From the desolate beaches that pepper the coast near the Costa Rican border to the impenetrably wild forests on the fringes of the Darien Gap, the majority of Panama’s Caribbean coast has remained unspoiled since well before Captain Morgan arrived to plunder Portobello in 1668.Vestiges of this period are evident in the now tranquil fortresses that look out majestically over the stunning bay of Portobello.
Far removed from the glittering sophistication of Panama City is the Caribbean archipelago of Bocas del Toro, near the border with Costa Rica. Long isolated from the rest of the country the forested coral islands and adjoining mangrove-stifled mainland it still has a remote, pristine ambience. Banana plantations brought the region into the embrace of the country’s economy and now developers have their eye on the virgin real estate for future condominiums. However, much of the province is protected: the Bastimentos Marine Park is an important conservation area offering superb diving and snorkelling. With a laid back Afro-Caribbean culture alongside friendly indigenous villages, it’s a lovely place to relax.
A short distance off the Caribbean Coast lies The San Blas Archipelago, which is described in more detail on the San Blas Islands page.