Paddle surf in Bocas del Toro, Panama.  It wasn’t long ago that Panama’s Caribbean archipelago, Bocas del Toro, was a hidden, nine-island prize for adventurous travelers. Today, new hotels and restaurants are unveiled every few months, and the string of tropical islands is far from secret. But with plenty of great dining establishments, hotels and activities, spending a week in Bocas definitely still feels like a win, particularly in September and October when the Pacific side is rainy.  Just a four-hour bus-and-boat trip from the Costa Rican Caribbean travel destination of Puerto Viejo, Bocas del Toro has become a popular border-run destination for expats and a convenient stop for travelers aiming to visit both countries. There’s even talk of branding the two destinations as a coastal package deal, offering relaxation with a splash of culture.  The wildlife is nothing to sneeze at either. Smack in the middle of a huge coral reef system, Bocas’ nine main islands and 200-some islets are home to a diverse population of fish and marine mammals. In addition to the area’s great diving and snorkeling, the ocean’s coral floor generates amazing surf breaks. For those more comfortable on land, the islands’ well-developed tourism industry has it all: chocolate farms, bat caves, white-sand beaches and a rollicking bar scene.