So you're planning your trip to Bocas Del Toro and don't know where to begin. There are so many places to stay it can be overwhelming trying to decide what's best for you, especially if you've never been there before. Well, I have some good news for you, I've been there and with a little help from my friends I've got the ultimate guide on choosing the best hostel possible!
The home of the overwater playground in Bocas Del Toro was a lot of fun. I had mixed feelings after reading mixed reviews but ended up enjoying my stay there. Everything was clean, there was coffee and toast every morning, and their cook made awesome, affordable food. However, it is a water taxi ride away from the main island, only $2 round trip, but it’s still a bit inconvenient. If you are planning on going to one of their Wednesday or Saturday night parties I highly recommend staying there that night. If you don’t there’s a $5 cover to get in (with a drink included), you still have to take the water taxi there and back, and honestly it’s just so convenient to be able to walk from the deck into your room and get to sleep.
Conclusion, stay at Aqua Lounge, but just for the night of the party.
Mondo Taitu, the legendary backpackers hostel in Bocas Del Toro known for its backpackers charm and themed parties. I stayed a couple nights at Mondo Taitu in October 2015 and was less than impressed. The hostel was empty and undergoing renovations as well and a turnover in staff. The staff members I met were very nice and hospitable, but the kitchen was less than inviting, and there wasn’t anything going on. I ran into other travelers on the island who said the same, and upon arrival canceled their reservations to go stay somewhere better.
Written by Brooke Benjamin
My advice on Selina? STAY THERE. If there wasn't so much to do on the island (Bocas is loaded with fun-- ask the front desk if you need help planning), I would've hung out at the hostel all day. Enjoy the views from the big, open deck right over the ocean. Lounge in the swinging chairs, sipping a fresh fruit smoothie. Indulge in happy hour cocktails while you dangle your feet in the ocean. Soak up the morning rays while you feast on their amazing (and I mean AMAZING) breakfast. Explore ALL DAY. Then before you hit the town, get your night started at the hostel bar where the chilled out beach vibes turn to a dance party. Whether you're getting your yoga on or back flipping off the deck into the crystal clear water, you're going to love Selina.
Brooke Benjamin was one of those sweet solo girls with a backpack I met in Bocas Del Toro living the dream one beach at a time, you can find her on Instagram @brooker514
Written by Francesca Collins
My husband and I stayed at Hostal International and it was great! Not only was the hostal right on the main drag across from the water taxis and tours, but it was a great location right in the middle of all the restaurants and close to the collectivos that could take you to other tourist spots (Playa Estrella, etc.) We were just around the corner from a large store that had any items we might have forgotten or misplaced and needed to inexpensively buy. And, only a few blocks away from the only ATM on the island. We met several life long friends while staying in the dorms but I believe the hostal offered private rooms as well. All in all, it was a fabulous place to stay and one of the cheaper dorms on the island, complete with A/C for the hotter days.
You can find Francesca and her husband Eddy at http://twobackpacksoneadv.com !
Written by Aaron of @DrunkTravel
When does a cabin become a hostel? When you invite your friends! We rented a cabin built above the ocean at Koko Cabins for only $120 a night. When you divide this by the 6 people sharing beds it gets pretty close to an average hostel price. So for the low cost of $20 per person we had a two story cabin, with AC and hot running water and the ultimate ocean view. The owners were incredibly nice expats who provided a large family style breakfast, kayak trips, and even recommended and booked all of our tours and taxis for us at no charge. The cabin was a short, safe walk to downtown Bocas and delicious local restaurants. But the best part of this cabin, of course, was the location! Huge stingrays and starfish swam directly under your cabin, and you could take a dip with wildlife while watching the incredible evening sunsets. So next time you aren’t so solo on a vacation, consider improvising your own “hostel”, and party together!
Follow @DrunkTravel on instagram for a new vacation every weekend, and some serious inspiration on where to take your next trip!
Hostal Camping la Y Griega-
Written by Ford of Where's The Gringo?
For an alternative (and cheaper) option, consider camping at Hostal Camping la Y Griega, located 1/2 mile outside of Bocas Town, right where the road forks to the left. $7 a night will get you your own tent, outfitted with comfy mattresses & soft blankets, and access to a kitchen area, bathrooms & warm showers. Right across the street is Playa La Y-Griega (or Playa Tortuga) for a relaxing beach day, or if you're looking for more of an adventure, consider renting bikes from La Y Griega for $5/day, & pedaling the length of the island to Boca del Drago. You'll be rewarded with one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Bocas del Toro in Playa Estrella, and a glimpse of Isla Colon that most people never see.
You can currently find the gringo road tripping the Pan-American Highway between the USA and Argentina with his awesome girlfriend on Instagram @wheresthegringo and on his website, http://www.wheresthegringo.com/