My two teenage kids and I stayed here for a week. Absolutely wonderful staff and owner who go out of their way to be friendly and helpful. The staff work hard to foster a friendly, comfortable, and engaging place for guests to gather and meet. They even offer communal dinners a couple of times a week that are very tasty and affordable. Staff can arrange tours and transportation that is frequently cheaper and more convenient then other places offer.
The public space is lovely, with a large, well equipped kitchen, spacious dining area with large table that easily seats 10, comfy indoor lounge with couches, flat screen tv, computers, games and information. There is frequently free food from the garden and other guests. The outdoor area has a garden, covered area with rocking chairs, and table, and a bar area, a powerful jacuzzi, hammocks and a babbling river running through it.
There are private rooms with private bathrooms in addition to dorm rooms that are more like hotel rooms then hostels. We stayed in the Colibri which had two enormous walls of windows looking out at the river and garden, a queen bed, a king bed and a twin bed with private bathroom and tv. We enjoyed the common areas so much I never sat and watched tv in the room in the week we were there. The only down side in the room was that the twin bed mattress was hard as a rock and uncomfortable, but I was so happy at the hostel that I didn't care. The other mattresses were much more comfortable, but were on the floor because the frames had broken and had not yet been replaced. I'm sure they will be replaced soon because the owner clearly takes pride in his property and works hard to maintain it and upgrades were in progress while we there (new fridge and stove, etc.)
The rooms and public areas are kept very clean. The communal areas can be lively, but even our room right off the lounge was never too noisy to relax or sleep in and guests were respectful of not making noise after 11 pm. The wifi didn't work very well in our room, but did work better in the communal area, although it was inconsistent. However, we found this to be true of every place we stayed in Panama and more the fault of wifi service in general then the hostel.
The location is great, close enough to be literally a three minute walk to the center of town but off a side street so there is little noise. They even drove us and our luggage the 2 blocks to the bus when I was having trouble with my knees. There are great places to eat such as cafe and cacao and sugar and spice only a couple of blocks away. Always felt safe walking to and from the hostel.
We were three weeks in Panama and stayed at four other hotels that were all at least 3-4 star with pools (and no other hostels) and my kids say hands down this was their favorite place to stay in all of Panama. Overall, we really loved this place and I recommend it not just for the typical backpacker looking for a cheap place to stay, but for families, and other older travelers as well.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Known in town as the “luxurious” hostel for backpackers, you are always surprised to discover that such a beautiful house has been transformed into a hostel. Our place has been carefully furnished and decorated and also has 9 private all of which have private bathrooms. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Hostal Refugio Del Rio Hotel Boquete