Best hotels and hostels in Panamá Province

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Canal Zone

    Canopy Tower Ecolodge

    Located in Parque Nacional Soberanía, this former US Air Force radar station now serves a very different function, namely ecotourism. It's an ecologically minded three-story, cylindrical lodge and observatory that offers a full immersion in the sights and sounds of the rainforest as well as accommodations. Rates drop substantially (US$139 to US$220) mid-April to mid-December. The birdwatching in the surrounding area is top-notch and there’s no shortage of other tropical wildlife, including howler monkeys, sloths and a slew of frogs and lizards. From the 3rd and rooftop levels, you have a 360-degree view over the national park and you can even see ships passing through the Panama Canal, some 2km to the west. In addition to the viewing platforms, there is also a small ground-floor exhibition area, a tropical biology library, a cozy sitting area and a dozen guest rooms, ranging from postage-stamp singles to luxurious four-person suites. Each room is awash in tropical hues, natural hardwoods and firm beds; some rooms share bathrooms. Rates include three meals. Even if you’re not spending the night, a day visit will allow you to visit the viewing platforms and partake in a few guided walks (US$70 to US$90) through the park. To reach the Canopy Tower, pass the entrance to Summit Botanical Gardens & Zoo on your way to Gamboa, and take the second road to the right; the turnoff is marked with a Canopy Tower sign. Follow the road for 1.6km until you reach the top of Semaphore Hill and the entrance to the hotel.

  • Lodging in Panama Canal

    Jungle Land Panama

    This overnight houseboat offers the novelty of a jungle retreat with canal ships passing by. Captain Carl hosts guests on a charming wooden three-story houseboat on Lago Gatún, from where fishing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and nocturnal safaris are at your fingertips. Day trips also available. Leaves from the boat dock in Gamboa. There is a total of eight rooms, which can be reconfigured to sleep up to 10 people.

  • Lodging in Pacific Coast Beaches

    Hotel Río Mar

    A right turn on the road in from the Interamericana, this hostel at the Panama Surfing Academy offers seven bargain-rate rooms that are pleasant and sit on immaculate green grounds with a pea-sized pool. There are basic offerings from the onsite restaurant. The attached surfing academy offers surf lessons and advanced coaching. Two-hour lessons cost US$45. It also rents surf boards (per half/full day US$20/30) and stand-up paddle boards (US$25/40). Call ahead to reserve; weekends are busier. The beach is a short distance behind the hostel.