This Week in Bocas – October 18, 2021 – Edition #7 – “Sustainable Tourism”
The Bocas Breeze attended the October 9th presentation from the Tourism Authority of Panama wherein plans were presented to invest $100 million in infrastructure upgrades. A summary for the Master Plan for Sustainable Tourism 2020-2025 is published below.
COVID-19 figures in the community are now in the single digits and the national government is beginning to require vaccination proof to enter locations that wish to operate at 100% capacity. The community is in outrage over new construction in its historic district that that does little to respect the style of Bocas del Toro’s classic architecture. Also a bit of outrage comes from editor Nicholas Corea; penning quite the salty response to an article written by two lazy and unethical travel bloggers who are currently dragging Bocas del Toro tourism’s name through search engine mud. The worst part? Their article is over four years old but has been re-dated to pose as a recent review. It is currently ranking high on Google when searching for “Bocas del Toro,” adding some pepper to our salt.
It has always been a top-priority for The Bocas Breeze to highlight the islands’ social and environmental progres. This week we are highlighting the effort to eradicate the invasive lionfish species from our waters and EAT THE ENEMY. We look at why we should eat lionfish, how we can enjoy it and where we can find it on offer! Wasteless World is involved with the movement and have also recently scored two more successful clean-ups. Papa Gato had quite the fundraiser at Tequila Republic and has been able to keep up their work for animal welfare on the island. Rotary Club Bocas del Toro has a campaign to celebrate 102 years of Rotary in Panama. They will be gifting newborn cradles to families in our community.
Read more on all these stories, new openings, events and promotions from our beloved business communities as you keep scrolling along, highlighting the happenings in our favorite community: Bocas del Toro, Panama!
New Openings and Announcements in Bocas del Toro
Coco Fastronomy Re-opens in Hotel Bocas del Toro
Congratulations to Alizé and Marina (pictured left to right, respectively) on the re-opening of Coco Fastronomy – now located in the Hotel Bocas del Toro on 1st street, Isla Colon. Open 10am-10pm Thursday to Tuesday the signature sandwich, the BAPÉ, a fried (but never greasy) bread, stuffed with a variety of fillings is highly recommended. It is the only place in the world to experience this culinary creation and most of them are under $6!
Hello Travel Panama has its all-in-one shuttle service up and running again!
Experience the best of Panama’s two worlds when you travel smoothly between Boquete and Bocas del Toro with Hello Travel Panama. The shuttle leaves from Bocas del Toro to Boquete every day at 12pm with drop off in Boquete directly at the hotels in town. This four-hour journey is $30 – water taxi included – and departs from Taxi Valencia dock (which is also the ticket booth). To book: firstname.lastname@example.org +507 6378109
Black Magic Bocas in its inaugural party cruise!
An exciting project that was two and half years in the making launched on Saturday October 16 when the 42 foot Spanish Galleon ship set sail for its very first Black Magic pirate party cruise to Starfish Beach. You can join in on the fun every Wednesday and Saturday. Register here and let the adventure begin!
Renny’s Pizza is now located at Gran Hotel Bahia. For the win.
On Saturday, October 16, the popular pizza delivery service Renny’s Pizza, celebrated the opening of its new dine-in location at the the Gran Hotel Bahia. When you bring these ancestral Italian pizza recipes to the front patio of the historic Gran Hotel Bahia, great things are bound to happen. Congratulations guys!
Let’s Grow More Plants in Bocas del Toro! The Vivero Deliciosa Nursery is Here
Growing more plants and improving local food production is the idea and Vivero Deliciosa is your new local nursery. Join the celebration on Tuesday, October 19, from 3pm to 5:30pm at Octo restaurant. The nursery is located right next door on Avenida F, between 4th and 5th Street on Isla Colon. Vivero Deliciosa is getting started with a nice selection of fruit trees, ornamentals, succulents, compost/soil and more. Most plants are sourced from Bocas del Toro farms, with some of the species coming from farms in nearby Chiriqui. Vivero Deliciosa will be open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday – from 9am to 1pm.
The Floating Bar Will Close for the Month of November
The Floating Bar will take a well-deserved rest during the month of November. They are open 12pm – sunset every day except Wednesdays until October 31, 2021, so get it while the floatin’ is good! And stay tuned for the triumphant December 2021 return!!!!
Los Tiburones de Isla Colon: The Most Prized Boxing Squad in the Province
On Saturday October 16, the youth boxing group from Isla Colon traveled to Changuinola to participate in a boxing tournament organized by the police department. The visiting Tiburones won five out of the seven bouts, including the main event when Aldahir “Chinito” Salazar overpowered the previously undefeated top Changuinola boxing prospect, Roderick Uribe, in a technical knockout.
“Congratulations to the team. It is a very tough and highly disciplined process to carry out an athletic program without resources and without government support. Each victory is worth double. Thank God we’re getting it done and we have been able to make strong improvements,” says Bocas del Toro boxing federation president, Manuel Sanjur.
Historic Bocas Town?
The people of Bocas del Toro were outraged as a photograph of a 5 story “shop and apartment building (with no windows)” on 1st street made its rounds on social media and WhatsApp chats. Many residents are quite fond of the architecture of Bocas Town’s historic center and are well aware of the municipal law ACUERDO No. 53 DEL 31 DE AGOSTO DE 2006 that protects this zone as an area of historic conservation. Bocas del Toro is known in for its unique architecture; an aspect of which many Bocatoreños are very proud. That is why they are saddened to see new buildings constructed in the downtown area that have little or nothing to do with the historic aesthetic of the town. Worldwide lovers of Bocas del Toro also do not want to see Bocas Town lose its Caribbean wooden charm. To get a feeling of the local sentiment around this, just take a look at this thread on Facebook.
Learn more about what the classic Caribbean architecture in Bocas del Toro is all about in an article from our May 2019 issue.
What to Do in Bocas del Toro October 18, 2021 – October 24, 2021
Monday, October 18, 2021
12-7pm The Floating Bar – Lunes Loco (Family Day). Kid meals for $3 like hot dogs with chips and kid size chicken or cheese quesadillas and specialty kiddie cocktails for $2 like Pink Flamingo Lemonade and Bocas YooHoo ChocoMilk made with local Citizens of Chocolate cacao. There are Happy Hours for the ‘Big Kids’ from 12 noon until 5 p.m. 1/2 off all specialty drinks and $1 beers.
12-10pm (or later) Tequila Republic – Margarita Monday. Classic $3 margaritas all day. Best enjoyed when washing down the bar’s famous Dirty Burger.
4:30-10pm El Ultimo Refugio – Suprise! El Ultimo Refugio is normally open Tuesday to Saturday but will open up specially for just this Monday. Enjoy two for one sangrias and national beers on their breezy beautiful back patio 4:30-6:30!
5pm-late Barco Hundido – Blue Monday. Happy hour 5-9pm and Argentine-style empanadas from guest vendor CocinArte with the sounds DJ Leo starting at 9pm
6pm Toro Loco – (North) America’s favorite pastime, Major League Baseball, will be broadcasted all week as the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros square off for the American League pennant, and the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves for the National League championship. The MLB world series is favorably enjoyed at Bocas del Toro’s original sports bar: Toro Loco.
Tuesday, October 19, 2021
8:30am-5pm Super Gourmet – Delivery day: fresh organic fruits/veggies and Mortons Bakehouse bread
12-7pm The Floating Bar – Beat the Clock Margaritas for Taco Tuesday! Order and drink your favorite Margarita before 2 p.m. and it’s only $2! $3 until 3 p.m. $4 until 4 p.m. $5 until 5 p.m.
12-10pm (or later) Tequila Republic – Taco-rita Tuesday. Only $8 for two tacos and a classic margarita.
3-5:30pm Vivero Deliciosa is Bocas del Toro’s new local nursery and will be celebrating its launch with a reception at Octo
8pm Toro Loco – Kinky Karaoke ft. Tim Jones “Just lose your inhibitions”
8pm-2am La Neta Caribe – Martes Alternativo ft. DJ Fat. Pool tournament with 1st place prize of a bottle of Jack Daniel’s
8:30pm Bocas Brewery – Zayan and Heylis live music featuring their signature vintage acoustic selections with Caribbean flow
Wednesday, October 20, 2021
10am English and 11am Spanish – Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Monthly Bocas Talk – The History of the Smithsonian in Panama by Carolina Cesar. Sign up here.
11:30am (until sunset) Black Magic – Party on a pirate ship while cruising out to Starfish Beach in style. DJs and drinks on board. Tickets are $39 (reserve online, pay on-site).
8pm Bocas Brewery: Enrioke karaoke sessions. Enriquismo is your legendary local karaoke guide.
9pm-12am La Neta Caribe at Selina – Corriente Latina live music featuring an 8+ piece band: Los Impostores de la Salsa
Thursday, October 21, 2021
12-7pm The Floating Bar – Dollar Dinghy Thursday: “Arrive in a dinghy and get $1 off each and every drink you order! We also celebrate Taco Thursday, because Tuesday is just not enough! Choose any 2 Tacos for $5.00.”
5pm (until late) Barco Hundido – Latin Night: DJ Magic plays salsa, merengue and tropical music. Free entrance before 9pm.
8pm Bocas Brewery – Wasteless World Environmental Trivia. $2.50 per person to join. Drink craft beer, test your environmental knowledge and learn something new while supporting Wasteless World’s efforts working toward the opening of a community-led plastic workshop that will take post consumer plastic and turn it into plastic lumber.
8pm-2am La Neta Caribe at Selina – Reggae Night Bocas Party with DJ Fat and DJ Dillo
Friday, October 22, 2021
4-7pm La Buguita Ocean Lounge – Viernes de Mercadito ft. music by DJ Ivan Viña. Amazing products made from local producers: chocolate, bread, organic fruits & veggies, honey, teas, tonics, self-care, jewelry, clothing, artisanal crafts and new vendors are participating every week.
5pm (until late) Barco Hundido – Sunset Reggae ft. Selecta Lion Vibes. 2 x 1 beer & mixed drinks 5-7pm. Free entrance before 9pm.
6pm The Floating Bar – Glow Worm Orgy. The moon is just right to enjoy the magical glowing bioluminescent plankton off the docks of The Floating Bar. IMPORTANT: Come before 6pm, as there will be no boat traffic permitted from 6pm to 8pm for safety of the swimmers and maximum enjoyment of the “glow worm orgy.”
6pm Calypso Cantina Friday Night BBQ with live music featuring Lucio and Amelie, virtuoso multi-instrumentalists with an eclectic repertoire. Call +507 6616-6000 for reservations or a ride courtesy of the Marina from Captain Nacho (who graciously accepts tips).
8:30pm Bocas Brewery – Live music featuring Kurtis AKA Cortez AKA The Original Surfing Cowboy. Country style and always with inspiring and hilarious commentary on the microphone
8pm-2am La Neta Caribe at Selina – Caribbean Madness party with DJ Fat 8pm- 2am
8:30 Toro Loco – Chicha Fuerte – Rock n roll is the vibe at Toro Loco and Chicha Fuerte brings it. Covers of Pink Floyd, Guns N Roses and an eclectic mix of rock and Caribbean sounds in English and Spanish.
Saturday, October 23, 2021
Buena Vista – Virtual Halloween costume contest begins! See flyer for details.
10:30am – The Floating Bar – Float and Flow Yoga. Reservations are suggested due to limited space. The bar and restaurant open (earlier than normal) at 11:30am for breakfast sausage, bacon, egg and cheese quesadillas and Kombucha shots. Morning drinks like Fire Coral Cesars (The Floating Bar’s twist on a Bloody Mary) and Chica Choca-Tinis (made with local Citizens of Chocolate Cocao). Boat from Castillo’s dock at 10am and 10:15am from Buena Vista.
11:30am until sunset – Black Magic – Party on a pirate ship while cruising out to Starfish Beach in style. DJs and drinks on board. Tickets are $39 (reserve online, pay on-site).
12pm – Toro Loco – It. Is game day. NCAA style. College football all day at Bocas del Toro’s favorite sports bar.
12-4pm Conscious Market at Barco Hundido – Local producers selling their wares and always in benefit of a local cause. This market will help to support Hope Spot Bocas del Toro. There will be a raffle and open mic. SHH! – Open Mic for musicians, storytellers and discussions
5pm (until late) Barco Hundido – Bocas style DJs on the controls. Free entrance before 9pm.
7pm – El Ultimo Refugio – Live music on Saturdays (check our Instragram stories for information on the artist)
7pm – 2am La Neta Caribe at Selina – Saturday Fever ft the stylings of DJ Melvin & DJ Fat and a fire show Full Circle Phenomenal
Sunday, October 24, 2021
9am – 6pm – Yarisnori – Rondon is a traditional coconut milk fish stew. It is served up every Sunday accompanied by delicious coconut rice at Yarisnori for $6.
12pm Toro Loco – NFL games on all day with $1.50 beers and $3 wells at Bocas del Toro’s favorite sports bar
8pm-2am La Neta Caribe – High or Deep Sunday. F_cking Josh ft. DJ Fat
Wasteless World Clean-Up Efforts
Wasteless World has been busy removing debris from both land and sea. On Sunday, October 10, they hosted their monthly underwater clean-ups with Panama Dive School and Bocas Diving Pirates. Twenty two volunteers dove south of Isla Colon and removed an estimated 100 kg of waste from local waters. According to Wasteless World founder Tom Wright, the 100kg included a great deal of scrap metal and batteries.
On Sunday, October 17, the Wasteless Warriors took on a terrestrial front when 25 volunteers joined together in Big Creek for another successful clean-up. “On the surface it didn’t look that bad, but we gave it a deep clean removing 18 large bags of trash, three of which we have recycled. I don’t think Big Creek has been as clean as it is right now for a long time,” Wright tells us.
Wasteless World was able to recycle some of the debris from the clean-up. That’s right! Wasteless World can receive just about anything, except for cardboard, and can recycle it or dispose of it in the best way possible (as opposed to it ending up in the Isla Colon landfill). That is all types of plastics, glass, metals, electronics. They are even able to have batteries properly removed from the island and sent a facility off island so they do not end up in our landfill, soil, water table, etc. Amazing news. Drop off your recyclables at the Wasteless World Warehouse behind the airport (don’t forget to rinse, please!). They will take your recyclables with a smile between the hours of 10am-5pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
The Big Creek clean-up was sponsored by Skully’s. get in touch with Wasteless World if you or your business would like to sponsor a clean-up. You can even choose the location! Contact +61435080875 or +50766974011 on WhatsApp or message @waste_less_world on Instagram.
Restaurants, Bars, Cafés and Delis in Bocas del Toro
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EAT THE ENEMY! Together We Can Rid Bocas del Toro of Lion Fish
Exotic, beautiful and complete with 18 venomous spines, this voracious predator is causing a growing rate of ecological destruction in the Atlantic and Caribbean coral reef ecosystems – including the reefs of Bocas del Toro.
The taste of the meat is a cross between lobster and shrimp and melts in your mouth when prepared into ceviche. Being a delicious and highly versatile white fish, what’s the catch? Why aren’t all of these suckers off our reefs and in our belly’s? Those venomous spines are extremely poisonous and can be sharper than a hypodermic needle making it dangerous to handle, clean and prepare.
Thankfully, Sabroso Meats is now carrying cleaned lionfish thanks to a recent development by Steve Bender “The Lionfish Project – Focus on Bocus”. So far Wasteless World has been at the front of the movement by not only cooking with the fish but creating jewelry and other things like keychains with the 18 venomous spines that are removed in the proper way in order to render the fish okay to eat. Bocas Sushi has jumped on board rolling up delicious lionfish sushi rolls. The Floating Bar has contributed their dose of charitable shenanigans serving a shot glass of lionfish ceviche with every drink on Fridays. And a big thank you to Cosmic Crab who has served lionfish on their menu for years and continues to do so.
Contact The LionFish Project-Focus on Bocas for more information on becoming a partner in the project.
Where to Stay in Bocas del Toro
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Bad Blogs, Bad Blogs, Whatcha Gonna Do?!
Well, this is what we did…
Google search “Bocas del Toro” today in the United States and you will see an article that is currently ranking #5. It gives a exceedingly poor review of Bocas del Toro. Sure, Bocas is not for everybody. However, if you analyze the “work” of these so-called “travel bloggers,” you will clearly see that they never gave Bocas del Toro a chance. What’s more is that they recently re-dated it so it appears to be recent review of Bocas del Toro in 2021! even though the article is over four years old!
The Bocas Breeze team did not like this AT ALL and wrote a critical article regarding their lazy and unethical travel blogging. Drew Berger of the Bocas del Toro Blog also gave a review of the blog in question. Our articles are currently ranking #2 and #5 when you search for the name of the blog, “Our Escape Clause.”
Papa Gato Fundraiser and Recent Clinic
Papa Gato Animal Wellness fundraiser at Tequila Republic Oct. 9 ROCKED with live music, animal tattoos and swag for donation and a whole bunch of education. A whopping $1,500 was raised to fund future spay/neuter clinics for homeless animals and low income family pets.
In partnership with The Floating Doctors Papa Gato held a clinic in La Solución on Oct. 6 offering vaccinations, deworming and general veterinary care while educating and urging folks to sign up for the next spay/neuter clinic. Pets and their owners waited up to 5 hours to be seen and many eagerly signed the spay/neuter list. 96 animals were seen – including a few unexpected rabbits – and they ended the day with 60 animals on the list for the spay/neuter clinic.
This group needs all the support they can get for this major undertaking. Visit one of their convenient donation locations – Tequila Republic, Bocas Island Express and The Scent Shop or via PayPal at email@example.com and show your support for this awesome movement.
Tours & Fun in Bocas del Toro
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Turtle Rescue on North Shore!
Allene Blaker, former editor of The Bocas Breeze, via Facebook:
“This morning, while sitting on the veranda de-stringing green beans, I noticed our dog Whitey staring out at the sea, very attentively. She kept it up and then stood up and kept staring. Then she slowly walked off the porch and made her way to our beach stairs. She stood at the top of the stairs a minute or so and then started down to the beach. I figured I’d better follow her in case sea turtles were hatching or a dead fish had washed up.
When I got down there, I didn’t see her at first but soon spotted her on the 3-foot cliff above the sand at the east side of our beach. She was staring at something on the beach just below. I walked down to the water and looked over to where she was and was horrified to see a large sea turtle upside down and wedged between some rocks. It wasn’t moving. I got closer, making some noise, but still nothing. So I picked up a small stick and poked its front flipper. Whoa. It lifted its dangling head a little!
I called out to Whitey and we both ran up the stairs and back to the house. I told Clay to call our neighbor Roger immediately and why. I knew Roger had the number of Raul Garcia, who lives out here at Drago and works with the Sea Turtle Conservancy. I also got on WhatsApp and posted in our North Shore neighbors Facebook group that we had a sea turtle upside down on our beach and needed help. Within a minute, Raul himself responded. Within 5 minutes he was at our house. While he did the rescue, I took this video using his phone. He made one more turtle in this world extremely happy!”
Cradles for Newborns by Rotary Club Bocas del Toro
In commemoration of the 102nd anniversary of the Rotary Club in Panama, by tradition, the Rotary always donates small cradles to newborn infants in the maternity wards throughout Panama. The Rotary Club Bocas del Toro has launched a campaign in our province and would appreciate your support. See the information in the above flyer.
Essential Services in Bocas del Toro
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Four Active COVID-19 Cases in Bocas del Toro
COVID-19 is a divisive topic, but we can all agree on one thing – we all want less people sick (and to hear less news about it).
The latest report from local health authorities is a positive one: as of October 15, 2021, there are only four active cases in the archipelago of Bocas del Toro, none of which were serious enough to be hospitalized. Since March 2020, there have been a total of 1,325 accumulated cases and 21 deaths in our community.
Now on to some national COVID news that is bound to be met with a bit more controversy…
Vaccination Required for Establishments to Open at 100% Capacity
The executive decree number 852 of September 29, 2021, establishes that group gatherings may now operate at 100% capacity but only with participants being able to present a card or QR code with proof of vaccination scheme recognized by the AIG (National Authority for Government Innovation).
The vaccination must have been completed with all dosages and for at least 14 days at the time of the event, according to the decree. There is a procedure in which all public and commercial entities must apply for certification by the Ministry of Health in order to host gatherings at 100% capacity. All of the details regarding this legislation can be found in the decree published in its entirety in the Gaceta Oficial on page 22 of this link.
Map of Featured Businesses in Bocas del Toro, Panama
Happy Hours in Bocas del Toro
Barco Hundido – 5-9pm every day | 1$ Miller Lite | 2 X 3$ national beers | $1 shots: gin, seco and clear tequila | 2 x $6 whisky on the rocks
Bocas Brewery – 7-9pm Tues-Sun | $3 mixed drinks | $1 national beers | buffalo wings or nachos $5
Buena Vista – 5-7pm every day | 2×1 margarita, rum, piña colada, whisky sour, screwdriver | 2x$3 beer | 2x$6 wine
Calypso Cantina @ The Bocas Marina – 4-7pm Mon-Thurs, 4-9pm Fri | $1.25 beers
Coco Fastronomy – 5-7pm Thurs-Tues (starting Oct 15) | 2 x 1 national beer, moijito, Cuba libre, caipirinha, margarita, sangria | bandeja boquitas $14.50, a sample of house specialty appetizers for the table to share
Endless Breaks – 2-5pm Mon-Sat | $1 beers | $3.50 cocktails
El Ultimo Refugio – 4:30-6:30 Tues-Sat | 2×1 national beers | 2×1 sangrias
La Buguita Ocean Lounge – 5-7pm Tues-Sun | 2 beers x $3.50 | 2 x $7 mojito, caipiroska, margarita, gin & tonic, Cuba libre
La Neta Caribe – 4-6pm Mon-Sun | $5 whisky sour, Cuba libre or sangria
Restaurante Yarisnori & Sunset Drago – Wed 9am-6pm $12 Heineken cubetazo (6 beers on ice in a bucket) | Thurs 3-6pm 2 x 1 margaritas
Tacos Chingones – 4-6pm Tues-Sun | $1 tequila shot | $1 national beer, $2 Mexican beer | 2 michelada x $6 | $3.50 margarita, Cuba libre, gin & tonic, daiquiri of the day
Tequila Republic — Mon-Fri 12-8pm and Sat 3-8pm | Every hour until 8pm is a happy hour with a different special. Try them all!
Toro Loco – Every day 12am-12pm $1.50 national beers and $3 well drinks
$100 Million to be Invested in Bocas del Toro Infrastructure Projects as part of Panama’s Master Plan for Sustainable Tourism
The Authority of Tourism of Panama (ATP) and its tourism cabinet recently visited the community to present updates on the “Sustainable Tourism Panama Master Plan 2020-2025,” in which, through public and private entities, there are proposals to invest $100 million dollars in Bocas del Toro infrastructure. The meeting took place at the ATP office in Isla Colon on Saturday October, 9, 2021, and featured presentations from ATP general administrator Ivan Eskildsen and Elizabeth Cedeño.
Eskildsen noted that travelers nowadays are increasingly environmentally conscious and that sustainable tourism experiences have become the norm. A similar market segment has been identified for those who seek to participate in regenerative tourism. These characteristics can be attributed to a type of consumer being classified as the “conscious traveler,” which is estimated that in 2021 there is a growing market of 550,000 million travelers who fit this profile.
With these trends considered, Bocas del Toro has been identified as one of the eight priority destinations in Panama by the ATP and the destination that will receive the most investment as part of the government’s master plan for tourism.
The Bocas Breeze attended the meeting and will soon publish a full report on the presentation.
Here are a few of the key takeaways:
– Bastimentos, Bonyic (Naso Tjër Di Comarca) and Rio Caña (Kusapín) have been selected as communities where entrepreneurs will receive seed capital and training sessions as part of the ATP’s community tourism initiative, PACTO, that seeks to elevate rural, low-income areas that are rich in culture, with potential to expand Panama’s cultural touristic offer.
– In Bastimentos, 50 houses in Old Bank will be painted as part of a program to beautify the town. As part of the Green Heritage program, there is a $250,000 proposal to reinforce the path between Old Bank and Wizard Beach, installing signage, two resting areas, improving traction and installing support on the path in areas prone to flooding.
– Fundación Amador, the creators of Panama City’s Biomuseo, is in charge of the design to transform the current ATP office into a visitor information center that can serve as a place to tell Bocas del Toro history, showcase its culture and celebrate its biodiversity.
– There are very early design plans and legal evaluations for an airport expansion that would include the remodeling of the terminal and creating a maritime port adjacent to the current airport that would allow passengers more direct transit between the airport and the surrounding islands.
– Major infrastructure upgrades were mentioned briefly with not much detail. These projects include connecting the community’s electricity to Almirante with a subterranean fiber optic cable, a new landfill and “integrated waste management program,” expanding public water sources with new aqueducts and the three phase $59.9 million plan to connect the islands two major roads, adding bike lanes, repairing existing roads and remodeling the Simon Bolivar park.
The meeting was attended by local authorities, business owners, community leaders, representatives of scientific organizations and civic groups. Questions were raised about the feasibility, timing and details on the projects presented. With the scale of these proposals and failures of past administrations to deliver on promises, skepticism is natural, though the necessary improvements to our community’s infrastructure is of common interest and optimism also exists. Whatever happens between now and 2025, there are stated intentions on the national government’s part to do something positive for our community:
“Bocas del Toro is the destination that is receiving the highest amount of new public and private investment. The destination is successful for its wild beauty and authentic culture, something that travelers of our time seek. The main challenge lies in taking care of the destination to ensure that in 20 years it will continue to bring prosperity to its people while taking care of its natural and cultural heritage; which differentiates the destination in a competitive way.” – ATP general minister Ivan Eskildsen.
There was a bevy of information presented and the full report will be published soon. In the meantime please send us your questions about these plans – Instagram @thebocasbreeze or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor’s Note: Panama wants to attract a traveler that is environmentally conscious and interested in visiting destinations committed to preserving its culture, though if you compare this vision to the actual streets of Bocas Town today, you can see there is still a bit of work to do. For example, here is a quote from someone who, before visiting, researched Panama and Bocas del Toro on the internet and recently visited for the first time:
“I am finally here in Bocas del Toro. I had my eye on it for a year during Covid lockdown. I read about the commitment to heritage, the goals of raising tourism around eco-friendliness, and appreciation of the beautiful nature here. I am here for 6 weeks now, and with the construction mentioned, the neglect and garbage everywhere… It’s pitiful.”
The good news is that there is a lot being done by the community to improve these situations. There will always be room for improvement and we have to start somewhere. The concept of attracting this type of traveler could be perfect for Bocas del Toro, but there is certainly work to be done. Perhaps this master plan for sustainable tourism can influence the community to unite and put more of an importance on the many existing initiatives for environmental conservation and cultural preservation.
In Next Week’s Issue: Celebrating the 100 Year Anniversary of Luis Russell’s Life Changing Voyage from Panama to New Orleans
In October 1921 – exactly 100 years ago – a 19 year old Bocas de Toro musical prodigy named Luis Carl Russell Machore boarded a steamship in the city of Colon, arriving in New Orleans five days later and went on to stardom in the newly developing genre of jazz music. Russell’s legacy was commemorated in a mural on 1st street, Isla Colon; an artistic creation by Madmagos in July of 2021.
Stay tuned to The Bocas Breeze for the details on this story in our next issue October 25, 2021. Are you absolutely loving this newspaper and want more? Check out other recent issues of The Bocas Breeze.
Recent Bocas del Toro News
Upcoming Events in Bocas del Toro
October 23 – 31 – Buena Vista Restaurant – Kid’s Halloween Virtual Contest. Since 2005, Buena Vista has hosted an annual children’s Halloween party; decking out their restaurant and often getting permission to block traffic for the afternoon to hold down a street party. It is always a big event and a ton of fun for the whole family. The 15th annual BV Kids’ Halloween party was held in 2019. The 2020 edition had to be an Instagram costume contest because of COVID-19 pandemic conditions and this year will be similar. As children are not yet able to be vaccinated for COVID-19, Buena Vista would rather not host a large gathering with children. See above flyer for details. Thank you Buena Vista for not putting our community at risk of the spread of COVID-19.
October 31 – Project AWARE Dive for Debris ocean clean-up with Bocas Dive Center (the final Sunday of every month).
November 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 16, 23 and 28 – Bocas del Toro (and Panama) traditionally has holidays all month long. There are “Fiestas Patrias,” which are dates that acknowledge Panama’s independence from Spain and Colombia. There is also Day of the Dead and the foundation of Bocas del Toro and Bastimentos. On any of these dates, government, schools, offices and some private businesses typically shut down. November is a bit of a challenging month in Panama to get anything serious done, but normally – in non-COVID times – it is a month to have a whole lot of fun! Learn more about the significance of these dates in a 2013 article by editor Nicholas Corea.
November 3 & 5 – Filthy Friday returns for Fiestas Patrias. The world famous island-hopping party has not been in action since March 2020. This will be one for the record books! Tickets are selling fast! Check their website and social media for future dates as well.
November 16 – Los Tiburones de Isla Colon boxing event in the municipal gym and it’s Bocas Day!
December 30 – Filthy Friday New Years Party. 2022 is our year! Ring in the new year right with Filthy Friday. Are there still tickets available?! Stay tuned to their website and social media channels.