Published on January 7th, 2018 | by Mark Chesnut


HOTEL REVIEW: Laid-Back Life at Hotel Bocas Town in Panama

Lots of people have heard of Costa Rica’s appeal as a Central America vacation destination. Not as many people are familiar with Panama. But savvy travelers — as well as a decent number of expats — are well aware that, for a laid-back Caribbean vacation experience, it’s hard to beat Bocas del Toro, Panama.

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Located on Panama’s Caribbean coast near the Costa Rican border, Bocas del Toro is paradise for nature lovers. And it’s home to a bunch of cute, small hotels. During my most recent visit, my husband and I stayed at Hotel Bocas Town.

THE STYLE: Set in a four-story wood building on the waterfront, Hotel Bocas Town offers simple, clean, old-fashioned but clean style in the heart of the town of Bocas del Toro.

Angel checks his cell on the balcony in Bocas del Toro.

The small lobby is unimposing, with a small reception desk, wood floors and wicker furniture. A narrow hallway leads to the small, simply decorate restaurant, which is open to the water.

THE ROOMS: We stayed in room 301, which faces the street (not the water; water views are pricier and we had a tight budget) but was small and attractive, with wood floor, a double bed, white wicker furnishings and a wall-mounted flatscreen TV (note that the four flights of stairs won’t be appropriate for people with accessibility issues).

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The all-white bathroom has a shower stall. But the most attractive aspect of this Bocas del Toro hotel room was the balcony, which faced the town and had two built-in seats and a tiny table.

HOTEL FEATURES: Breakfast is included with the room rate, and it’s served in the open-air, waterfront restaurant. Breakfast consists of a fruit plate, followed by a hot meal of scrambled eggs, toast and Panamanian sausage (which is similar to hot dogs).

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A small deck extends out into the water, with chairs for sunbathing and a small natural pool for swimming.

BEST FOR: Budget-conscious travelers looking for clean, simple accommodations in the heart of Bocas del Toro.

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About the Author

The founder and editor of, Mark has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and manager. He's worked with some of the biggest consumer, in-flight and travel trade publishers that cover Latin America.

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