Tranquilo Bay is fortunate to be centrally located amongst the most biologically diverse protected areas in the whole of Panama and Central America. To put this in perspective, you can hike the lush cloud forest Bosque Palo Seco high in the Talamanca range teeming with jungle wildlife, then return to the Caribbean and enjoy the moonrise over the Zapatilla Cayes. There are few places on Earth where this diversity is possible.
The province of Bocas del Toro hosts two national parks, one of which is a world heritage site, and two protected cloud forests. In total the trans-boundary protected area consists of 1,400,000 contiguous acres extending from the continental divide to the Caribbean Sea, covering all five altitudinal zones known to the tropics.
Isla Bastimentos is a biologist’s fantasy and covers about 20 square miles, it is one of Panama’s 10 largest islands. The island is mostly forested and has no roads, cars, or airstrips. Tranquilo Bay is located on the southeastern end of Isla Bastimentos. It is a short boat ride from Bocas Town on Isla Colon by one of our boats. Access to different areas or beaches can be made on foot, boat, or kayak.
Bordering Tranquilo Bay is Bastimentos National Marine Park which encompasses a large portion of Bastimentos Island, and the Zapatilla Cayes, in addition to the waters and mangroves that surround the island. The western tip of the island, better known as Bastimentos (a small village), is clearly visible from Bocas Town, and is not part of the national park itself.
The eastern side of Bastimentos Island faces the Caribbean Sea, which tends to be rougher than the western side of the island. The landscape is much more dramatic, with large rock faces, stretches of long beaches, in addition to coves and inlets. While there are numerous beaches that provide ample space for boat landings, some of the beaches may be accessed only when the seas are calm because of the rocky shorelines. Between the months of August-October the water conditions tend to be the calmest, and at times you can access this portion of the island from the water.