Best hotels and hostels in Bocas del Toro Province

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Isla Bastimentos

    Tranquilo Bay

    The oldest and most remote resort on Isla Bastimentos, this family-friendly North American–run lodge creates a fantastic environment for play and relaxation. Grounds feature nine comfortable cabins with orthopedic beds, fine linens and locally crafted hardwood furnishings. Tailored excursions run by biologist guides include wildlife-watching (there’s a 63ft birdwatching tower and 200 species onsite). Also perfect for just beaching it. Cabins either face the water or sit in the jungle. Guests dine at the main lodge (alcohol included; special diets catered for) with a wraparound porch and ocean views. The lodge composts, captures rainwater, uses a minimum of plastics and educates staff on water usage. Created on around 80 hectares of conservation land, Tranquilo Bay also works with local scientists and conservation agencies and does not print marketing material. Transportation is US$100 per person, round trip, with travel days on Wednesday and Saturday. Three-night minimum stay, with kids half-off.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Isla Bastimentos

    La Loma

    Integrated into a 23-hectare rainforest and its community, this 'jungle lodge and chocolate farm' offers tasteful stays to consistently rave reviews. The location is hidden in mangroves, accessed by boat. A steep hill leads past a rushing creek to four sedate, ultra-private cabins with hand-carved beds. Each has a propane-fuelled, rainwater-fed bathroom, a mosquito net and solar-powered energy system. One cabin is by a rock pool; two are in the treetops (we love No 2 and its views). Meals include fresh-baked bread and organic vegetables grown on the farm. Two-hour tours are included in the price. Guests and nonguests can reserve a chocolate tour (US$15), farm-to-table lunch or dinner (US$15 to US$25) or take a chocolate cooking course. La Loma distributes a number of beautifully illustrated pamphlets to guide guests through the jungle and to help you appreciate its wildlife and medicinal plants. It also works with volunteers to help teach English to local children.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Isla Bastimentos

    Casa Cayuco

    This beachfront retreat combines nature with modern conveniences. It's off-grid and jungle-chic, with sweeping views from lofty suites in the post-and-beam hardwood lodge, and jungle cabins by the water. Table d’hote meals (wine included) eaten on the dock are a big deal to the foodie owners from Detroit; lobsters and octopus come from nearby waters. There's also yoga retreats. Kayaks and snorkel gear are included to explore the nearby reefs, mangroves and rivers. Guided excursions run extra but include unique offerings such as in-depth tours of the nearby indigenous village of Quebrada Sal (Salt Creek). The resort runs on solar power and collected rainwater. It's located on the white-sand beach of Punta Vieja, with some of the best tranquil swimming around. Minimum stay three nights. It’s 30 minutes by boat to Bocas town; transfers are included.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Archipiélago de Bocas del Toro

    Dolphin Bay Hideaway

    Located amid mangroves and gorgeous gardens, this ecolodge has five rooms on two levels, with a big wooden deck, docks with hammocks and both a lily pond and a pool. Rooms are colorful and well appointed, with canopy beds, mosquito nets and large fans. Two cabins complete the picture. North Americans Brian and Amy are delightful hosts and offer tours. There is snorkeling equipment available as well as kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards. Meals are eaten communally in the lovely dining room on the top level. Transfer from Bocas town costs US$30 one way.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Bocas del Toro Town

    Hotel Bocas del Toro

    Our favorite place to stay in Bocas town, this three-story waterfront inn has 11 spacious all-hardwood rooms with firm beds, luxurious linens and a warm decor; some have seafront balconies. Perks include concierge service and amenities such as Silico Creek coffee produced by a Ngöbe-Buglé community. There’s a fun streetside bar and an excellent waterfront restaurant serving Panamanian classics. Hotel Bocas del Toro is a member of APTSO, Panama's sustainable tourism alliance.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Isla Bastimentos

    Palmar Tent Lodge

    On the edge of the jungle and facing celebrated Red Frog Beach, Palmar has introduced glamping to Bocas del Toro to unanimous acclaim. Accommodations are in solar-powered circular tents for two to three, with all the comforts (including large lock boxes for valuables), wooden dorms, or a luxurious two-story thatched 'jungalow' for two. Guests 12 years and up are welcome. The huge open-sided restaurant-bar is the place to be most nights (and days, come to think of it). The fun and well-informed owners, two friends from Washington, DC, offer a laundry list of tours and excursions and there are yoga classes (US$6) twice daily on-site. Water-taxi shuttles, included with your reservation, link the lodge with Bocas town twice a day. No internet.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Isla Colón

    Hummingbird

    This lovely B&B on Playa Bluff boasts six rooms in a house and two bungalows constructed with gorgeous tropical hardwoods, with sensational balconies and louvered windows and doors that let in cool breezes. Open-plan bathrooms behind the bedrooms are tastefully designed. Grounds are planted as a botanical garden to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. The onsite restaurant is an excellent choice, even for nonguests, with huge leafy salads and appetizing plates of seafood or burgers. Transfers from the airport are included with a three-night stay.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Isla Colón

    Island Plantation

    Reminiscent of an intimate resort in Bali, this boutique property has seven lovely rooms with private open-air showers in the garden, king-size four-poster beds, mosquito nets and hardwood balconies. The stunner is a two-bedroom suite featuring an enormous hardwood veranda. Guests can dine on the beach for lunch; there's a clay oven for excellent pizzas. Warm welcome, great service.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Bocas del Toro Town

    Mamallena

    Our favorite hostel in Bocas town is this stylish new over-the-water option with tropical prints, palms and a wraparound bar with a pool table on the ocean deck. Big enough to meet folks but not industrial sized, it has regular happy-hour events and kayaking right off the dock (US$20 all day). The 14 rooms are all air-conditioned, some with balcony.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Bocas del Toro Town

    Hotel Lula’s

    A place of porches and rocking chairs, this lovely B&B offers a stylish stay. Its eight rooms are immaculate, with orthopedic mattresses, and wooden ceilings and floors. The hosts, two affable firefighters from Atlanta, Georgia, give first-rate service, in addition to free big Southern breakfasts. Has filtered water and a well-stocked honor bar.

  • Lodging in Archipiélago de Bocas del Toro

    Bambuda Lodge

    Run by two Calgary friends focused on fun and service, this destination hostel is set up in lush rainforest with fruit trees and trails, overlooking a coral reef. The attractive all-wood complex features a gorgeous swimming pool and an adrenaline-stoking 60m-long water slide plunging from hillside reception into the ocean. Water taxis provide transfers (US$5) from Bocas. Bambuda has two fan-cooled dorms with 10 beds each and private rooms that include quite deluxe jungle bungalows. The open-air bar and dining room serves set meals (US$8 to US$12). If they're in season, there's mango, star fruit and custard apples for the picking, while 10km of trails fan out in several directions. Nonguests can get a pass (US$8) to use the facilities. There’s snorkeling equipment as well kayaks and canoes sometimes available.

  • Lodging in Mainland

    Posada Media Luna

    The welcome of this women's co-op could not be warmer. They have built a handsome wooden hostel in the village of Bonyic on the Río Teribe. Accommodations are basic but clean. Try traditional food with vegetarian options and bring drinking water. There are excellent tours to medicinal gardens, a waterfall, neighboring villages accessed by raft and Parque Internacional La Amistad (from US$30). A stay here is well worth the effort and proceeds go to much-needed funding to help sustain the village. There are solar lights but no electricity. Tours, running from US$30, are priced for three participants. The hostel is run by run by OMUB (Organización de Mujeres Unidades de Bonyic), an association of indigenous women, whose Whats App contact is the very friendly and responsive Nilka.

  • Lodging in Bocas del Toro Town

    Selina Hostel Bocas del Toro

    This ever-expanding hostel chain, which has properties in Panama City's Casco Viejo and on Playa Venao in Península de Azuero, has a mammoth turquoise 196-bed property on the waterfront with something for everybody. Choose from a rock-bottom bunk in a dorm with 12 beds to a deluxe double with balcony on the top floor (room 312 or 313). You can swim in azure waters directly from the two-level waterfront deck, watch films in the video room, enjoy a drink at the open-air bar or order the meal of the day at the restaurant. There's also a common kitchen for guests' use. An in-house travel agency rents equipment and organizes excursions and there are water taxi departures to Red Frog.

  • Lodging in Bocas del Toro Town

    Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge

    A poster child for Caribbean luxury, Punta Caracol has nine exquisite cabins perched on a long pier over crystal waters. Two-story thatched cabins feature king-sized canopy beds, big skylight windows and soft lighting. There are solar panels and local renewable materials used in construction, and the long boardwalk leads over a reef to a 2km-long mangrove coast. About 3km northwest of Bocas town and accessed only by boat, Punta Caracol is the ultimate in tranquillity. Nonguests can dine at the deck-side restaurant (mains from US$10 to US$25), which serves fresh seafood, tasty oversized cocktails and tropical style.

  • Lodging in Isla Colón

    Tesoro Escondido

    Exuding a very homespun charm, this colorful seafront lodge with eight rooms, three thatched cottages and a suite works its magic. Mosaic tables and recycled-bottle construction in the showers lend a bohemian air; the hammock-strewn upstairs balcony is a treat; and rooms 7 and 8, accessed by a stepped tree trunk, are awesome. Guests dine on fixed menus with fab desserts (best chocolate ever?). Snorkel gear is free to borrow and there are bicycles for rent. Note, it's relatively isolated, located on the right just before Playa Bluff, and has its own tiny private beach.

  • Lodging in Archipiélago de Bocas del Toro

    Finca Vela

    This stylish ecolodge run by a French family lets you leave the world behind. There's snorkeling right off the dock, where there's also a shady hammock hut and restored cayucos (dugout canoes) for guest use. Well-designed cabins show minimalist elegance. Take a golf cart uphill to the restaurant with a daily menu of local products cooked up by the French chef. It's five minutes by boat to Almirante, and 30 minutes to Bocas town. Contact via WhatsApp as there's no signal on-site.

  • Lodging in Isla Bastimentos

    Eclypse del Mar

    These stylish over-the-water bungalows offer a charming retreat right on the fringe of Old Bank. Their boardwalks lead straight into a mangrove reserve where you can spy on sloths and caimans. Each wooden house features canopy beds, cheerful pillows and even a floor window with fish flitting by. The on-site cafe serves seafood and good pub grub. There's kayaks for guest use. Come and go via water taxi.

  • Lodging in Isla Bastimentos

    Residencia Al Natural

    Fans of Al Natural Resort who prefer conventional lodgings can book spacious lofts in this gorgeous hardwood villa further down the beach. There's screens, air-conditioning and wi-fi, rarities in these parts, as well as decks and hammock areas. Guest can choose to participate in Al Natural's social life at will or add on tours. It's ideal for families.

  • Lodging in Mainland

    Soposo Rainforest Adventures

    Part of a project spearheaded by an ex–Peace Corps volunteer and her Naso husband to offer the Naso people an alternative income, Soposo Rainforest Adventures offers accommodations in stilted thatched huts and traditional foods at three meals. Visits include transport from Changuinola. Tours may include community visits, camping trips, birdwatching and manatee viewing.

  • Lodging in Isla Bastimentos

    Sea Monkey

    Run by an American couple, the bungalows at this luxury B&B hover cheekily over the gin-clear water at the far end of Old Bank harbor. Enormous fan-cooled rooms accommodating three or four people sit 30m from shore, with hand-hewn king-sized beds, high-quality mattresses and fridges. A glass wall with private hammock decks beyond affords uninterrupted sea views.