Anyone and everyone giving advice on what to do in Bocas del Toro mentions the bike ride to Bluff Beach.
The most common comments?
“The beach is beautiful!”
“The ride is only like half an hour!”
“It’s easy just rent a bike!”
Every would-be advice giver mentions how the ride isn’t too tough and how the beautiful secluded beach is sooooo worth it.
Not one to ever turn down a beautiful beach (though Bastimentos Island would be pretty hard to beat) one afternoon after class at Habla Ya Bocas del Toro, my classmates Charlotte and Nora and I set out on the ride.
Bluff Beach Bike Ride in Bocas del Toro
First, we grabbed lunch at Tom’s (my restaurant crush) to fuel up for the journey. $4 for a set meal, and they’ve even got an awesome vegetarian/vegan option!
the view from Tom’s restaurant deck isn’t too shabby either, especially for a $4 meal
After our feast, we rented bikes for just $5. We had to leave an ID as insurance for our rentals, but luckily the shop accepted my passport copy as sufficient (always carry a copy with you) and off we went!
The afternoon was steaming hot with a bright overbearing sun. Thankfully, the easy route (just stay to the right and follow the ocean all the way there) took us along tree-lined seaside roads providing both shade and a cooling breeze. The trip was so gorgeous it was almost unbelievable! The sea peeking out from the trees was my favorite color of blue.
After pedaling for quite some time (and admittedly, stopping for a few selfie and photo breaks, let’s be serious), we stopped our bikes and jumped in the water near Paki Point for a break, figuring we were super close.
Shortly after our refreshing dip, the easy paved road gave way to a messy mix of gravel and sand, before eventually becoming nothing but sand. When we asked a passing biker returning from where we were heading how much longer it’d be, he guessed 15 or 20 minutes.
A group consensus agreed upon, we decided to stop toiling our tires through the sand and locked our bikes to a tree to make the rest of the journey on foot. It’s not too far, right?
After several more miles walking and no end in sight, we tried to catch a cab, but they were in high demand and short supply.
When a police officer on an ATV stopped to check on us, we asked (only half joking) if we could get a ride to Bluff Beach. He gestured for us to walk up the hill, and after obliging, he let us on!
My two classmates sat in the back, I sat up front, and the officer kindly lent me his helmet for safety. (Sadly, no photos were taken as the officer wouldn’t allow them, I’m guessing giving 3 tourists a joyride to the beach isn’t one of the approved duties).
We made it to Bluff Beach in style… and it DEFINITELY would have been much longer than 20 minutes on a bike.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t impressed.
We’d struggled, biked, walked, and ATV-ed past numerous empty and beautiful beaches.
The main bit of Bluff Beach was pretty, if you mean pretty full of surfers, lit joints, and rubbish.
We chilled on the sand a ways down from the main hangout for a while, where it was nicer. And pretty empty.
We only had a little bit of relaxation before packing it in for the day, as we needed to have the bikes back before 5. This time we were smarter – we shared a cab to Paki Point and then biked it from there.
Bluff Beach was fine but probably not worth the long trek, unless surfing or spliff-smoking is on the top of your to-do list.
Renting a bike to see the island is definitely worthwhile, but I’d recommend ending your trip at Paki Point instead and reward yourself for your work with a cold beer or cocktail rather than struggling to make it all the way to the unimpressive Bluff Beach.
Brutal honesty: I’m definitely not in the best shape of my life. Maybe the ride is a cinch for fitness buffs. If so – more power to ya!
Pin it for Later:
You can rent a bike at any bike shop in Bocas Town or maybe even your hostel. The going rate is $5 for a day rental and you’ll need to leave some ID (try to leave a copy, not an actual ID). Make sure you check the bike over for any issues, and get a lock which should come with the rental.
The route to Bluffs Beach is to keep right on the road out of town, and follow the ocean to Paki Point and beyond. At least, that’s what I was told. If you know the secret, easy way to get there – please share!!!
While Bocas Town is well equipped with convenience stores, the rest of the island isn’t. Make sure to bring a water bottle, and a snack if you’ll need it.
Sometimes sand flies and mosquitos can be problematic in Bocas Del Toro, so if that is bothersome for you bring some bug spray.
I got really lobster-style burnt while biking so load up on SPF and definitely bring some sunscreen with you if you’re at all sensitive.
Wear your bikini there because there isn’t a place to chance, and bring a canga/sarong for sitting on the beach and drying off. Watch your stuff and the tide, the waves quickly rose and completely drenched all of our stuff that seemed to be safely out of range.