When Jacob and I got married in September of 2015, we only had 1 week off from school. We decided to take a mini moon and save our honeymoon for when we had more time. Over our 3 week break in December/January, we took off for Bocas Del Toro, Panama. Bocas is a group of islands off the northeast coast of Panama. It’s beautifully tropical and reminds me of how my dad describes old Cabo San Lucas – full of culture, freedom, and seclusion. Bocas is definitely on its way to being the next hit destination spot, so I would recommend going now before it becomes too touristy!
We landed in Panama City after 1 delayed flight to Houston, TX and even better 1 cancelled flight to Panama (thanks Dallas, for the tornado). We spent the first night of our honeymoon in the Houston airport and let me tell you – it sure was magical.
Once we finally landed in Panama City, we took a taxi to the bus station and bought our tickets for the 10pm overnight bus across the country to Bocas Del Toro. After 10 hours, we arrive at the dock to take a 20 minute boat ride to Bocas town. Needless to say, we were exhausted when we got to our air bnb.
For the first few nights, we stayed at Palmar Tent Lodge in Red Frog Beach on Isla Bastimentos. The Tent Lodge is a must stay when going to Bocas Del Toro. It’s right on the beach with about 8 different raised tents, shared bathroom and showers, and no AC. Okay, that might sound like we’e crazy for staying there, but it was by far my favorite place we stayed. The tents are raised with wood floors, furniture, and a bed. It was completely unplugged – no wifi or even a road – and the beach with crystal clear warm Caribbean water made it feel like we were a world away on our own private island. We ended our trip here as well, and it was the best decision we could have made.
Our next stop was on Isla Carenero. We stayed in the cutest over the water bungalow called the Careening Cay. This place seriously had the best margaritas – and we definitely helped ourselves. We spent our days hanging on the deck eating fresh ceviche and soaking up the sun. We had a perfect view of Bocas Town where the fireworks show on New Year’s Eve was basically a finale show for 2 straight hours. It was insane.
There’s so much to do in Bocas. We took a boat tour to a deserted island, Cayo Zapatilla. It was by far the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. It was like a movie. White sand beaches, jungle covered with fallen coconuts, and yet again that crystal clear warm ocean water. We snorkeled, saw dolphins, held starfish, and MET A SLOTH!
Our 3rd stay was on an island called Old Banc. This island was full of locals and tourists. We met a ton of people from around the world – England, Germany, Australia, Argentina, Uruguay, Spain. We stayed at an air bnb spot up on a hill in the jungle. Every morning we hiked to the very top of the hill to either a little cafe called Up On the Hill or to an organic chocolate farm called Coco Hill. Both had incredible food and even better views. We hiked past the cafes back down the hill on the other side of the island to Wizard Beach – a beautifully secluded beach with white sand beaches and that same crystal clear warm water.
Bocas Town is only a short boat ride away from any of the islands. Jacob and I rented bikes and road up the coast from Bocas Town to Bluff’s Beach. The beaches in Panama never disappointed. We brought along our Enu hammock and set it up any and everywhere we went. Nap times were a frequent.
One of our absolute favorite spots in Bocas Del Toro was The Blue Coconut. It’s a little bungalow bar on a random island with a separate bungalow you can rent and stay a few nights in. During a nice day, this place can get pretty packed, but it’s more than worth it to stay a full day or two here. Great drinks, even better food, and the sweetest dog named Molly. There’re a few in the water hammocks that will take your vacation to the next level.
Bocas Del Toro, Panama was an adventure to always remember. It was Jacob and my first international trip just the two of us, and I can’t wait to travel the world with him.