Originally opened in 2021, the exclusive, all-inclusive, adults-only Bocas Bali property features an array of 16 over-water villas on a private island in the Bocas del Toro area, off the Caribbean coast—as well as the world’s first over-water beach. Fringed by approximately three miles of coral reefs, the property is a haven for snorkeling and other aquatic sports. The property is now part of Nayara Resorts’ portfolio of eco-concious resorts.
Says Dan Behm, the owner of Bocas Bali, on how the partnership with Nayara came about: “We chose Nayara because of the ideal cultural fit and their proven ability to create extraordinary experiences for their guests.”
Leo Ghitis, owner of Nayara Resorts, is thrilled to welcome this new property into the portfolio as it is an excellent complement to the other hotels in the group. “Nayara Bocas Bali exemplifies what the Nayara brand is all about,” says Ghitis. “Ultra-personalized service combined with extraordinary experiences, and above all, an unwavering commitment to sustainability and our communities.”
The 16 over-water villas immerse guests in the lush Caribbean scenery, allowing them to snorkel, paddleboard, or kayak directly from their rooms. Some villas feature glass floor panels for underwater marine viewing while others have saltwater pools and steps that lead into the sea; all were inspired by the barefoot romance of Bali, with natural materials, beds wrapped in tumpang sari canopies (Javanese-style layered beams ornately carved into a vaulted ceiling), and floor-to-ceiling windows showcasing the view out over the sea. In fall 2022, the property will unveil its first treehouse with plans to add several more in late 2022 and 2023, some floating as high as 40 feet above ground.
A pair of restaurants serve international dishes with a local twist, using the freshest seafood from the Caribbean Sea. Items include toasted local coconut bread (Johnny cakes); ceviche of the day from the morning’s catch; and Caribbean Curry. The Balinese-inspired Elephant House restaurant sits on stilts over the Caribbean Sea and the poolside Coral Café is a cheerful, alfresco setting for a casual breakfast, lunch, or snack. Both restaurant bars serve handcrafted cocktails that perfectly complement the island breeze; The Tipsy Bar, on Kupu-Kupu Beach, is the perfect place to sip a tropical cocktail, toes in the sand.
The property’s idyllic island location makes it a wonderland for aquatic pursuits—from snorkeling and paddle boarding to kayaking through the mangroves and dolphin viewing in the bay (Dolphin Bay is aptly named – pods of dolphins are frequently spotted swimming around). Off property, guests can take a seaplane to Isla Escudo de Veraguas, a remote island known for its three-toed pygmy sloths who like to swim in the water around the island. Other excursions include scuba diving, fishing, visiting indigenous chocolate farms, and exploring Monkey Island—a secluded monkey sanctuary.
In April, Bocas Bali unveiled the world’s first over-water beach, hovering on stilts and stretching 90 feet long by 20 feet wide. With white sand, lush palms, and the Tipsy Bar serving tropical drinks, Kupu-Kupu Beach is an ideal spot to while away the hours and soak up the tropical breeze. A series of stairs descend from the platform directly into the Caribbean Sea, allowing for a seamless transition between sunbathing and deep-water snorkeling.
Bocas Bali uses solar energy, purified rainwater, and an eco-friendly wastewater treatment system engineered specifically for a mangrove island. Five separate environmental studies were conducted to ensure the property posed no risk to the habitat’s mangroves and crystal-clear waters. The overwater buildings were specifically placed to mitigate any interference with the surrounding coral reefs.
After flying into Panama City’s Tocumen Airport, it is an hour drive to Albrook Airport, then about an hour-long flight to Bocas Airport where someone from Bocas Bali will greet arrivals and bring them to the property by boat. (Roundtrip transfers from Bocas airport are included in the rate.) From January 2023, Bocas Bali is launching VIP daily air service directly from Panama City’s Tocumen Airport to Bocas del Toro airport on a nine-seat King Air B200 (leaving Panama City at 4:30 daily and leaving Bocas del Toro at 9:30am daily – a 45-minute flight). The price for this is $500 each way (per person). The resort can assist with coordinating travel once in Panama.