Bocas del Toro: Water

The best part about the resort is that several excursions were offered to nearby attractions: beaches, coffee plantations, and bat caves on the mainland. I’m sure most people opt to choose all three but we elected to spend all our time lounging on the beach and playing in the water. Coffee is nice….but sand is better!


Our favorite beach was a national park called Cayo Zapatillas, which was about 20 minutes away by boat. We went twice, it was that lovely. If you are in Bocas del Toro, a day trip out here is not to be missed. 




We basically spent all day, every day in the water. We were wrinkly little prunes upon exiting. 


Despite a massive application of sunscreen, this little girlie got pink cheeks the first day. The following morning we thoroughly slathered her in multiple lotions which worked, despite making her look like a comical ghost. 


You guys, water doesn’t get any more perfect than this. No undertow, no dangerous waves, no stingrays (which have been a problem on other parts of our trip) and it has that lovely aqua color that just dazzles.

Fun fact: my mother has painted her bedroom this exact shade of blue, which she claims makes waking up on a drizzly Seattle winter day slightly more manageable. 

If you ever need an uncontaminated source of drinking water when stranded on a tropical island, coconuts are your best friend.

Another tip: don’t plant your beach blanket (and yourself) under a coconut tree. They let loose head-cracking bombs with shocking regularity. 

Getting a tour from Ramon, the resort’s naturalist. He was great but the kids lasted for about 10 minutes before bailing out into the water to chase fishes.

Ramon and his wife Natalia spent several years working for a turtle research project on these very islands and we loved hearing about their efforts and positive progress. Here he is describing how a baby sea turtle makes its way from nest to ocean.
We were also extremely lucky to see a newly-hatched straggler make her way down the beach for the very first time. And if that ‘she’ happens to be a ‘he’, it will be the last time in his life he goes onto dry land. Baby turtles usually make their water entrance in the dead of night, as predators like vultures are keeping a sharp eye out for these tasty morsels. A young turtle faces daunting survival odds, even once the water is successfully reached. 


Just a quick note: We were very careful to stay out of this turtle’s direct path to the water. Due to the angle of these shots, it looks like Emma is right in front of him/her, when in fact she was to the side. The youngster made a straight beeline to the ocean and went on its merry way.









And she’s off! Good luck in life, baby.





Tired, happy family.








When you’re so tired that a boogie board works for a bed.




Selected Photos: Cherie J.

Recommendations – Bocas del Toro


National Park Cayo Zapatillas
Day trips are available from Bocas Town and usually include lunch, fishing, and a few hours lazing on the beach. The boat ride is about 35 minutes. Highly recommended as this was our favorite beach for kids, family, and general natural beauty.



Tranquilo Bay Eco Resort
Highly, Highly recommended!! We would have loved to have stayed longer. The two families that own and run the place are lovely. The food was good (and plentiful), the naturalists were excellent, and the activities were fabulous. Our advice: skip the second beach by the resorts on Bastimento and spend all your time at Zapatillas – the beach and snorkeling are both better.

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