On Panama’s Isla Bastimentos, there is a hidden haven of tranquility by the name of Azul Paradise Resort Bocas del Toro. A 30-minute boat ride away from the main drag of Isla Colon, Bocas del Toro’s principal island, this water bungalow resort is a secluded and serene showstopper. It really isn’t called “paradise” for nothing.
If news of Bocas del Toro is yet to reach your shores, it is a spellbinding archipelago on the west of Panama with an island to suit every possible craving. Isla Colon is where the bulk of the action happens on Bocas Town. Isla Carenero conversely suits those in search of a little rustic peace and quiet. The Zapatilla islands are the pristine untouched gems you will dream about once you return home. Isla Bastimentos, the largest of the nine islands, attracts those longing for postcard beach views with a bit of rough jungle in the background. Those postcard beach views exist in abundance at Azul Paradise (see the music video for “Cold ain’t for me” by Oceans if you won’t take my word for it).
REASONS TO LOVE
This eco-resort is hotly popular with couples for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, it is well away from the hustle and bustle of Isla Colon with its healthy roster of nightly parties and salesmen hawking their tours and wares.
Secondly, one may unashamedly binge on all the blessings the water brings: fresh seafood caught by the on-site staff, decks stretched out onto the water for night stargazing, as well as water sports galore — pedalos, kayaks and paddleboards, perfect for a party of two.
Most importantly, in the evenings, the sky tells a tale of pink romance. The name of this boutique resort means, “blue paradise” in Spanish, yet the views will leave you feeling anything but.
MORE REASONS TO LOVE
Azul Paradise is the supermodel of Bocas del Toro’s resorts, breathing life into Bastimentos and the village of Salt Creek. The majority of the staff are born and bred locals from the village, granting you direct access to the Bocatoreño way of life.
This off-the-grid resort has 10 over-the-water bungalows and each has a glass floor for coral reef viewing and king-size beds to rest and recuperate. There are also ladders leading from the sundecks straight into the Caribbean waters so you can easily step into the warm water and witness the electric-colored world beneath the surface.
AMENITIES & ACTIVITIES
An array of tours are also on offer to better connect with your surroundings: fishing with the locals, trips to the sloth islands, Dolphin Bay, the Zapatilla Cays and Bocas Town. Rent a private boat for the day, surf at Kusapín private beach, or devour the produce at a chocolate farm in the jungle.
Azul Paradise Resort Bocas del Toro offers tranquil vistas, a yoga studio to unwind, extended stretches of private beach, a nearby lake and impeccable service. All the reception staff are perfectly bilingual, and the dining room is a feast for the eyes overlooking the Caribbean Sea, further sweetened by the tantalising cocktail creations whipped up by their skilled bartenders. You’ll be tasked with choosing between the ocean and the pool, both excellent options.
IN 3 WORDS: Remote, romantic, ravishing.
ROOMS: 10 over-the-water bungalows.
DO BRING: A waterproof camera.
GET TO KNOW: Sister hotel Azul Paradise Bocas Town.
REMOTE WORK-FRIENDLY: No distractions for miles.
AMENITIES: Pools, multiple restaurants, yoga deck.
RATES: Start at 315 USD for two nights.
LOCATION: Bastimentos Island, Bocas del Toro, Panama.