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Introducing Isla Bastimentos

Although it’s a mere 10-minute boat ride from the town of Bocas del Toro, Isla Bastimentos is a different world. The northern coast of the island is home to palm-fringed wilderness beaches that serve as nesting grounds for sea turtles, while most of the southern coast consists of mangrove islands and coral reefs that fall within the boundaries of the Parque Nacional Marino Isla Bastimentos.

The main settlement on Bastimentos is the historic West Indian town of Old Bank, which has its origins in the banana industry. The island is also home to the Ngöbe-Buglé village of Quebrada Sal (Salt Creek).

Long the stronghold of Afro-Caribbean culture in Bocas, Bastimentos is changing in nature, not in small part to Red Frog Beach Rainforest Resort & Marina, a luxury development project that went bust, but not before generating real estate buzz around the previously pristine Red Frog Beach.

Día de Bastimentos (Bastimentos Day; November 23) is celebrated with a huge parade and drumming demonstrations on the island.