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We've been writing about all things Panama for over 10 years. So search our blog to plan your vacation. 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 on vacation!


When the Sun Goes Down in Bocas del Toro | Nightlife, Partytime & Bars

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For the very latest post about Bocas del Toro's nightlife scene you can click here...
Any conversation about Bocas del Toro's nightlife has to include Casa Animal and Paradaze Labs' Electronic Music Festivals. Casa Animal is Bocas del Toro's biggest party (normally lasts 2 or 3 days) and takes place on certain holidays such as New Years, Carnivals (February or March), Holy Week (March or April) and the beginning of November. Paradaze Labs organizes between 6 - 8 Electronic Music Festivals every year (head over to their facebook page for dates). The post below was written back in 2012.

Since Habla Ya opened in Bocas del Toro last year, my colleagues and I have written a lot about what do do in Bocas during daylight: surfing, biking, ziplining, working out, laying out on the beaches, you know, all that comes with this beautiful Caribbean paradise... but what about when the sun goes down?

Well, if you have ever spent more than a night (or even just one night) in Bocas, you will know that this is when the real fun starts.

After the sun goes down in Bocas del Toro, things get wild...
After the sun goes down in Bocas del Toro, things get wild...

There is a saying in Spanish, "¡sarna con gusto, no pica!" Within Bocas's nightlife context, basically it means, if you go out and have a great time, it doesn't matter what the next day brings (even if it is a grueling hangover or "goma" as we say in Panama) because you had a great time. Here in Bocas, this is our moto ;)

So put your party pants on and lets get started...

Barco Hundido (Monday, Fridays & Saturdays)

You wouldn't think much passing it during the day, in fact, you might just walk by and not even notice it... but at night it transforms into a jammin' hub

To get there walk through the central park towards the water, until the road T's, hang a left and follow the music.

Habla Ya Spanish students dancing and partying at the Barco Hundido Bar in Bocas del Toro, Panama
Habla Ya Spanish students dancing and partying at the Barco Hundido Bar in Bocas del Toro, Panama

There are often drink specials for both ladies AND men (yup, they actually have "men's night") and you can either enjoy your favorite beverage at the bamboo crafted bar or head outside around the swimming hole and on the docks.

Being one of the favorite spots among locals, the music is a killer mix of Latin, reggae, & popular pop/rock.

If you want to work on your "1, 2" merengue hip action, there are plenty of willing partners (and most of them are good dancers/teachers of the Latin moves).

Feeling hot after burning it up on the dance floor? Why not take a swim! Speaking from personal experience, there is nothing more refreshing after a couple hours of festivities then jumping straight into the Caribbean Sea). Just don't forget to entrust your cell phone, money, purse, etc., to a friend (outside of the water) ;).

Aqua Lounge (Thursday & Saturday)

On a Saturday night, you would be hard pressed to find someone NOT going to Aqua (though Wednesday night is a close second to getting all the people out of Bocas Town).

That's right, for this party house you have to take a boat to Isla Carenero. But don't worry if your Spanish is not yet perfected, just go to the dock (any along the water will do, but I recommend the one next to Barco Hundido as it's closest) and say "aqua", they will do the rest.

It is $1 for the boat (one way) and the boats run all night long, so no worries of getting stranded on the island.

A favorite among the tourists, Aqua has the feeling of a downtown nightclub gone Bocas wild.

It can get quite crazy at Aqua Lounge on Wednesdays and Saturdays
It can get quite crazy at Aqua Lounge on Wednesdays and Saturdays

And for the ladies, the shirtless, Panamanian, hard-bodied bartenders do nothing but enhance this experience. And don't worry boys, there is plenty of eye candy for you as well, especially if they are running a certain "drink special" for the girls... sorry, but I cannot give more detail here, you will just have to go to find out!

The music is generally more "gringo" in style, Flow Rider, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, etc., all make regular (and repeated) appearances, making the energy level contagious.

And, if you have gotten used to a nightly dip in the water, Aqua will not disappoint. In fact, it is the only place where you can literally swing into the ocean. Or if you are like me, and just like the swinging part, you can do that too without swimming. :)

During the day many people also hang out at Aqua Lounge
During the day many people also hang out at Aqua Lounge

Happy Hour at Mondo Taitu

Honorary mention on this list, as Mondo Taitu (now closed) and Barco Hundido, are the original founders of the Bocas Nightlife Scene for tourists, which is just being discovered... by mega-corporations too unfortunately.

My favorite place to start any night of the week is Mondo Taitu. I mean, who can pass up 50 cent beers, right?

You can't miss it if you walk away from the central part of town towards Bluff Beach. It is the big yellow house on the corner across from Rum Runner & Mama Pizzeria.

Shots at Mondo Taitu
Lunch Break during Shots at Mondo Taitu

7 - 8pm, be there! Like I said, 50 cent beers, $1.50 mixed drinks, and they always have special drinks of the night (coconut shots, jungle juice, etc.)

The staff is awesome, the music is vibin', and did I mention 50 cent beers?

La Iguana (Monday, Thursday & Friday)

Community alert: if 10 out of 10 of the bartenders are not Panamanians (even if they're really good looking and young), then the party isn't boosting the local community. Your cute bartender is probably a tourist getting some extra cash to keep traveling more or staying more time without breaking the bank in our stunning home. Please party at parties that benefit the local welfare and support businesses who support local families.

One word, Ladies Night!!! (ok, two words)

That's right, free drinks for the beauties! It's rum and coke all the way for me, but they have other choices too, and usually this free drink giveaway goes until around 12 a.m.

Party at La Iguana Bar in Bocas del Toro, Panama
Party at La Iguana Bar in Bocas del Toro, Panama

Iguana is all the way down the Main Street (3rd Street) across from Natural Mystic Restaurant and if you arrive between 10:45-11:30pm you will be right on time to see “la gente” start pouring in.

This bar is the ultimate experience of the Bocas Rasta vibes. You will have a hard time not moving to the smooth reggae rhythms of legends like Gondwana, Los Cafres and many others.

So grab your drink, head to the floor with your peeps, and get your groove on...

Bars not mentioned in this post

Please don't party in a place where almost everyone who works there is not a Panamanian or a legally established expat who now calls Panama their home. If the business is not providing jobs to the local population, then our community is certainly not benefiting from your patronage to this business. Corporations who do not include the local population's welfare in prosperity creation are destructive and harmful to communities as ours in Bocas del Toro. Please party with people who make sure to really improve the local welfare.

So there you have it, Bocas at its finest after the sun goes down... just be careful and don't over do it... after all, you're here to study Spanish...

And remember, "sarna con gusto, no pica!" ¡Salud!

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT BOCAS DEL TORO... »

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We've been writing about all things Panama for over 10 years. So search our blog to plan your vacation. 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 on vacation!


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