Disclosure: There's a good chance this post contains affiliate links. Purchasing through my blog helps me stay on the road! So, thank you!(Last Updated On: June 14, 2018)
During my weeks there, I was able to get a pretty well-rounded idea of where to stay in Bocas del Toro. I experienced Bocas del Toro hostels, hotels, and even resorts, and have seen the islands from both a backpacker’s and a luxurious perspective.
I spent a while sailing in Bocas del Toro and experiencing the archipelago from a boat before heading back to land and island-hopping for a while, often taking my time to explore not only my own but other accommodations in the area as well. So, here’s what I thought of 18 different Bocas del Toro hotels, hostels, and resorts – there will surely be something for every kind of traveler!
Before you start, though, make sure to check out my complete Bocas del Toro Travel Guide for all your other Bocas needs. It opens up in a new tab so you can read it later!
Pin these recommendations of where to stay in Bocas del Toro to your Pinterest boards!
- Don’t miss my Complete Panama Backpacking Guide if you’re traveling around the area!
Where to Stay in Bocas del Toro for Backpackers: Bocas del Toro Hostels
Selina (Bocas Town, Isla Colon)
Selina is an obvious and franchised place to stay in Bocas del Toro, but is a fantastic hostel. Selina is a chain of hostels present all through Panama, Costa Rica, and even parts of Colombia and Nicaragua, and they always put out a great product.
Selina hostels are large sized and not the most intimate, but always have great parties, spaces, and tours available. The Bocas del Toro Selina is super stylish and has little chair hammocks on a deck the opens out to a channel, where people swim, sunbathe, and hang out by the bar.
You do pay extra for this being the biggest and most well-known hostel, though. At up to $25 for a dorm bed in high season(without breakfast included), it’s important to consider if you want to pay extra or simply go and hang out at Selina from another place (that’s what I did, especially when I was staying on the boat). If you have the funds, though… this is the place to be.
Selina Red Frog (Red Frog Beach, Bastimentos)
Selina recently opened up a new property on Bastimentos Island, which is a beautiful space a 5 min jungle walk from the pristine Red Frog Beach.
Selina Red Frog is much more low-key spot with pool parties on Sundays. It’s a great surf hostel with more of a community vibe than it’s Bocas Town counterpart. I stayed a few days and loved the tranquility and secludedness!
La Guayana Hostel (Bocas Town, Isla Colon)
La Guayana is a cheaper and smaller hostel in Bocas Town. With just a couple smaller common areas, it’s much more of a community vibe. There’s not much of a party scene (you can go to Selina for that!) but there’s free breakfast for $10 less than Selina (at my time of booking) and the dorm beds are totally fine (ensuite too!).
The location is a bit farther out from Bocas town, but still totally walkable. There’s aircon in each room too.
Chilling in Selina Hostel – loving the world map mural!
Skull’y House hostel pool
Skully’s House Hostel (Paunch, Isla Colon)
Skully’s house is on Isla Colon about 10/15 minutes away from Bocas Town via bike or car. It’s a bit more secluded away from the bustling town, and has its own incredible space right on the water. There’s a lovely picturesque pool right on the water which has tables and chairs half submerged in the water. Their bar is fully stocked and you can even come here for a meal if you want, or to chill out in any of their too-perfectly-placed hammocks.
Calipso Hostel (Bocas Town, Isla Colon)
Calipso is about the same price as La Guayana and is in the main square of town. Because of this it can be a bit louder of an area, which is good to keep in mind. The dorms are also very fine, have ensuite bathrooms, and free breakfast.
Calipso has a nice location from the water taxis and is close to all the action. The WiFi was very bad when I was there but I also just went to Selina to use theirs 😛
Hostal Hansi (Bocas Town, Isla Colon)
On my last night in Bocas, I didn’t realize everything was going to fill up for Semana Santa, Panama’s easter week. I ended up spontaneously booking a private single room here for $22, and it was one of the best nights I spent in Bocas!
This is probably because I had been in dorms, a boat, and camping for literally an entire month and it was my first private space in ages, but the facilities were great and a fan worked just fine to keep me cool. There was no free breakfast but the kitchen was spacious. They aren’t on hostelworld for some reason, but were a fantastic location and space.
Enjoying the space on Calipso Hostel’s balcony
Viewage from Bubba’s House Hostel on Bastimentos
Bubba’s House (Old Bank, Bastimentos)
Located in Old Bank town on Bastimentos Island, Bubba’s House is a waterside bar and hostel that gives you the perfect location to check out some other points of interest on Bastimentos, like the Firefly, Wizard beach, and Up in the Hill permaculture farm. See my Bocas del Toro travel guide for info!
Aqua Lounge (Across from Bocas Town, Isla Carenero)
Aqua lounge is on Isla Carenero directly across/a 1 minute water taxi from Bocas Town. This is a beautiful deck side hostel with a swimming area and is the final destination for the Filthy Friday’s party each week. There’s a waterside bar and a great view. It fills up fast, too, so book up!
Twin Fin Hostel (Bocas Town, Isla Colon)
This is another hostel in Bocas town which checks all the important boxes for a good hostel and has free breakfast. I spoke to a few backpackers who loved and recommended it and said the facilities (and prices!) were great. And they have air con!
Bambuda Lodge (Isla Solarte)
Somehow I didn’t even find it about this one until I left Bocas, but apparently it’s the most well-rated out of them all! It’s a bit more remote on Isla Solarte, but it was voted the best in Panama in 2016 and has a 150ft water slide right into the sea! I am guessing it was booked up when I was around or I would have checked it out for sure! Help me ease my fomo and let me know how it is, will you?
My recommendation of where to stay in Bocas del Toro for a backpacker: Spend a few nights in Bocas Town, in whatever accommodation as described above works for your needs. Then move to Bambuda Lodge for a few nights to get that experience, and then to Bastimentos island at Bubba’s or Selina Red Frog. You get the whole experience that way!Where to Stay in Bocas Del Toro: Hotels, Hostels, and Resorts for Every Type of Traveler! Click To Tweet
Coral Cay Cabins
Where to Stay in Bocas del Toro for a Professional/Everyone Else: Bocas del Toro Hotels and Resorts
No backpack, no problem! There are also a lot of options on where to stay in Bocas del Toro for someone who wants a bit more luxury, and luckily I was able to check out some of these options as well! From fancy and inclusive resorts, to places to stay in Bocas del Toro with kids, to private rooms in a more social space, here are a few options:
Hostels with Private Rooms
All hostels/Selina’s actually have really nice hotel rooms too. This is great for someone with a backpacker mindset but a young professional budget and a need for privacy! Check the links above under ‘Bocas del Toro hostels’ for hostels which offer private spaces and private hotel rooms. I know that Selina Bocas and Selina Red Frog have incredible private facilities, as to Aqua Lounge, Twin Fin, Hostal Hansi, and honestly probably most of the hostels above have private rooms. Check them out! I know I sometimes need my own space but love also to be social with like-minded travelers!
Coral Cay Cabins + Restaurant (Remote Cay off Isla Bastimentos)
Cayo Coral is a remote little lodge in the middle of mangrove trees on a tiny Cay off an island next to Bastimentos. They have an amazing restaurant that serves fresh seafood. This place is great for a getaway.
Red Frog Resort & Villas (Red From Beach, Bastimentos)
Red Frog Resort is for LUXE travelers. I got to see some of the villas on my sailing trip in Bocas del Toro,, and MAN are they incredible! Villas range in size but most have three rooms, WiFi, aircon, TV, kitchen, a mini pool, and more. You basically don’t have to leave…. ever. Prices range by season, so check if you can get a good deal!
Enjoying a house special cocktail at the pool at Red Frog Resort. Each villa has its own little pool too!
Bocas Paradise Hotel (Bocas Town, Isla Colon)
This is a perfectly located hotel with balconies out to the channel. It’s basic but has aircon and all the important amenities in a hotel room, plus a great view if you get a front-facing room!
Hotel Bocas Town (Bocas Town, Isla Colon)
Hotel Bocas Town looks out over the water and is perfectly situated right in town. Also has a nice deck over the water.
Hotel Bocas del Toro (Bocas Town, Isla Colon)
You really can’t get any more central than this hotel, which has a rustic charm, beautiful spacious rooms, and also overlooks the water. For a hotel, this would be my pick.
Tropical Suites Hotel (Bocas Town, Isla Colon)
This is another perfectly located hotel overlooking the water right in Bocas Town that is well-rated, has great service, and has nice big rooms. Many rooms have large balconies overlooking the water.
In this photo: The big white building is Tropical Suites Hotel, the one to its left is Hotel Bocas del Toro, and the pink one to its right is Hotel Bocas Town.
Playa Tortuga Hotel + Resort (Big Creek, Isla Colon)
Playa Tortuga is a beautiful resort located up the coast from Bocas Town for a bit more privacy. They have a long pool right on the water, lovely views, and spacious rooms for people looking for a bit more luxury.
Island Plantation (Bluff Beach, Isla Colon)
Located on Bluff Beach, roughly a 30 minute drive or an hour bike ride from Bocas Town, you’ll find Island Plantation. This is one of the fancier hotels in the area on one of the best surfing beaches as well. You will be more secluded here but also very accessible to Bocas Town and all activities thereof.
So there you go, guys! Where to stay in Bocas del Toro for backpackers, professionals, retirees, and everyone in between! I hope my experience in Bocas will be able to help you plan your perfect trip. Don’t forget to check out my guide!
Don’t forget to Pin me! This hammock is on the beach at Skully’s House Hostel Bocas del Toro!
- Don’t miss my Complete Panama Backpacking Guide if you’re traveling around the area!