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“And it’s a hostel, too!”

Jungla de Panama Wildlife Refuge
Ranked #15 of 45 things to do in Boquete
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Jungla de Panama is a wildlife sanctuary that cares for and rehabilitates dozens of indigenous animals in a visitor-friendly, educational environment. Open daily from 10am-3pm. Located 10 minutes outside Boquete in the cloud forest of Palmira. ***AND DON'T FORGET*** You can also stay with us! Accommodations and on site restaurant available.
New Orleans
Level Contributor
2 reviews
“And it’s a hostel, too!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 17, 2013

My girlfriend and I first heard about this place from a traveler in Bocas del Toro, and figured we’d drop in to play with monkeys for an afternoon. We ended up staying five nights in the extremely comfortable little hostel that’s attached, feeding the animals, walking the horse, and generally helping out wherever we could.

La Jungla is a wildlife rescue center, and they take care of multiple animals that have been abandoned or abused, or simply lost their owner and needed a home. There are four monkeys, several goats, a beautiful palomino horse, several macaws, a coati (which I’d never even heard of before), snakes, chickens, dogs, and more. But what really blew me away was the amount of interaction that was allowed. You’re not just saying hello to an animal from behind a cage. You’re right in the middle of the ground with goats checking to see if you have anything to eat, monkeys climbing your shoulders, and chickens and dogs walking side by side. All donations go to helping the animals, and there are opportunities for volunteering as well.

But as much fun as La Jungla is to visit, it’s an even better place to stay. We extended our stay in Boquete by several days just to hang out with the animals and the people. Dorothy and Luis, who run the place, are exceedingly kind and dedicated people, and made all the guests feel very much at home. There’s a working kitchen, a small grocery right around the corner, and a one-dollar per person bus into town. The beds are the most comfortable we stayed on, and the other guests were extremely friendly. Large meals where everyone shared food were common.

The refuge is located in Palmira, which is up the hill from Boquete. Most cab drivers know where it is, and the going rate to get to/from La Jungla by cab varied between two and six dollars. Four seemed to be the average.

I’ve never had this level of interaction with this many different kinds of animals in my life. This seemed like a fun diversion when we first heard about it. It ended up being the highlight of our trip to Panama.

Be sure to visit, and try to stay here if you can.

Visited January 2013
Thank Nick F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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133 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
Tel Aviv, Israel
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“So much fun!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 16, 2013 via mobile

I got there after a guide at the rafting told my friend about it (it's basically unknown and not advertised in the hostels in Boquete). There is not even an entrance fee, they only ask you for a few dollars donation.
We got to play with snakes, monkeys, goats and parrots - it was really fun and great value for money even if your not a big animal fan.
I really recommend to make the small effort to get there If you're already in Boquete, for your fun and for the animals of course.

Thank gilmeir
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
20 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“So much fun!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 13, 2013

We had so much fun here! It's a great little rescue/rehab operation with a few very friendly animals. We got to play with all of them. A few different kind of monkeys, a coati, some parrots, couple of dogs, goats, etc.

We were welcome to stay as long as we liked, and spend as long as we wanted with each animal. Or rather, the animals got to spend as much time with us as they liked... which was a lot! We'd never held monkeys before so that was a lot of fun.

They also have a restaurant and hostel, which seemed like they would be nice and fun to check out as well.

But if you have a couple of hours in Boquete and want to play with and help support some local wildlife, you should definitely check this place out.

Visited January 2013
Thank rek731
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eugene, Oregon
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“One of the best experiences in Panama”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 11, 2013

We decided to stay here for a night at their hostel. Luis and Dorothy were so accommodating and friendly! In the morning they let out the monkeys and we hung out asked questions and got real hands on experience with monkeys and birds. There are also 5 dogs, goats, and a horse. When we were in Boquette we recommended it to everyone because we couldn't stop talking about it. It's $10 but it is all donation so not only are you having a once in a life time experience, you are helping the animals too.

Visited January 2013
1 Thank Lauren H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
46 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Rare Hands-on Experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 8, 2013

We stumbled on Jungla while visiting Boquete for the day and it was truly awesome. The minute we arrived we were greeted by two monkeys who immediately climbed on us. We were not expecting such a hands-on experience but it was great! We held the snakes, fed the parrots, held the baby goats, and played with the monkeys. There are goats, horses, and dogs as well. The owners appear to be very caring and knowledgeable regarding the animals, and are very gracious to visitors, however, it's not clear whether or not they are a recognized charitable organization (not sure how they handle that in Panama). All I know is that you could never interact with animals in that way here in the U.S. without signing 10 waivers, so I was glad for the experience. One of the highlights of my vacation! One can stay there overnight in the hostel or rooms, and there is supposed to be a restaurant opening soon too.

Visited January 2013
Thank DreLane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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