18 Best Hotels in Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama

Bocas Inn

$ | Av. Norte at Calle 3, Bocas del Toro, Panama

This small lodge in an older wooden building over the water has a great location at the end of Calle 3 and is buffered from the street by a large garden, so it's relatively quiet. It has a lovely second-floor balcony and large, open-air restaurant with plenty of hammocks and chairs from which to contemplate the sea. Most guest rooms are on the second floor of the main building; they have varnished hardwood floors, colorful tile bathrooms, and either one queen or two single beds. The rooms opening onto the common porch with an ocean view are well worth the extra $10; those over the office sit too close to the street. The lodge belongs to Panama's highly regarded Ancon Expeditions, so guests have access to the tour operator's top-notch excursions.

Pros

  • Great views
  • Organized tours
  • Good breakfast

Cons

  • No TV
  • No Internet
Av. Norte at Calle 3, Bocas del Toro, Panama
269–9415-in Panama City
hotel Details
7 rooms
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast, Credit cards accepted

Quick Facts

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Casa Acuario

$ | Southern side of island, Carenero, Panama

The view from the rooms in this two-story building over the water on the south side of Isla Carenero is of turquoise waters, boats, and the occasional seabird. The building has four spacious, airy rooms that sleep up to four, with wooden floors, walls, and ceilings, cane furniture, and several big windows. They open onto wrap-around balconies, and are equipped with air-conditioning, ceiling fans, mini-refrigerators, and TVs. Inexpensive breakfasts are served on a deck in back, and guests have access to shared kitchen facilities. A small beach lies beside the hotel.

Pros

  • Great views
  • Nice clean rooms
  • Large discounts for long-term stays

Cons

  • Somewhat remote, although Bocas Town is a quick boat ride away
  • Breakfast costs extra
Southern side of island, Carenero, Panama
507-757--9565
hotel Details
5 rooms
Rate Includes: No Meals, No credit cards

Quick Facts

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Eclypse de Mar

$$$ | Wizard Beach, Isla Bastimentos, Panama

Built over the water on stilts, this luxurious eco-lodge is the ultimate Caribbean fantasy. Each of its seven bungalows comes with a private terrace, ceiling fan, Wi-Fi, snorkel gear, and hot shower. Glass slats have been inserted into the hardwood floors so that guests can admire marine life from inside their bedrooms. Adding to the elegance are large windows, thatch roofs, and satin curtains draped over queen-size beds. The hotel runs on solar power, has its own water supply from a spring, and includes a private garden that leads to 6½ acres of rain forest where sloths, birds, butterflies, and red frogs roam. Although not as private, there are two standard rooms in the main building for half the price of the bungalows. No matter where you stay here, pampering and luxury are the order of the day.

Pros

  • Friendly staff
  • Remote location
  • Innovative design

Cons

  • Basic breakfast
  • Loud music can sometimes be heard from Old Bank
  • No AC
Wizard Beach, Isla Bastimentos, Panama
507-6430--7576
hotel Details
24 rooms
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast, Credit cards accepted

Quick Facts

Recommended Fodor's Video

Gran Hotel Bahia

$ | Calle 3 and Av. A, Bocas del Toro, Panama

History abounds at the town's quaintest hotel, a two-story wooden building that was the headquarters of the United Fruit Company in the 1930s. The company's steel money vault is still beside the hotel lobby. The top floor served as guest rooms and still has the original veranda overlooking the bay, where mint juleps were probably the order of the hot tropical days. The spacious rooms have been completely refurbished, with shiny hardwood floors, double beds, cable TV, air-conditioning, and small tile bathrooms. There are two deluxe-plus rooms with king-size beds, sofa beds, mini-refrigerators, and 32″ flat screen TVs. If you've booked a room near the street, be sure to bring earplugs since noise from the neighboring disco can lead to sleepless nights.

Pros

  • Good value
  • Comfortable
  • Historic building

Cons

  • Off water
  • Small windows
  • Noise from neighboring disco
Calle 3 and Av. A, Bocas del Toro, Panama
507-757–9626
hotel Details
18 rooms
Rate Includes: Closed June, Free Breakfast, Credit cards accepted

Quick Facts

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Hotel Bocas del Toro

$$ | Calle 2, Bocas del Toro, Panama Fodor's Choice

This attractive waterfront hotel was designed by a boat builder, so it's no coincidence that guest rooms, with their polished hardwoods and nautical decor, look as if they could be on a yacht. The bilingual staff is possibly the most helpful in town, and take their cue from the engaging owner. Rooms vary in size and price, but all have flat-screen TVs, orthopedic mattresses, coffee makers, balconies, Wi-Fi, and a blue-and-white nautical motif to complement the dark wood. More expensive ocean-view rooms are quieter than the town-view units. If you don't mind the climb, request spacious room #11 on the top floor with a large balcony overlooking the water. The open-air restaurant serves a good mix of Panamanian and international fare, with an ocean view. Day trips and in-room massages can be arranged. As an ambassador for promoting ecotourism, the owner has won several awards for sustaining and enhancing the geographical character of Bocas del Toro.

Pros

  • On the water
  • Superb staff
  • Very clean rooms

Cons

  • Ocean-view rooms are somewhat pricey for Bocas
  • Occasional low water pressure
Calle 2, Bocas del Toro, Panama
507-757--9771
hotel Details
10 rooms
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast, Credit cards accepted

Quick Facts

  • $$

Hotel Olas

$ | Av. Sur at Calle 6, Isla Colón, Panama

Hidden at the south end of town, this large wooden hotel is one of the best deals in Bocas, comparable to more centrally located inns that charge twice as much. On each floor, long white corridors lead to common balconies. Built over the water, there's an open-air restaurant and bar on the back deck that has great views of the sea and mainland. Guest rooms are slightly cramped and boxy but comfortable enough, with wooden furnishings, a small TV (with cable), and air-conditioning. Request a room with a balcony and ocean view. Affordable boat excursions depart from the floating platform at the back of the restaurant.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • On the water
  • Communal computer
  • Quiet

Cons

  • Rooms smallish
  • Rooms pale in comparison to charming common areas
Av. Sur at Calle 6, Isla Colón, Panama
757–9930
hotel Details
24 rooms
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast, No credit cards

Quick Facts

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Hotel Palma Royale

$ | Southern end of Calle 3, Bocas del Toro, Panama

At four stories, a veritable skyscraper for Bocas, this ocher hotel at the south end of town climbs in number of amenities as you climb the floors, and is the only hotel in town with an elevator. All bright, sunny units contain one or two queen-size beds and cedar furnishings, along with a refrigerator and private balcony. Lower-floor rooms begin as standard studios. By the time you get to the third and fourth floors, you find suites with fully equipped kitchens, living rooms, and balconies.

Pros

  • Quiet
  • Save money by cooking for yourself
  • Only hotel in town with an elevator
  • Attentive service

Cons

  • A few blocks removed from the center of action
Southern end of Calle 3, Bocas del Toro, Panama
507-757--9979
hotel Details
4 rooms
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast

Quick Facts

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Hotel Swan's Cay

$ | Calle 3, Bocas del Toro, Panama

This two-story wooden complex behind the Palacio Municipal fits into Bocas well enough, but inside the lobby feels like Old Europe with dark woods and a long staircase leading to second-story rooms. The rambling hotel has its selling points, mainly the courtyard pool and minor upgrades in 2014. Rooms, with imported furniture, flat-screen TVs, and white bedding draped in velvet throws, are a mixed bag: some are bright, some are dark, some have hardwood floors while others have wall-to-wall carpeting. Your best bets are rooms 236 and 237 with hot tubs and large balconies.

Pros

  • Reasonable rates
  • Pool by the sea

Cons

  • Awkward step from bedroom to bathroom
  • Some street noise
  • Mediocre breakfast
Calle 3, Bocas del Toro, Panama
507-757--9090
hotel Details
49 rooms
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast, Credit cards accepted

Quick Facts

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La Loma Jungle Lodge

$$$ | Bahía Honda, Isla Bastimentos, Panama Fodor's Choice

A boat ride through mangroves and a walk across wooden planks will lead you to the tastefully rustic bungalows at this eco-lodge, part of a 60-acre working cacao farm. (The cacao ends up in the sumptuous dinners served here.) Oropendolas sing in the treetops, hummingbirds flit about, and sloths cling to the branches overhead. The idealistic owners designed the lodge to limit negative environmental impact and to maximize the benefit to their Ngöbe neighbors using wood from fallen trees and solar power and kerosene lamps. Perched along a hillside in the rain forest, the wall-less bungalows offer 180-degree views of tropical nature. (Canvas curtains can be drawn when weather turns rainy or windy.) Bungalows have good beds with mosquito nets, handmade furniture, hammocks, and bathrooms inspired by Ngöbe architecture. Meals, farm tours, kayaks, and transport to Red Frog Beach are included in the rates, plus you can arrange other inexpensive day tours.

Pros

  • In the jungle
  • Restaurant and farm tours open to nonguests
  • Environmentally conscientious
  • Good tours of Bastimentos bat caves

Cons

  • Very rustic
  • Steep climb to rooms
  • Paths are extremely dark at night
Bahía Honda, Isla Bastimentos, Panama
507-6443--1786
hotel Details
4 rooms
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast, No credit cards

Quick Facts

Lula's B&B

$ | Av. Norte, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Across the street from the water and a short walk from the center of town, this small B&B offers simple accommodations and a hearty breakfast. Run by a friendly couple from Atlanta, who bought the property in 2014, the lodge has a nice veranda on the second floor with a sea view over rooftops and a self-service bar. Rooms sleep up to four guests and have wooden floors, air-conditioning, and small bathrooms. A beautiful pancake breakfast is included in the rate. There are plenty of common areas with hammocks and tables for relaxing, or for those that want to hit the waves, Bocas Surf School is just across the street on the beach side.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Nice veranda
  • Great breakfast

Cons

  • Rooms pretty basic and small
  • Not on water
Av. Norte, Bocas del Toro, Panama
757--9057
hotel Details
8 rooms
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast, Credit cards accepted

Quick Facts

  • $

Playa Bluff Lodge

$$ | Playa Bluff, Isla Colón, Panama

It's still pretty remote out here in Playa Bluff, but this comfy place is an oasis at the end of a rugged road. Rooms are bright and cheery, with sliding patio doors. All come with king-size beds; one room has an additional queen-size bed. The entire place is solar-powered and the showers run on collected rainwater. You'll find red arrow frogs throughout the gardens, but any snakes (nonvenomous) stay reassuringly on the far fringes of the large property. You'll be provided with boots and a cell phone if you wish to go hiking; the cell phone comes in handy if you want to make a trip into town, but most guests are content to stay here. A separate on-premises business, the Playa Bluff Lounge, serves as the hotel's seafood restaurant.

Pros

  • Wonderfully secluded
  • Eco-friendly
  • Good restaurant

Cons

  • Rough road to get here
  • Poor lighting
  • No AC or Wi-Fi in room
Playa Bluff, Isla Colón, Panama
507-6798--8507
hotel Details
19 rooms
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast, No credit cards

Quick Facts

  • $$

Playa Tortuga Hotel & Beach Resort

$$ | Bocas del Toro, Panama

Everything, but everything is here at Bocas's largest, flashiest, resort-iest hotel. Two pools, two restaurants, meeting facilities, beach volleyball, a gym, sea kayaks, and numerous tours will keep you occupied. The resort lies outside of Bocas Town itself, but free, regularly scheduled shuttle service will get you there if you seek off-site diversions. Rooms are bright and cheery, done up in tropical pastels, with one king- or two queen-size beds. All have private balcony and ocean view.

Pros

  • Myriad activities
  • Ocean views
  • Good value for what is offered

Cons

  • Not a good option if you crave solitude
  • Outside of Bocas town
Bocas del Toro, Panama
507-757--9050
hotel Details
117 rooms
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast

Quick Facts

  • $$

Popa Paradise Beach Resort

$$$$ | Isla Bastimentos, Panama Fodor's Choice

On the northeastern tip of Isla Popa, this adults-only, all-inclusive resort sits on a white-sand beach backed by 25 acres of tropical rain forest. Winding through the property are freshwater streams, hiking trails, and stone pathways that lead to nine cottages and a 5,000-square-foot clubhouse. Rooms, decorated with silk bedding and Balinese furniture, have air-conditioning, cable TV, DVD players, and large balconies that face the Zapatillas Cays. Located 200 yards from shore is a shallow reef where guests can snorkel, kayak, and fish. There are plenty of other diversions including an infinity pool, volleyball, game room, and boat trips to Sandubidi (a primitive Ngöbe village). The hotel's restaurant serves incredibly fresh fish, and everything is prepared with ingredients from the hotel's own garden. For a moderate cost, the hotel can arrange zip-line tours, jungle excursions, and day trips to Zapatillas and Red Frog Beach.

Pros

  • Family-friendly
  • Excellent food
  • Courteous staff

Cons

  • Remote
  • Paths are dark at night
  • No children under 18 allowed
Isla Bastimentos, Panama
507-6550--2505
hotel Details
17 rooms
Rate Includes: All-Inclusive, Credit cards accepted

Quick Facts

Punta Caracol Acqua-Lodge

$$$$ | Isla Colón, Panama Fodor's Choice

This collection of spacious bungalows above the turquoise shallows off Isla Colón's western coast is both gorgeous and innovative, acting as a self-sustaining island within an island. The hotel consists of nine wooden cabañas (bungalows) perched atop pilings, all connected to one another, the restaurant, and the mainland by wooden walkways over the ocean. Each has a living room downstairs that opens onto a wide porch with lounge chairs and a ladder leading down to the crystalline waters. Bedroom lofts hold a king bed or two twins with mosquito nets. The luxury eco-lodge uses only solar energy, has its own sewage-treatment plant, and protects 150 acres of rain forest and mangrove reserve. Rates include snorkeling, kayaks, breakfast, and dinner by candlelight, and the service is excellent. The isolated property forces guests to relax, which may not be for everyone. It is accessible only by a 15-minute boat trip from town.

Pros

  • Gorgeous setting
  • Charming rooms
  • Eco-friendly

Cons

  • Expensive for Bocas
  • Sometimes buggy
  • Might be too isolated for some
Isla Colón, Panama
507-757--9410
hotel Details
9 rooms
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast, Credit cards accepted

Quick Facts

Punta Rica Private Jungle Villa

$$$$ | South end of Old Bank, Bocas del Toro, Panama
Perched on the hillside of Isla Bastimentos, this off-grid luxury villa is constructed entirely of rich woods and is void of closed doors and glass windows, exuding a feeling of openness and connection with nature. A jungle trail leads from a private beach to the main house, a self-sustainable property operating on solar power and a rain water system. Indonesian furnishings decorate the four rooms, each remarkably spacious with two floors, a living room, private bath, and patios with hammocks. Included in the rate are two meals per day served in the main lounge surrounded by treetops. It's worth staying here for the European cuisine alone.

Pros

  • Gorgeous breakfasts
  • Surrounded by wildlife
  • Self-sustaining property

Cons

  • No children under age 6
  • Minimum three-night stay
  • Occasional bugs
South end of Old Bank, Bocas del Toro, Panama
507-6627--3000
hotel Details
4 rooms
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast

Quick Facts

Tierra Verde

$ | South side of the island, Carenero, Panama

Although it's not directly on the water, this small hotel is tucked into a lush, tropical setting that lends an atmosphere of serenity and seclusion. The charming lodging has hardwood floors, French windows, rattan furniture, and a wrap-around balcony with ocean and jungle views. Each room comes with air-conditioning, hot water, a private bathroom, cable TV, and an orthopedic mattress. Two-bedroom suites are double the price but include walk-in closets, a living room, mini-refrigerator, and private balcony. Guests have access to a small dock with hammocks and beach chairs. The owners are experienced surfers and can arrange day-trips to local breaks. And compared to lodging in Bocas Town, this cozy spot is a real bargain.

Pros

  • Bilingual owners always on-site
  • In-room massages can be arranged
  • Rates include Wi-Fi, taxes, and breakfast
  • Excellent value

Cons

  • No restaurant
  • Bugs can be a problem
  • Somewhat remote but Bocas Town is a quick boat ride away
South side of the island, Carenero, Panama
507-757--9903
hotel Details
8 rooms
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast, No credit cards

Quick Facts

  • $

Tranquilo Bay

$$$ | Isla Bastimentos, Panama

This all-inclusive jungle lodge is geared toward active travelers—you can bird-watch, kayak, snorkel, hike, surf, fish, or just stroll the beach and lounge in a hammock, all amid amazing scenery. The young American owners offer stays of three or more nights in well-equipped bungalows spread along a forested ridge with panoramic ocean and island views. Spacious and comfortable, the bungalows have either one queen or two double beds, large bathrooms, air-conditioning, and wrap-around porches; four view the sea, two the forest. The lodge's 80-hectare (200-acre) rain-forest reserve borders the national park. Meals and cocktails are served in a lovely dining-living room in the main building. Their 63-foot observation tower is excellent for spotting wildlife. Room rates include meals, activities, and transfers from Bocas Town on Wednesday and Saturday.

Pros

  • Varied activities
  • Wild surroundings
  • Nice rooms
  • Good food

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Remote
  • Three-night minimum stay
  • Fixed arrival and departure days
Isla Bastimentos, Panama
713-589--6952-in U.S.
hotel Details
6 rooms
Rate Includes: Closed June, All-Inclusive, Credit cards accepted

Quick Facts

Tropical Suites

$$ | South end of Calle 1, Bocas del Toro, Panama Fodor's Choice

Completely remodeled in 2012, the spacious rooms here evoke fully furnished Florida condos, with their tropical colors, tile floors, ceiling fans, and sliding glass doors that open onto balconies (half have ocean views). Each room has a queen bed, cable TV, a kitchenette with breakfast bar, and a large bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub. The hotel is built over the water, and there's a floating plastic dock in back with a swimming area, though the water here is not that clean. Pay the extra money for an ocean-view room—they're nicer and quieter. The glass-bottom Starfish Suite lets you watch the fish swim beneath your feet without leaving the comfort of your room. It is conveniently close to most restaurants and bars. The hotel runs periodic Web-only promotions.

Pros

  • Decent value for offering
  • Spacious rooms
  • Great ocean views

Cons

  • Questionably clean swimming area
South end of Calle 1, Bocas del Toro, Panama
507-757--9081
hotel Details
19 rooms
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast, Credit cards accepted

Quick Facts

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