The Ultimate Guide to Surfing in Bocas del Toro, Panama

Bocas Del Toro, Panama is an incredibly beautiful series of islands in the northeast of Panama in the Caribbean. There are plenty of awesome things to do here, especially surfing. There’s a wide variety of beach and coral swells that are created among these islands. All the land taxis and water taxis know what the deal is, and can transport you anywhere you need so that you can get your surf on. Oh, they also have an airport so it’s fairly easy to get to.

Then once you’re done with the day of surfing, you can get to partying. This happens nightly at Selina Bocas Del Toro. Selina also just so happens to be our favourite place to stay while visiting Bocas. You should also check out the legendary island pub crawl, Filthy Friday. Unless you know, you suck.

Now that we got the obligatory party suggestion out of the way, let’s get to surfing.

This page is going to be pretty long, so skip to what section you need:

  1. Why Go Surfing in Bocas del Toro
  2. When to Go Surfing in Bocas del Toro
  3. Where to Go Surfing in Bocas del Toro
  4. Transportation
  5. Learning to Surf in Bocas del Toro

Why Go Surfing in Bocas del Toro

There are 10 premiere waves within a 25-minute boat ride, do I even have to say more? Well, I’m going to. I think I need like 2000 words or something. Idk Google algorithms are confusing.

Check out this fact, Bocas has more surf-able waves in a 2 mile stretch of coastline than the rest of the planet. Pretty unreal right?

Need more reason to come surf here:

  • Options. You have a wide variety of options to choose from for all skill levels. Hit up coral waves or beach ones. Whichever you’d like.
  • Nightly Partying. I already mentioned but Selina Bocas and Filthy Friday. More than enough reason.
  • Not Super busy! Even though Bocas is one of the top places to surf, it is yet to get crazy busy. Surf it while it’s still a hidden gem.
  • Chill & Safe. Bocas and the surrounding islands are incredibly safe and definitely have the Caribbean laidback surfer vibe going.
  • Variety! Remember when I said there’s a lot of variety? Well, I’m saying it again.

When to Go Surfing in Bocas del Toro

The best waves also happen to be the high season of tourism, who would’ve guessed? December – March is the season to go for the best waves. If you want the least amount of people, we suggest checking out Bocas in February.

There’s a smaller season that happens to also be less busy between the months of June – August. The waves aren’t as good as the main season but there’s definitely less competition for those juicy waves.

Trying to surf during any other months is not recommended. While you may find a wave here and there, it is generally flatter than your surfboard. This calmness is good for scuba diving and other similar water sports though!

More In Bocas del Toro, Panama

Where to Go Surfing in Bocas del Toro

Time for an information overload about the best spots for waves in Bocas. Good luck choosing! You might just find that your week-long surf vacay turned into a month.

All times are from Bocas Town and ordered by difficulty. 

Old Mans

3 – 5 Minutes | Point Break | Beginner – Intermediate

A great place to practice point breaks. For those of you that are looking for a more chill and mellow surf day, this is the place you should check out. Watch out as it can get shallow quickly if you ride out the wave.

Black Rock

3 – 5 Minutes | Reef Break | Beginner – Intermediate

One of the best spots to learn how to surf in all of Bocas del Toro! With that said, be cautious with other new surfers and their long, uncontrollable boards. Everyone has to learn somewhere!

Wizard Beach

20 Minutes | Beach Break | Beginner – Advanced

This allowed beach is great for most surfers. What also benefits it is the lack of people! Definitely, a spot you should hit up for a good chill day of boarding.

Red Frog Beach

25 Minutes | Beach Break | Beginner – Advanced

Well what do you know, there just so happens to be a Selina here as well! I guess you should stay there and party/surf for the foreseeable future. The wave goes quick so it’s a good place to practice.

Long Beach

30 Minutes | Beach Break | Beginner – Advanced

It’s so far out of town that barely anyone goes here, which is awesome. The waves here are great and are well worth the travel time. 

Subscribe To Our Mailing List

Get updates and learn how to party

Paunch Reef

10 – 15 Minutes | Reef Break | Intermediate – Advanced

Unfortunately, this place can get fairly crowded. There was a time it was a hidden gem. But it is a popular spot for a reason, cause it’s awesome. Great for hollow barrel sections opening up to turns.

Tiger Tails

7 – 10 Minutes | Reef Break | Intermediate – Advanced

A great place to check out for most experienced surfers. It’s fairly quiet so you should be able to get a lot of wave time without having to wait. Be cautious though, there are some rocks that stick out on one of the sides.

Carenero Point

3 – 5 Minutes | Point Break | Intermediate – Advanced

One of the spots that made Bocas such a great destination for surfing. Who knows, without this, you may not have ever heard of the place! Unfortunately, with great waves comes crowds of surfers wanting to board it.

Bluff Beach

15 – 20 Minutes | Beach Break | Advanced

Bluff Beach is probably the most favourite spot in Bocas Del Toro for surfing. It also happens to be very long so there’s plenty of room for you and every other surfer. You’ll be able to sus out your own spot with ease.

Be careful though, plenty of boards and bones get broken here due to the shallow point of the waves. You should know what you’re doing before going out here.


10 Minutes | Big Waves | Professional

Most of you reading this should not even think about attempting these waves. They really are for the best surfers out there, but it is well worth it if you have the experience to back you.


There are plenty of water taxis around, and they are surprisingly cheap. They know why you’re here and what the deal is. Depending on where you are and where the beach is, taking a land taxi might be quicker. Most taxis on the islands are pickup trucks that are capable of getting you anywhere you need. However, any surf you want to do, a water taxi will be able to get you there.

Selina Bocas is a great starting point as they offer rides to most surf spots. Especially if you’re taking a lesson with them.

Other than that, ask your hostel!

Learning to Surf in Bocas del Toro

There are plenty of places you can learn how to surf in Bocas del Toro. Here are some of our recommendations:

Selina Bocas

Well well well, what a surprise! Who would have thought that the hostel chain that prides itself on being a digital nomad and surfing all day is one of the best places to learn how to surf too!


Also, a great place to learn how to surf! They use soft top boards which sets them apart from the rest. Depending on the quality of the board, rentals can go from $10 – $25.

La Buga Dive & Surf

A $50 lesson will get you some surf theory as well as a couple of hours in the water. If you just want to rent a board from them, that’ll cost you $20 for the day.

Mono Loco Surf School

This school does offer private lessons. $45 will get you some theory and some playtime in the water. This usually equates to about 3 hours in total class time. Board rentals will be about $15/day.

Hope You Didn't Get Railed By A Board!

Tell us all about it! Which wave was your favourite? Please tell me you didn’t try Silverbacks or do tell me and let me know how many bones you broke!

Do you know what I like to do with a bunch of broken bones? Party on 4 different islands in a single day. Welcome to Filthy Friday! Don’t know what that is? Good thing we made that hella useful article.

Subscribe To Our Mailing List

Get updates and learn how to party

Share This Post

Troy Woodbeck

Troy Woodbeck is the Founder of National Litographic. He thought the world needed to learn how to party travel and decided to do something about it. He's also a drunk idiot, so who cares what he thinks.

Leave a Reply