I (Caz) am lucky enough to be spending the best part of the year traveling through Central and South America. This is to spread the CEACEA love but to also hit the best surf spots along the way too.
I have recently been in Bocas Del Toro and what I found was a real treat.
The beauty of Bocas del Toro is that there are a number of breaks you can choose from. Pretty much all breaks are accessible by boat only. It is pretty fun to jump on a little wooden boat, nip over to the other island, jump in and just go for it! Do remember to agree a time with the Captain to come back and collect you!
December to March is the main surf season, however I was there in August and I got very lucky with waves everyday. Im told this isn't the norm however,
Here's the low down on which waves to hit.
Main breaks of Bocas del Toro;
Careneros The point - Intermediate waves apart from the odd day when a huge swell comes into town. Left hand point break, breaking over coral reef. Good when the wind is light to moderate, cross or offshore. You can see when a set is coming through and can hang on the corner if its looking too big. If it is big just sit a bit wider. A good wave to improve your skills as an intermediate rider. Not crowded on the off season. $3 boat ride to get to,
Careneros Old Mans - Beginner wave, nice and friendly to take your long board and foamie. On bigger days you can use a short board here too. An 'A frame' wave but the left is longer than the right. Can walk up Careneros island and paddle out or get a $2 boat ride.
Paunch - Intermediate to Advance wave. A tricky paddle out over reef but once your out its deep enough. It's on the way to bluffs beach on Isla Colon, you can hire a bike and cycle there (a bit tricky holding your board), drive or get a boat round. An 'A frame' but the left is better than the right. It can be a hollow wave on a bigger swell.
Wizard Beach - Beach break. You can get a boat to Bastimentos Island Old Bank and walk 15 minutes through the island to Wizard beach. A nice beach but average waves. It's probably better during peak wave season.
Other waves in the area that we didn't go to;
SilverBacks, Long beach, Bluff beach
In summary the main pros and cons are;
Beautiful scenery and tropical islands to look at while you surf
A really friendly crowd
Lots of other chicas shredding out there
Fun boat access
Bocas town - lots of accommodation, restaurants and bars
Boat access only so you have to pay to surf
Over coral reef so wear booties if you are worried
Bocas town - its not a quiet surf destination, it's fully on the 'beaten track'
Other cool spots to hit when the surf is flat is Red frog beach to spot the....Red frogs. Also Playa Estrella or star fish beach is a a pretty place for a day trip.