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The Bocas del Toro Archipelago scatters across a shallow lowland gulf. Tourism centers on Bocas del Toro town, which occupies a spit of land on the southern tip of Isla Colón, the westernmost island. Many visitors arrive and depart from the tiny airport here. Water taxis and a ferry ply the waters between the town and the mainland port of Almirante, from which roads lead southeast to Chiriquí and the rest of Panama and west to banana farms and the Costa Rican border. East of Isla Colón lie several other islands with communities and isolated hotels—Islas Carenero and Bastimentos the most popular—and by day, private boats and water taxis travel regularly between the islands.
The eastern half of Isla Bastimentos is a wild and beautiful area that is partially protected within Parque Nacional Marino Isla Bastimentos, as are the two idyllic isles of Cayos Zapatillas to the southeast.