Bocas del Toro, Panama


Isla Solarte

Located only a few minutes from Bocas Town by boat, Isla Solarte offers an entirely different experience. Raw jungle, hiking paths, and cool eco-lodges make this island destination a must-see when staying in Bocas del Toro.

Snorkeling at Isla Solarte, Bocas del Toro

Isla Solarte

Now known as Isla Solarte, this island just south of Isla Bastimentos was called Nancy’s Cay for centuries as English-speaking pirates, traders, and settlers came to the region. The far west of Isla Solarte is named Hospital Point because of its history as the site of the region’s primary hospital compound, built by the United Fruit Company in 1900.

Now visitors might be interested in visiting Solarte to get into some of Bocas del Toro’s best snorkeling and scuba diving spots. The sea wall at Hospital Point offers divers and snorkelers a real richness of sea life as the turtle grass and lettuce coral in the shallows make way for a wall that drops 12 to 15 meters. You might see lobsters, moray eels, invasive lionfish, trumpet fish, and deeper water corals and sponges along the wall. In the evening, schools of sardines cluster together, and needlefish zip around the water’s surface. Further east on both sides of Isla Solarte, the coast is covered by mangroves that all types of sea life use as a nursery for small or juvenile animals to hide from barracudas and larger predators. Another popular diving site is the coral gardens on the leeward side of the island.

There are very few traditional accommodations on this island, but those looking for eco-lodges and retreats will find those here.

Information

History of Solarte

Now known as Isla Solarte, this island just south of Isla Bastimentos was called Nancy’s Cay for centuries as English-speaking pirates, traders, and settlers came to the region.

Solarte Culture

Isla Solarte has a small community located near Hospital Point. Besides that, there are some scattered homes and accommodations and restaurants around the mangrove shoreline and jungle.

How to Get to Solarte

Getting to Isla Solarte is accessible from Bocas Town and other nearby islands in Bocas del Toro by a water taxi. There are a few docks on the island facing Bocas Town and accommodations with docks to receive guests.

Safety on Solarte

Isla Solarte is one of the less populated attractions within the Bocas del Toro islands. If you decide to go hiking or visit the nearby beaches you could be the only person there, nevertheless use common sense when visiting and do not leave your things unattended. If you are scuba diving or snorkeling the nearby diving spots near Isla Solarte, make sure to stay near the diving boat flag and stay in groups.

Solarte Tips & Tricks

Mosquito repellent is a must. The chitras, tiny little biting flies that pack a wallop, have trouble getting through a layer of coconut oil. So stop by a local store to buy some and shine yourself up before hitting the beaches. 

Things to Do

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