Overview

From the desolate beaches that pepper the coast near the Costa Rican border to the impenetrably wild forests on the fringes of the Darien Gap, the majority of Panama’s Caribbean coast has remained unspoiled since well before Captain Morgan arrived to plunder Portobello in 1668.Vestiges of this period are evident in the now tranquil fortresses that look out majestically over the stunning bay of Portobello.

Far removed from the glittering sophistication of Panama City is the Caribbean archipelago of Bocas del Toro, near the border with Costa Rica. Long isolated from the rest of the country the forested coral islands and adjoining mangrove-stifled mainland it still has a remote, pristine ambience. Banana plantations brought the region into the embrace of the country’s economy and now developers have their eye on the virgin real estate for future condominiums. However, much of the province is protected: the Bastimentos Marine Park is an important conservation area offering superb diving and snorkelling. With a laid back Afro-Caribbean culture alongside friendly indigenous villages, it’s a lovely place to relax.

A short distance off the Caribbean Coast lies The San Blas Archipelago, which is described in more detail on the San Blas Islands page.

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Where to go when - our guide to Bocas del Toro and The Caribbean

Bocas del Toro

The weather in Bocas del Toro and The Caribbean is wide and varied

Located at the north western edge of the country close to the Costa Rican border, Bocas del Toro feels unlike the rest of the country with its laid back Caribbean vibe. The equatorial climate means rain can fall at any time of year, while temperatures remain hot year round.

View our Bocas del Toro and The Caribbean weather guide

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Real Latin american experts

  • Millie
    Millie Davies - Travel Expert

    Having caught the travel bug as a child, Millie has travelled all over Latin America before making her home in Buenos Aires for 3 years.

  • Hannah
    Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Expert

    Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.

  • Ben
    Ben Line - Travel Expert

    Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.

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    Lina Fuller - Travel Expert

    Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.

  • Maggie
    Maggie Wilson - Travel Expert

    Maggie visited Latin America on her first backpacking trip when she was 19. Since then, she has taken every opportunity to travel, and has managed to explore a lot of the region in subsequent trips.

  • Hannah
    Hannah Donaldson - Travel Expert

    Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is a much valued Travel Expert in our Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tours sales team.

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