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Isla Bastimentos
Old Bank 50m East From The Main Plaza, Isla Bastimentos 0101 Panama
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The Jaguar Hostel is a comfortable, clean and affordable choice for those who want to stay in Bastimentos, at a suitable distance from the noise and movement of the capital of the province, Bocas del Toro, but without ignoring valid options for your holiday such as excellent places to visit, typical restaurants and the most beautiful views of the archipelago. At short distance of the village are some of the best beaches, surfing spots, trails and more attractions that you will discover as your days are spent in the kind attention of our hostel.
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Property amenities
Public wifi
Room features
Room types
Non-smoking rooms
Family rooms
Good to know
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
80Reviews4Q+A8Room tips
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We had a great time here. Very nice people attending you. Comfortable beds. Isn't too polish but the ambient is cool. I liked its little pier for taking pictures and I recommend boat services to visit other islands. Don't go with kids, too much water around!
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El Jaguar is a great place, especially if you are travelling on a budget and if you want to experience the authentic feel of Isla Bastimentos on its Old Bank friendly neighbourhood. The Jaguar - the host - is very wellcoming man and allways checked-in with us if we have everything we need and also he seemed very hands on his bussiness always being around, improoving and fixing what needed to be fixed around the place. Staff was also friendly and very helpfull from the beginning to the end of our stay and always with a smile on their faces - especially the locals. There are catalogues by the bar with the restaurants and activities available on the island. Also the room was very clean, there were no buggs, we even had towels, soap and a closet and the air fan did its job so we did not miss not booking a room with AC. Be mindfull there is a water shortage on the island during dry season which means you won’t be able to take long and hot showers at any hour but this does not mean you won’t be able to shower and clean more than properly daily. Water is provided on a schedule - just ask about it and you will be fine! I was very sorry to see such horrible previous reviews of this great place of people who lacked compassion for those for whom water becomes a luxury independently of their will. This is a local bussiness, not a big franchise so I think they are worth all the praise for their great job and their eagerness to always improove. Also good supermarket just out the door and lots of great locally owned restaurants with the yummiest caribean cuisine and hospitality walking distance from El Jaguar. Happy hours daily from 18:00 to 19:30 and a great deck to enjoy the bay! Just keep an open mind, people!
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Based over the waterfront, El Jaguar is a laid back hostel with ideal social area and many hammocks. Had a private double with shared bathroom for $22 a night. Kitchen is well equipped (even has a working oven!! - would benefit from oven gloves). Stayed for 4 nights and would definitely return. Happy hour 6-7 for cheap beers/ drinks and they have kayaks for hire to paddle across bay. Staff friendly and it’s clean also 🙂 Thanks gang x
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Response from Arnulfo A, Gerente at Hostal El Jaguar
Responded Aug 1, 2018
Hi there! Thank you so much for your kind words. We really appreciated having you stay with us and we are elated that you enjoyed your stay here on Bastimentos. Thanks for the recommendation about the oven gloves, we will definitely have them here before you return for your next visit.
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Maybe the upstairs rooms are comfortable but number 7 on the lower level was decidedly basic, with thin wooden walls and a view only of the next door hostel wall a couple of feet away. Water from the shower runs directly into the Caribbean. I wouldn't like to think what happens to the sewage but I wouldn't recommend a swim off the front platform, inviting though this may look. Number 7 wasn't dirty but not a room I would want to spend much time in. There was a suspicious smell on the wooden walkway leading into the hostel and some of the lighting in the front communal area didn't work. When I reported this, the girl just said she knew about it---end of. Having said that, I found the Brazilian couple who help to run El Jaguar were friendly and helpful but if I go back to Old Bank I would try somewhere else.
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Ok so lets start off with the good. They have a personal boat driver who is able to take you on tours or to different islands and he is a very good driver. It felt like a much safer ride than some of the other ones we went on even when the water was rough. They offer some tours, but they're not so much tours as just being driven around in a boat to different locations. There is some information that you are given along the way but not very much. We did the Zapatilla tour, which pretty much was $30 to go to the beach. They quickly stop by to look at starfish in the water for about one minute and spend about 5 minutes looking for sloths as well. Then we went snorkeling once for about 15 minutes at the end of the tour. From the description I thought we would be stopping to snorkel in multiple locations. The majority of the time was spent at Zapatilla beach (2 hours). We did stop at blue coconut for lunch/dinner at the end which was nice. Bring lots of sunscreen! We got burnt and it lasted for about a week! And we even had put sunscreen on that day. The hostel is right on the water, like literally right on the water. So I would recommend bringing ear plugs as the waves are extremely noisy and inconsistent. We had the fan room, I think next time I would go with A/C. The main area has 5 hammocks that are often occupied. It says no smoking but people often would, and no one would tell them otherwise. So if you're hoping to spend your days relaxing in the hammock with nice clean air you may be disappointed. They had a kitchen area for use which was helpful though stocked with pans/utensils in pretty bad shape. We found one pan that was good for pancakes but it mysteriously disappeared on the 3rd day. The water is not drinkable. The water is also not good for swimming in as it is brown and filled with dirt and garbage. But if you don't care about that you can go in the water. We also never got confirmation as to whether some sewage gets dumped directly into the water on the island. The rooms/bathrooms are super basic. If you have anything that is smaller than 1cm in width, be very careful with it. The floors have gaps between the boards that lead directly to the ocean, so if you drop it it'll be gone forever. We had a fan in our room, and one outlet that had 2 sockets. The sockets were very bad, it was very hard to get any plug to actually stay in. There was one tiny table and a narrow shelf to put our belongings. The bathroom's handle was rusted and broken, both locks were rusted, and one just barely was able to be closed. The shower is literally a hose coming out of the wall. But it did the trick. El Jaguar himself was very nice and willing to help with any of our questions. We saw a few ants in the kitchen area, but had no problem in our room. As far as other insects I often got bit on my legs when spending time in the shared area, but my husband didn't even get bit once. In general the hostel was pretty clean, just a bit rusted/broken in some parts. One thing I am a bit concerned about is they have a couple hummingbird feeders that are quite dirty and don't look like they get cleaned very often. These really should be cleaned every day. Also having lots of people smoking right next to these feeders can't be good for tiny lungs. We also booked the "shuttle/connection service" from Bastimentos to Panama City. This is probably the biggest mistake we've made in Panama. I'd say just know where you need to go and do it on your own. We booked it and got e-mail confirmation. We were up at 5:30am to take the boat to Bocas so we could take another boat from there at 6:00am we thought. When we got there the lady said our reservation was for 7:00am. So we waited over an hour, the next boat didn't end up coming until 7:30am which got us to the mainland at about 7:57am. No one had any idea about our "confirmation/reservation/booking" they told us to just get in the taxi. So we got in the taxi which got us to the bus terminal after our bus had already left at 8:00am. Luckily there was a non-direct bus that we were able to get on that left at about 8:25am. But had we known this we would have made sure to get on an earlier boat so we wouldn't miss the bus. That being said we made it to Panama city in one piece. The first bus was extremely crowded and 2 guys both over 6'3 had to stand with their head bent because it was so short and there weren't enough seats. After about 45 minutes they got seats as people got off. The 2nd bus was quite nice and made the 15 hour day a bit better.
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$22 - $45 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
PanamaBocas del Toro ProvinceIsla Bastimentos
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Frequently Asked Questions about Hostal El Jaguar
Which popular attractions are close to Hostal El Jaguar?
Nearby attractions include Finca Los Monos Botanical Garden (3.2 miles), Red Frog Beach (2.2 miles), and Up In The Hill (0.6 miles).
What are some restaurants close to Hostal El Jaguar?
Conveniently located restaurants include Azul Restaurant, Leaf Eaters Cafe, and Octo.
Which languages are spoken by the staff at Hostal El Jaguar?
The staff speaks multiple languages, including English and Spanish.