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“Not your average hostel” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Pukalani Hostal

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Pukalani Hostal
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Playa Mango, Bocas Town, Isla Colon, Panama   |  
Hotel amenities
Atenas, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Not your average hostel”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2012

I am really surprised to see very little feed back on this little piece of paradise. My second time in the Bocas and this time on a budget. I don't stay in very many hostels, but this one came recommended by another upscale local hotel. I have seen what is available on the island and this place is second to none ESPECIALLY for the price and location. The rooms are very basic and do fit the class of a hostel (except they are all overlooking the beautiful beach front), but the pool on the beach and the layout of the grounds shout resort. Our room had A/C and a tv (with rabbit ears). I spend no time in a hotel room other then to sleep. If you are after a high end hotel like room you won't find it here, but I think you would be hard pressed to find that anywhere on the island for a fair price. The little cafe type restaurant serving breakfast lunch and early dinners was sufficient to get some respectable grub at again a fair price. Great back ground tunes playing in the back ground. Very very relaxed atmosphere where ever you plant yourself on the property. We stayed in the private room, but there are also dorm style rooms for even cheaper if you like that sort of thing.

The real estate of this location is unbelievable in itself. Many hotels around the world claim to be beach front and many times are nowhere near one. It was nice to find one literally on the beach...one of very few lodgings on the entire island. In fact I found it humerous the prices hotels are charging in the area this time around for what you receive. I have stayed in more than one of the alleged "high end hotels" on the island and none of these are the Hilton types found in the higher tourist traffic countries, but still charging those rates.

The owner Juan and his son Juami were both a delight to deal with. Made our stay very comfortable. Juami made reservations at great restaurants for us, arranged taxis, accomodated us in some unforseen circumstances. If you are a surfer, I can only imagine you will love this place even more with board rentals and a predominant surf crowd around. There were however guests of all ages, including a couple of retiree types around.

I have nothing negative to say at all about Pukalani and hope continued success for them. That said I will say that you need to be very very very cautious about the taxis you take in Bocas. It seems like every taxi makes up their own prices despite the so called preset prices that are supposed to exist. We had some extremely bad experiences with drivers who lied about prices before a trek and then tried to milk more afterwards...not mentioning any names GIOVANNI. I hope at least one person read this and denies him business as a result.

Room Tip: Ask for a private room
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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156 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (18)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
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English first
Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2012

I went to Bocas with the intention of staying a few days. I stumbled onto Pukalini by accident & ended up staying a month. Pukalani lives up to it's name (Hawaiian for heavens gate). Woke up every morning looking out at the ocean, then went & sat poolside... yes there is a pool basically on the beach! The Hostel is run by a great family all of which are amazing surfers. Several surf spots in walking distance ranging from beginner to big & heavy. The best part is that it was a little out of town so it's quiet but not to far to enjoy the night life ($2 cab ride & they do have a shuttle that runs pretty regularly). Been to Bocas a few times, this will be the only place I stay from here on out

Room Tip: They offer dorms to privates with kitchens. I prefer to have my own space but if on a budget dorms...
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois, United States
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2012

I almost never write reviews but this place deserves a great one! Hostel ON THE OCEAN complete with a pool and a dock leading out to a nice breakfast/dinner hut. The bar helps (as always) and Dianne (a helper) is adorable and cheerful. When we were there, a good-looking owner/bartender was there... but I cannot pronounce or say/spell his name. Anyway, they made great drinks and were very welcoming and helpful.

The rooms are clean- sometimes musty but they are quick to fix that with a de-humidifier. Also, rooms have their own bathroom even in the hostel rooms.

Things to note before you come: Great spot for people who want to get away from all the buildings and closer to the waves. There are bikes and kayaks available for use. Since it IS off the beaten path, be sure to bring some food/water/snacks. . There is a small kitchen available as they are new and did not yet have a restaurant quite yet. Clean up after yourselves after you cook- they are good people- don't be slobs. Also, it is about $4 per person to get there from the docks in a taxi BUUTT, if you call from town, they will pick you up for FREE!!

This is a great place to stay for the price and I would highly recommend it- even if just for one night or for a day you can use the pool for 5 bucks.

Website: http://pukalanihostalpanama.com/

Room Tip: Bring food for now- new! :) Great for backpackers and others! Not sure what types of advice to gi...
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Pukalani Hostal

Address: Playa Mango, Bocas Town, Isla Colon, Panama
Location: Panama > Bocas del Toro Province > Isla Colon > Bocas Town
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 32 Specialty Lodging in Bocas Town
Also Known As:
Pukalani Hostal Bocas Del Toro, Panama - Bocas Town

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