Always in pursuit of places that mass tourism hasn't ruined like Cancun; we concluded a 3 week trip to Panama with 4 nights in Bocas del Toro. We arrived from the mainland via the port town of Almirante. Avoid this at any cost. It is an unpleasant town and young thugs hassle you for tips while trying to help you board the ferry boat. No where else in Panama did we feel unsafe or hassled except here. We left via the tiny airport which is 1 hour flight from Panama City. This is a much better way to get here.
Hotel Bocas reminds me of an old ship. The entire hotel is well maintained with dark woods set against white plaster walls. We stayed in a large room on the 3rd floor. It had a comfortable king bed, an average bathroom but plenty of hot water and a strong A/C which you will want in humid Bocas. While the included breakfast was ok, we only had an option for the American style. Eggs, meat, toast, juice and coffee. They have other options but were not included in our deal - make sure to ask. The hotel is very clean and is in an excellent location for catching ferry boats and walking distance to many restuarants, at the heart of Isla Colon. The staff are very friendly and the hotel is impecably clean unlike most every other place in town. They also have a nice bar and restuarant that is directly over the water.
Do note that some rooms say ocean view but are actually "restricted" view. In otherwords, you can see water but they are not the expensive rooms directly facing the water. Make sure to get what you want and expect. With the A/C on, noise was not an issue in our room at all.
There are terrific places to eat in Bocas including the following: El Pescado, Alberto's, Gringo's and Casbah. If you want a great local dive, Restuarant Chitre is 2 minutes from the hotel and a local style meal is under $5 for meat, rice, beans, slaw and a soda. Don't miss the fruit smoothie guy - go out the hotel door, turn left walk about 25 yards. He has a tiny truck and cart he pulls behind it. A giant fresh pineapple smoothie is under $2.
The scuba was surprisingly good. I went with La Buga which also has a great little cafe attached. They also offering surfing but weather precluded us from going. Be careful about the guys on the street by the ferry boats selling tours. They are paid comission and will tell you what you want to hear.
You should also know that good beaches are 20 minutes away by car and while you could walk or take the bus, a taxi or water taxi are the best options for most travelers but will cost $10-15 each way.
In conclusion, if you visit Bocas, Hotel Bocas is an excellent choice. Just don't expect an unspoiled island paradise with great beaches.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Newly upgrade high speed internet along with Hotel Bocas del Toro Restaurant & Bar honored as one of the "Top" Caribbean Bars in the best spots in the world on Conde Nast Traveler's Gold List, ¨Cuisines & Bars, IPAPP. The Hotel consistently receives TripAdvisor's "Certificate of Excellence". We've discovered that understated elegance in our Caribbean Wood Design and superior service are essential. From every vantage point, the ocean & island views inspire us to respond to the elements. 2013 Hotel Bocas del Toro was chosen and featured in the Conde Nast Traveler January issue under ¨Caribbean Secret Islands, The Bliss of Bocas¨, for our commitment to Sustainable Tourism over the last 11 years. Bocas del Toro's oceanfront boutique hotel, restaurant & bar are unique to this island paradise. Eleven perfectly appointed nautically inspired rooms, displaying thirteen different types of exotic Panamanian hardwoods, custom built furnishings, some with ocean view or town balcony rooms. We invite you to join us for a memorable experience at the best sustainable boutique hotel in Bocas del Toro, Panama. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Bocas Del Toro Hotel
- Del Toro Bocas Town
- Hotel Bocas Del Toro Panama - Bocas Town