Parque Nacional Marino Isla Bastimentos

Parque Nacional Marino Isla Bastimentos

Parque Nacional Marino Isla Bastimentos
4.5
The area
Best nearby
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Attractions
2 within 6 miles
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

4.5
357 reviews
Excellent
214
Very good
98
Average
31
Poor
6
Terrible
8

BrantBady
Bangkok, Thailand40 contributions
I was getting very frustrated the last few days in how to get over to Bastimentos and where i could safely walk around with lots of expensive camera gear to take pictures of the flora & fauna.. did NOT want to take the standard dolphin, snorkle, beach tour like cattle with 15min here and 15min there on a crowded boat.

After repeatidly walking the strip in Bocas Town, i stumbled upon someone willing to give me what i wanted, and for a reasonable price. At the far end of the strip at Boteros Bocatorenos Unidos I ran into Capitan Camilo (doncamilo.20@hotmail.com cell: 6845-4839).. and we planned a 5 hour trip around and for a very good price sincebit was essentially a private tour)..

The result was one of the most professional tours i have ever been given, and i have more than a few, and in all corners of the globe..

- Camilo speaks english quite well, and is a very nice and personable guy
- He knows all the places to go and see things, and you can work with him to map out a trip that suits "your" needs, not what is convenient for the operator
- he is flexible, so if you see somethin intriguing you can go off and explore.. be mindful though of the overall time agreed and the distance ( gas is a factor in his planning/pricing)
- the guy can absolutely spot the wildlife, and most importantly he knows about good camera angles and will actively position and shift the boat to help you get the best shot. He is also a good camera assistant, e.g. holding spare lenses, shifting & holding leaves out of the way if needed.
- he will take good care of you! We were at red frog beach and i wandered down the beach taking scenics, and he was shadowing me and pulled me back as i started to get too close to Wizard beach where "machete muggings" are common.

I highly recommend Camilo for anyone wanting to take photos on or around Bastimentos.
Written March 10, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Peter
Pensacola, FL1,508 contributions
Couples
The Nivida bat cave on Isla Bastimentos was one of my favorite experiences in Bocas del Toro (and all of Panama!). Our tour guide included it as part of a larger tour of the area, out of Bocas Town. It's a 20 min boat ride from Bocas Town at high speed, followed by a 15 min ride at very slow speed up a narrow fresh water river. Along the river we saw Sloths in the trees and some other cool "jungle" sights. Very pleasant. You then get out of the boat and walk with a local guide (only $5 per person - what a deal) about 15 min up a muddy trail to the mouth of the cave (with underground river). Along the way we observed tiny Red Frogs and Centipedes. Before entering the cave, the guide provided miner's lamps. The cave (really an underground river) is only 1 meter wide in places and you wade in water that's waist deep at times. The ceiling is covered with fruit bats. Lots of spiders too. At the back of the cave, there is a small plunge pool that you can jump into. Very cool (literally and figuratively).
Highly recommended.

NOTES:
Wear your swim suit - obviously
We didn't see Mosquitos, but you might want bug spray.
If you bring your camera/phone, be sure you have a water proof bag or housing
Wear aqua shoes or sandals that work well in water. The cave floor is rough.
The trail is very muddy, wear appropriate foot gear
Written September 10, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

happytravlers2
Massachusetts71 contributions
Couples
Just spent 10 days in the Bocas del Torro area. We found the BEST snorkeling and diving we've seen in 30 years. The water is SO nutrient rich that for the FIRST TIME we saw coral out feeding! We saw HUNDREDS of tube worms; it looked like an underwater flower garden. It was paradise!
Written March 15, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Vicki810
Dublin, Ireland50 contributions
Solo
Wizard beach is really beautiful but the trail from the town to the beach is dangerous, especially the part after the 'up the hill' coffee and chocolate shop(which by the way is a great place to stop for coffee). Frequent muggings with machetas occur on that trail, and they happen during the day, so don't bring anything that will attract attention and no valuables. Bastimentos Old Bank town is alright, nice authentic experience of the carribean life-style but poor and staying in that town overnight did not feel particularly safe. I was there during low season and it was too isolated for solo travelling.
Written June 10, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Justin C
London, Canada3 contributions
Couples
We went early in the morning to Isla Bastimentos me and my girlfriend to find a place to stay and see the beautiful beach. We get out of the boat at 7h30 in the morning ank walk by the left side of the village. We didnt find a place to stay but we saw the water on they other side. So we go to the right trying to find a place and we thought maybe we can find a place to sleep right on the beac so we ask to some local where was the path to go on they other side. Maybe 3 or 4 persons show us the way to get to Playa Wizard on they other side of the island. Its was a lot longer the n a thought in a tiny muddy path and half way a man get out of the bush with a machete and ask me if a want to die. He say give me youre money, passport and cell. I gave 200$ and he left. We walk back to the village and try to make a report to the police. The policeman was laughing at me. That we should have known not to go on this path. A lot of tourist get robbed on this way... Why everyone tell me to go there and no one tells me it was dangerous ? Why the police dont give a F*** ??? Anyways just dont go there, they dont care about the tourist. I suppose they dont need it. We just get out of this island and i will never come back ...
Written December 6, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

EliAms
Kenilworth, UK2 contributions
Couples
A boat trip to the Zapatillas islands is well worth the trip. Avoid Wizard Beach though! When we were there two masked men with a machete and piece of wood systematically mugged the everyone. The few couples that were there were spread out (enjoying the feeling of being on a beautiful deserted beach) and with nowhere to run to apart from the muddy track back into the middle of the island, we were sitting ducks. They wanted cash and noone was hurt but it's still terrifying! Local policeman seemed disinterested and the Scottish woman running the coffee place on the hill says it happens often. She might have warned us before we went to the beach then! We stopped for a coffee with her before heading down the track to Wizard beach.
Written February 27, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Richard B
London165 contributions
Family
An island well worth visiting, for 2 days at minimum, with plenty to do and few tourists. A very natural ‘town’ with nice people/children, with a great laid back Caribbean vibe. Red frog beach is very nice - big waves, but not as dangerous as some people make out - there was little if any undertow (rip tide) I could feel, but clearly if you can’t swim it is not a good idea to go too far in.
Best of all was as visit to½ day excursion to Nivida Cave. A beautiful 15min boat ride through the National Marine Park, you then enter the small estuary of river Bahia Honda, slowly negotiating a mangrove channel for another 15 minutes, possibly seeing birds, iguanas, sloths, monkeys, red frogs, and even caiman maybe? Then a short walk through the jungle leads to the entrance of the cave. You are equipped with hard hat, headlamps and a guide. The entrance area is dry and full of bats. The hundreds of bats on the ceiling make it a impressive sight. Further in the cave it becomes a typical river cave, with occasional crickets and spiders. Obviously you also see many stalagmites, stalactites and flowstones. The water is warm, but some sections it can come up to your neck, and the ceiling lowers almost to the water level occasionally – so it’s not for the faint hearted and best to wear a swimsuit with trainers. There are 2 arms to the cave I think, and at the end of one is a waterfall/spring that is the source of the stream, with a natural pool. You will probably spend about an hour in the cave itself. So it’s not an expensive , coloured, fairy light lit up European (western) cave with concrete walkways - this is the real thing, without any danger – therefore great fun. Cost about $30. As far as I know this is the longest cave of Panama
Unfortunately we did not get to Wizard beach, which others said it was well worth seeing.

Nearby bird island is great, star beach disappointing and the snorkelling poor. We would have kayaked round the small islands if we had had time….but.
Written March 16, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

ChrisFSeattle_WA
Lakewood, WA49 contributions
Couples
As part of a snorkeling/touring trip we stopped on Zapallitas and were blown away by the beautiful beaches and clear water. Be careful of the current but otherwise enjoy!
Written February 14, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Olle O
Stockholm, Sweden742 contributions
Family
We were staying at Tranquilo Bay on Isla Bastimentos and from there with their team made a halfday trip to the bat caves. First 30 minutes by motorboat. We saw five three toed SL oths up in the mangrove trees. We kayaked for another 30 minutes up a canal with mangrove trees on both sides of the narrow canal. We saw a number of different crabs and some white facedcapuchin monkeys. You arrive at a small dock and from there it is another 30 minutes of really muddy and slippery hiking along a trail to the entrance of the cave.
It is easier to walk in the cave than on the trail. You walk in the sandy riverbed with water up to your waist, at least in some places. It is not narrow and the ceiling is not coming down low. The water is not cold. You need a torch or headlamp.
There are great number of bats in the cave, four different species of different sizes. And in a truly impressive number. Extremely interesting to observe. There is surprisingly enough no nasty smell in the cave. It is amazing to see that the bats that fly around as they are disturbed by the presence of tourists, do not collide with you.
There is also beautiful stalactites and stalagmites in the cave.
Written August 5, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Sergio N
Porto Seguro, BA33 contributions
Solo
This Island is close Isla colon, you can take a taxi boat for US$ 5 to reach the Red Frog Beach, a beautiful beach to spend the day, there´s a restaurant with reasonable prices, $ 2 a beer. The waves there are nice too. You must pay $ 3 to visit this beach in the entrance of the park. It´s worthy.
Written May 7, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Parque Nacional Marino Isla Bastimentos (Bocas Town) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about Parque Nacional Marino Isla Bastimentos