Art Poster Maps: Showing the Spirit of Location

James Melillo was a former director of tourism in Hawaii when he and his colleagues were looking at community ways to promote tourism. What they came up with was the art poster map. They went on to produce over 20 posters on all the islands in Hawaii. It was the most successful tourism promotion that the Bureau had even done.

The Art/Posters became so popular that they now sell as collector items for $300 as a time capsule 30 years later. James also took this idea to Miami and did art poster maps for the Chamber of Commerce there.

“Art shows the spirit/life of the location and you can actually draw and capture the energy, along with an idea of where businesses are located and what people can do,” says the esteemed map-maker.

James and his wife Kelly recently retired and relocated to Bocas del Toro to open the Misty Moonlight Platation Organic Retreat & Villa Rentals in Loma Partida. Upon arrival, looking again for ways to promote their new community’s tourism. James elected to use his art poster map making skills to highlight some of the legendary establishments and activities within some islands in the Archipelago of Bocas del Toro. “It works as a community; everybody co-promotes each other and distributes the map in their own way or sells the map. Also, this is a map that travels; so you will see this map everywhere. It is a joint promotion to promote Bocas del Toro.” It recently took center stage at the Bocas Tourism Booth at the Panama & Cost Rica Tourism Expo Shows. It was used as a giveaway to travel agents and tour operators around the world.

James has seen this type of promotion as the simplest and the most cost effective idea to promote a tourist community, and it benefits the area in 3 ways: (1) it encourages people to come to the area, (2) when the people are within the area, it shows them what is available and (3) it makes a great momento when the people go home.

Get your Art Poster Map in…BOCAS, at any of the sponsoring businesses.


The Bocas Breeze is a digital and print newspaper proudly serving the Bocas del Toro community since 2004; reporting news, advertising local businesses and promoting tourism in Bocas del Toro, Panama.


  1. Teresa Elder Reply

    We have not been able to find an art poster map to purchase, can you tell us where we could buy one? We love it and since we own a villa at Red Frog, we would love one!

    1. Nicholas Corea Reply

      Yes. I know that the Toro Loco bar still has a good amount. I hope you get one. Tell them you read about it in the Bocas Breeze, please!

  2. Randy Foster Reply

    Sooo….. Anyone know if these posters are still available for sale and shipment to the US? Or perhaps a place where I can buy one in Feb when I visit?

    1. Nicholas Corea Reply

      Hi Randy, they are still available at Toro Loco I am pretty sure. You can ship them via Mailboxes Etc. I hope this helps!

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