I’ve visited beautiful beaches on 5 continents – each one interesting and unique in its own right.
And I’ll admit, I’ve become a bit of a beach snob. After spending over a year exploring Thailand’s almost unsurpassable stretches of sand, and then living just a few blocks off the beach in Rio de Janeiro – very little impresses me.
But Isla Bastimentos?
Seriously – straight out of a magazine, straight off of a postcard.
Isla Bastimentos (or “Bastimentos Island”) will forever have a special place in my dreams… The clear water, bright blue skies, and lush green trees. Wow!
Just a short boat ride from Bocas Town on Isla Colon, Isla Bastimentos is a welcome escape from the noise, crowds, and hustle and bustle of Bocas del Toro’s main gateway.
A laid-back island paradise, you could devote a whole day (or more) to beach hopping on Isla Bastimentos, but be sure to reserve at least half a day to exploration.
I visited on an afternoon trip with Habla Ya Spanish School, who organized the whole excursion. It was an awesome opportunity to make friends and be social with other students. As a solo traveler, I find that group tours are one of the best ways to make friends while traveling, and this tour was no exception!
The school took care of the boat there and back (about a 10 minute ride) and provided a fabulous guide to lead us from beach to beach to even more beautiful beach.
The trails weave through the forest of Bastimentos island, and I definitely wouldn’t have been able to find all the beaches without an experienced guide leading the way.
We lunched on tacos (and beer) at the very first beach…
…which was actually (relatively) crowded and nothing to write home about, before setting off with full stomachs and brimming with excitement.
We followed our guide along the beach and into the water, before taking a planked trail that lead to a scenic lookout point.
From there, we moved on to check out beach after beautiful beach, noting plants and fruits that our guide pointed out along the way.
After leaving that very first beach, I didn’t see another person outside of our small group! It felt like being a small band of adventurers on a truly deserted island.
Finally, we ended at a completely secluded, completely gorgeous, beach perfect for swimming.
The guide watched our stuff for us, so I was able to set down my camera and truly enjoy splashing around without keeping an eagle eye out for thieves. (and of course – snap some selfies)
The scene was picturesque, the fellow beach-hoppers were awesome (until now, I’ve stayed in touch with several of the people I met that day), and it was a relaxing break from cramming my head full of conjugations and vocabulary.
What are your favorite beaches?
Any student of Habla Ya will receive the discounted rate of $25 for the Bastimentos Island tour (which includes lunch)
Be sure to wear sandals or shoes that can get wet (you’ll be walking in the water for part of the Bastimentos trip), unless you want to take them off and carry them.
Also wear a swimsuit (there won’t be any bathrooms to change in), and bring a towel or canga for drying off afterwards. A water bottle would also be a wise choice, as would sunscreen for the easily toasted like me.