You know us. We like nice hotels. And if they’re hotels with private pool suites, so much the better :-).
So the first question on our minds after deciding to go was: What are the best places to stay in Bocas del Toro?
Good question too.
Because search for “best hotels in Bocas del Toro” or “Bocas del Toro luxury hotels” – and you’ll be hard-pressed to find much.
Best hotels in Bocas del Toro
Why visit Bocas del Toro?
Of course, you know about the Panama Canal – traversing the canal is one of the most famous things to do in Panama.
Bocas del Toro, an archipelago of small islands off the north coast of Panama on the Caribbean side, is much less well-known.
Most accommodations in Bocas del Toro are small eco-resorts or guesthouses. No air conditioning. Rainwater for drinking. Solar panels for power (candle-light dining!).
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Now, while there are still plenty of cheap hotels, Bocas has graduated from the backpacker phase of tourism development to boutique inns and B&B’s, some located on semi-private islands.
But true luxury hotels with five-star modern amenities simply haven’t found their way there yet (though Viceroy plans to open a luxury Viceroy Bocas del Toro resort with 42 overwater villas in 2024).
So finding the best places to stay in Bocas del Toro was a bit of a challenge for us.
Still, we wanted to visit Bocas!
We’d read come-hither stories of Bocas del Toro and its natural beauty.
How the islands were a bit of an obsession for British novelist Graham Greene, who finally reached them on his third attempt.
How they’re a salt-water paradise with beautiful beaches if escapism and going barefoot trumps marble bathrooms, butlers and 24-hour room service.
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We were hooked – and had to visit Bocas del Toro!
Best Bocas del Toro hotels we chose
Let’s start with the Bocas del Toro hotels we stayed at.
More best places to stay in Bocas del Toro
Here are two more places to stay in Bocas that also look excellent.
4) La Loma Jungle Lodge
Tucked away in the tropical rainforest of Isla Bastimentos, La Loma Jungle Lodge is an award-winning eco-lodge with hand-crafted bungalows.
Wonderfully secluded, the only way to get there is by boat.
Tours of the onsite cacao farm, jungle hikes, and trips to nearby Red Frog Beach are all included in your stay.
5) Tranquilo Bay Eco-Adventure Lodge
Also on Isla Bastimentos, this all-inclusive jungle lodge has nine comfortable air-conditioned cabanas. They come with covered private balconies furnished with hammocks and Adirondack chairs.
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A 63-foot observation tower in the forest canopy offers terrific views – and is ideal for bird-watching and spotting wildlife.
There’s no beach, but you can swim from the Tranquilo Bay’s little pier.
Weather in Bocas del Toro, Panama
The islands are close to the equator, so the weather in Bocas del Toro is hot year-round.
Expect rain, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. The rainy season is May through to December. It rains the most in May, July and August.
For good weather, the best time to visit Bocas del Toro are the months of January to March. These are the driest months.
September and October is also pleasant (a mini dry season within the rainy season).
We visited in late January, and found it hot, humid and tropical. Great weather for an escape from the dreary North American winter!
Where is Bocas del Toro exactly?
How to get to Bocas del Toro
Part of the appeal of the islands is that they’re remote and not trampled with tourists. This, of course, means they’re a bit of a challenge to get to.