Coral Cay, Bocas del Toro

Coral Cay, Bocas del Toro

Coral Cay or as it called locally, Crawl Cay, is a small island surrounded by mangroves. It is in the channel between the Bastimentos and Popa islands. It is known for the coral formations on both sides of the cay. Crawl Cay is 20 minutes by boat from Bocas town, is on the southeastern side of Bastimentos Island, and surrounded by lush mangrove.

There is one small community, a small village overlooking the sea. There are two excellent seafood restaurants here and a small resort of cabins. In one of the restaurants, stairs allow the visitor to go down to look at the fish below sea level.

The children of this community go to primary school at Popa 2 village, where they reach daily by boat.

Coral Cay is one of the regular stops on the standard Bocas boat tour. It has good snorkeling and restaurants. It tends to be crowded, so order lunch early.

Boats from Isla Colón approach Bastimentos from the south pass via a series of idyllic mangrove islands, before reaching Cayo Crawl. The snorkling is the attraction, the water is a luminous light green, and in some places only a meter deep over a sandy bottom. The area attracts lots of tropical fish. The coral gardens don’t actually start until one rounds the point and heads up the southeast coast of Bastimentos.

There are three thatched-hut restaurants, built on stilts over the water. Tours to Cayos Zapatillas and around Bastimentos usually include a stop at one of these. The three restaurants—Restaurante Adonis, Restaurante Alfonso, and Restaurante Cayo Crawl—offer similar ambiance and food. They specialise in seafood, with prices around $10. Restaurante Alfonso is the newest, built in 2004. Both Restaurante Alfonso and Restaurante Cayo Crawl have some tables on their own little hut “islands.” Whilst enjoying your meal you can watch an array of tropical fish like parrotfish, angelfish, and snapper.

Bocas del Toro index page