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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

5 things to do in the Bocas with kids



Stuck on a beach with nothing to do? Boo-hoo! Could be worse eh? Ok - add three kids to the mix with no cable TV,  sketchy wifi, no kids club, pools or water slides. Sound like a dream vacation or what?
But somehow in the beautiful Bocas del Toro archipelago in Panama, situated in the Caribbean Ocean, there are lots of amazing things to do with your kids.

The Bocas are a relatively undeveloped group of islands with a unique biodiversity with lush green vegetation, crystalline waters, and home to the Ngäbe-Buglé indigenous people. A quick flight from Panama city and in about an hour you find yourself in a part of the world that is a natural sanctuary yet easily accessible.


We chose to stay 3 nights at the Azul Paradise , which has over -the- water bungalows with stunning views. Along with their unique accommodations, Azul is eco friendly and operates on a solar system to generate power, uses purified catchment systems for water (totally safe!) and provides full time jobs to the local indigenous community. They also were amazing in helping us coordinate our activities.


Our ride at Azul Paradise - no cars, just boats!

W
hile there are quite a few things to do to explore and enjoy the Bocas, this is our top 5 list  for families:

1. Sloth Island
Head over to an island full of mangroves on a boat, and sit back and take in the gorgeous views and see how many sloths you can spot up in the tree!



2. Starfish Island


The crystal clear turquoise blue waters lend to amazing snorkelling! The girls hopped out to snorkel around Starfish Island where along with so many starfish there were an abundance of coral life to observe. The calm, warm waters were perfect for snorkelers with less experience.




3. Chocolate farm - The kids have to learn something while away on vacay right? We visited the Green Acres Chocolate Farm and it was great for the whole family! Not only did we learn about where chocolate comes from and the first hand production process, we learned a lot about the flora and fauna of the Bocas. We saw and heard howler monkeys, toucans, and poison dart frogs. We even washed down our cacao with some termites! Yikes! True story!



Gorgeous grounds at the Green Acres Organic Chocolate Farm

4. Beach combers - The Bocas being a group of islands means that there are so many beaches to go and explore. Whether you want to snorkel, swim, surf or just lounge on a secluded beach, there really is something for everyone.


The Beach at Azul Paradise

5. Dolphins - watch dolphins play and swim in Dolphin bay from your own boat. But go early and expect company. This was a bucket list item for me!

Other Fun Stuff to Do:

                         - grab a kayak and enjoy the calm waters
                         - catch a water taxi and go into Bocas town - a colourful 
                           Caribbean town full of hostels and small hotels to shop, 
                           wander or partake in the nightlife 
                          - Zip line through the jungles - we didn't get a chance to do 
                            this, but totally on our list for next time
                          - Surf - Bocas has great surfing I'm told
                          - Go Fishing
                          - TIP: pack bug spray and after bite. 2 of us got attacked by 
                           the "no see 'ems" - invisible bugs - ouch!                       

What is your favourite thing to do on a beach vacation with your kids?


Welcoming views at the farm


The floor in our over the water bungalow

The Family Bungalow - spacious for a family of 6

Paradise calling...sunrise views 




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