Budget Bocas

‘Hey lady want a taxi, wanna go to Red Frog?’ this was the standard call out, walking through Bocas Town. Most of the tour boat trips were $35 each to visit nearby islands, so the ever resourceful Evans found plenty of lovely places to visit for less than $10.

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Isla Carenero is the closest island to Bocas Town, it has lots of rustic seaside charm. For $1 each you can jump in a water taxi which drops you off at Aqua Lounge. A stroll along the water’s edge past lots of beach shacks brings you to Bibi’s on the Beach.

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We hung out on the decking listening to reggae, drinking beers and watching learner surfers bobbing in the shallow surf. Stand on the dock, a passing water taxi will take you back to Bocas for $3.

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North of Bocas Town there are some lovely stretches of beaches but notorious for riptide, the surfers head up to Bluff Beach. For $6 we took a taxi ride to Paki Point, there is a strip of beach to wander along, a deck beach bar serves beers to the hip and trendy, it’s super relaxed and is a cute spot to catch some breezes. Plenty of Flying Pirates quad bikes passed by while we were there, with passengers sporting sun hats on under their safety helmets.

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I really wanted to visit Starfish beach at the north tip of Isla Colon, I had read the sea is full of ‘Estrellas‘ we attempted to go to Boca del Drago on the local bus for $2.50 each with the intention then to walk along the coast to the beach. But visiting Bocas del Toro in June in the rainy season lived up to its expectations. So we gave this idea a rain check but I did get to see plenty of starfish on another trip.

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Visiting Red Frog Beach doesn’t fit in the ‘under $10’ tag but it’s a cheaper option than many of the boat trips available.  We negotiated a $15 return boat ride to the beach with a top guy called Moses. The boat dropped us off on the sheltered side of Isla Bastimentos where we had to pay $3 each to enter the reserve. A short walk along the boardwalk bought us out onto a stunning unspoilt desert island beach.

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Loungers cost $5 each but we were prepared with towels and a Super Gourmet Bocas deli sandwich to avoid any extra costs. Moses was so sweet, when he came back to pick us up, he showed me how to find one of the famous red frogs in the forest. Hopefully I didn’t kill it by transferring hand oil to this super cute teeny croaker.

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Even though we had lots of rain and clouds these spots are gorgeous, I’m sure they look like paradise in the sunshine and they didn’t break the budget!

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