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“Nice place, but...”

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Gran Kahuna Beach Hostel
Reviewed 2 August 2014

First of all we are a family, we had a private room for $65/night. Safe to say this was a bit much. My perspectives on the room are that it was quite clean. Everyday the cleaning lady came round and refreshed your sheets. The bathroom was ok. Shower had warm and cold water, toilet was clean enough. On the AC: it would only turn on at 9 p.m., sometimes it wouldn't so you had to go and ask. During the daytime you couldn't turn it on because they want to "save energy to save the world". As someone who doesn't live in a hot country, I thought this was a bit of a let down. We have been ill the most of the time we spent here, and laying on the bed in the heat isn't that pleasant.

The location is absolutely beautiful. Nature is nice and we loved the crabs. Also if you want to go to Colon its a two minute boat ride there. The jetty is right in front of you so you don't have to walk anywhere.

The one thing that i really did not like about this place were the dogs. They were really smelly and came to lie next to you when you were having dinner. Also the furniture could do with a wash.

The people that worked here were very kind and helpful.

It was just our luck that there was this one loud German geezer here. You could hear him laugh and yell all night long. There was no such thing as "23:00 quiet time."

I thought the hostel was very focused on surfer people, not so much on families.

All in all, I thought it was a nice stay. I think it is a bit nicer when you're here with your friends and not as a family. Price for a private was a bit much. But the views were nice and we had a nice stay.

  • Stayed: July 2014
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Thank Jinxxexterminate
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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53 - 59 of 124 reviews

Reviewed 31 July 2014 via mobile

I stayed for 4 nights in the Gran Kahuna Hostel. The location is the best in Bocas for surfing, and saves you loads of money on water taxis if you are staying on Colon. The hostel itself is clean, and very relaxed atmosphere. Rooms were cleaned every day, A/C only at night however. Was not loud at all, however there were not very many people while I was there, didn't seem like a party hostel (that would be Aqualounge). Great helpful staff! Overall highly recommended!

Stayed: July 2014
Thank Edden R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 June 2014 via mobile

STAFF IS SO RUDE!!! Made me hate the place and Bocas in general.

I bought the latest Lonely Planet book and they tried ripping us off.

No kitchen, no food, terrible happy hour, no self service coffee, some days no coffee (they wouldn't even budge the thought of making a new pot).

They let kids who pickpocket run around the hostel and pester us to buy things even though one of the first things they told us was "watch out for the kids, they steal".

To rent a snorkel was $5 and mine was broken and they told us to go to Hospital Point which has no beach, and they failed to mention that the "beach" was called Playa de Ladrones (Robber's Beach). We found this out from an American couple renting a cabin on the island, who locks up everything to a tree because the Panamanians run out from the jungle and steal their stuff and run back in.

The worst hostel I've ever been to, full of sand flies and rude staff.

  • Stayed: June 2014
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2  Thank paulinegisele
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 June 2014

.I stayed at Gran Kahuna several times and somehow it gets better each time. The Hostel is located an arm's reach from the water. They have kayak and surfboard rentals on premise for a good price. The staff is very friendly and accommodating. They have a bar that serves food on location with cheap drinks. I find myself chilling in the lounge on most nights chatting and meeting new friends with a ice cold beer. You can't beat the price of a bed.

Room Tip: If you are looking for a 30 minute hot shower and ac 24-7 look elsewhere.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled on business
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Thank sjf44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 May 2014

My friend and I went to Bocas del Toro with great expectations. We were looking forward to some relaxing, nice days at a beach. First of all, many of the accomodations in Bocas are expensive resort-like lodgings, and this makes it hard to stay at the beach for a reasonable price. But when we found the Gran Kahuna Beach Hostel we thought it sounded perfect. Well, the dorm we had was average, a bit small for 6 people, but it worked. The atmosphere in the hostel was ok, but it definately was a party hostel and not a quiet getaway.

On the plus side, the staff were nice, the beds were clean and bug-free, and they had a kitchen so you can buy food at one of the supermarkets in town and then bring it over on a boat. The boat took about 2 minutes from the main town to the hostel.

For me this place was just ok, nothing more- but it really depends on what you are looking for; if partying is your thing, then definately come to Bocas del Toro.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Oda L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 March 2014 via mobile

No reservations allowed because it seems a lot of beds in the hostel are occupied by long term surfer types. Pretty location, average dorm rooms, somewhat cramped (no place to put your bag if staying on top bunk) but a/c a bonus if you're not in direct fire. Rented a surf board here, below average board and service from reception. Trips to and from main island are cheap but can add up and sporadic timing wise.

Stayed: March 2014, travelled with friends
Thank kp337
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 February 2014 via mobile

Stayed there thinking the location was perfect but the sand fleas reminded me it comes at a cost of 14$ plus a lot of bites. One of the workers/volunteers slept in my room and that seemed like a good idea until that night he had sex in the bed below me and argued with all his drunk buddies who were also in this room. The drunks outside the room kept the noise levels above bearable and I didn't sleep at all that night. The manager was too busy in the morning to take down my complaint and I don't blame her she is really busy and I did like her but beware of this place. Unless sex drugs and rock n roll is all you want out of a hostel

Stayed: January 2014, travelled solo
4  Thank Finny K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Gran Kahuna Beach Hostel

Address: Carenero Island | In Front of the Beach, Carenero Island 00420, Panama
Region: Panama > Bocas del Toro Province > Carenero Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 6 Speciality Lodging in Carenero Island
Price Range: £9 - £39 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Find your own Paradise!On Isla Carenero, directly located on a beautiful beach lined with palm trees, you will find the Gran Kahuna Beach Hostel. Only a three-minute boat ride from Bocas Town, we provide a lovely beachfront hostel setting offering shared and private rooms. Our aim is to provide travellers with laid-back, quiet, clean and comfortable accommodations with all the best that Bocas has to offer close at hand. This newly-renovated hostel is a tranquil choice for travellers looking to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of Bocas del Toro. If you came to Bocas del Toro to wake up on the beach, enjoying a relaxed, frienly and welcoming environment, then the Gran Kahuna Beach Hostel is your choice! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Gran Kahuna Beach Hostel Panama/Bocas Del Toro - Carenero Island

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