Remote worker Lannette Magaly, aka Mz. Digital Nomad, lists some of her favorite places to work in Bocas del Toro, Panama. This article contains some affiliate links, where we make a small commission if you purchase anything after clicking, at no extra cost to you.
The Visa de Corta Estancia como Trabajador Remoto allows remote workers to live and work in Panama for up to nine months, as long as they fulfill certain criteria. They can then renew for another nine months if they wish.
But the burning question for many remote workers is this: Where should I go in Panama? Well for me, the answer is simple – Bocas del Toro.
I know a little bit about the whole remote work thing. Through my business, Mz. Digital Nomad LLC, I coach aspiring remote workers/digital nomads on how to secure income-generating, virtual positions.
Originally from Los Angeles, California, I’ve been living in Bocas del Toro, Panama since February 2021. And I have to say I love it here!
Bocas del Toro is an archipelago of islands off the Caribbean coast of Panama, near the Costa Rica border. Well, most of the province of Bocas del Toro is on the mainland, but most of the people are on the islands, if that makes sense. When you say “Bocas del Toro,” people generally think of the islands. And that’s where you can find me!
As an avid traveler and long-time digital nomad, I’ve worked in coffee shops, restaurants, and other such locations all over the world.
Remote work is nothing new. Digital nomadism has been a thing for a while, now. But the pandemic has forced a whole new “work from home” culture upon many of us who’d never have dreamed of it before. And if you can work from home, well, you can work from anywhere. As long as the wifi’s good enough.
Bocas del Toro has kept up with technological advancements needed to accommodate remote workers.
These islands welcome digital nomads with welcome arms and solid wifi. So I figured I would list some of my favorite public work spaces in the Bocas where remote workers can open their laptops and get productive.
It goes without saying that you don’t need to work from a coffee shop, bar, or restaurant. Working from home can mean exactly that, even in Bocas del Toro. But sometimes you want to interact with other remote workers, or get a new perspective on things in a fresh location.
For me, a digital nomad-friendly spot needs the following:
- Solid wifi.
- Accessible outlet to recharge electronics .
- Good food and beverages.
- Comfortable work area.
- Good, chill vibes.
- Friendly, no-hassle staff (welcomes my need to work without constant pressure to buy something from the menu at every moment).
Below are eight places in Bocas del Toro that fill the above remote-worker requirements for me and also offer something special in themselves outside of pure work:
Tres Palmas Cafe
Located behind Simon Bolivar park in Bocas Town, Tres Palmas Cafe only opened in 2021. That hasn’t stopped it from taking command of the Bocas coffee shop scene, though, with its open space and thoughtful layout.
The owners have created a welcoming, feel-at-home environment that keeps me coming back. Every item on the menu comes to your table made with passion and pride.
Selina Bocas del Toro
Right on the Bocas Town waterfront is a spot with gorgeous views of the Caribbean sea and the neighboring Isla Carenero, a quick boat ride away.
The Selina chain of hostels is famous in the remote worker community, especially in Latin America. It’s part of their entire schtick, and Selina Bocas is no exception. Here you’ll find the perfect mix of friendly staff and amenities: social events, restaurant, yoga/zumba classes, music, dancing, surfing, swimming from the deck, happy hours, sport on tv… Phew!
With all that, it’s hard to make time for actual work, but believe me, you can. Selina offers both short and long-term stay options for remote workers and travelers alike.
Cosmic Crab is over on Isla Carenero, a short hop over from Bocas Town on Isla Colon. The water taxi costs a dollar.
You won’t be able to miss the bright Cosmic Crab sign facing Isla Colon, calling you over to do some work. Once there, you can either stay in their over-the-water or garden rooms, or simply work from the restaurant, enjoying their unique menu and deliciously-crafted drinks. Plus a view you’ll never forget.
Right on the main street in Bocas Town, La Buga is a waterfront restaurant and bar. It offers delicious food, tasty cocktails, friendly staff, and beautiful Caribbean views.
Need more than that once you’ve logged off work? Then why not let La Buga hook you up with surf lessons, a glass-bottom boat ride, snorkel tour, or diving certification?
Located on Calle Norte in Bocas Town, JJ’s is an over-the-water restaurant and bar. The seaside dock and grill boasts fresh ingredients that give an authentic Bocas dining experience.
JJ’s started life as a refurbished bus, but managed to expand to what you see today despite the challenges of 2020. If you seek solid vegetarian options, JJ’s has plenty.
The Lighthouse prides itself on being a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly spot in Bocas. Check out the artwork on display by local artists.
You’ll find Toro Loco Sports Bar close to the park in Bocas Town. If you’re a sports fan in Bocas del Toro, this is the spot. I was here for the Super Bowl, March Madness, and other events. They have several televisions and will do their best to get your game on.
When you’re not cheering on your team, Toro Loco is a decent spot to work in. The food is great, too… delicious bar food and salads.
Kinga Sauce is a seafood restaurant on Calle 1 (the main waterfront strip) in Bocas Town. If you want authentic Bocas/Caribbean cuisine cooked with love by a local, this is where you need to be. The homemade sauces accompanying your plate are to die for.
If you like sports when you’re not working, they’ll also put your game on here.
These are my favorite spots for remote working in Bocas del Toro.
If you’re looking for a workspace in Bocas del Toro, you can’t go wrong with any of them, and you might well make some good friends, too! Check out my Instagram series where I highlight these places, and feel free to let me know where you like to mix remote work and fun on these Caribbean islands.
Lannette Magaly is the founder of Mz. Digital Nomad LLC, a digital nomad and remote worker consulting service. A native of Los Angeles, California, she’s been an avid traveler for many years. She’s currently based in Bocas del Toro, Panama.