Introducing Isla Colón
The archipelago’s largest and most developed island is home to the provincial capital of Bocas del Toro, a colorful town of wooden houses built by the United Fruit Company in the early 20th century. Today, Bocas is a relaxed community of West Indians, Latinos and resident gringos, and the town’s friendly atmosphere seems to rub off on everyone who visits. In fact, visitors to Bocas have a reputation for cancelling future travel plans – it’s an easy place to get stuck and an even easier place to call home.
Owing to its infectious charm (and bargain real estate), Isla Colón is in the middle of a major development boom. Since the mid-1990s, foreign investors have been buying up land like hot cakes and there are constantly new hotels, restaurants and condos springing up around the island. Fortunately, there’s still a heavy dose of local flavor left on Isla Colón, and the lack of beachside Burger Kings is a testament to the fact that development is still years behind similar destinations in nearby Costa Rica.
Bocas also serves as a convenient base for exploring the archipelago as taxis marinos (water taxis) ply the waters, and can whisk you away to remote beaches and snorkeling sites for a few dollars. However, as most travelers learn after spending their first few days idly wandering the streets, the allure of Bocas is simply slowing down and soaking up the Caribbean vibes.
Last updated: Oct 20, 2009
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