Everything You Need To Know About Traveling To Bocas Del Toro, Panama

Red Frog Beach
Bocas Bound
Koko Resort
Tropical Suites
Palma Royale
Bahia del Sol

Surfers Only – Isla Colon

Bocas Del Toro Surfing

If you are a surfer traveling to Bocas you might want to check out the following surf breaks on Isla Colon :

Paunch Beach

Paunch Beach is located on Island Colon, and easily accessible via taxi or bike. If biking or walking, keep going about a mile down after the paved road becomes sand (past the creek- Big Creek) Paunch surf break will be on your right. Take note it will be a far walk back to town if you do not have a taxi or water taxi coming back to pick you up. It is not for the faint of heart for it does have a reef bottom that can take a few minutes to walk in and out on. The beach is narrow and at high tide it pretty much disappears. It is one of the better-known surf spots on Colon, meaning the chance of crowds is possible.

Luckily, there are plenty of waves to go around seeing that the reef breaks both left and right. There are two to three peaks depending on the swell. When these peaks connect it can cause a “bowl” which is alluring for any surfer. The left break is longer and washes out into the channel making the paddle in and out easier. This break can hold swells up to 12 feet. Beginners Beware this is a spot for confident surfers. The season here, as for most breaks in Costa Rica and Panama are between November and April. Don’t let that stop you from coming in the summer June and July are known to produce a small season themselves.


The next break past Paunch is Dumpers. The name applies for two reasons first for its powerful hollow left hand break and for the garbage dump that sits behind the trees lining the beach here. If walking or biking keep an eye out what you are stepping on as you approach the beach. Again, this is a reef break. The drops are steep and barreling is almost always guaranteed. It has one of the most robust and forceful lefts in the archipelago.

Bluff Beach

Quite a ways outside of Bocas town is this 100 foot wide sand beach that goes on for about 3 miles. It can cost around $25 US each way by taxi. If adventurous and athletic rent a bike and get a pre-surfing workout in, or your best bet would be to grab a water taxi in town. This is a sand bottom beach break. Waves are best in the 3-6ft range. Fast, hard breaking waves that are wider then they are tall. The boogie boards have a blast here.
This beach is perfect for friends or family to hang out while you surf. Make sure to bring whatever you feel is necessary- there is no place to buy anything on the beach. Swimmers take caution for the rip tides are dangerous here.

From March 15th to September 15th Bluff Beach is the nesting ground for green, hawksbill and leatherback sea turtles. They are protected and precautions are taken not to disturb them during these months. During turtle breeding season the beach is strewn with turtles building nests and laying eggs. Walking on the beach is not permitted so it would be ideal to get a water taxi to surf during these months.

Samantha Ritchie About the author: Samantha Ritchie is a college graduate with a degree in Communication. Her adventures brought her to Bocas Del Toro, where she is currently living. Culture, food, and beauty inspire her to write about her travels.

  • Elaine DeLany

    Great article! Nice Pix!

  • http://englishidiotabroad.blogspot.com/ John

    It’s a shame you don’t have any photographs of the turtles.

  • britt Ruegger

    Hi Samantha,

    Im planning a surf trip for November and was wondering if Bocas picks up much swell this time of year. I like your page. Thanks for any info


  • http://www.pearlislandliving.com/2011/10/28/surfing-in-panama/ Surfing in Panama | Pearl Island Living

    [...] choice for intermediate or advanced surfers is Isla Colon, located on the famous surf hot-spot, Bocas del Toro, which faces the Caribbean ocean.  The [...]

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