Bocas del Toro are the islands in the Caribbean of Panama.
Surfing in Bocas was one of the most epic trips I’ve ever had.
The islands are really small. There’s one main island with roads and cars, otherwise the only form of transport is boat. We stayed on a small island called Caranero Cay. There wasn’t much to do except surf, lie in hammocks, and relax.
We surfed two main surf breaks – Caranero & Paunch. The waves were really good. The waves broke over reef, weren’t too crowded, and the locals were very friendly. This may be a biased opinion due to blonde hair and small bikinis but the locals would call us over to the peak and cheer Jill and I into the set waves. I hear a lot of varying opinions regarding local hostility but just remember that a smile and cheerful disposition will go a long way.
I surfed these two breaks and only lefts on this trip. There are a lot of other good waves in Bocas that are worth exploring. Aside from surfing, my family had a great time snorkeling and cruising on boat to the various islands. We scored with waves though. Bocas can be very inconsistent. There are times you may go to surf Bocas and not find any waves. This could be frustrating so try to travel December-March for the best chance of waves!
We stayed at Hotel Tierra Verde. The hotel was amazing, tucked away in the jungle with ocean views. The owners were so nice and helpful. They gave us surf advice and called boats for our transportation. I highly recommend Tierra Verde for accommodation.
To get to Bocas, you need to take a smaller flight from Panama City. While in Panama City, my mom forced us to visit the Panama Canal. It’s kind of cool but I’m not a big sightseer. There’s also an unreal mall in Panama City, such good shopping- check it out!
My mom was bored. My sister got violently ill. My dad got sunburnt. I had the time of my life in paradise. We got very, very lucky with waves. Bocas may not be for everybody but I highly recommend visiting these gorgeous islands. Be smart about the time of year you are traveling and check the swell forecasts. Jill would recommend not accidentally drinking the local tap water.
I liked Bocas 100x more than Oahu. Bocas’s a paradise relatively close to home, which remind me of an island in the South Pacific. Bocas is truly gorgeous and breath taking.
I’d love to hear about other Bocas stories/recommendations/advice! Feel free to leave comments!