Surfer's Tropical Paradise at Isla Bastimentos


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Bocas del Toro is quietly becoming a priority destination for selective surfers and body boarders worldwide. Bocas del Toro surf breaks offer some of the best worldwide surf and has been highlighted in publications including Surfing Magazine, Storm riders, and Surfer Magazine.

The next best part is that this surfing paradise is still largely undiscovered and you'll have plenty of water to yourself.

The tropical environment makes Bocas del Toro comparable to Indonesia or Tahiti; you'll be surrounded by lush green primary forest with very clear blue water so you can often see the ocean floor beneath you as you cruise.

Bocas del Toro Surfing Season

The Bocas del Toro surf season generally starts around November and begins to calm around April, although the peak of summer in June and July can bring a mini-season which provides a great window to surf Panama's Caribbean.

Surfing Spots Nearest Red Frog Resort

There are great surf breaks on Isla Bastimentos that can be accessed from Red Frog Beach Resort. These and many other Bocas del Toro surf excursions can be arranged and accessed by boat by our on-site surf guide. Private Bocas del Toro Surf lessons are also available.

  • Playa Larga/Long Beach is situated in the Bastimentos Marine Park, and produces one of the most secluded and pristine waves in the entire Bocas del Toro region with challenging drops and hollow tubes. It's worth the venture even just for the views.
     
  • Cocos, a great spot for beginning surfers, offers long rides.
     
  • Silver Back is a fierce Bocas wave which can reach peak face heights of over 20 feet during Panama's winter months. In between Isla Bastimentos and Isla Carenero is the large wave break that will challenge most surfers.
     
  • Wizard Beach/First Beach offers another uncrowded surf towards a beach break on Isla Bastimentos.
     
  • Carenero gives surfers world-class 4-12+ ft. barrels over a reef that drops into a deep channel. As the island wave that put Bocas del Toro surfing on the map, this can get crowded under good water conditions.
     
  • Black Rock is around Isla Carenero from the namesake wave, but this is a great alternative for beginning and intermediate surfers.
     
  • Paunch Reef is one of the few with left and right breaking waves but be careful for the strong waves over the reef.
     
  • Outer Dumps attracts a lot of locals who make the most of a photogenic steep drop and strong sucking waves that expose the reef.
     
  • Inner Dumps can give a continuous barrel for 100 yards.
     
  • Bluff Beach is usually for experts only! The water comes from deep channels with powerful barrels that tend to eat boards. It's a great ride to a 3-mile long sandy beach for those who are prepared.
     

Bocas del Toro is truly a wave of paradise like none other that surfers everywhere will be thrilled to experience.

 

 

Surfing FAQs

(all information here is subject to change including prices from the local water taxis)

 

What is the surf generally like in Bocas del Toro?

The waves can be world class during season, which is usually from around November to April, and a mini-season during June and July.

Most of the spots are reef breaks, however there are a few good beach breaks and a couple options for beginners. 

You get all types of waves here, from Silverbacks, which is a big wave spot; to powerful shore break; long, hollow reef breaks, rights and lefts, and a couple spots for beginners. 

When is the surf season?

Usually from around November to March and June through July or August.  There could be little swells outside of season but it's not very consistent. 

Are surf spots accessible from Red Frog Beach?

There is a beach break at Red Frog which occasionally gets good.  Otherwise, you can hike through the jungle to Wizard Beach, a beach break, and takes about twenty or thirty minutes each way. 

You can also surf at Polo Beach, which is a fifteen to twenty minute hike in the other direction, and the waves break over reef.

To surf off the island, we can help organize water taxis for you to take to other spots or you can hire a surf guide through the tour agency at the resort. 

What are the costs of hiring taxis or a surf guide?

Water taxis to town are usually $5 each way.  From Bocas Town, you can then take either land taxis, surf shuttles, or boat taxis to waves around the island there.  Options vary in price and you can spend anywhere between $6 roundtrip to $20 roundtrip or more, per person to get to waves. 

Some boat drivers will pick you up directly from our dock at the Red Frog Marina and drop you right at Caraneros, which is the closest spot to surf off Isla Bastimentos.  That's about $5 each way.

When you hire a surfguide, they charge either for a half day or full day for the entire boat.  Half days are $220 for the boat, which includes a guide, drinks, and snacks, and Full Days are $299 which includes lunch as well.

What are the advantages of hiring a surf guide?

Of course if you hire a surf guide, you'll have someone with a lot of experience, who knows all the spots around Bocas del Toro, to take you to the best waves for that day, depending on the swell, wind, and your ability level or what waves you like to surf. 

They'll explain what each wave is like, where the reef and channels are, and make sure everyone is safe. 

The boat stays with you the entire time you're out, so if anything happens or you get tired, you can easily and quickly get transport back to the Island or to town.  (Or just take a break on the boat without having to walk over the reef too many times).  With some of the other options hiring taxis, a lot of times they drop you at a wave and leave, and you're a long distance away from town.  You're relying on the taxi driver to pick you up again, which honestly, doesn't happen 100% of the time. 

The other advantage of hiring a guide is to be able to go to different spots throughout the day, and it ends up being more economical, especially with a group, to pay for one boat than separate forms of transport back and forth between waves.

Do I need to book a surf guide ahead of time?

It's always better to book ahead of time to guarantee availability.  You don't have to before your arrival, however guides usually do need at least 48 hours advanced notice to prepare the boat and food.

Call for details:

U.S. (970) 367-4811 or Panama (507) 836-5501
info@redfrogbeach.com