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The Five Best Beaches in Bocas Del Toro

March 27, 2009 at 9:16 AM | by | ()

Our own Brendan Spiegel is down in Panama this week and will be reporting back on all that he's seen and done. Whether or not he's wearing a Panama Hat, we can't say. But if you have any questions or suggestions for him, let us know.

As we mentioned earlier in the week, Bocas Del Toro is home to the best island living Panama has on offer—this tiny strip of islands has a laid-back, good times beach vibe that is so relaxed you'll inevitably feel the pull to stay indefinitely (and many people do).

But the only problem with Bocas Town (where most of the hotels and restaurants are), is that it's gotten so built up there's barely any beachfront to speak of. You can have your morning espresso and then leap right off the coffee shop's deck into the Caribbean, but serious beach time—sand, waves, long walks and all that—requires a bit more of a trek. So we've spent this week hard at work scouring Bocas in search of its best true beaches (try not to feel too bad for us). After the jump, our take on Bocas' most idyllic beach spots.

1. Red Frog Beach

Named for the strawberry poison-dart frogs that can be spied along the surf here (yes, they look just like strawberries; no, they're not poisonous, at least not to humans), Red Frog Beach is set on the North end of Isla Bastimentos. There's a pretty perfect surf break nearby and a long, mostly desolate stretch of sandy beach. The water taxis can only dock here when the water is very calm, so most days you'll have to take a boat to the other side of the island and hike a few miles across, but you'll understand the point once you glimpse the impossibly perfect postcard views.

2. Boca Del Drago

All the way on the other side of the main island from Bocas Town, Drago is about a 20-mile drive from town, although on the $2 bus that means about an hour and 15 minutes. The beach itself is rather narrow, but the water's the draw here—one of the area's only stretches of perfectly calm, clear ocean—and a prime spot for starfish sightings.

3. Playa Bluff

Another tough one to get to, this beach is a half-hour drive from Bocas Town, and that's on some rough dirt roads that should not be attempted by anyone who suffers from any degree of motion sickness. Taxi drivers will be hesitant to make the trip here, but if you can convince one to do it for relatively cheap, it's worth it for a practically private patch of paradise.

4. Cayos Zapatillas

Set smack in the middle of a protected marine park, this is one of the island's longest stretches of beachfront, and probably the most crowded, but it's easy to see why—the perfect white sand beach is home to the best snorkeling around, and it's also a possible spot to catch sea turtles when they come up to nest in the spring.

5. Bahia Sand Fly

As you can tell from the name, this is not the spot to plop down your towel and catch some rays. But at just a mile from town, this beach does the best job of keeping Bocas Town's low-key, island vacation vibe going. Grab a shaded spot at Isla Del Mar restaurant and sample the Comida del Dia—which roughly translates into whatever they feel like serving. It's always good, and it's always three dollars.

Related Stories:
· Panama travel coverage [Jaunted]
· This is Panama's Version of Pura Vida [Jaunted]
· Where to Find WiFi in Panama [Jaunted]

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