Panama travel guide

Cheap Hostels in Bocas del Toro

Search Bocas del Toro hostels with up-to-date availability and book a hostel in Bocas del Toro.

Bocas del Toro is a paradise on the Caribbean West region of Panama. While most visitors come here during the dry season – December to April -, the area can be visited year-round. The city is small enough to tackle on foot but you can also rent a bicycle or a scooter to get around.

With hotels in Bocas del Toro being on the pricy side, it’s a good idea to look for hostels or hostel-like accommodation when planning your vacation in this tropical paradise.

Don’t worry that you’ll have to spend your nights in a room with 20 other travelers. Most hostels also offer private rooms (and in many cases with en suite bathroom), so your privacy doesn’t have to suffer. And, best of all, you get to socialize because chances are you’ll run into the fellow travelers in the common room.

Hostels have the advantage of being located close to the attractions, beaches or right in the city center. So they are easy to get to and easy to get around the city.

Always book the bed or room in advance, regardless of when you plan to travel, but especially if you want to visit Panama during the peak travel season. Take into account that you won’t be staying in huge hostels; actually we are talking small houses, more like guesthouses than hostels. So these book up quite quickly.

Generally speaking, a bed in dorms starts at US$10 per night, while if you prefer a private room, expect to pay from US$12 per night per person.

Photo credit

Panama travel guide

Cheap Hotels in Bocas del Toro

Search Bocas del Toro hotels with up-to-date availability and book a hotel in Bocas del Toro

Bocas del Toro is a very popular vacation destination in Panama, located on the Caribbean Coast. The dry season – December to April – is the high season for traveling to Bocas del Toro , which also means the accommodation tends to be more expensive than other times of the year.

There are accommodation options for all budgets. However, you might not find a place to stay right in Bocas del Toro and , hence, you need to settle for places near-by. But if you are on a tight budget you might want to look into a hostel rather than a hotel. And if you want to travel during the high season, make sure to book the hotel room well in advance.

Here are some hotels to consider for your stay.

Hotel Palma Royale

The hotel is located in the city and constantly ranks high among those who have already stayed here. It is located just 20 m from the sea. All rooms have flat screen TV, AC and fridge.

In March 2012, expect to pay from US$95 per night , double occupancy.

Playa Tortuga Hotel Beach And Resort

The 4-star hotel is located right on the beach in Bocas del Toro. On site, there are: fitness facilities, pool, health club and children’s pool. Breakfast is included in the room price. All rooms have AC, flat screen TV and free wi-fi.

In March 2012, expect to pay from US$145 per night, double occupancy, breakfast included (discounted price).

Photo credit

Panama travel guide

Getting from Panama City to Bocas del Toro

Panama City , the capital of Panama, is also the transportation hub in the country. If you travel from abroad, this is where you’ll land and from where you’ll depart to visit the rest of the country. The city offers great shopping and even if you don’t speak Spanish, you’ll be happy to know that some English is spoken here.

Bocas del Toro is located in the Caribbean West region of Panama. The city is small and can be tackled on foot. Other good options include renting a bike or a scooter. One of the activities Bocas del Toro is popular for is scuba diving, but of course you can also soak up the sun and enjoy the beach related past time.

Quick summary

The cheapest option for travel between Panama City and Bocas del Toro is the bus via Almirante, followed by a ferry or a water taxi. Another option is the plane, but airfare costs about 3 times more than the bus fare.

Flights from Panama City (airport code: PAC) to Bocas del Toro

While your international flight will land on Tocumen International Airport (PTY) in Panama City, the flights to Bocas del Toro depart from Gelabert/Albrook Airport (PAC). The airport is located just 1.5 km from the city center and the majority of the flights operated here a domestic.

Bocas del Toro is served by Bocas del Toro “Isla Colón” International Airport (BOC) , which is also located just 1.5 km from the city center.

Flights between Panama City and Bocas del Toro are operated by Aeroperlas and Air Panama. The rumor is that both companies will start operating flights from Tocumen as well, starting with June 2012.

You don’t be able to find the flights via large search flight engines (i.e. Kayak), so you are left with checking the airlines directly. Expect to pay US$80 one way on either Air Panama or Aeroperlas. The flight time is an hour.

>>book flights to Panama and read about Airports in Panama

Buses and ferries from Panama City to Bocas del Toro

There are direct buses from Panama City to Bocas del Toro , via Almirante. The bus departs Panama City from the terminal near Albrook Airport. In Almirante you need to transfer to the water taxi or ferry to Bocas del Toro. The total travel time is about 8 ½ h and the fare is around US$27 one way. Indirect buses are also available via David.

Your best bet is to show up at the bus terminal a day or two before the departure and get your ticket.

>>read more about Bus Travel in Panama

Driving from Panama City to Bocas del Toro

You can rent a car in Panama City and drive to Almirante and then transfer to ferry or water taxi to Bocas del Toro. The distance is 508 km and the drive time is about 8 h.

View Larger Map

Photo credit

Panama travel guide

Restaurants in Bocas del Toro

When visiting Panama’s tourism hot spot in Bocas del Toro, you will find a wide variety of restaurants that cater to both tourists and locals. Along the waterfront are touristy restaurants with great outdoor seating built on docks over the water. These establishments offer standard fare at slightly inflated prices. But, these are great places to get a coffee in the mornings and enjoy the watching the sun reflect off the Caribbean waters.

If you are like me, and are always in search of local joints where the food is cheap and authentic and the clientele is mostly Panamanian, than you should not miss Restaurante Chitre. Located on Bocas’ main strip, this cafeteria style haunt is a well-loved local institution. It may not look like much on the outside (or the inside for that matter), but here you can get a heaping pile of rice, beans the their to-die-for pollo asado for about US$2.50. The ladies who do the cooking know how to make good roasted chicken. The meat was tender and delicious and the sauce was the best I had during my entire month in Panama. Wash down your patacones with a soda and sit at one of the small, slanted tables outside. As soon as you bite into that pollo asado you’ll be glad you visited Restaurante Chitre. The only problem with place is that once you eat there once, you’ll find yourself not wanting to eat anywhere else during your stay on the island.