STC Programs: Research: Bluff Beach, Panama

Bluff Beach is located in Isla Colon, 6 km from the town of Bocas del Toro. From March to October it’s a nesting beach for leatherback, hawksbill, and green sea turtles.

In February 1997, the Mayor and the City Council of Bocas del Toro, declared Bluff Beach as a Municipal Reserve with the aim of preserving not just the beach but this nesting area for sea turtles, one of the most important in the entire region. In 1999, through the same legal tools, the reserve was regulated.

In 2010, the Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) promoted the creation of a community organization to collaborate in the beach monitoring, conducting scientific research about sea turtles in this beach, along with other important region stakeholders such as Smithsonian Institute and Alianza Bocas.

This community organization was named ANABOCA (Asociación Natural Bocas Carey) whose members, after having formalized their status, participated in several trainings in order to improve their organizational, technical and operational knowledge, so the would be ready to the big challenge of managing the reserve and ensuring the presence of sea turtles in the future.

Currently, the beach is being monitored for nesting sea turtles. This includes nightly surveys, track surveys and nest inventories. From April to August, STC organizes nightly tours with a STC certified guides to observe a nesting sea turtle.

You can learn more about Bluff Beach and STC’s work there through STC’s Bocas del Toro Facebook page, or you can email STC at

If you would like to be considered as a Research Assistant, you can submit a STC Bocas del Toro Research Assistantship Application.