Bocas del Toro is more than a Surf Spot
When people think of Bocas del Toro they usually think about surfing, but diving in Panama is also great. Bocas del Toro and Portobelo are the only two places in the Caribbean of Panama with diving schools and facilities. Diving is not permitted in the San Blas Archipelago, only snorkeling.
The water in this area stays consistently warm, unlike the Pacific Ocean. Divers can dive without a wet-suit year round (dive centers have them if you get cold easily). The best time of the year is the “summer” which means more sun and calmer oceans. This is be awful for surfers, so they usually skip going to the island during this time of the year, so it is more quiet.
February through April are a mid-season, then September and October are the true summer months. During this time it is possible to venture off to Escudo de Veraguas, a very remote diving or snorkeling site with intact corals.
Pick Between Many Diving Spots
Some of the closer spots to Isla Colon are Hospital Point, Playground, the Wreck, Airport, Bouyline, among others. Expect to see colorful corals and sponges. Be sure to keep a look out for interesting creatures such as scorpionfish, frog fish, arrow crabs, flying gurnards, cowries, bennies, squids, sea horses, etc. In this area it is also possible to see lobsters, octopus, mantas, reef sharks, jacks, snappers, groupers and more.
Polo Beach is a great site for diving in Bastimentos Island since it has very cool cave formations that can be accessible by open water divers. Zapatillas Cays (which is considered the most beautiful part of the archipelago by many) is another spot further away. This spot also gives you the opportunity to swim. A bit further is Tiger Rock, that is considered the best spot. Here you can see large school of fish and even sharks. This is a full day trip and is subject to weather conditions.
Bioluminescence is a phenomenon known in this area, which makes Bocas del Toro a great place to do a night dive.
Get Certified or Advance a Level
If you are not certified to dive and have a few days in the island be sure to schedule in a Open Water Certification or a Discover Scuba dive. If you want to advance in level you can take advantage of the inexpensive prices in the island.