Bocas del Toro: Get Wet, Go Wild
YOUR 4-DAY ADVENTURE IN PANAMA
In 1502, Christopher Columbus “discovered” what was already well-known to the natives of Bocas del Toro, Panama — that this Caribbean archipelago is a spectacular tropical paradise in an aquamarine bay full of shallow reefs and jungle islands, teeming with monkeys, sloths and sea life. Bocas is Panama’s premier Caribbean destination, a natural setting second to none populated by a uniquely diverse mix of Afro-Caribbean, Latino and international residents. Explore Bocas del Toro with us, and know that booking this package will not cost you one Balboa more than buying it piece by piece.
Day 1: Welcome to Panama! Take a one-hour flight on Nature Air from San José, Costa Rica (or make your own arrangements from elsewhere) to Bocas del Toro, Panama’s Caribbean island playground. Catch a $5 taxi to the luxurious Palma Royale Hotel (where Jimmy Buffett recently stayed), check into your sumptuous suite and venture out on foot for dinner and drinks. You’ll spend four nights at Palma Royale (“The only thing we overlook is the sea”), a luxury hotel at a reasonable price, with flat-screen cable TVs, marble bathrooms, mini-fridges, free gourmet coffee and spacious living areas.
Price: Nature Air flight, $318 per person round-trip, subject to availability; Palma Royale Hotel, $209 per person with 2 people for 4 nights (standard room, non-holiday rate; holiday rates up to $297).
Day 2: Fly underwater! Experience Bocas del Toro’s most thrilling snorkeling with Undersea Panama’s revolutionary innovation, the Deep Board, in which you hold onto a transparent board and are towed in the water by a boat, “flying” through the water like a dolphin. You’re also likely to see real dolphins and sloths, and enjoy traditional snorkeling at Zapatilla Cay. Boat ride, lunch, equipment and entrance fee to Isla Bastimentos National Marine Park included. Price: $45 per person.
Day 3: Go four-wheeling! Explore Isla Colón on an all-terrain vehicle (quad) with Flying Pirates, roving 1,500 acres of private land and 15 km/9 mi. of trails leading to private beaches, bat caves, a blue lagoon for snorkeling and jungle trails teeming with monkeys, sloths and birds. Quads have a lockbox for securing your valuables and seat two people (at a cost of $10 extra for a second person). Valid driver’s license, passport and $100 security deposit required. Price: Full day, $64 per person with 2 people.
Day 4: Get your dive on! Experience the ultimate Caribbean adventure — underwater — on a two-tank “Discover Dive” with La Buga Dive and Surf Shop. With no prior experience, you’ll get expert instruction for first-time divers and a divemaster who will ensure that you have a safe and thrilling underwater experience at two dive sites, seeing beautiful tropical fish, strange coral formations and maybe even a shark. Don’t worry, the sharks are friendly. Price: $99 per person.
La Buga Dive and Surf will show you the real Bocas del Toro — underwater.
Total: $735 per person
With 2 people; standard room, non-holiday rate; holiday rates up to $823
Call: Tico Tour and Travel, 2735-5719
Customize your package by removing any option above and choosing from any other:
Zip-lining at Red Frog Beach: Catch your own water taxi ($5-$7) to the Red Frog Beach Island Resort on Bastimentos Island and take the 2-hour zip-line tour, with 7 zip-lines up to 1,000 feet long, 13 platforms, Tarzan swing, treetop challenge course, sky bridge and vertical rappel, at speeds up to 42 mph. Be there 30 minutes early for zip-line tours starting at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Price: $70.
Massage at Red Frog Beach: Take a water taxi to Red Frog Beach and luxuriate in a one-hour full-body massage treatment at El Susurro Spa. Price: $70.
Zapatilla snorkeling: Take a very affordable snorkeling tour (without Deep Board or lunch) to Dolphin Bay, Coral Key, Sloth Island and Zapatilla Key, with boat, snorkeling gear and a cooler full of ice provided (bring your own drinks and lunch, or buy them en route) with Coopeguitour, from 9:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. Price: $25, plus $5 for national park entry.
Bioluminescence tour: During the week of the new moon, when it’s dark, take a 2-hour nighttime boat ride (7:30 to 9:30 p.m.) and see the eerie blue-green glow of plankton and algae in the sea. Price: $25.
Shuttle to Boquete: Departing daily from Bocas del Toro at 11 a.m, a boat takes you to Almirante and a shuttle takes you to Boquete, northern Panama’s top inland destination, in about 4 hours. A return shuttle at 8 a.m. can bring you from Boquete back to Bocas del Toro. Price: $30 each way.