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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!


Day Trip #2: Visit Boca del Drago and Starfish Beach

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This is the second 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!

It is inadmissible to come to Bocas del Toro without visiting Starfish Beach! Starfish Beach is by far one of the most spectacular beaches in Bocas del Toro. Its water is crystal clear and certainly very calm during most of the year (the exception being some northerly swells we receive in November and December).

Starfish Beach received its name due to the fact that many starfish come and gather there to feed. You will be tempted to touch them, take them out of the water and take pictures, but please do not do it! It would be totally uncool if someone randomly picked you up just for the sake of taking a photo, wouldn't it? Unless you really liked that person... but Starfish obviously don't know you... so...

We love our Starfish: appreciate the wildlife but don't interfere with it!
We love our Starfish: appreciate the wildlife but don't interfere with it!

Leaving aside the eco-tip, there are several ways to get to Starfish Beach. If you are brave and in good shape, you can cycle to Boca del Drago by renting a bike in town ($7 – $10 per day). It should take you about 1 - 2 hours depending on your speed. It's about 18 kilometers (11 miles) from town and there are several hilly places where you would certainly benefit from riding a bike with gears (instead of a beach cruiser).

If you are not in your best shape, don’t have much time or just feel lazy, we recommend taking the bus (nice and cheap with air conditioning), or a taxi (more expensive).

Cycling to Boca del Drago

Once you get to Starfish Beach, make sure to lock up and secure your bike!
Once you get to Starfish Beach, make sure to lock up and secure your bike!

If you decide to cycle, you have to:

  1. ride north up Third Street until it merges into G Avenue and ride along until you pass Habla Ya Bocas Spanish School
  2. 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
  3. once you pass the Smithsonian Institute, you’ll reach a fork that if you take a left you’ll go through the island towards Boca del Drago (Starfish Beach)
  4. contiue on that road for 1 - 2 hours until you reach the sea, turn left and ride on a sandy road for about 5 - 10 minutes until you reach the end of it

The bike ride to Drago is a rather long one, especially if you cycle, so make sure to bring water with you. Don’t be discouraged by the time it takes to get there however - you will enjoy beautiful nature, get some exercise, and it is certainly worth your time and effort to visit this side of Isla Colon!

Taking the bus or a taxi to Boca del Drago

Starfish Beach in Bocas del Toro is simply one of Panama's most stunning beaches
Starfish Beach in Bocas del Toro is simply one of Panama's most stunning beaches

If you go to the Central Park, there will be a "colectivo" (30 passenger bus) waiting to leave once it fills up. It's scheduled times to leave Bocas are 5 a.m., 10 a.m., 12 pm., 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. The bus journey roughly takes 30 minutes and it heads back into town an hour after it leaves town. They charge $2.50 one way, or you can ask for a return and they will charge $5 and that saves you a seat for on the way back. But be careful, the last bus is scheduled to go back to town at 6 p.m. but if it fills up it will leave before.

If you decide to take a taxi, it will charge you $15 for each journey. Make sure to agree a time for pickup (and don't get your hopes too high for him to be totally punctual and never pay in advance).

Once you get to Boca del Drago, either by bike, bus or taxi, you will eventually reach a couple of local restaurants that serve superb-fresh sea food. Stop for a nice ceviche (raw fish marinated with lemon) and a cold beer, or stay for a beautifully fried whole fresh fish, which is absolutely succulent... YUM!

From these restaurants in Boca del Drago to Starfish Beach it's only a 15 minute walk, or a $1, one minute boat ride. Make a plan to spend the whole day out here to truly enjoy it!

If you can walk, there really isn't a need to take a boat to Starfish Beach... enjoy it!
If you can walk, there really isn't a need to take a boat to Starfish Beach... enjoy it!

A word of advice

Unfortunately during the last year, a couple of random restaurants have made their appearance at Starfish Beach taking away some of its peaceful tranquility and pristine charm. With diesel powered generators and pumping music they are polluting the area in more than one way. Complaints have been made to the authorities but nothing has been done. Our advice: stay away from them and make sure to take your business elsewhere. Apart from that, Starfish Beach remains one of the most stunning beaches of Bocas del Toro.

You can also reach Starfish Beach via a boat tour from Bocas Town, and from Bocas del Drago you can also hire a boat to Bird Island.

FIND MORE ABOUT THE BOCAS DEL TORO ISLANDS... »

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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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2 Responses to "Day Trip #2: Visit Boca del Drago and Starfish Beach"

  1. Which is the best restaurant of seafood in Bocas del Toro.

  2. We like Bibi’s on the Beach, but there are many, many great seafood restaurants in Bocas…