Panama Beach Adventure to Boca del Drago, Isla Colon

By Tee1

Boca del Drago Beach: Best Beach in Isla Colon

When you think exotic, the Boca del Drago beach on Panama’s Colon Island is what you are thinking of. The lush tropical beach spot of Boca del Drago is rich with vegetation. The island’s white sand borders the crystal Caribbean waters and looks unreal. Colon Island is part of the Bocas del Toro island group. Named after none other than Christopher Columbus who landed during his 4th and final trip to the Caribbean.

Stop whatever you are doing for a nice ceviche (raw fish marinated with lemon)

The stunning beach spot at Boca del Drago is on the northwest of Isla Colon. This is easily one of the best beaches in a very ecologically sound area. Huge beach resorts, while fun, are hell on the local environment. So far, development has not destroyed the area. It is staring to be felt in places though. A quick 15 minute walk away brings you to the nearby Starfish Beach. More water taxis to newly built cabins and commercial stands have caused the starfish to move further out to sea from the beach. 

Where is Boca del Drago? 9°33′N 82°17′W

Amazing Snorkeling in Boca del Drago

If the water at Boca del Drago is calm, it is the best spot on Isla Colon for swimming and snorkeling. When it is good, it is great with unlimited visibility. Not far from the shore, is a great Caribbean beach and snorkel spot with a sand and coral sea floor. Occasionally, you will need to be careful since the water can get rough. Only 10 minutes away straight out to sea by boat, you will find the bird sanctuary on Swans Key.

Simple Boca del Drago Beach Vacations

As the 2017 Hurricane Season is in full effect with catastrophic damages to numerous islands, the Caribbean coast of Panama finds itself mercifully outside the hurricane belt. The Boca del Drago beach sits at latitude 9, south of the potential hurricanes. Gringo dropouts have flocked to the Bocas del Toro province of Panama. Cost of living, climate, warm water, etc are just some of the reasons why. A lot of expats travel by boat, not car. Water taxis are ubiquitous in the area.


In the Boca del Toro archipelago, Isla Colon is both the capital of the province and the most populated island. Not surprisingly, the main town on the island is Bocas Town. The majority of businesses, including hotels, tour operators and bars etc are found here. Bocas Town has a Caribbean (Afro-Caribbean English speaking) feel to it. The rest of Panama is on the Pacific and Spanish speaking.

The Bocas del Toro International Airport is located in town. It is the starting point for intrepid travelers to see the area.

On the Caribbean side of the Central American coast, English is spoken extensively. In Panama, this is especially true. Like the rest of Central America, Spanish will typically be spoken on the west coast, while English is the lingua franca of the Caribbean. In Bocas del Toro, the locals speak English because the are descended from West Africans that were enslaved. Amonst themselves, the locals speak a Creole that is difficult to decipher.

[pullquote]Colombus’ first stop in Panama was Boca del Drago on Isla Colon, after he left Costa Rica in late 1502. The Admiral entered “Admiral Bay” through the channel which cuts Isla Colon from the mainland.[/pullquote]

If you choose to visit this great place in Panama, you will notice while in the air, the Bocas del Toro Province is dominated by water. Once you leave the coast in the majority of the area, the jungle is nearly impassable.

The indigenous Ngöbe and Buglé tribesmen account for a significant percentage of the local population. Additionally, there are also descendants of former runaway slaves that escaped from bondage in Jamaica. The inhabitants of the area are a unique diverse group. Like they say, everybody has to be somewhere. As a result of the unique dynamics in the archipelago, the Hispanic cultural influence is not very strong. 

On the road that connects Boca del Drago and Bocas del Toro, there are about 25 houses that house nearly 300 Ngöbe Indians. The Ngöbe are predominantly fisherman with no electricity or fresh water.

Endangered Sea Turtles in Panama

Worldwide there are a total of seven species of sea turtle. Unfortunately, they are all endangered.  Except for the leatherback turtle, the other 6 sea turtles have hard shells. 5 species live in Central America.

“Four species of sea turtles are found in the waters of Bocas del Toro: leatherback, (Dermochelys coriacea), hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), green (Chelonia mydas) and loggerhead (Caretta caretta). The first three species nest on the region’s beaches; while loggerhead, green and hawksbill turtles are found at different stages of their life cycle, feeding in areas close to the coast.” Hopefully, you know better, but please don’t harass (touch) the turtles or their eggs if you see them. 

Sea turtles may be large strong reptiles, but fishing, pollution, hunting for their meat and development has decimated their numbers and reduced their habitat.

Thank you to my friend Jonny H. for his contribution of the pictures used. Jonny has been bouncing around the planet for a number of years, making the world a better place. Currently he is residing in Thailand, making music and websites.