Bocas del Toro Archipelago Cruising Information

“Who’s Looking for the Bull’s Mouths? or “Maybe the mouth of the Dragon?”

By Mary J. Robertson

What is the direction of serious cruisers looking to still find a remote paradise? Panama is still offering unlimited cruising time for pleasure vessels wanting to explore the many archipelagos located along their coasts.

In the remote archipelago of Bocas del Toro, the entrance buoys from the known route between Bastimentos, Careening Cay (Carenero), and Hospital Point have been relocated to the deeper channel of Boca del Drago. The Chirique Fruit Company that controls the route of the cargo vessels of the banana trade has moved the entrance buoys to the deeper route via Bocas del Drago.

In the new 4th Edition of the Panama Guide, written by Eric Baumhaus, the new buoy locations have been updated for the recommended route via Boca del Drago. The updated guide illustrates the new route and that all the entrance buoys via Bastimentos, Carenero, and Hospital point have been relocated.

The Bocas del Toro entrance is still usable with the existing way points listed in the previous guide editions, however, the buoys have been relocated. This entrance is just as usable unless the vessel has draft concerns like the cargo vessels (+40’).

Bocas del Toro is a port of entry and has new official hours of operation. The new clearing hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with one hour break for lunch from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. Any vessel needing to clear after 4:00 p.m. will be subject to their overtime rates.
Pleasure vessels still have an unlimited time of stay by purchasing a cruising permit valid for one year, which is renewable. Panama offers cruisers more than most countries in Central America with their diversity of friendly locals, a stable government, infra-structure of airports, buses, and ease to move in and out of the country.
If you are considering a new place to discover, consider Panama as your next destination. There are many retirement packages available for those who decide to stay for retirement.
Panama is the country of progression, retirement, long-term growth, and sustainability. Consider why you have not come to understand what Panama has to offer for you and your family, especially if you like cruising!

Living on Island Time is a Dream Come True!