Surf Stories: Olga Redinova
This is the surf story and experience of surf and travel lover Olga Redinova, who is based in London. We met Olga on her daily surfing sessions to Carenero Island. Here she shares her experience, surf guide and tips for those seeking the perfect wave in Bocas del Toro.
I’m a very keen surfer and love travelling; trying to combine these two passions has been quite difficult over the past two years 🙈 I had three weeks off from Christmas (that ended up being four just because I was having way too many good times in Bocas!). I was originally planning to visit El Salvador but after a chat while surfing at Croyde (UK) with my friend who used to live in Bocas, I very quickly changed my mind and booked my flights and accommodation in Bocas del Toro, and I am so grateful for it!
As mentioned, I love surfing and that was the main purpose of my trip. Bocas del Toro has its main surf season from about mid/the end of December to around the beginning of April; a perfect fit for me!
Also, I needed to recharge my mental and spiritual batteries, where Bocas delivered once again! The slow Caribbean pace mixed with Latino warmth was exactly what I needed and this beautiful vibe is everywhere in and out of the water.
The surf quality is phenomenal. There are so many different surf spots to choose from. Everyone from beginners to intermediate/advanced to pros will find something that suits their abilities. Just to name a few:
Black Rock, Isla Carenero - beginners
La Punta (the Point), Isla Carenero – intermediate/advanced
Old Mans, Isla Carenero - beginners
Wizard, Isla Bastimentos - intermediate
Paunch, Isla Colón - intermediate/advanced
Bluff, Isla Colón - advanced
There are more but I didn’t get the chance to surf them all… mission for next time 😉
For me (this time round) the favourite and most convenient spots were on Carenero Island as I was staying on Isla Bastimentos which is just a short boat (taxi) ride to Carenero.
Doña Mara was my ‘base camp’ during my daily surf sessions on Carenero, where I was always welcomed by Zabrina, Ariel and Lobo (their dog!) with their huge smiles, and enjoyed a pre- or post-surf breakfast at Receta Michilá.
From Doña Mara it’s a very short boat (taxi) ride to La Punta, Black Rock or Old Mans but I much preferred to walk. This beautiful walk is only 15-25 minutes all the way to The Point… it might take you a bit longer if you decide to spot sloths 🦥 and all the wonderful wildlife Carenero has to offer.
It’s truly amazing, with jungle on one side of you and on the other you have the unbelievably blue sea with all the surf spots mentioned above to check out and see which is best for you.
I surfed all three of Carenero’s spots and loved them all for different reasons. I was making decisions based on the size of the swell, crowds (they can get crowded at times) and my mood - meaning there are mainly left-hand breaks but Black Rock is a right- as well as left-break.
The vibe in in the water was really mellow and super welcoming but please respect the locals and good etiquette in the water!!! The respect you give will come back to you and everyone will have a great time! At the end of the day that’s what we are there for! 😉🏄🏻♀️🏄🏻♂️🤙
What are the everyday essentials?… lots of mosquito repellent* (the “chitras” (sand flies) are super annoying), a good sunblock* (the sun is wonderful but real strong), always have plenty of drinking water and some small change (dollars) for boat taxies as they are not very keen on changing even $20 notes. Also, it’s not recommended to leave your belongings unattended on the beaches.
Huge thanks to all the wonderful people I met during my four weeks’ holiday 🙌🙏.
Bocas del Toro and the people of Bocas absolutely and totally stole my heart and I cannot wait to be back! 🤙
Signing off, Olga!
*Doña Mara tip – for the repellent and sunblock essentials please bring reef safe and natural products to help us protect the beautiful and important marine life of our islands. We sell a natural homemade repellent at Doña Mara, made with virgin coconut oil from Isla Carenero, and a mix of essential oils. It works great against the sand flies!
For a more detailed surf guide of Bocas del Toro head to Bocas Stoked Monkey surf travel guide.