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“Bocas FAVORITE - Play hard, relax by the pool, sleep soundly.”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Pukalani Hostal

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Pukalani Hostal
Fort Collins, Colorado
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Bocas FAVORITE - Play hard, relax by the pool, sleep soundly.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 9, 2013

Big clean pool, beach, free kayaks, bikes for rent, tons of hammocks, coconut trees (and, more importantly, coconut drinks!), dock with cabana and billiards table, great happy hour, tattoo shop, CLEAN CLEAN spacious rooms with AC, awesome water pressure (hot water!), free WiFi, THIS HOSTAL IS AMAZING!!!! It's about a 5 minute ($2) taxi ride from downtown Bocas, but the hostal provides a free shuttle three times a day at 7am, noon, and 7pm. Perfect. They have a little kitchen stocked with pots and pans, etc. that is kept super clean.

We stayed in an expensive hotel our first night, and stumbled upon a sign for Pukalani at the Dive Shop in town. SO GRATEFUL we did, because we spent the rest of our trip at Pukalani. They helped us arrange a boat tour to the other islands, and shared their amazing life stories with us. A little respect goes a LONG way at Pukalani. The couple that run it are incredible, incredible people. They speak both Spanish and English fluently, which was really helpful. The staff is super friendly too, one girl was learning English while we were there, and was super tolerant of our horrible spanish.

I would ABSOLUTELY recommend staying at Pukalani.

Room Tip: They're all good. Seriously.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
1 Thank RebeccaFromCO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JuanCaraballo, Owner at Pukalani Hostal, responded to this review, June 18, 2013
Thanks so much for the awesome review! We are happy to have great guests like you. It really is a pleasure to have nice people and we are glad to do anything needed to help your stay be the best as possible. Come back anytime!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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158 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (18)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
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English first
Québec
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 9, 2013

Let start with the good points. The Hostel has a great view and it is very clean... But, somes things aren't say when you book. You need to know that because they run a little bar in the hostel, they don't want you to bring your own alcool. You need to buy it from them. If you don't, then they charge you 10$ per bottle to give you the authorization to drink it. They do no exception... so be ready to pay.

They also say the hostel has air conditionning. But, if you are sleeping in a dorm, yours will only work during a part of the night. Also, because they want to save on air conditionning fees, they full the dorms before the rooms. That means that even if all the hostel's dorms are empty, yours can be at full capacity.

They have a shuttle 3 times a day which is great because the hostel is far from downtown (grocerys, restaurants,...). But, the shuttle is only one way. So you will always have to pay a taxi anyway.

Also know that the hostel is very near from some kind of sewers, so the smell is not always great.

Otherwise, we enjoy the pool. But, we wouldn't go back there because they have too many rules unsaid and unclear.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
1 Thank Carol-Anne T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JuanCaraballo, Owner at Pukalani Hostal, responded to this review, June 10, 2013
Thank you for stay and review, as well as the compliment on cleanliness, our staff works hard to clean the rooms daily. We are sorry that you felt misinformed about the rules of the hostel, however we do our best to make sure that everyone knows the very few and basic rules. There is a large wall at the front door with the rules painted in large, colorful font. Also, the checkout time is listed on the card signed by every guest at the initial check-in.

As with any other restaurant, bar, or hostel with a bar we do not allow outside alcohol, however we understand the travelers tight budget, therefore if you prefer to have your own bottles you just have to pay the $10 fee. As I remember, your group of 5 was happy to pay just $2 each to enjoy your bottle all night. The next night I also offered everyone in the hostel a free drink at the bar hoping (however unsuccessful) to avoid any "sneaking" of bottles. Of course when another bottle was discovered in plain sight of staff your group was asked to pay the fee.

To address the air conditioning issue, we do provide air conditioning in every room. In the dormitories it functions at night, from 9pm-6am. We are conscience of the environment, not to mention the entire island of Colon is powered by one generator, because of this we do fill the dorms, which consist of 6 beds, so "full capacity" consists of 6 people at most. We have no preference of whether you want a private or dorm, of course the private rooms cost more than the dorms, it is the guests choice though of which you prefer.

The shuttle is a free service to all guests. Guests can leave from the hostel to town at the scheduled times or if the guest is in town they can come back with the shuttle from town to the hostel. It is not a private, personal service for each guest. We will be as accommodating as possible of course; for example, several guests choose to get out at the first grocery store on the way, quickly buy their items and catch the shuttle on its way back.

Lastly, to address the smell, right now the tide is low in Bocas and the smell is the seaweed that gets stuck on every shore on the island, however we pay workers to clean near our hostel regularly.

Again, sorry you felt misinformed, we hope this response helps future guests.
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Fort Collins, Colorado
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 24, 2013

I recently went on a backpacking trip with two other women and we planned on spending our last week in the Bocas Isles. We were going to spend one night on Colon and then work our way around the other islands. Instead we found Pukalani and stayed 5 nights there and made day trips to other islands and beaches.
If you show any amount of gratitude and courtesy to this wonderful people for providing a clean, safe, beautiful Hostel than you will be welcomed with open arms and kindness.
The dorm rooms were cleaned daily, and the sheets were changed every two days. They have a beautiful pool (cleaned daily) right next to a bar which has a daily happy hour and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The location is roughly 3 km outside of the busy, loud, crowded downtown of Bocas Town exactly as they claim it to be. Getting to town is NOT difficult with a $2 dollar cab ride and if you prepare wisely you can catch a ride on their free shuttle at 7am, 12pm, or 7pm. They also had no problem dropping me at a grocery store half way to town and picking me up on their way back.
The hostel is on the ocean in a calm inlet and surrounded by coconut trees which they will happily cut one down for you, chop off the top and add a little rum that you can sip by the pool, or take out on to their dock which is covered and has a pool table in perfect condition.
If you do want to order food they do have a communal kitchen which is minimal but very functional.
LOVED THIS PLACE!

Room Tip: In the slow season, take a dorm. It is cheaper and you will probably have a room to yourself anyway...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Laura E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JuanCaraballo, Owner at Pukalani Hostal, responded to this review, June 14, 2013
Thank you for your review Laura! You ladies were a pleasure to have! Hopefully we will see you back in Bocas one day!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 19, 2013

On my 4th trip to Bocas, I finally found the place to stay, and it is definitely Pukalani. Everywhere else I have seen is town is either too loud or too dirty or both. This place has a clean, beautiful pool and a dock out to the ocean with a pool table and hammocks. It is peaceful, with the sounds of waves up on the shore and monkeys and birds in the trees. I paid $12 for a dorm here with 6 brand-new beds and a clean, private bathroom. There was only me and one other girl in it, so it was basically a private room. I have paid the same price before at other places in Bocas town to be in loud rooms with 12 beds and dirty bathrooms shared by everyone, so the value here is worth it. The guest kitchen is minimal but functional, and there is also a basic bar and restaurant with happy hour from 4-6 and cheap, good food. We rented bikes to get into town for $5 for the day, and once we used kayaks for free to chill out and see some other islands. They offer surf lessons and do tours here, which I did not try, but there are surf trophies everywhere so I imagine the guy is good. And there's a tattoo shop, in case you want a souvenir of Bocas. :) I honestly cannot recommend this place highly enough.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
Thank Mca4444
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lausanne, Switzerland
Level Contributor
20 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 11, 2013 via mobile

Pukalani hostal is approx 3kms from the town center, and the owners organize 3 daily tripa from/to town m/ hostal.

We stayed 4nights in a shared bathroom (6 bathrooms with ensuite bathroom). Hostal ffers WIFI, access to a kitchen.

Rooms are cleaned daily; reception provide useful information on what to do/ where to go and also offers to joij the owners on a day out (ie: fishing,..)

The must: has a swimming pool and access to the beach.

I would definitely choose this hostal again if i return to Bocas

  • Stayed May 2013
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Gwadolina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Munich, Germany
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 20, 2013

Arriving at this hostel it was the first time I felt like being on vacation in paradise! =)
The staff was very open-minded, helpfull, friendly. The atmosphere in this hostel is great and the dorms are clean, big and the beds are really comfy --> there is a hot shower *_*, a free shuttle to town and a self catering kitchen =)!

The hostel is a great value place including a pool =)!
It is definitely the best hostel I have stayed in during my three week trip through Costa Rica and Panama!

Thank you for the great day out in the sea snorkeling and your hospitality Juan and family =)!
It was a great and awesome experience staying here! =)

Room Tip: Use the pool!!! =)
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Eva S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 4, 2013

I wanted a peaceful, beautiful place on the beach for under $20 and that's just what you get with this place!
Pros: Friendly staff (thanks Daisy & Juan), good tunes, bike rental for only $5, pool to cool off, free shuttle to town and close to great surf spots.
Con: Kitchen. Although they offer a self catering kitchen, it could offer more shelf space, a few more forks and knives etc.
Overall, this place is one of the best I've stayed at in Central America :)

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Saltycarm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Pukalani Hostal

Property: Pukalani Hostal
Address: Playa Mango, Bocas Town, Isla Colon, Panama
Location: Panama > Bocas del Toro Province > Isla Colon > Bocas Town
Hotel Style:
Ranked #13 of 41 Specialty Lodging in Bocas Town
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Also Known As:
Pukalani Hostal Bocas Del Toro, Panama - Bocas Town

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