Journeying to the idyllic and almost prehistoric island of Bastimentos in Panama’s Bocas del Toro archipelago is a reverse of that common search. This guide will enable you to plan your trip with ease. You will come from the United States when you visit this tropical pleasure ground.

What is the efficient way to get to Bastimentos, from the United States?S.?

Most travelers from the U.S. start their journey by flying into Panama City. After that you would need to take a flight to Isla Colon, which’s the central island, in the Bocas del Toro group of islands. When you reach Isla Colon, the part of the journey, to Bastimentos is a beautiful boat ride that takes about 45 minutes.

The Boat Ride to Bastimentos: What to Expect?

The ride is generally smooth and comfortable. Small open boats, known as “pangas,” hold 8 to 12 people and make the short trip between islands. The waters are generally calm as you traverse the outer islands that protect Bastimentos from the big Caribbean waves and wind, so there’s no need to steel yourself for the rough seas you might experience in other locations, like Belize. However, boats are not always equipped with proper lighting for nighttime travel, so exercise caution when traveling after dark.

Looking for the place to stay in Bocas del Toro for an amazing experience?

When combined with a bit of jungle ambiance, snorkeling is on the day’s agenda for many Bocas visitors. On the outskirts of Bocas Town, Hotel Vista Mar is another solid choice with well-kept rooms and excellent dining. For an even more remote experience — and to stay within sight of the beach — consider Casa Cayuco on Bastimentos, which is known for its serene atmosphere and proximity to stunning stretches of sand.

Is the Water Taxi Ride to Bastimentos Safe?

The trip to Bastimentos is far from treacherous. Water taxis are typically careful, often equipped with life preservers, and they generally ensure that passengers and luggage don’t get too soaked. It can get a little rough when the sea is less calm, but the seasoned drivers are usually careful enough that it’s both safe and fun.

What should I know about Bastimentos and the areas, around it?

Exploring the Island: Red Frog Side vs. Old Banks

The experience you have will depend on the area you stay in, as Bastimentos splits between the more resorty-themed Red Frog side, with prettier beaches and locations, and Old Banks, with more local restaurants and utilities. However, Old Banks serves as a gateway to the local life of the island itself.

Navigating the Challenges of Island Life

Although Bastimentos has lots of activities and natural beauty, guests should be prepared for the differences of island life. Rooms in lesser developed areas could be very basic, and the heat requires air-conditioning, especially during April and May. Sand fleas are also prolific, with Isla Carenero particularly known for them. You’ve been warned.

Staying at Casa Cayuco: A Luxurious Retreat

Casa Cayuco is a luxury eco-resort with comfortable cabins, home-cooked meals and lots of activities, like snorkelling and tours to bat caves. Perfect for families and action-holidays.

In summary; Maximizing your Bastimentos adventure

Once you’re in the water, the journey to Bastimentos is generally a pleasant and smooth one. Whether you’re looking for the ultimate beachside retreat at Casa Cayuco, or to immerse yourself in local flavor in Old Bank, Bastimentos has something for every traveler. Just remember, it’s best to do the boat ride during the daylight hours, both for safety and for the sheer beauty of this Caribbean paradise.


How can I reach Bastimentos from the United States?

Fly into Panama City and take a connecting flight to Isla Colon. From Isla Colon, it’s a 45-minute boat ride to Bastimentos on a panga, which is a small open boat. They usually hold about 8-12 passengers and are the common mode of transport in the area.

What is the best place to stay in Bocas del Toro for an experience?

If you’re looking for a combination of jungle exploration and snorkeling experiences it’s advisable to stay on the outskirts of Bocas Town. Hotel Vista Mar is highly sought after due to its reputation, for providing lodging options and excellent dining experiences. If you’re someone who enjoys being by the beach Casa Cayuco, on Bastimentos is a choice. It’s well regarded for its atmosphere and stunning shorelines.

What kind of boat is typically used for the journey, to Bastimentos. Can we consider it a safe mode of transportation?

Journey to Bastimentos: You’ll get to Bastimentos in “pangas” — 8 to 12-passenger open boats. They are generally safe, carrying the required life preservers, driven cautiously by their operators, and the waters around Bastimentos are generally calm so it is a very pleasant and reasonable ride. However, caution is in order to avoid night travel as many boats are not properly lighted.

When is the Best Time to Travel to Bastimentos?

The best time to visit Bastimentos is in the dry season, from December through to April, when the weather is more predictable and the seas calm. Conditions during these months are closest to what we conventionally think of as favourable.

Which option should I go for the Red Frog Side or Old Banks, on Bastimentos?

If you fancy trappings such as tour groups and hotel-lined shorelines, opt for Red Frog on the Bastimentos side of Bocas del Toro. For something more authentically local, with less infrastructure and dining options, Old Banks is the place to be. Consider what you look for in terms of comfort, the dining situation, and shoreline access when choosing.

Planning Your Trip to Bastimentos; A Detailed Guide

6 thoughts on “Planning Your Trip to Bastimentos; A Detailed Guide

  • 6 January 2024 at 22:39

    Just got back from Bastimentos – what a gem!

  • 9 January 2024 at 14:25

    Boat ride to Bastimentos? Smooth sailing, totally recommend it.

  • 16 January 2024 at 10:58

    Man, Bastimentos is cool, but ya gotta know, island spots lack fancy stuff. Watch for bugs!

  • 14 March 2024 at 18:44

    December to April, perfect timing!

  • 22 March 2024 at 07:43

    December through April’s when Bastimentos shines. Seas are calm, weather’s stable. It’s prime time for a visit, just what you’d expect for a perfect trip.

  • 31 March 2024 at 18:19

    “December through April: Bastimentos rocks when it’s sunny and calm.”


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