Bocas del Toro  has good surfing, some of the best in the country. Waves are best December–March and least consistent August–October. There are three well-known breaks on Isla Colón , as well as some less-famous ones that local surfers try to keep to themselves. The three main spots, all of which are along the east coast, are listed here, in order of their distance from town.
Paunch breaks left and right. It has long, “rippable” waves that are appropriate for all levels and attract beginners. It’s a reef break, so wear booties.
Dumpers (also known as Dumps) is a reef-bottom left break with big tubes and short but dramatic rides. This is a dangerous break that should be attempted only by advanced surfers. Waves can get up to three meters. The reef is sharp, so wear booties. There’s also an inner break known, logically enough, as Inner Dumps. It’s another left-breaking, reef-bottom wave. It’s faster and longer than the outside wave, but not as big.
Playa Bluff  is a gorgeous, several-kilometer-long beach at the end of the road. It’s a powerful beach break known for destroying surfboards. It features fast-breaking waves and long tubes. Those who know it well say the waves are best when they’re no more than about 1–2 meters high. Even when the swell isn’t big, the waves are too powerful for beginning surfers and swimmers.
Several places in Bocas rent surfboards, often fairly battered ones. Hostel Heike, Mondo Taitu, and Hostel Gran Kahuna  also rent them. Expect to pay about US$10–15 for short boards and US$15–20 for long boards per day.
Surfing lessons are easy to come by. Bocas Surf School (office in Hotel Lula’s Bed and Breakfast , cell 6482-4166, U.S. tel. 787/823-0610, www.bocassurfschool.com ) is run by Dez and Garret Bartelt, retired professional athletes who also own Rincón Surf and Board in Puerto Rico. Classes range from a half-day (US$59) or full-day introduction (US$89) to a five-day immersion (US$369), board included.
Tropix Surf (Calle 3 between Avenida D and Avenida Central, near the southwest end of the park, tel. 757-9727, 9 a.m.–noon and 3–7 p.m. daily) sells custom-made surfboards made on the premises.