My Love Affair With Bocas del Toro

June 21, 2015

I had a love affair with Bocas del Toro.

It was the kind of love that comes suddenly and makes your heart pound in your chest. Then, it’s gone as quickly as it had appeared. It was the kind of love that you think about for years to come, and always makes you ask, what if. 

My Love Affair with Bocas del Toro

This love caught me by surprise as I stepped onto the town’s sandy street at 6 in the morning on a rainy April day, half delusional from an overnight bus from Panama City and a ferry ride. It was almost as if the town had kept me from falling over, and supported me as I walked through the rain in search of my hostel.

Bocas del Toro didn’t play hard to get, either. It flirted with me by showing me the miscellaneous colored houses spread sporadically throughout the town that made me gawk in awe. Its wonderful ocean scent mixed with the smell of rain made me gasp with happiness, making me fall even harder.

My Love Affair with Bocas del Toro

My Love Affair with Bocas del Toro

My Love Affair with Bocas del Toro

I spent a few days with Bocas del Toro. It showed me my now favorite bar, Iguana Bar, and gave me a giddiness I had never experienced before as I jumped into the pool in the back of the bar, fully clothed, at 3 in the morning.

However, I could tell Bocas del Toro got jealous and tried to ruin the fun when I went in search of other beaches. Honestly, the beaches near the town were not any I truly liked. Firstly, It rained when I went to Red Frog Beach on Isla Bastimentos, but that didn’t ruin the fun. My friends and I basically had the beach to ourselves, and happily enjoyed fish tacos and beer at a local food stand.

My Love Affair with Bocas del Toro

My Love Affair with Bocas del Toro

Then, my friends and I almost capsized in the water taxi on our way to Wizard Beach. We eventually made it, but it wasn’t easy.

Bocas del Toro took me out for dinner a few times, where I was able to taste some of the local food. I ate pizza at Tropical Birds restaurant, and seafood pasta at La Buguita Café. I know it didn’t mind me going to another bar one night on another island, since it could still see me from afar. I had gone to Aqua Lounge, which was directly across the water from my hostel, and had an incredible time. 

I knew Bocas del Toro and I felt something for one another on my last day. A song played hours before I was about to leave the town. This song, whenever played, reminds me of the wonderful time I spent with my lover.

Our hearts are like firestones,

And when they strike,

We feel the love,

Sparks will fly, 

They ignite our bones,

But when they strike, we light up the world. 

The euphoric melody of Kygo’s “Firestone” floated around the bar, and intertwined with the cheerful chatter of those making their way towards an afternoon boozy buzz. The turquoise water sparkled, and the vibrant colored hammocks swung gently in the breeze; back and forth like a pendulum. The day I had to leave, Selina Hostel seemed like more of a paradise than ever before. Bocas del Toro, you made it very hard that day.

How can I ever forgive you for making me fall so hard?

My Love Affair with Bocas del Toro

I tried to focus on the fact that my shirt stuck to me like I was in a Wet T-shirt Contest, or that the humidity made my hair look like it had a perm, to try and make it easier to leave. It didn’t work. I twisted my dry hair around in my finger, feeling the split ends that the heat and salt water had magically created by the hundreds.

I couldn’t leave this place. The beaches on the islands near Bocas del Toro are pristine, the sand is a searing white, and the water simply the perfect shade of blue.

My Love Affair with Bocas del Toro

Bocas del Toro, you gave me the most beautiful sunset on my last night in town, as I was coasting in the middle of the water on a water taxi. I saw the sillhouette of a dolphin fin just as the sun was setting, and knew this was the beginning of our goodbye. Bocas del Toro, I will never forget you. 

My Love Affair with Bocas del Toro

Visiting Bocas del Toro

Bocas del Toro is an island town in Northern Panama. It’s on Isla Colon, which is a part of a chain of small islands. In order to get to any of the other islands, you have to take water taxi’s, which can range from $1 a person and up.

If you visit Bocas del Toro, get ready to party, the nightlife is incredible. I stayed at Selina Hostel. The first two nights I stayed in the no A/C room, but by the third night, I couldn’t take the heat anymore and switched to a room with A/C- it’s definitely worth the extra money (I woke up in a puddle of sweat every morning in the no A/C room). They offer free coffee, fruit and toast for breakfast as well.

There are a ton of restaurants around the island, as well as a variety of activities, such as ATVing. Bastimentos is a quaint town on an island near Bocas del Toro, and is definitely also worth a visit. Although the beaches on Isla Colon aren’t that great (in my opinion), the nearby beaches are very beautiful and easily accessible.

My Love Affair with Bocas del Toro


Take a look at my Vlog from Bocas del Toro to get more of a visual experience on what it’s like here!


  1. Comment by Janet Sunderland

    Janet Sunderland June 21, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    The video is great! Thank you. Seemed to me that anyplace in the Caribbean is pretty wonderful. The water is like a caress. And the people wonderful. They laugh. And love life. Yep. I’d travel the blue waters of the Caribbean anytime, anyplace. Thanks for the tips on this one.

    • Comment by Globe Trottica

      Globe Trottica June 22, 2015 at 2:34 pm

      Thank you so much, Janet!! I completely agree, the Caribbean is like another world. Everyone always seems so happy :]

    • Comment by Globe Trottica

      Globe Trottica July 13, 2015 at 12:05 pm

      Thank you, Todd, and thank you so much for featuring me!! My favorite beach was probably Wizard beach (although it was quite difficult to get to.. hah!). I will definitely check out your article :]

  2. Comment by Alice Beth

    Alice Beth September 10, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    Hey Monica! Alice Beth here from Selina Hostels. Thanks for the shout-out! I laughed to myself a few times in your post. As a chica, I can definitely appreciate that “wet t-shirt contest” feeling that so often accompanies a walk around, well, anywhere in Panama. And sinking water taxis are like a rite of passage in Bocas 😉

    Glad to hear you enjoyed your stay at Selina. Sorry about the AC… we’re actually moving towards being an AC-only hostel soon! Next time you come to Panama, be sure let us know and we’ll get you set up in one of our other locations (we’ve got Playa Venao up and running, and Casco Viejo is next!)

    • Comment by Globe Trottica

      Globe Trottica September 10, 2015 at 11:27 pm

      Hi Alice! Hahaha! I’m so glad you enjoyed my post. Selina Hostel is still one of the best (if not THE best) hostels I’ve ever stayed in! It was amazing- the bar, being right on the water, the hammocks, the breakfast, the location, the staff. I wish I was able to spend more time there :]

      Thank you SO, so much! I really appreciate that. I will definitely let you know next time I’m in Panama, I would absolutely love to stay in one of your other locations!

      Thanks again, Alice!

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