Panama is a paradise for nature and beach lovers. Exactly what we love! Although the average travel route is a three or four day route for the island archipelago Bocas del Toro, we stayed there for two weeks. And in those two weeks we have checked many beaches. Below you’ll find our top five beaches that are easy to visit from Colon.

1. Playa de las Estrellas (Starfish Beach)
Estrella Beach is located on the main island of Isla Colon and owes its name to the various starfish which you can find over there. This beach is known as one of the most beautiful beaches in Panama and I totally agree with that. A must-see! The starfish are well visible in the extremely clear waters off the coast. Fortunately, there are clear signs which remind people to not pick up the starfish. Unlike Bluff Beach, the sea here is very quiet, so it is perfect for a chill swim. On the beach you will find several bars and restaurants where you can buy food/drinks. There are many day trips that go to Estrella but if you have enough time, i recommend that you just go there for an afternoon.

How to get to Playa de las Estrellas
The beach is not in Bocas Town but is easy to reach in three different ways: by bike (a snappy trip of approx. 1.5 hours), you can catch a taxi ($15 to $20 per one way) or the most common option is using a colectivo ($5 return). We chose the colectivo, which departs at scheduled times from the park in Bocas Town. At the moment the departure times are 7.00, 10.00, 12.00, 14.00 and 17.00 hours. Notice the bus departs when it is full so make sure you are there before. We arrived at 11.50 hours and saw them drive away, fortunately after some waving we could just join the crowded bus. The drive to Bocas del Drago takes half an hour. From there you have two options: you can take a water taxi (a few minutes) or you walk for about 10-15 minutes to the Playa de las Estrellas. We recommend the walk as this is a nice path along the beautiful coastline. At the time we walked back to the bus we found out that you can also take a water taxi back to Bocas Town ($5 p. p).

• Island: Colon
• No entrance fee
• Ideal for swimming/snorkeling
• Bocas Town colectivo/ taxi to Bocas del Drago approx 30 min
• From Bocas del Drago you walk or take a water taxi to Playa de las Estrellas
• Fixed return times colectivo, the last leaves at 19.00 pm

2. Red Frog Beach
Red Frog Beach owes its name, how can it be otherwise, to the Red frogs that you can find there. We didn’t see them, but the beach was very worthwhile. The beach is located on Isla Bastimentos and can be reached by a water taxi. From Colon as well as from the neighboring islands Bastimentos and Caranero you can catch the boat to this paradise beach for $5-$8 p.p. On arrival you pay $5 p.p. entrance to enter the nature reserve. We immediately saw two sloths in the tree at the entrance and then walked through the ‘ Cayman Pool ‘ towards the beach. This is a pleasant walk of about 10 minutes to Red Frog Beach. A lovely place for a few hours sunbathing, swimming, shooting etc. Red Frog Beach is one of the most famous beaches in the area and therefore it is a bit busier than for example Wizard Beach, but you still have enough space for yourself. There are some beach bars where you can eat a good taco and at 17.00 o’clock the ‘ happy Hour ‘ starts at Palmar Beach. You can also spend the night here. Every season it depends on how rough the sea is, but we had a good swim over here.

• Island: Bastimentos
• Water Taxi to Red Frog Beach $5-$8 p.p. One way
• $5 entrance fee
• Approx. 10 minutes walk to the beach (through a beautiful nature reserve)
• Sea is accessible but is becoming increasingly rough later in the day

3. Zapatilla Beach
Zapatilla Beach is the most secluded accessible beach in Bocas. It consists of two islands of which only Zapatilla II is accessible. You can go this island with a lot of day tours they offer on the bigger islands. A visit to Zapatilla Beach is usually combined with Sloth Island (sloths) and Coral Cay (snorkeling). We initially wanted to take a water taxi to Zapatilla Beach but this cost $60 p.p. after which we chose to do the tour ($30 p.p). It’s a pretty long boat trip to Isla Zapatilla, so it’s nice that the boat stops on the way several times. The sea can be a bit rough, so think well about where to sit in the boat (read: at the back of the boat). The island is really beautiful: a white bounty beach and an azure blue sea where you can swim. Don’t forget to bring your camera because you can shoot beautiful pictures here. There is also the possibility to take a walk through the nature reserve. Unfortunately this was not possible with us due to the bad condition of the footbridge, so we also didn’t have to pay the usual entrance fee ($10).

• Island: Zapatilla
• Accessible by day tours
• Private tour costs $60 p.p. for two persons
• Normal $10 p.p. entrance fee
• No bars/restaurants at the island, so take your own drink/food with you
• Good for swimming

4. Wizard Beach
Wizard Beach is located on Isla Bastimentos and is indispensable if you are staying there. But also when you stay on Isla Colon it is nice to visit this beach. From Bocas Town you are in 10 minutes by boat on Isla Bastimentos (fixed price $3 p.p.). To get to Wizard Beach you can take a nice walk of more than 30 minutes to the other side of the island. You have to climb and descend but with some condition this would not be a problem. The way to the beach is well signposted with signs from the ‘ main road ‘. You can also choose to walk through the eco-farm/coffee shop ‘ up in the hill ‘ but it will take a lot more time.
Wizard Beach is located in a spacious bay and because it is a bit more difficult to reach, it is very quiet. You really get the Robinson Crusoe feeling! Especially in the morning there is a lot of surfing in the rough sea. There are no bars/restaurants so make sure you have enough water/food. There is surveillance available and the beach closes between 16.00 and 17.00 hours. There is a warning in various places not to bring any valuables. We have not felt a moment unsafe between the handful of tourists.

• Island: Bastimentos
• Surf hotspot because of the high waves
• Not always accessible for swimming
• No beach bar/restaurant
• No entrance fee
• Accessible by walk from Old Bank (port Bastimentos) approx 30 minutes
• Not accessible by water taxi

5. Bluff Beach
Bluff Beach is a vast beach on the east side of the main island of Isla Colon. This golden beach is wildly popular among surfers… Wow what a huge waves there are! The sea is not very suitable for swimming but you can easily entertain yourself on the wonderful Bluff beach. Because the beach is no less than 7 km long, it offers a lot of cozy chill spots between the palm trees where you feel you like on a private beach. Hotel Island Plantation has a cozy beach bar where you can enjoy a fine lunch and a nice cold drink. You don’t have to pay a fee for Bluff Beach.

On the bike to Bluff Beach
From Bocas Town you can visit Bluff Beach by colectivo, taxi or as most Dutch people do by bike. From Bocas Town it is a short hour bike ride to Bluff Beach. It is a beautiful route along the coast. The road is mostly paved but also partly unpaved and contains some hills. You will cycle along Paunch Beach (with the fun beach-bars Skully’s and Pakipoint). We certainly recommend that you have a nice drink on the way back at Skully’s at the bar, in a hammock or on one of the sun-beds.

• Island: Colon
• No entrance fee
• Surf hotspot because of the high waves
• Not always accessible for swimming
• Small hour cycling from Bocas town
• With the colectivo reachable for $5 return
• Some bars available

These beaches are all wonderful to visit. All seen already? Then it is also nice to chill out for an afternoon at the Blue Coconut. Or take a water taxi to Isla Caranero for $3 p.p. for an one-way trip. There you will find a nice beach right next to the jetty where you have a nice view of Bastimentos and Solarte.

Enough to do so! What is your favorite beach on Bocas del Toro?

Hi I am Anne (29) and i am travel and lifestyleblogger for Travelgoodies. Together with Remco i travel the world. On the Way i shoot pictures of worldly interiors and i have a special thing with boutique hotels On travelgoodies I share my personal (travel) experiences and of course useful tips you can use on the road. Never stop exploring! Do you have questions, tips or comments? Please send me an email: or contact us using the contact form.

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