Day Trip #1: Cycle to Bluff Beach, La Piscina & Mimitimbi from Bocas Town

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Day Trip #1: Cycle to Bluff Beach, La Piscina & Mimitimbi from Bocas Town

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This is the first post of a series of 10 things to do in Bocas del Toro, Panama for less than $25. So let's get straight into it!

Rent a bike in town ($7 - $10 per day) and head towards Bluff Beach:

  1. ride north up 3rd Street until it merges into G Avenue
  2. and ride along until you pass Habla Ya Bocas del Toro Spanish School
  3. afterwards the road will bend towards your right and you'll start cycling along Playa El Istmito, where the Sea Fair takes place each year
  4. you'll reach a fork that if you take a left you'll go through the island towards Boca del Drago (Starfish Beach) so just keep on going to your right and you'll pass the Playa Tortuga Hotel
  5. after you've passed the Big Creek neighborhood, the paved road turns into a beach road, and you'll have to continue on that until you reach Bluff Beach

It's about a 40 minute to 1.5 hour cycle depending on your speed. Take your time in true Caribbean style! You can also take a taxi but it can prove to be quite expensive (depending on the season it can be up to $25 for a full cab).

Cycling to Bluff Beach in Bocas del Toro, Panama
Cycling to Bluff Beach in Bocas del Toro, Panama

After enjoying a 10 km cycle along the coastline, pick your own stretch of beach from the 5 kilometers of golden powdered sand.

You might be the only person in Bluff Beach in Bocas del Toro, Panama
You might be the only person in Bluff Beach in Bocas del Toro, Panama

A couple of years ago there weren't any restaurants on Bluff Beach but nowadays you can find a couple of them (both located about 2/3 of the 5km beach). The Bluff Lounge is a bit fancier and is a restaurant/bar with a pool and live music on the weekends owned by a Dutch expat. The second one, The Beach Bar, is a barbecue/bar, which offers a relaxed ambiance right on the beach with a local DJ on Saturdays and Sundays. Every weekend, students, travelers and locals meet up there and hang out together.

Although Bluff Beach is one of the most gorgeous beaches in Panama’s Caribbean, it’s not always swimmer friendly as it is directly exposed to the surf (click here for more information about Bocas del Toro’s surfing season). You really shouldn't get into the water unless the swell is less than a couple of feet (on certain days in April, May, September and October). Having said this, when the swell is right, tide pools are created which are great for the young ones to paddle in safely, while the grown ups have a good surf or body board session (always keep on eye on the young ones please!). Bluff beach should only be surfed by expert or pro surfers. You can checkout some video footage of surfing Bluff Beach in Bocas del Toro, Panama here. On your way to Bluff you will also encounter several known surf breaks which are friendlier for intermediate surfers, mainly Tiger Tail and Paunch Beach.

If on the other hand you are looking for a deserted piece of paradise, and don’t mind biking further (about double the distance to Bluff), you should go to Mimitimbi.

The 1 hour bike ride from Bluff is an easy one, although some spots may be muddy depending when you are coming during the year, but it is mostly flat. When you see a muddy spot, just get off your bike and carry it over.
The 1 hour bike ride from Bluff is an easy one, although some spots may be muddy depending when you are coming during the year, but it is mostly flat. When you see a muddy spot, just get off your bike and carry it over.

As it will take you about 2 hours to get to Mimitimbi from town, we recommend to leave early enough so that you can return before sunset (and taxis can only get to the end of Bluff). You could leave town in the morning, take your lunch to enjoy at Mimitimbi and then stop at Bluff for an early dinner or some drinks before you head back.

On your way to Mimitimbi, you will pass by the "Piscina" (or swimming pools in English). a stunning protected cove with calm waters, perfect for snorkeling and bathing. Just follow the signs and you will find them.

For the more courageous ones, you won’t believe your eyes once you arrive at Mimitimbi. you will be amazed by how beautiful nature can be when it is unspoiled by human presence. There is really nothing, so bring enough water with you to stay hydrated (or grab a coconut from a palm tree), and snacks!

Also bring your camera to Mimitimbi, because this is definitely a spot where you will want to take pictures to make all your friends jealous!
Also bring your camera to Mimitimbi, because this is definitely a spot where you will want to take pictures to make all your friends jealous!

This entire trip can also be done by renting an ATV, but since we hate to pollute and are advocating eco-friendly tourism, we do not recommend doing that. Noise pollution also scares away the animals, so we would ask you to always be respectful of their natural habitat... needless to say it's totally prohibited to get onto the sand with any motorized vehicles as you could destroy turtle's nests

Along with Starfish Beach, Bluff is certainly one of the most enchanting beaches on the main island, Isla Colon. Just sunbathing on Bluff Beach and taking in its pristine natural beauty is certainly one of Bocas del Toro’s most magical experiences.

Not only is Bluff blessed with warm turquoise-green waters, but from mid March to September, Bluff is also nesting ground for green, hawksbill and leatherback sea turtles. If you head towards the community’s school, you will be able to find a local guide who can provide you with more information about “turtle activity”. Turtles start hatching 1.5 to almost 2.5 months after their eggs are laid.

On your way back to Bocas town, you can stop for a meal at Pakis Point on Tiger Tail Beach Paunch.

View of Paunch Beach in in Bocas del Toro, Panama
View of Paunch Beach in Bocas del Toro, Panama

Spending a couple of nights camping at Bluff isn't a bad idea either, and numerous fresh water streams along the beach are very convenient to freshen up. If you manage to visit Bocas during turtle nesting or hatching season, this could obviously become an amazing experience (make sure to not light up any camp fires that could confuse the turtles and make sure to set yourself up a good distance away from the beach to prevent harming any of the wildlife).

CHECKOUT OTHER ADVENTURE TOURS IN BOCAS DEL TORO, PANAMA... »

Now, if you’re in search for an extreme adventure, instead of heading back directly into town you can cycle all the way to Boca del Drago (where Starfish Beach is), passing by the Mimitimbi indigenous community and then from there cycle back to town (about 15 kms from Boca del Drago). This is truly an all day outfit and is only intended for the really fit and adventurous (you really won’t be able to cycle all the way back as it’s certainly a jungle trek and you’ll have to carry your bike in certain parts).

So that's about it if you're interested in cycling to Bluff Beach from Bocas town on Isla Colon. Stay tuned for the rest of the series about things to do in Bocas del Toro for less than $25. You can subscribe to this blog by clicking here...

FIND MORE ABOUT THE ARCHIPELAGO OF BOCAS DEL TORO... »

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Search our blog if you're visiting Panama! From must do's, where to party or eat, to which beaches and hiking trails you shouldn't miss, you'll find great insider info about Bocas del Toro, Panama City and Boquete, as well as Panamanian culture, customs and traditions, and certainly tips and advice for learning Spanish while in our country! We've been writing about all things Panama for over 10 years and nothing beats local knowledge from the locals themselves.


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1 Response to "Day Trip #1: Cycle to Bluff Beach, La Piscina & Mimitimbi from Bocas Town"

  1. benjamin says:

    Wow this looks great! I really loved the turtle video. And the scenery in these photos is truly immaculate! I am currently looking into getting some Cape Cod vacation rentals but I can also get used to these activities in Panama and the adventure tours available. The next vacation rental we get may be down in panama now… alright you convinced me :-)


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