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HISTORY

Christopher Columbus originally discovered Bocas del Toro the 6th of October, 1502 on his fourth and last trip. It is said that Columbus arrived with two ships that sailed into a wide bay that the indigenous people referred to as "Carabaro" (now called "Almirante Bay"). Columbus loaded up with supplies on "Bastimentos" island and careened one of the ships near "Carenero" island. Near the beginning of the 1900’s, the brothers called "Snap" arrived from Jamaica with their slaves, around the same time that the "Shepherd" family arrived (they inhabited "Shepherd" Island).

Several years later, many tax-evading Scottish and English families migrated from the "San Andres" and "Providencia" islands, along with their slaves. A significant commercial exchange began with the local Indians of the region who traded live turtles, turtle shells, cocoa and mahogany lumber.

The trading was primarily with the British people from Jamaica. As a result, Bocas del Toro enjoys a rich, ethnic culture, reflected in its colorful traditions, customs, gastronomy, music, dances and other afro-Antillean manifestations.

This incredible history, combined with the indigenous culture of the region, are part of the roots of the American continent.

The name “Bocas del Toro”, meaning “Mouth of the Bull”, also has an interesting history, however, it is not certain as to exactly how the name was originally founded.

It is said that when Christopher Columbus landed here, he saw various waterfalls that had the shape of a bulls’ mouth.

Some say that Columbus saw a large rock formation on Bastimentos Island, which still exists today, which has the form of a bull lying down.

Some say it was the sound of the huge waves hitting the volcanic rock on Bastimentos Island, making a sound similar to that of a roaring bull. Some say the name derives from the Indian word "cacique", meaning “Chief” of the region, who was known as "Boka Toro".

The archipelago of Bocas del Toro in Panama is situated on the northwestern coast of Panama in and around the Bay of Chiriqui. This isolated region of Panama has only recently been discovered by international travelers.

It is for this reason that much of the island chain remains in pristine and untouched splendor.

It is a diver and outdoor lovers paradise with unspoiled coral reefs, deep-sea fishing, boating, kayaking, snorkeling and long sandy deserted beaches. Traveling to Bocas, as the locals call it, can either be as simple as taking a 45 minute flight from Paama City or as adventurous as going over land by bus and water taxi. Either way it is a destination unlike any to be found elsewhere in Panama.