Bastimentos Island National Park

Bastimentos Island National Marine Park, an archipelago of islands and islets covering 13,226 hectares, was created in 1998. It is one of the few protected areas in Latin America that preserves coastal, island, and marine ecosystems within the same territory, encompassing mangroves, beaches, and coral reefs. Visitors are drawn to the scenic white sand beaches and crystalline waters that make it an excellent diving spot. The area provides habitat to manatees and more than 200 species of tropical fish. In addition, it is a very important nesting place for sea turtles. 

On the southern coast of the island is Almirante Lagoon, the only known freshwater lake on Panama's islands and home to numerous freshwater turtles. Countless canals wind through the mangrove islands, which are surrounded by coral reefs and whose sandy bottoms sprout seagrass. The park conserves the country's largest expanse of Caribbean mangroves, as well as the best-preserved coral reefs on this coast, dominated by the red and white mangrove species.

Location

The park is located near Colón Island, in Bocas del Toro Province.

How to arrive

First travel to Colón Island in Bocas del Toro in one of the following forms of transportation:

  • Plane: AirPanama offers 1-hour long domestic flights.
  • Bus: From the Albrook Mall bus station, there are daily departures at 8:00 p.m. on the fleet of busses that travel the Pan-American Highway.
  • Car: Take the Pan-American Highway to the entrance to Gualaca (404km). Turn right and continue to the end of the road to Chiriquí Grande (98 km) in Punta Peña. Then follow the road to Almirante (68 km), where you can leave your car at a parking lot near the water taxi terminal.
  • Ferry: Boats depart Almirante Bocas Marine at 8:00 a.m. from Monday to Saturday.

Once on Colón Island, you can take the following mode of transport:

  • Boat: A 20-minute ride in an outboard boat will bring you from Colón Island to the protected area.

What to bring

  • Water bottle
  • Light-weight clothing
  • Insect repellent
  • Snorkeling gear

Activities

  • Whale watching
  • Camping
  • Hiking with interactive maps
  • Snorkeling