Best hotels and hostels in Highlands

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Boquete

    Haven

    This sleekly designed hotel and spa provides a very chic retreat. British-owned, it has eight rooms with cool space-saving designs, set amid verdant gardens. Water features, river stones and palms set the scene for relaxation. Amenities include a full gym and spa with sauna, yoga, steam room, an indoor pool, a natural health center and a Jacuzzi. Professional and service-oriented. It's 2km south of the town center; watch for signs for the left-hand turn as you approach Boquete.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Boquete

    Bambuda Castle

    Once upon a time, a Dutchman built this castle to pay homage to his beloved. Now it's a surreal fun center with an indoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi, on-site bar and gardens overlooking the hills. There's three dorm rooms, but the most sought-after lodgings are fiberglass hobbit holes out back, though budding Rapunzels could opt for the two-story tower. The owners, Tom and Dan, are two Canadians from Alberta who aim to please. It's a US$3 taxi ride from the center.

  • Lodging in Boquete

    Hotel Panamonte

    This historic 21-room hotel dating from 1914 wins you over with its sprawling flower gardens, serene spaces, and handsome rooms and public areas. Choose between the original rooms, bursting with character, or new, larger terrace rooms outfitted as modern deluxe. Service is impeccable, and the restaurant is among Panama’s best. The day spa is the perfect complement to a mountain getaway. You can relax here, knowing that John Wayne, Ingrid Bergman and Richard Nixon did so too. It's located on a quiet road at the northern end of town just west of where the bridge washed away in 2008.

  • Lodging in Boquete

    Isla Verde Hotel

    Set in a large, lush garden with a small stream running through it, this delicious property offers different types of lodgings in 16 units – from casitas (cottages) to suites and two-story round cabins, all featuring luxuriant mattresses, vaulted ceilings, complete kitchens and roomy bathrooms. It’s probably the best in-town retreat, with prompt service and even massages available (from US$60). Accommodation is for two; each additional person is charged US$20 (kids US$10).

  • Lodging in Boquete

    Riverside Inn

    A casual stunner, this exclusive inn with six suites has a relaxed and intimate setting and an upscale restaurant called the Rock. Living areas feature original artwork and a grand stone fireplace. Suites are expansive, with vaulted ceilings, soft cotton bedding and Jacuzzi baths. Though the setting is lovely, the flat riverside location lacks the mountain panoramas of other inns. It's about 2km north of the town center on the way to the hills.

  • Lodging in Boquete

    Coffee Estate Inn

    Surrounded by orange groves with private trails winding through gardens and forest, this stunning property is run by a Panamanian-Californian couple. Bungalows come in plantation style with kitchenettes, heated floors and private terraces with valley views. Newer additions are more retro-industrial chic, with huge decks and electric fireplaces. With cooked-to-order breakfasts and coffee from the onsite estate. Call ahead, as the gate is not always staffed. Kids are welcome.

  • Lodging in Boquete

    Boquete Garden Inn

    On the edge of the Río Palo Alto, this garden inn with a dozen rooms in six red-mud cottages is run by a welcoming Briton. The grounds overflow with blossoming tropical flowerbeds, and birds abound (95 species spotted). Rooms – there are five types – with canopy beds are lovely and modern. Service stands out. Lounging around the patio bar decorated with traditional Panamanian masks proves a fine cap on the day, especially from 6pm to 7pm when drinks are complimentary.

  • Lodging in Boquete

    Tinamou Cottage Jungle Lodge

    If you'd like to get away from it all but still be within striking distance of the town and its amenities, choose these lovely cottages on 9 hectares of dense forest, 3km southwest of Boquete. It's owned by Dutch naturalists who are well-known birding guides. Cottages are quite luxurious, with one or two bedrooms and kitchens, and breakfast comes in a basket.

  • Lodging in Boquete

    Casa de Montaña

    Under new ownership, this B&B features six large, fan-cooled rooms with terrace or balcony. Special features include concierge service, memory-foam mattresses, a fridge, a microwave oven and a dehumidifier in each. Two of the rooms are adapted for guests with disabilities. It's just over 1km northwest of the center – a US$3 taxi ride. Kids 12 and up are welcome. Also offers airport transfers to David (US$35).

  • Lodging in Boquete

    Mamallena Boquete Hostel

    Facing the central plaza, this turquoise ex-boardinghouse is backpacker central, complete with kitchen, laundry and free pancake breakfasts. For its huge capacity, it feels rather cozy. Three eight-bed dorms boast orthopedic mattresses, while 13 of the 16 private rooms have their own bathrooms. There's a sheltered patio area with grill. Service-oriented, it runs tours and shuttles to Bocas and Santa Catalina.

  • Lodging in Boquete

    Hotel Los Establos

    These lavish quarters enveloped in manicured grounds and a coffee farm bear no trace of their past as erstwhile stables. Decor is elegant but a little fussy – heavy on brocade, carved mirrors, candelabras and gold highlights. The dozen rooms and suites have elegant furnishings and private terraces with views, some of Volcán Barú. With a restaurant and spa. Located northeast of the center.

  • Lodging in Boquete

    Hotel Ladera

    This upscale hotel along the the road leading to the Boquete hills features an appealing ultramodern style and attentive staff at the front desk. The 20 rooms have mock-wood tiles and either an outdoor terrace or a small balcony; some larger rooms (eg room 17) feature two king-sized beds with wicker headboards. There's on-site dining as well as room service. With weekend and weekday rates.

  • Lodging in Boquete

    Pensión Topas

    Built around a small organic garden, this blue-and-orange lodging run by an eccentric German features Tintin murals, a collection of a half-dozen motorbikes and eight tidy rooms. A shady outdoor patio provides ample shared space, and perks include a shared kitchen, a swimming pool and cable TV. The best rooms are on the 2nd floor of the outbuilding with a balcony.

  • Lodging in Boquete

    El Oasis

    Although it's within walking distance, El Oasis is across the Río Caldera from Boquete proper and is a good deal quieter than staying in town; the river's just meters away. The 18 rooms and suites are immaculate, with an English garden theme and flat-screen TVs. The restaurant was undergoing renovations at the time of research.

  • Lodging in Boquete

    Downtown Suites

    This design-oriented hotel features seven modern suites with living rooms and kitchenettes. It's all spick and span but way overpriced; luckily, there are huge low-season discounts. Perks include down duvets, flat-screen TVs with Netflix and safe boxes. Rooms look out on a small grass courtyard with a Jacuzzi. Dogs OK.

  • Lodging in Boquete

    Garden by Refugio del Río

    The most stylish in-town hostel is this newcomer with huge gardens, pallet furniture and sleek murals. Double rooms have old-fashioned charm. There's a guest kitchen, hammocks in the garden and pets that cozy the place up. With a Netflix projector and boardgames. It recycles.

  • Lodging in Boquete

    Finca Lérida

    Famous for its coffee farm and birdwatching opportunities – it's one of the best places in the country to see quetzals – Finca Lérida also offers classic lodgings with 22 rooms, suites and cabins. Rooms feature comfortable beds with oversized fabric headboards, lovely wood details and espresso machines, each with a deck and outdoor seating for watching the hummingbirds. Suites feature Jacuzzis. Breakfasts go over the top, with walnut pancakes, honey sausage and fresh juices. Guests and day-trippers (which are legion) can dine at the on-site restaurant, which features excellent salads made with local produce, and favorites such as smoked tomato soup and trout. There's also a gorgeous bar with a fireplace running on chilly cloud-forest days.

  • Lodging in Boquete

    La Casa de La Abuela

    This modern brick hotel is said to be built on the grounds where the family matriarch once tended her chickens. It has 18 comfortable rooms decorated in earth tones with tile floors, flat-screen TVs and a few balconies. There's nice outdoor patio seating, but the roadside location can be noisy at times. Expensive for what it is.

  • Lodging in Boquete

    Hostal Boquete

    Overlooking the Río Caldera, Hostal Boquete provides a budget option for couples. Though clean and offering all the essentials, its 10 rooms with cable TV are cramped and just OK, but guests have kitchen use and river access. Unusual for Panama, the welcome is less than warm.