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Its ecological diversity, crystalline water beaches, natural reserves and Caribbean culture, makes Bocas del Toro an unusual paradise destination in the region. Is made up of islands, bays, rivers and mountain forest, located on the Caribbean side of Panama. Among its inhabitants are Afro-Americans who are also known as Afro-Caribbean, and members of indigenous communities such as the Ngobe Buglé, Bribri and Naso Tjer Di.
The fastest way to get there is on a direct flight to Bocas del Toro on Isla Colon, departing from the Albrook terminal in Panama City or from the Tocumen International Airport. You can also travel by bus from Capital City or Chiriquí.
Bocas del Toro groups nine main islands, 200 islets and 50 keys. Some of its
beaches are enclosed in forests or mangroves, which give life to countless species that reproduce, nest, and dwell there. This province has the country’s first marine reserve park: Isla Bastimentos National Park (1988), a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Bastimento Island is the second largest in the Archipelago. There is Cayos Zapatillas, with extensive coral reefs and underground caves. Also there is Long Beach island, where more than four species of sea turtles arrive between April and September. This is why Bocas del Toro is known as the “Galapagos of the Caribbean.”
They offer tourist services like islands tours on taxi boats, dolphins watch rides, and transportation on a ferry. Among the activities to enjoy there is surfing, snorkeling and diving. These last two are recommended in Coral Key and Punta Hospital, where some of the best preserved reefs in the world are located.
—Islands and Popular Beaches—
-Red Frog Beach: In its surroundings you can see and hear the famous red toads that live exclusively on this island.
-Punta Vieja: Located next to the Bastimentos Marine National Park, where you can visit Quebrada del Sal indigenous community.
-Dolphin Bay: Where “bottle nose dolphins” watch is imminent, who will be receive by them with jumps and high-pitched sounds.
-Escudo de Veraguas: Is the farthest away of islands. A virgin paradise and among the new favorite destinations, both for local and foreign tourists.
-Bird Island: It is also called Swan Key, is one of the best known tourist places departing from of Isla Colon.
Its origins date back to the 16th century, when they brought English and a French speaking black slaves. The creation of banana companies in this area of the country was the main reason why Afro-Americans arrived from Jamaica, San Andres Island and Martinique.
They currently live mainly in the cities of Almirante and Changuinola. But it is in the town of Bastimentos, where its wooden houses with docks give a greater proof of its presence, which is why Bocas is known as the only “wooden city” in the country.
Their musical legacy is the calypso, which has served as a rhythmic base for the drum, congo, the bunde, bullerengue and the Panamanian cumbia. Rhythms such as soca, Haitian kompa, and reggae were introduced, then later was turned into Spanish reggae.
Afro-Antillean seasoning is part of the main dish in this province, where the traditional “rice & beans” with coconut, octopus in coconut milk, pickled fish, rondón (fish soup) among others are served.
You can try exquisite dishes such as cod, with akke or in “torrejitas”, the fufu broth accompanied by coconut rice, patty patties (made of meat) and the plantin tat (made from ripe banana). With desserts like Bon bread, the cassava candy and pineapple or raisins pie.
The Afro-American flavors brought their seasoning with great influence from India, that is why they use curry, ginger, thyme, coconut and hot pepper, in almost all seafood dishes.
—Things to do—
- Get to know Old Bank town on Isla Bastimentos. Where dialects such as guari – guari (mixture of English – French – Spanish) are spoken.
- Marvel at the calm waters of Playa Estrella, full of orange starfish. Hours: 6:00 am – 6:00 pm.
- Slide through the heights with the Bastimento Sky Zipline Canopy Tour. Price $ 55.00 (special package for groups). Hours: 10:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Book at the Red Frog Beach office at phone (507) 833-7754.
- Visit Isla Pájaros, a 45 minutes ride by boat from Isla Colon. In this bird sanctuary you can see pelicans, swallows, silly birds, and the colorful tropical bird Rabijunco Piquirojo. Hours: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm.
- Try the chocolate made in Bocas del Toro at the Oreba Chocolate Tour. Where visitors can participate in the process of collecting, cleaning and roasting the cacao seeds to make chocolate. Prices from $40.00. Hours at 9:00 am – 12 pm. More information: email@example.com
- Attend the marine cultural celebrations such as the Fiesta in honor of Virgen del Carmen, protector of fishermen and Feria del Mar (sea fair).
- Sign up for surfing classes at the School of the Sea Surf School on Carenero Island. They offer guided tours, boat trips, skateboards, kayak and windsurf rentals. More information: www.surfschoolpanama.com
- Dance at the Sunken Ship disco bar on 1st Street, Bocas del Toro. Hours: Wednesday to Sunday from 6:00 pm to 4:00 am.
- 参观并了解巴斯提门多岛（Isla Bastimentos）上的Old Bank镇。在Old Bank镇，居民讲的是一种叫guari-guari的方言（它是英语-法语-西班牙语的混合语言）。
- 爱上海星沙滩（Playa Estrella）的平静水域，那里到处都是橙色的海星供人观赏。招待时间是：从上午6:00点到下午6:00点。
- 乘坐巴斯提门多空中滑索公司（Bastimento Sky Zipline Canopy Tour.）的高空滑索行。价格是每人$55.00美元（这是团体特别套餐价格）。招待时间是上午10:00点，下午1:00点和下午3: 30点。需要到红蛙海滩办公室（Red Frog Beach）提前预约，也可以拨打电话 (507) 833-7754。
- 从科隆岛（Isla Colón）乘船出发，45分钟即可到达观鸟岛（Isla Pájaros）。观鸟岛（Isla Pájaros）是一个个鸟类保护区中，在这里你可以看到鹈鹕、燕子、鲣鸟和和一种叫Rabijunco Piquirrojo带有五颜六色羽毛的热带鸟类。观光时间是上午8:00到下午5:00点。
- 在欧热巴巧克力之旅（Oreba Chocolate Tour）您还可以品尝博卡斯（bocatoreño）巧克力。该趟旅程，您可以参与收集，清洁和烤制巧克力的过程，让您乐在其中。价格从$ 40. 00起。营业时间为上午9: 00点到中午12点。想了解更多信息请登录：firstname.lastname@example.org
- 到卡热内罗岛（Carenero Island）的海洋冲浪学校报名“冲浪”课程，学校提供导游和乘船游览服务，还有滑板，皮划艇和滑浪風帆出租服务。想了解更多信息请登录：www.surfschoolpanama.com
- 去博卡斯（Bocas del Toro）位于第一号街的Barco Hundido迪斯科酒吧跳舞。时间为周三到周日，下午6:00点至凌晨4:00点。