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Many snorkeling tours in the Bocas del Toro archipelago take in a visit to this small restaurant situated at the southern tip of Isla Bastimentos, facing Cayo Coral. Around a few buildings on stilts, at the edge of the mangrove, you can see, in less than 3 feet of water, starfish, coral, and many species of fish.
This spot is at the southern tip of Isla Bastimentos, facing Cayo Coral, in the central part of the Bocas del Toro archipelago. Many day tours (especially those heading to Cayo Zapatilla, Cayo Coral or Dolphin Bay) include a visit to the site, which is a popular lunch spot.
It takes about twenty minutes (10 miles) by boat from Bocas del Toro to reach the destination.
A small wooden ladder allows easy water entrance. It is located between the restaurant and the picnic areas.
You can explore the entire area around the buildings, up to the edge of the mangrove. The depth is the same in all the area (↕2-4ft/0.5-1m).
As soon as you will be in the water, you will see large numbers of cushion sea stars on the seagrass. Orange, yellow, beige or bright red, the starfish are photogenic and totally harmless.
Swim to the end of the jetty (opposite to the restaurant) and swim towards the mangrove. The seagrass gets punctuated by small coral, very fine and fragile. As the water is very shallow (sometimes less than 2 feet), be careful you don’t break coral with your swimfins. This area is the fishiest, with many juvenile parrotfish and foureye butterflyfish.
At the edge of the mangrove, an atypical underwaterscape awaits. The atmosphere is darker and the coral gives way to a forest of roots, lightly colonized by small sponges and sea anemones. A multitude of juvenile fish is present in this mangrove area, known to be a nursery for many fish species. The mangrove is almost impenetrable, and you will mainly observe the marine life from the edge of it.
The water is shallow and generally calm and clear, which makes it an ideal spot for beginners. The shallow depths also result in excellent light for taking photos. Watch out for boat traffic.
You can have lunch at Restaurante Alfonso.
These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.
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.
Coral and sponges reef with lots of fish
Seagrass and small corals with reef fish and critters
Shallow lagoon with seagrass meadows and hard coral
Mangrove and seagrass flats with sea stars and fish
Sandy beach and mangrove with fish and sea stars
Free shore access
Rocky beds with a diversity of fish