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Bastimentos Marine Park encompasses a significant portion of Bastimentos Island and Zapatilla Islands, in addition to the waters and mangroves that surround them. Oddly enough, the portion of Bastimentos Island that is reserved for the park resides in the middle portion of the island and runs north-south. The island’s western end, which includes Bastimentos town and Red Frog Beach, and its eastern end, which includes Cayo Coral, are not part of the marine park.
There is no access to the park along the southern side of the island; the shoreline is comprised entirely of dense mangroves and forests. You can access the park along its northern side, but you will need to hire a boat to take you there, or you can walk from Bastimentos town or Red Frog Beach. Keep in mind, the northern side of the island faces the Caribbean Sea, and as a result, is subject to rough seas. While ample space for boat landings exists, most of the coastline can not be accessed unless weather and water conditions permit, and the best time of year for that is between August-October. The landscape along the northern side includes large rock outcroppings, stretches of beach, and numerous coves and inlets. There is no defined hiking trail, so you will need to make your way along the beach. Expect to get wet!
Bastimentos Island contains a healthy supply of wildlife including white-face and howler monkeys, sloths, and the ever so popular poison dart frogs. Unfortunately, the absence of interior trails means you will be limited to whatever makes itself visible along the coastline. Though not part of the marine park, the area surrounding Bastimentos town and Red Frog Beach is the best place to see multi-colored poison dart frogs. Only 3/4” in length, they come in a multitude of colors and should be easy to find, even without a guide.
For more information about places to visit and things to do in Bocas del Toro, click here.Google Map - Bastimentos Marine Park
The park’s headquarters are located on Zapatilla's southernmost island, where Panama’s National Environmental Authority (ANAM) maintains an office. There is a short nature trail that leads to the windward side of the island, winding through mangroves and forests along the way. All visitors must pay $10 to enter the park.