Bocas del Toro is a flat out superb cruising ground. There are several big islands with peaks of about 400ft and a whole bunch of mangrove islands that top out around waist height.
The reefs are young and show little signs of bleaching. Surfing is sensational. While hiking you might encounter monkeys, parrots, sloths and frogs as colorful as M&Ms. Many ex-pats live on the shorelines or on their own islands and they always welcome a visit from a sea gypsy. There are dozens of completely empty anchorages and because it is an inland sea, the waves are never more than thigh-high. The only reason to put in a double reef is to see if you can still remember how to do so.
The little town of Bocas del Toro is charming in an uber-funky way and has much to offer. Dozens of bars and restaurants, an assortment of hardware stores, and a plethora of family-run Chinese grocery stores where you will often find three generations working side by side.
The area attracts the more adventurous traveler types – surfers, backpackers and sailors. You would never mistake it for a trendy cruise ship port. In fact, it is so laid-back that it is almost laid-over.
By All at Sea Magazine