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World's countries : Panama

Isla Bastimentos
photograph by Ilia Usmanov

Bastimentos Island

Bastimentos Island (in Spanish: Isla Bastimentos) is an island with eponymous town, and corregimiento located in the Bocas del Toro District and archipelage of Bocas del Toro Province, Panama. The island is about 62 square kilometres (24 sq mi), one of the largest in Panama. Bastimentos had a population of 1,954 as of 2010, giving it a population density of 31.4 inhabitants per square kilometre (81/sq mi).[1] Its population as of 1990 was 988; its population as of 2000 was 1,344.[1]

Often considered the more relaxed alternative to the busy streets and bars of Bocas del Toro District but at only 10 minutes by water taxi Isla Bastimentos is becoming an increasingly popular destination for backpackers. Isla Bastimentos National Marine Park and the Red Frog Island Resort's Nature Preserve encompass a large portion of Bastimentos Island, Zapatilla Cays, as well as the waters and mangroves that surround the island. The western tip of the island, better known as Bastimentos, is clearly visible from Bocas town, and is not part of the National Park itself. There are several private residences here.

Christopher Columbus landed his boat here in 1502 on his 4th voyage and called the island Bastimentos which means "provisions." In 1727 the coast here witnessed the demise from tropical disease of much of the fleet of Francis Hosier.[2] It is estimated that more than 4000 out of the 4750 men and officers who sailed with Hosier during the three-year expedition perished on the voyage.[3]