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Isla Carenero

Just east of Bocas is the long, forested Isla Carenero (Careening Cay), the southern end of which holds a mix of fishermen's shacks, the large homes of foreigners, a few hotels, restaurants, and a small marina. Staying here is a quieter and more natural alternative to sleeping in town, because it has only 450 residents and no roads or automobiles. Because the island lacks a sewage system, swimming isn't recommended. The island's name comes from the practice of using its narrow beach and shallows to pull ships onto their sides—careening—in order to scrape and repair their hulls. That beach is now dotted with homes and other buildings perched over the water on pilings. The eastern side of the island has a rocky coast but is more forested and sparsely populated, whereas its northern half holds only a handful of foreign-owned homes and a popular surf break known simply as Carenero.

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