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“Must Do” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Bocas Island Lodge

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Bocas Island Lodge
On A Hill Above Red Frog Beach | 15 min water taxi from Bocas Town, Isla Bastimentos, Panama (Formerly Bocas Bound Hostel)   |  
Hotel amenities
Chicago, Illinois
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Must Do”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2011

@ LazySj – The fact that you brought luggage, indicates you were expecting something nicer.

Bocas Bound is a very nice and clean hostel, however, it lacks all the charm that makes staying at hostels fun and adventurous. The dorm rooms are kinda set-up like jail-cells, very clean and sterile. The bathrooms however did get flooded from showers usage, but this is do to others not using the shower curtain AND the shower door. There were a few ants in the bathroom, but nothing crazy. Although you are sleeping inside, were bug spray as I woke up on my first night with 40 bug bites on the arm I left outside the sheets.

The staff are all very chill and laid-back. They make less than anyone I know, so don’t expect much –that said, you are on island time, go with it. Relax. I found the staff all very friendly and welcoming, but yea, they need some work. One of the best things about staying in a hostel is being able to group together for touts, but this hostel doesn’t do that. They only sell the ZipLine (very cool) and everything else you have to arrange on your own or find your own group –no help even though they offer the services.

The food is good, however the prices are steep for the area. $2.00 for a beer may seem cheap, but it’s actually expensive when you can by it for .80 at the store.

Bocas Bound is spread out, so to see the area, bring hiking shoes so you can explore the jungle trails (AMAZING) and trench through the many trails. If you stay at Bocas Bound, you are staying there to be closer to nature and the outdoors. There is no nightlife, although if traveling with a group, you’ll have a blast on your own.

It does get expensive to taxi back and forth, $7.00 a day round-trip. Most annoying, is the boats leave early a lot and you miss your boat, sometimes you have to by another ticket or wait two more hours – really frustrating when there are schedules posted everywhere that cannot be followed. Additionally, the transfer time is not 10-15 minutes as advertised, more like 20-30 minutes one-way. On one “express” service, the guy made 7 stops before taking me to Bocas Bound….I was pissed.

The red frogs are kinda easy to find, but sometimes you have to go deeper in the jungle. The kids on the beach do hold them in leafs or jars, but do not cause any harm to the frogs. Keep in mind that these kids live in poverty, they do not grab you or force you to pay. The cute little kids approach you with big smiles and offer the frogs for view since many visitors never get to see one – they are quite beautiful. For .25, it’s a nice way to say “thank you” for allowing US to visit their island. If you don’t want to pay, simply say, “no thank you” as I did and that’s that. To prevent this from becoming a problem, you should NOT give anything more than .25 –some people gave $1 and even $10 –this just makes them ask for more and more.

I would probably only recommend staying 2-4 days at Bocas Bound as all the tours depart from Bocas Town early. However, do make Bocas Bound a part of your trip.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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166 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (15)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Blaine, Minnesota
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2011

I have read the reviews here and they seem to be very positive, I have no idea how.

Here are the low points

- 10$ per person to get to the island. 4$ per person to leave per trip. There is not much to do on the resort (there is NO nightlife at all) so you will be going back and forth to the island several times

- There is only one place to eat breakfast (2 for lunch and dinner) The food was average at best and fairly expensive for that. There are flies crawling all over the condiments and utensils they leave out. Instant Coffee is all that's available, instant coffee in Panama ..

- The people working at the resort are almost all working on a Volunteer / Intern program. this leads to very intermittent service. Some are great and others are terrible.

- The Red Frogs, from their website

"While our red frog is slightly poisonous, it is only harmful to humans if eaten – so no taste testing! Please do not touch these tiny creatures, as even picking them up can jeopardize their survival."

Yet the beach is filled with kids who have a red frog trapped in a pringlescan or leaf and hit you up each hour to pay 25 cents to see it. The management is well aware of this as we were approached while standing next to one of the co-owners

- WIFI - This is only available in the restaurant area even thought the rooms are very close. How you ask, well they have the router mounted high up on the wall and its surrounded on 3 sides by tin foil so the signal is blocked from reaching the rooms.

- Want to sit in a Beach Chair? that's 5 extra bucks, Want to tour the property in a golf cart, that's 40 bucks

- The bathroom stall was flooded with water. You had to wear shoes to go the bathroom or stand in god knows what water. The staff was told each day yet nothing was done.

We arrived in the pouring rain and all the guy at the docks told us was to go up the road to the left. Dragging our luggage on wheels over a muddy, lose rock road. We asked for a ride back to the dock at checkout, no ride ever showed up so we missed the boat and ended up waiting 2 hours till the next one. 20 minutes to the next boat and still no ride so we drug our luggage back over the muddy and rough road again to get to the boat.

The beach was not bad but if you want to see it I would stay in town and simply take a taxi out to the beach instead. The taxi is 10 bucks (this can be negotiated sometimes) and the owners charge you 5 bucks to access the beach (the beach is free but you have to pay to walk across their property to get to the beach)

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Raven55, Manager at Bocas Island Lodge, responded to this review, December 1, 2011
Dear Guest,

We bring you up to date on the Bocas Bound Campus.

-The Red Frog Conexion provides the most affordable transportation service to and from Bocas Town and Red Frog Beach between 9am to 5pm.

-Bocas Bound offers free continental breakfast and fresh coffee each morning to their guests at the Kayukos Restaurant which provides and new and diverse menu! There are two restaurants in the area, but if you love cooking and want to take advantage of our community kitchen then it’s recommended that you get your groceries in Bocas Town before coming over.

-Local law enforcement has taken measures to prevent the natives from harming the Red Frog population.

-Up-grades have been made to our FREE internet network that provides signal throughout the Bocas Bound Campus that includes the rooms, lounge and restaurant.

-The beach activity center and the cart service are not over seen by Bocas Bound. Bocas Bound Hostel is independently operated.

-Our spacious bathrooms include two showers, two sinks, and two toilets. All private rooms include hot showers.

-FREE transportation from the public dock to Red Frog Beach is offered. There is no transportation to or from the hostel, but Bocas Bound is only a 10 minute walk from the public dock as well as the beach!

-The $3 public entrance fee for accessing private property is waived for all Bocas Bound Guests.
Please refer to our website for more helpful tips!

Best Regards,
The Bocas Bound Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2010

We stayedat bocas bound for a week and everything about our time there was just perfect! It's so easy to get to the island as boats are running all day and night and the accomidations themselves are absolutely beautiful! After traveling south america for two months bocas bound was a breath of fresh air and an absolute treat! We stayed in a private room with comfortable large beds, beautiful washroom and even our own fridge! There was a fully equipt kitchen which we used to make someg reat meals- nice added bonus! And don't worry if you don't feel like cooking there is a great restaurant and bar which offers great breakfast lunch and dinner for a very reasonable price! Also check out the beach bar... So amazing... And definitely best restaurant view!
The staff was excellent very friendly approachable and knowledgeable!
Basically if ur looking for beautiful beaches, quite and unique hostel, great food, great service and overall fantastic experience bocas bound is the place for you! I'd highly recommend this place to anyone :)

  • Stayed December 2010
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Minneapolis, MN
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2010

I read so many good reviews I just had to try this place out... we are miserable. I know the weather is not something that we can blame bocasbound for, but they could at least let us set our AC on lower so we aren't freezing our butts off!

And, they can be much more pleasant toward us. After all, we are CUSTOMERS. We are staying in a private room and don't even have internet access, we have to come down to the Lodge, which looks totally different from the pictures.

We had to walk all the way up a STEEP gravel hill with our HUGE suitcases in the pouring rain while 3 trucks passed us and didn't even offer us rides ... the staff wouldn't even look at us when we tried talking to them.

This is not the vacation I planned or wanted.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Raven55, Manager at Bocas Island Lodge, responded to this review, December 1, 2011
Dear Guest,

Most backpackers enjoy our location of being nestled in natural pristine jungle rainforest. Guests are known for playing in the rain at the beach or doing the thrilling zip line in the rain! What separates us from other hostels in Bocas is the ability to have 24/7 A/C in all of our accommodations. The temperature setting is permanently set in all rooms to prevent condensation issues that come with having different A/C settings. Free Wi-Fi is now offered throughout the campus for Bocas Bound guests. Work vehicles transport materials and resources throughout the day and are not allowed to provide public transportation. This is a common misconception, yet our location is filled with beautiful nature trails and paths connecting locations.

Best Regards,
The Bocas Bound Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2010

Bocas Bound is a beautiful and secluded hostel on isla bastimentos in panama. its the perfect getaway for a few days after a wild stay across the way in bocas town. it offers just about anything you could possibly ask for. On top of that, the staff is top notch. Just a great group. They're helpful and courteous, and even more fun to hang out with. I would recommend Bocas Bound to anyone traveling in Bocas Del Toro.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with friends
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2010

My trip was long and vast, Bocas bound was a great stop along the way. It made the trip.
Great beaches, great people, great sleeping accommodations, and the food there was a good break from the usual boring tasteless hostel menus. i was able to get my clothes washed and relax and enjoy the beautiful weather.

I recommend Bocas bound to everyone!!!!

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2010

I returned home from Bocas bound hostel last night. I have never written a review on trip advisor, but felt compelled to after such an incredible experience. I am a 30 year old female, and I have stayed in many hostels and hotels around the world, and Bocas bound was by far one of the friendliest and cleanest places that I have visited to date. Upon arriving by boat to Red frog, I was captivated by the beauty that surrounded me. Rainforest, beautiful quiet beaches, most with no footprints at all. Red frog beach is unspoiled, untouched. We were greeted at the desk, the staff were extremely friendly, helpful, and gave us a list of restaurants and activites to check out during our stay. The water taxis were always called for us, and waiting for us at the dock. The staff were all super attentive, very professional, and a lot of fun to chat with. I would recommend this hostel to anyone who can appreciate nature and true beauty.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with friends
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bocas Island Lodge

Address: On A Hill Above Red Frog Beach | 15 min water taxi from Bocas Town, Isla Bastimentos, Panama (Formerly Bocas Bound Hostel)
Location: Panama > Bocas del Toro Province > Isla Bastimentos
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #14 of 15 Specialty Lodging in Isla Bastimentos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in a living rainforest, on a Caribbean island, Bocas Bound is the place to stay and visit in Bocas del Toro. Bocas Bound provides immediate access to surfing, rain forest hikes, kayaking, and beautiful beaches. Bocas Bound is an exotic destination in Bocas del Toro that attracts back-packers, surfers, and cost-conscious families looking for a place that is extraordinarily different from a typical Bocas hotel. Trails from your doorstep lead you through dense jungle to breathtaking beaches and hidden coves. The nightly chorus of nature will cause you to truly appreciate Isla Bastimentos.* 8 min walk to Red Frog Beach * Beach Activity Center* Hiking Trails and Canopy Zipline* 15 minute water taxi to Bocas Town* Air-conditioned rooms* Full Restaurant Bar and Lounge * Community kitchen * Free Breakfast & Coffee. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bocas Bound Hotel Isla Bastimentos
Bocas Island Lodge Panama/Isla Bastimentos, Bocas Del Toro

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