Today, the UFCO’s operations are scaled back, but the inhabitants of Bocas del Toro continue to trace their ancestry to such disparate homelands as Jamaica, China, Europe and North America. The local dialect – Guari-Guari – is assuredly multicultural too, fusing elements of the English, Spanish and Ngabere languages. But despite its international pretensions, Bocas del Toro remains decidedly insular. Hemmed in between mountains, sea and jungle, road connections to Panama’s interior were only completed towards the end of the 20th century.
From the forests of the mainland to the scattered islands of its archipelago, Bocas del Toro remains a colourful patchwork of isolated, culturally distinct communities, as vivid and varied as the natural world they echo. A great place to relax and explore – particularly the islands and underwater.