Big, beautiful Isla Bastimentos (52 square kilometers) has a lot to offer nature lovers. The north shore  has pounding surf and miles of gorgeous sandy beaches, some of which attract sea turtles  in nesting season.
The protected waters on the southeast side of the island, between Cayo Crawl  and Punta Vieja, are shallow and glassy, making it easy to explore a large underwater playground of coral and sponges. To the southwest are mangrove islands.
And the island itself is home to forest that harbors many exotic and endangered species, including the famous red poison-dart frog  (Oophaga pumilio), that many come to the island to see.
The midsection of the island and some of its surrounding waters are part of a national marine park, Parque Nacional Marino Isla Bastimentos .
Though about 1,350 people live on Isla Bastimentos, most are concentrated in the largely Afro-Caribbean town of Old Bank  on its western tip, and in the Ngöbe village of Quebrada de Sal  (Salt Creek in English).
They’re rather ragged places and there isn’t much to see, but they’re both culturally interesting and worth a visit. The name Bastimentos, by the way, comes from the Spanish word for “supplies” or “provisioning.”
Bastimentos is a large, oddly shaped island, and its attractions are spread widely apart. The town of Old Bank, just 10 minutes by boat from Bocas town, is the closest to Isla Colón . Cayo Crawl  is at the southern tip, separated by a shallow channel from Isla Popa.
The southeast side is sheltered, with glassy water, coral gardens, the Ngöbe village of Quebrada de Sal, and access to the Cayos Zapatillas . Lovely beaches  with pounding surf, the famous red frogs , and turtle-nesting spots  are on the northern side.
Exploring the forested interior, part of which belongs to the marine park, requires a guide to reach caves and a freshwater lake.
La Loma , Tranquilo Bay, Casa Cayuco, and Al Natural resorts  generally arrange all food, transportation, and activities for their guests. Make sure to clarify exactly what is being provided ahead of time, because there’s little to buy way out here. Even Old Bank  is a significant boat ride away.
In Old Bank there is a minisuper (convenience store) near Roots Bar and Restaurant and a police post, health clinic, and phone booth behind Pension Tío Tom. Some of the places to stay have Internet access for guests, but there are no Internet cafés.
Isla Colón  is a 10-minute water-taxi ride from Old Bank; flag down passing boats. The fare is US$3 per person.