Bocas del Toro

It is difficult to express in a few words what you can feel when you visit the Bocas del Toro archipielago. Only some places around the world keep this particular atmosphere, seductive, primitive and unforgettable. Bocas del Toro captivates its visitors because of its amazing vegetation, its biodiversity, its ancients customs: it is a real biological fantasy…

Bocas del Toro, meaning Mouth of the Bull, is a province of Panama. Its extension is 4,643.9 square kilometers comprising the mainland and nine main islands. The province consists of the Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Bahía Almirante (Almirante Bay), Laguna de Chiriquí (Chiriquí Lagoon), and adjacent mainland. The capital is the city of Bocas del Toro on Isla Colón (Colón Island). Other major cities or towns include Almirante, and Changuinola. The province has a total population of 125,461 people (2010).

Christopher Columbus and his crew discovered the area in 1502. Bocas del Toro borders the Caribbean Sea to the north, Limón Province of Costa Rica to the west, Chiriquí Province to the south, and Ngöbe-Buglé Comarca to the east. The Río Sixaola forms part of the border with Costa Rica. An old railroad bridge spans the river between Guabito and Sixaola, Costa Rica. The bridge is a border crossing used by tourists going between destinations in Bocas and Costa Rica.

The province contains two national parks: Isla Bastimentos National Marine Park and La Amistad International Park. The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute operates a research station on Colón Island just northwest of Bocas Town. There are many banana plantations in Bocas del Toro, often called the oro verde or green gold of Central America.

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