Red Frog Beach
You can probably tell by now that one of my favourite things to do is hang out on beautiful beaches. Red Frog is a great beach to do just that. It is on Bastimentos Island which is just a $5 water taxi from Bocas Town and then there is a $3 entry fee since it is a National Park. There is a beach restaurant located here that serves lunch and cocktails all day which can be a nice break from the scorching sun. A great lunch option is the 'fish of the day' that comes with coconut rice and salad ($12). There is also another bar located on the beach by the 'Tent Lodge' that has drinks and a small bbq for quick lunches. Keep an eye out for the tiny Red Frogs that live in the jungle on this island.
Oreba Chocolate Farm Tour
One of the days we didn't spend at the beach, was spent at the Oreba Chocolate Farm. You sign up for the tour in Bocas Town ($25 & includes lunch + chocolate). You have to take a 25 min water taxi to the main land to the town of Almirante and then they pick you up from there. The entire thing runs about 5 hours. (8am-1pm or 12pm to 5pm). The best part is that the tour is run by an indigenous tribe who keep the profits to help in their community. You will see how cacao plants are grown, processed and turned into the chocolate we enjoy everyday. (they supply to several large companies including Lindt). More details here: Chocolate Farm Blog Post.
Walk around Carnero Island
Carnero Island is located right next to Bocas Town. You could literally swim there if you really wanted to... but the water taxi is $1 per person so I don't suggest it. The island is really really small, you can walk around it in about 1-2 hours. We only did this once and we were attacked by little sand flies called 'Chitras'. It is a really beautiful island but make sure you bring LOTS of bug repellant with you (coconut oil works the best since they drown in it). For cheap eats, try the hostel Grand Kahuna or for a awesome seafood meal, check out Bibi's on the Beach. There is great beginner surfing here if you feel like taking a lesson.
Jungle Hike to Wizard Beach
The hike to Wizard Beach will definitely ruin your new running shoes. The 30 min hike is wet, muddy and sometimes challenging. Your best bet is to take a water taxi to Bastimentos Island (Old Bank dock - $3) then walk up the hill to a little cafe appropriately named "Up on the Hill". This is an adorable cafe that is also a small chocolate farm with a cafe that offers breakfast goodies and amazing coffee and hot chocolate. After your delicious breaky, you can follow the path over the hill to Wizard Beach. They have had some muggings along this path (teenagers looking for phones, cameras and cash) so it's best to leave the SLR and iphones at home. We walked this path several times and NEVER had any trouble. When you get to Wizard Beach it is beautiful and secluded! It is such a messy hike that not many people do it. Nathan had some amazing surf days here as well. There are no stores or bars so bring your own lunch. On the way home, you can take the path that goes directly back to Old Bank but make sure to stop in at the little hut along the path. A Rasta man serves up Jack Fruit Smoothies for $4 and they are AMAZING. Keep walking into Old Bank and take the water taxi back to Bocas from here. More details coming in a blog post soon!
A few things that I really enjoyed were playing in the ocean on boards, kayaks and snorkelling of course. You can rent kayaks and stand-up paddleboards at a few different places around Bocas Town and the other islands. A few hotels and hostels rent them for free so ask around. We had a free kayak rental at Tio Tom's hostel and we took it out to Hospital Point for the afternoon. There was great snorkelling there and only a few other people. We also found good snorkelling at Starfish Beach and the boat trip to Zapatilla Island.
Happy Hour Tour in Bocas Town
The best part of Bocas Del Toro (ok, I know I've said that a lot) is the drink prices.... beers are $1.50 and cocktails $2-4. But, it get's even better at happy hour. Since we were in town for 6 weeks, we hit a lot of different spots and found some favs. The first was the hostel pictured above called Casa Verde. They have hammocks lining the dock, live music and an amazing sunset view. The next was Hotel Bocas Del Toro which was a bit higher end but the drink prices were a steal from 4-6pm. Beers $1 and cocktails $2.50. This includes the most amazing passionfruit daiquiri you could ever imagine. I also liked the rooftop view from Dave's Wave (run by Canadian Dave) and the atmosphere on the boat-turned-into-bar called Riptide. I will do a full blog post on happy hour in Bocas really soon!
Things that we didn't do but you can do! :)
- Tour of the Bat Caves (I was a little too scared to go into a dark cave)
- Scuba Diving
- Sailing (you can sail to the San Blas islands from here too)
- Horseback riding
- Costa Rica is close by so that is an option for a weekend trip too
Full iPhone Flickr album is here: