Bocas News

Christmas and Beyond, Caribbean Style  

Christmas and Beyond, Caribbean Style  

December 5, 2019

Just because November is over does not mean that the island chain of Bocas del Toro, Panama is done celebrating. If you were in our neck of the woods during November, you know how the Fiestas Patrias celebrations were incredible.  But here, in lovely Bocas del Toro, the celebrations never really stop. There is so much to celebrate.

All around the world the winter Holiday Season has begun and each country, each city, and each neighborhood is filled with cheer and smiles and laughter and hugs. Bocas Del Toro, Panama is no exception.  The vibrant chain of islands becomes very festive around this time. Bocas and the surrounding islands are always very bright, the buildings in vivid contrast to the turquoise Caribbean Sea, the colorful personalities of the people, the flow of calypso music and the flavors of the amazing cuisine, but come Christmas they light the place up with the colors and their smiles day and night.

All throughout the area each family has their own tradition which they blend seamlessly with the traditions of the locals.  All the holidays are celebrated here from Christmas to Hanukkah and everything in between. The planning of the festivities are well under way and they pueblo will have it all ready within the coming weeks.  The magnificent Christmas tree will be lit up in the main park on December 10th at 7PM along with nativity scenes and the children’s favorite characters will dot the walk way. A pre- Christmas Bazaar or Market  is usually held showcasing the local merchants and their beautiful gift ideas. And of course the lighted car Christmas parade which has young and old screaming for Santa Claus and scrambling for candy while Holiday music fills the air. The parade will take place on December 15th at 7PM.  It begins in the Feria del Mar area and continues all the way to Bocas Town. Check the Alcaldia’s Facebook page for more details.

But that is only the beginning.  We still have a lot to do. According to some very reliable sources, this year’s Lighted Boat Parade should be one for the history books.  The event has resurfaced and fliers can be seen throughout town and across Facebook. Unlike some years in the past, where the weather did not cooperporate, or there were no committed organizers the boat parade was thought to be a lost cause, but not this year The Bocas Marina And Chamber of Tourism will see to the coordination of the event.  The parade will be held on Thursday December 21st from 7:30 till 10 PM, with the boats making their way to the marina between 8 and 9 pm. According to their Facebook Event Page The idea would be to have all the boats decorated with lights and Christmas themes and sailing a short night course between Carenero and Isla (Colon sic) allowing great visibility from the waterfront. The boats will be divided into 2 categories: Bigger and smaller than 35’.  A boat from Bocas Marina will lead the parade starting and ending at Bocas Marina were we will have the awards ceremony and free accommodations for all the boats. The parade will begin at approximately 8:00 p.m. and finishing around 9:00 p.m. The winners will be selected by a jury of local businesses (TBA) and the prizes include cash, gift cards, hotel stays, and great meals from more than 30 local restaurants, boat maintenance, marine products and many more.Residents and visitors will have optimal viewing of the beautifully decorated boats in the parade from waterfront restaurants and bars and many other public viewing spots. The local Police and Port Authorities will be on site guaranteeing the security of the event.” (

Most years there is a yummy home-made bake sale with holiday treats from around the world being offered, and with proceeds benefiting the Asilo (public nursing home). We have restaurants preparing for Christmas Eve and the traditional Christmas Day dinners.  Of course one of the brightest, loudest most spectacular parts of this week is the annual Christmas Eve fireworks display put on by the local Chinese community. It is something to not be missed. With multiple families simultaneously sending their glowing rockets shooting into the air, the sky comes alive with thousands of shining falling stars.

Then there is New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day and it is party time in Bocas! For each and every person there is something perfect.  Romantic dinners overlooking the tranquil ocean, jungle parties where nature is the backdrop, and don’t forget the nightclubs with a different  beats for different flavors, reggae, salsa and dancehall, and of course electronic. Whichever you choose you will dance the night away and welcome the sun and bright and glorious New Year.

To all our friends, near and far no matter where you are we wish you and your family a very Happy Holiday Season, from the family. 

We look forward to seeing you in 2020!



DECEMBER 21th from 7.30pm to 10 pm  BOATS PARADE