part of the appeal of the islands is that they’re remote and not trampled with tourists. This, of course, means they’re a bit of a challenge to get to.
Flying to Bocas del Toro from Panama City:
The quickest, easiest and most comfortable way is to fly from Panama City to Bocas del Toro.
Flights are on Air Panama, a regional Panama airline. It’s a one-hour flight from Panama City to Isla Colon, the main island in the Bocas del Toro archipelago.
On Isla Colon, the Bocas del Toro airport consists mainly of an airstrip and shack (which serves as an “airport” arrivals and departure building); the airport is located just outside funky Bocas town.
This is how we traveled to Bocas del Toro.
Shuttle or bus to Bocas del Toro:
When planning how to get to Bocas del Toro, it’s also possible to take an air-conditioned shuttle or public bus from Costa Rica, or a night bus from Panama City – about 11 to 12 hours total travel time for both options.
Transfer from Bocas airport to your resort:
The better Bocas del Toro hotels will pick you up from the airport and transfer you to your hotel, either by boat (or land transfer, if you’re staying on Isla Colon).
Where to stay in Panama City?
You’ll likely stay in Panama City before or after visiting the Bocas islands.
We loved the 5 star Global Hotel Panama. It’s close to Casco Viejo, Panama City’s old quarter, and it’s very easy on the wallet too!
Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George are the owners and founders of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents.