Now known as Isla Solarte, this island just south of Isla Bastimentos was called Nancy’s Cay for centuries as English-speaking pirates, traders, and settlers came to the region. This name could have come from the nances (a small yellow fruit) rather than from anyone named Nancy. The far west of Isla Solarte is named Hospital Point because of its history as the site of the region’s primary hospital compound. This hospital was built by the United Fruit Company in 1900. It was also the headquarters of the Colombian Conservative forces during the War of a Thousand Days as they launched raids on the Liberals’ base on Bastimentos Island in 1901 and 1902. For a full history of the area try to find A History of Hospital Point, by local author Clyde Stevens at Super Gourmet on 3rd St.
Now visitors might be interested in visiting Solarte to get into some of Bocas del Toro’s best snorkeling and scuba diving spots. The sea wall at Hospital Point offers divers and snorkelers a real richness of sea life as the turtle grass and lettuce coral in the shallows make way for a wall that drops 12 to 15 meters along which you might sea lobsters, morey eels, invasive lionfish, trumpet fish, and deeper water corals and sponges. In the evenings schools of sardines cluster together and needlefish zip around the surface of the water. Further east on both sides of Isla Solarte the coast is covered by mangroves that all types of sea life use as a nursery for small or juvenile animals to hide from barracudas and larger predators. Another popular diving site is the coral gardens on the leeward side of the island.
There are very few traditional accommodations on this island, but those looking for eco-lodges and retreats will be able to find vacation rentals and a few scattered rooms within the jungle.