Welcome to La Buga Dive & Surf
We are a PADI 5 Star Center and Surf School located in the heart of Bocas town on Isla Colon. If you would like to spent a thrilling day in, under and above the warm Caribbean water of world famous Bocas del Toro, we have all the facilities and would love to help make these moments a memorable experience for you! We offer a wide variety of services including first class dive trips, surf lessons and trips for all levels, Kayak and Stand-Up Paddle Board rentals and more. Besides this we also have a very new and beautiful Glassbottom Boat, the only one in Panama! Come try it out with a tour, and watch the wonders of the underwater world right below you. Then hop in with some snorkeling gear to see it up close! One of our unique selling points is our qualified national staff. They provide top quality service by constantly reflecting our core values: Safety, Convenience and Fun!
Our dive center and surf shop is located right in the heart of Bocas Town on the main street, making it very easy to find and convenient to get to. If you are staying on one of the other islands: no problem, just tell the taxi boat driver to drop you off directly at La Buga’s Dock in front of our dive shop.
In line with a relaxed island mentality, we offer great flexibility giving you every opportunity to dive and surf with us according to your needs. Moreover, as a valued member of La Buga's growing customer base, you will find our staff ready and happy to assist you, both in and out of the water. We are prepared to support you with hotel reservations, taxi pick up, transportation between Panama City and any other services within our capabilities to make your stay on the beautiful islands as pleasant as possible.
If you want to go surfing in Panama, Bocas del Toro is an excellent choice. Due to its wide range of easily accessible great surfing spots for all levels of experience, Bocas del Toro is a carefully guarded secret gem.
Originally meant to be a routine supply stop for PADI Instructor Ricardo, this little island soon turned into the beginning of La Buga’s flourishing history. Completely taken by the positive island vibes and exceptional dive conditions, Ricardo decided to set up his own, new dive shop in Bocas Town; where he created and renovated 'La Buga Dive Center & Adventures'.
PLACES TO STAY IN BOCAS
1. Eclypse de Mar
A beautiful eco resort with 6 lodges over the water, on Bastimentos Island.One of our favorites!
2. Botanical Garden
Apartments for short term rental. One of the best options, peaceful with exotic gardens and great customer service. Ocean view.
3. Hotel Tierra Verde
If you are looking for a relaxed and lazy getaway mixed into your tropical adventure of surf and island exploration you find the perfect place nestled into the quiet hum of Panama's Caribbean islands - Tierra Verde Hotel - a family run bed and breakfast located on Carenero Cay.
4. Azul Paradise
Looking for a resort further away from Colon Island? Stay with our friends at Azul Paradise! They have both a hotel next to our dive shop as well as a resort on Bastimentos Island.
We will not just drop you off in the water; our own fast speedboat will stay with you at the surf spot at all times, providing extra safety and a place to rest if you need to recover from riding all the waves.
Here at La Buga we offer a variety of services. However you want to spend your day in the water, we will provide the right activity for you!Try one of our fancy Stand-Up Paddle Boards or go explore the islands with a kayak; we organize great snorkel trips and so much more!
There are two excellent beginner spots to start your surf experience. You will find a gentle, long wave just in front of Carenero Island. Together with your surf instructor you will have all the time you need to fully enjoy your first long ride on a surfboard with the beautiful reef right underneath you.
On Wizard Beach, Bastimentos Island you will find perfect conditions to learn surfing right next to the beach. Of course these two spots are not only great for beginners, but many local and international surfers spend hours taking pleasure in riding the tranquil waves during shorter swell conditions. Let the positive island vibes carry you and explore what kind of surf options Bocas del Toro has in store for you!
At La Buga Dive & Surf, we are offering surf lessons for all levels and surf tours for the adventurous surfers. We provide safe surf lessons with visual orientation by not only teaching you how to get up on a surfboard, but teaching ocean safety as well.
Ways to get to the camp
1. Coming from San Jose, Costa Rica
There are three ways to get here, by bus, by rented car and by plane The port of Almirante is 280 km away from San Jose Costa Rica, then the island is just a 25 min boat ride from there. If you have to stay the night in Costa Rica we recomend to stay in one of the hotels near the airport, Whyndham, Marriot, Ramada, etc. To move around San Jose we recommend using Uber. If you want to split the trip in two days try to spend the night in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. It is a very nice caribbean town which is worth checking out.
2. By rented Car
Plan your trip to not leave San Jose later than 11: 00 AM in order to have plenty of time to make it all the way to the island. Keep in mind that Panama is one hour ahead of Costa Rica and that the border closes at 18:00 Costa Rican Time and the last taxi boat to the island leaves at 18:30 PM The only company that allows the car to be dropped at the border is Alamo. Tel +506 2242 7733 and when you do the reservation you must tell them that the car will be dropped at the border Sixaola and tell them the dropp off time. it costs around 100.00 usd for an economic or 160.00 usd for a large Toyota
At San Jose‘s International Airport there is a free shuttle to takes you to the rental company. From there you have to set your destination Sixaola (which is the border between Costa Rica and Panama) 250 km and usually is driven in 4.5 to 5 hours.
Once at the border you leave the car at Mayelas parking and give the keys to the parking staff. They will charge you one dollar. In case you drop it off at a different time call Alamos office in Puerto Viejo and let them know +506 27500579
The border procedures takes around 20 min, although sometimes there are lots of people and can take up to an hour. Once in the Panamenian side you can take a taxi to the port of Almirante (40 km and its done in 1 hour) which price should be around 30.00 usd for a private or 10.00 usd for a shared bus. At Almirante you have to take a water taxi to the island which takes around 30 min. Tell your driver to drop you off at TAXI 25. They leave every 30 mins and the price is 5.00 usd. Once on the island you walk to your left towards the port or ask anybody direccions to La Buga, we are 400 mts away from Taxis 25 office.
3. By Plane
it’s a 45 min flight and the airport it’s right in the middle of town, within walking distance to the main street and 700m away from La Buga
www.aerobell.com flyes on Fridays and Sundays and the round trip price is around 240 us. They use Pavas airport in San Jose and they leave SJ at 11:40 AM. Return from Bocas its at 16:05 PM and their contact phone is + 506 4000 2030
4. By Bus
Transportes Mepe (www.mepecr.com tel +506 27580618) terminal is downtown San Jose and they have buses leaving direct to Sixaola border at 6:00 am, 8:00 am, 10:00 am, 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm. it takes around 5.5 hours. The price is about 11.00 usd one way.
Surf Lessons Half Day (Min. 2) - 50.00 USD*
Surf Lessons Full Day (Min. 2) - 90.00 USD*
Board rental - 20.00 USD
* Prices include instructor
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