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The coral reefs emerging around Cayo Coral are among the most beautiful in the Bocas del Toro archipelago. Their calm, clear waters, sheltered from the open sea, have allowed the growth of fine, colorful coral and sponges, attracting a fascinating underwater life.
Cayo Coral is a small island between Isla Bastimentos and Isla Popa, in the central part of the Bocas del Toro archipelago.
This spot is mainly reached by boat tours, which generally include stops in several snorkeling spots (including Cayo Zapatilla and Restaurante Alfonso) and the opportunity to watch dolphins and sloths. The boat trip from Bocas del Toro to Cayo Coral takes about 20 minutes.
Water entrance is from a boat. Follow the instructions of your captain.
Cayo Coral is a very popular and easy-to-locate patch reef. Some buoys, on which several boats can be moored at the same time, have been installed near the reef.
The depth is constant all over the reef area (↕10-12ft/3-4m). In the central part of the spot, small coral heads, covered in turquoise, golden or carmine sponges create a colorful underwaterscape.
Coral shelters hundreds of brittle stars, very common throughout the area. Small schools of sergeant major, wrasse and grunt are easy to spot around the reef. If you are lucky, you may encounter a gray angelfish, a French angelfish or a queen angelfish around.
If you snorkel a little further away from the reef, you’ll reach fields of sea fans swaying in the current. Stoplight parrotfish and foureye butterflyfish hide in this coral “forest”, which is very pleasant to explore. In the sandy be, try to spot the rare and shy yellowhead jawfish.
The sea is generally very calm at this spot. The main danger comes from other snorkelers (this is a very busy spot at certain times of day) and the boat traffic. Stick to the central part of the spot.
There are no restaurants on-site since the spot is in a marine park. A restaurant on stilts, where some tours drop their clients for lunch, is located 500m away. Ask your tour guide what is included in the price before booking.
These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
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Level: Free shore access
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