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“Best place we found in Panama”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Bocas Island Lodge

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Bocas Island Lodge
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
48 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“Best place we found in Panama”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 9, 2012

We were very pleased to find this place with nice staff, air'co, clean, free computer and free breakfast and a kitchen all that for 22$ per night. Had a really great time exploring the beaches and taking it easy. Nice atmosphear, defenetely the best accomodation we found in Panama.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Grigouillon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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168 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    73
    32
    27
    19
    17
See reviews for
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (16)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Hilversum, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
224 reviews
74 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 92 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 7, 2012

I truly enjoyed this place. I found the dorms very clean and giving a lot of privacy. I had an excellent sleep here. Bathrooms are clean and they have enough toilets and showers so that there is one free most of the times.

The location is also very good. Red Frog beach is only 5-10 minutes away from the hostel through a path through the jungle. Isla Bastimentos is much more quiet and beatiful.

The lounge area and the restaurant were also pretty nice. Good food and friendly people.

The only downside was that as I was travelling alone it was difficult to book tours. They were either very expensive or I was dependent on other people signing up. Luckily they arranged with a company from Isla Colon to come and pick me up from the island so I could join their tour to dolphin bay and coral key. Very beatiful and had a nice time on the tour.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank ellisveen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Utrecht, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 1, 2012

It's a nice place to stay if you're in Bocas del Toro. Isla Bastimentos has great beaches and is a lot quieter than the main island.
The restaurant and lounge area is nice, the food is fairly priced and tastes good the service good be a bit better. You can use the shared kitchen but it lacks kooking supplies.
The dorms have a lots of beds, which make the bathroom (cold water showers) go filthy in a second on an busy day. But they take care of it immediately if you tell them.
To bad they close the bar early. There are not a lot of other options in the neighborhood to have a drink. So after the bar closes you're on your own.

But overall a decent place to stay.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Ivo W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
26 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 18, 2012

The best budget option if you do not like camping.
Rooms comfortably and reasonable value, can be noisy depending on your neighbours.
The resort is a concrete abomination however. Sterile and no atmosphere or real communal area for the guests to mix. Broken computer and ripped pool table. Drinks and food are expensive.
I spent all my evenings at Palmar.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank notmiles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 22, 2012

The good: The food is great and very affordable, as are the drinks. The showers have hot water that didn't run out. The common area has a pool table and a ping pong table, which our 11-year old loved. She also loved the zipline tour, though I just about died of fright on it. It was professionally done, so I have to blame it on, oh, I guess... being 100 FEET UP in the air, maybe!!! And last but not least, the sloths- they are amazing animals.

The bad: The rooms have AC which cannot be turned off. Presumably this is the lazy and non-environmentally friendly method that Management uses to address perceived humidity issues (even though the climate did not feel humid in the least). The rooms were hence noisy and COLD- not something you want when you've come down to the tropics from Canada in January. Luckily our AC stopped functioning (darn!) after we called Maintenance to have them address the AC's rattle that would have kept us up all night.

The ugly: The ethics of both off-site field trips we signed up for was questionable. Our first was the Cave tour. The activity itself was amazing, but it was pretty clear that the local landowner, who is also the guide during the expedition, is not being compensated fairly for the use of his property. The resort charged about 35$ per person (i.e. expensive), and yet when we got there we were told that we needed to pay 5$ to the landowner. Upon our return to the hostel I asked why this cost was not included upfront, and I was told that it's because sometimes the landowner isn't there, so in those instances the tourists don't need to pay the 5$! It's pretty bad that this local family is not getting a decent portion of the 35$ paid by every visitor. I relayed my concerns about this to a Manager (the hostel is affiliated with Red Frog Villas); if enough people complain maybe they'll change their policy.

Our second outing was the Crawl Cay- Dolphin Bay boat trip. Although the snorkeling was very disappointing, it was the dolphin watching that I took issue with. It did not respect marine mammal watching guidelines by any stretch of the imagination: there were at least a dozen motor boats at a time, running tight circles around the dolphin pod. The underwater noise must have been horrendous. I strongly recommend that you not support this practice by avoiding a trip to Dolphin Bay.

Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
Helpful?
2 Thank BKK_23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
England
Level Contributor
12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 9, 2012

After two months of travelling this was the first dorm I have stayed in that had air-con at no extra cost. it was bliss! Also, although the dorm rooms are big they are sectioned off in groups of 4 and we were all spread out in the room so everyone got their own little section - plenty of space and privacy. Really good value - I was charged $6 for the first night and $11 for any subsequent nights. Also got a small free breakfast which was enough for me - 3 slices of home-baked bread, toasted, with jam and fruit (pineapple, banana, watermelon). It is a very quiet hostel - at least when I was there - so if you want to relax this is the place to come. If you want to party, stay in Bocas. The food available at the hostel was ok (sandwiches, spaghetti, pizza, burritos etc) and they have a guest kitchen but make sure you stock up on food before you get there as there are no supermarkets nearby.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Dino_111
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
23 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 26, 2012

My boyfriend and I stayed at Bocas Bound after spending a few days at Bocas Town and not being overly impressed.The place is super-cheap by Panamanian standards - they have special deals where every third night is discounted or you getting a cheaper price for extended stays.

Our private double room but was basic but clean and fine. There was no window to the outside so it was a little dark but we saw that before we agreed to stay so it wasn't a problem. We honestly only used the room to sleep in as the huge open air common area was perfect for chilling out in - it had comfy couches, a ping pong table, lots of board games and a decent book exchange. One night they played a decent movie on a big projecter which was great.

The provided breakfast was fine - often I paid a dollar or two extra to have some eggs added to it to make it more substantial. The rest of the food from the restaurant was simple but tasty and not too badly priced.

I enjoyed the 5/10 minute walk to the beach - although it got a little muddy! Basically this place is perfect if you just want some chilled out beach time - it's not a party place if that's what you're looking for.

My only qualm was with the service. There were one or two people working there who were helpful and absolute gems - however some of the other members of staff were extremely unhelpful and unfriendly. Several times I would go to the counter to order some food and be blatantly ignored by them for 5 minutes. When they would finally come over they would glare at me and were very abrupt. It made me feel bad each time I ordered some food! I understand that lots of the staff are volunteers and they could get overwhelmed by lots of guest during the busy season - but it was pretty quiet when we were there. And really - it costs nothing to smile occassionally!

I met a few travelers after we left the place who had also stayed there and said the exact same thing. Bocas Bound - great, cheap place - just a shame about a few of the staff. It's still definitely worth a stay though!

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank SL1986
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

Property: 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 #16 of 19 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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