Bocas del Toro, a province of Panama, is an archipelago island chain situated off the Caribbean coast. The capital of Bocas del Toro, Bocas Town, is located on the main island, Isla Colón. Bocas town is a hub full of boutique shops, delicious restaurants, and an energetic nightlife. 

The islands and surrounding mainland is home to fauna and flora that’s unique to this part of the world. It’s an incredibly bio-diverse rainforest with sprawling vegetation, exotic wildlife and, of course, white-sand beaches with turquoise ocean waters. 

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Bocas del Toro’s beauty is as overwhelming as it is unforgettable. Its energy is difficult to put into words, and it’s truly a place you have to experience first-hand to appreciate. If you’re planning a trip here, consider one of these six hand-picked hostels for your stay.

Palmar Beach Lodge

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from $17 / 8-dorm 4.1/5 Map

Highlights:

  • Palmer is the only hostel in Bocas del Toro that’s on the beach.
  • This is an eco-friendly hostel that runs entirely on solar power and rainwater.
  • They have a huge amount of activities for guests.

Palmar Beach Lodge is an extraordinary hostel and it’s one of the few hostels in the Bocas del Toro archipelago with a beachfront location. You’ll take their free boat shuttle from the main island to Isla Bastimentos, where you’ll take a 10-minute walk through the jungle to arrive.

Once you’re there, you’ll notice several bunkhouses tucked away under the rainforest canopy. The hostel itself is dedicated to being eco-friendly: They run completely on solar power and catch rainwater for drinking and bathing.

They provide numerous activities for their guests such as coastal hikes, ziplining, barbecues, poker games, and movie nights. Palmar Beach Lodge is truly an unforgettable hostel.

Bambuda Lodge

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from $23 / 10-dorm 4.6/5 Map

Highlights:

  • They have an epic waterslide that runs from their bar right out into the ocean.
  • They have their own coral reef for swimming and snorkeling.
  • They have a private jungle for hiking with over 30 varieties of fruit growing there.

Bambuda Lodge is another hostel with a waterfront view, and this place is a veritable paradise. It’s situated just outside the rainforest, and they have their own private jungle full of fruit trees that you can hike through and pick fruit from.

There are plenty of hang-out spots to relax and socialize in, and they have their own bar and restaurant to satiate your hunger and thirst. There’s a massive pool to cool off in, but if you’d rather take a dip in salt water, you can hop on their 150-foot-long slide that dumps you into the ocean.

Be sure to borrow some snorkeling gear from them before you go and explore their private coral reef. 

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Selina Bocas del Toro

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from $17 / 12-dorm 4.2/5 Map

Highlights:

  • Selina has a beautiful water deck where you can jump right into the water.
  • They offer a plethora of activities such as salsa lessons, live music, and yoga.
  • They have a co-working space for digital nomads and entrepreneurs. 

Selina’s location is only 500 meters from the airport, so if you’re booked here, you can practically jump from the plane to the ocean. Their oceanfront property has a massive water deck where you can drop right into the Caribbean waters.

As far as activities go, Selina has no shortage: You can go on bike tours with your fellow travelers or borrow one of their paddleboards and hit the waves.

They have plenty of other community gatherings at the hostel too, like salsa lessons, live music, and yoga. Once you’ve had your fill of fun and excitement, use their co-working space to get some work done.

La Guayana Hostel

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from $15 / 8-dorm 4.6/5 Map

Highlights:

  • This hostel is family-friendly and accommodating.
  • They have snorkeling gear you can rent.

La Guayana is an affordable, family-friendly hostel with a robust list of amenities to make you comfortable during your Caribbean vacation. It’s within walking distance of the city, so you’re never far from plenty of activities.

The staff is friendly, helpful and welcoming, and they go out of their way to make you feel at home.

There are two fully-equipped kitchens for those that prefer to cook their own food, and they offer a breakfast of pancakes, fruit, coffee, and tea until noon. If you’re bringing the kids along and you want a friendly hostel for accommodations, this is the one for you.

Aqua Lounge Bocas del Toro

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from $13 / 12-dorm 4.4/5 Map

Highlights:

  • They have a trampoline and dive tower for hopping into the ocean.
  • There have their own restaurant and bar with a fantastic and affordable menu.

Aqua Lounge is situated on Isla Carenero, which is a one-minute boat ride from Isla Colon. This is a great hostel for those looking for a laid-back atmosphere. They have a massive sundeck for lounging and watching sunsets, along with hammocks and slacklines.

For those wanting a bit more fun, they have a trampoline and a two-story diving tower you can use to jump into the ocean. When it’s time to eat, they have a lovely restaurant with a diverse menu and a bar with drinks that are both satisfying and affordable.

Selina Red Frog

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from $20 / 6-dorm 4.1/5 Map

Highlights:

  • This place’s location, situated in the rainforest at Red Frog, is unforgettable.
  • It’s a short walk from one of the nicest beaches in the Caribbean: Red Frog.

Selina’s Red Frog location has all the same amenities as its Bocas Del Toro location, but this spot is a bit more exotic, being situated in the tropical rainforest. The first thing you’ll notice is the jellyfish welcoming you to Red Frog when you climb out of your boat and onto the dock.

From there, you’ll be surrounded by a paradise of white-sand beaches and a tropical rainforest. For the nature lover, Selina Red Frog is spectacular. You’ll have the perfect mix of beaches, ocean, hiking, and jungle. At night, the surrounding rainforest comes alive with the enchanting ambiance of jungle wildlife. 

Activities in Bocas del Toro

There is no shortage of things to do in Bocas del Toro and the surrounding areas. For a culture experience, Boca Town provides an authentic Caribbean experience. There are dozens of shops, restaurants, and bars to visit. Go shopping for tropical wares, taste authentic Caribbean food, or simply kick back and enjoy a beverage at a bar in a tropical paradise.

For outdoor enthusiasts, there are endless activities to do. Snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, bike tours, and more or all on the agenda. Here are a couple of things to do to itch your adventure bug in Bocas del Toro:

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

Snorkeling in the areas around Bocas del Toro is magical. The Caribbean is one of the best places to snorkel and dive, offering crystal-clear waters and a diverse ecosystem of ocean creatures for you to watch and interact with.

There are plenty of places to rent snorkeling gear and provide transport to some great spots, but check with hostel you’re staying at as many will provide the gear free of charge. If you’re wanting to take your watery adventures a step further and get your scuba diving certification, there are plenty of shops in Boca Town that give classes and can get you certified.

Red Frog Beach

Red Frog Beach is an astoundingly beautiful beach that’s famous for, well, its Red Frogs. And there’s plenty more wildlife that can be seen from the beach as the canopy of the rainforest provides shade for its white-sand shores.

There are places to get food and drinks right on the beach, so it’s worth going and spend a whole day here to watch the wildlife, soak up the sun, and go for a dip.