A survey of Porifera biodiversity and distribution was done in three islands of the Bocas del Toro region, Panama. Fourteen sites were explored using mask and snorkel, and occasionally scuba equipment, during ten days. Forty-one species are added to the species known for the region. Our current estimate of sponge diversity in shallow exposed marine habitats of Bocas del Toro is 120 species. Twenty-three species are added to the Panamanian sponge fauna, four of which are new species currently being described. A patchy distribution was observed for most of the sponge species, while few species were present at all sites visited. Approximately 23% (30 species) of the diversity encountered was widely distributed. The species composition of the most typical or common sponges from reef, seagrass beds, or mangrove habitats, agrees with that of other Caribbean sites. An appendix with a field guide to the species encountered in this study is presented.