The Cultural Vacation
Bocas del Toro, Panama, most commonly known for its plethora of beaches, great restaurants, and relaxing places to stay. What are often forgotten are the cultural, ecofriendly tours that Bocas del Toro has to offer.
Dive into Panama’s culture by going to Bastimentos Island to eat with the Bahia Honda Indian Tribe and explore Navida Cave, commonly known as the Bat Cave. Having lunch with the Bahia Honda tribe allows you to get a feeling for what the tribe is like. After the lunch outing, your local guide takes you on a boat ride through the mangrove filled swamp to get to the Bat Cave. Here it is possible to see all types of wildlife, including caiman, spiders, monkeys, birds, and sloths. If you are interested in learning more about the Bahia Honda Indian tribe, you can schedule a time to stay in their cabanas.
Another culture tour available in Bocas del Toro is the Ngobe Village Medicinal Trail. The tour is led by a Ngobe Bugle Indian Villager. On this tour you will learn about tropical plants and products that are gathered for food, medicine, dyes, and other daily needs. This tour is on the island of San Cristobal, where approximately 800 people live. During this you get the chance to hike a medicinal plant trail and discover the medicinal secrets of the Ngobe community. After learning about the Ngobe’s secrets, you get the chance to tour the community and see all of the local handcrafted huts and crafts they make. This tour is very educational and provides a good family activity.
A very ecotourism tour in Bocas del Toro is the Naso culture and Nature tour. This three day tour is located in the La Almistead community. On this extravaganza, you can spend time with the Naso Villages of Santa Rosa and Sieyik. This is the only place in the Americas where it is still ruled by a monarchy. The Naso Indian tribe has a king. During this three day stay, you learn about the Naso cultures and how they live. On your trip, you will hike through the beautiful landscapes, spend a relaxing night in a remote cabin, and ride down the river on a traditional balsa raft. The food you are served during your stay is completely organic and freshly grown in the Naso garden.
As you can see, Bocas del Toro has a lot more to offer than just beaches and resorts. So next time you plan your vacation, plan a geotourism, ecofriendly vacation to Bocas del Toro and grab your adventure cap.
Shelby Lewis is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program.
Photos courtesy and copyright Shelby Lewis