Gran Kahuna Hostal



The Review

Gran Kahuna Hostel is a small hostel with a surfer vibe on a small island near Bocas del Toro. The location would be a perfect quiet spot, away from the busyness of the centre of town area, but unfortunately there is surrounding noise both during the day and at night.

The Location

The hostel is located a few minutes away by taxi boat from the docks in Bocas town. It is not far, and the taxi boats are not expensive, but the cost can add up if you wish to go to the mainland several times a day. Consider also that there is sometimes a wait time before a boat that has room passes by the island. The location is ideal for surfers as they can easily take a water-taxi to a surf spot, directly from the dock in front of the hostel.

What could've been a nice, laid-back, and quiet hostel is unfortunately disturbed by the the constant whizzing-by of motorized boats. At night, there is local music playing loudly from a nearby location, until 3 or 4 a.m., even on weekdays. This can be bothersome if you need to wake up early, and a lot of people do. There are three main daytime activities in Bocas -- surfing, diving/snorkeling, and Spanish lessons (all of which take place in the morning).

Rooms and Bathrooms

The dorm rooms are all on the ground floor, and each have a bathroom. The bunk beds are basic, but not uncomfortable. There are handmade lockers for each one of the guests, however, a few of the locks are broken so some of them are unusable. Basically, you can use a locker if you are lucky. The bathrooms are not extremely clean; there is some mould, the paint is chipped here and there, but everything is functional, and there is no hot water, so you won't spend too much time in there anyway. There is enough room to store all your essentials while taking a shower, and some guests even leave toiletries near the sink for the duration of their stay. There are several hooks and a bar for a towel.

Common Spaces

There is a large common space near the kitchen, which is also near the bar. The whole common area has a very lived-in feel to it, and not in a good way. The walls are somewhat dirty, the couches look old and stained, and the kitchen seems to always be filthy. This is in large part due to the guests, but the staff play a part in it as well. The fridge looks like it hasn't been cleaned in years; the faucet is so loose that seems like it might come off at any time; and quite often there is a huge pile of dirty dishes in the sink, complete with food scraps, soaked napkins, and cigarette butts. The area of the bar and the common area right at the entrance of the hostel are kept clean.


In theory, this is a great hostel, in a more secluded area outside of town. It has a nice view of the sea and a small beach. It is also very practical if you surf. We have found the neighbourhood to be loud, however (even when the hostel is quiet), and the cleaning standards are not the same as those of other hostels in Bocas.
by Monica Staff Reviewer
Photos taken by the reviewer — Genuine photos you can trust.
Entrance as viewed from the dock


(Location is approximate. You may need to pan/move to find "Gran Kahuna Hostal" at 3Rd Street, Or Main Street.)


3Rd Street, Or Main Street, Isla Colón (Isla Colon), Panama
9.337263, -82.241210 (accuracy not guaranteed)
None (if you know the URL of their website, tell us and we'll add it)
(506) 757-9038
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(24 ratings)
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(3 ratings)
62% Guest Reviews

Horrible place. Do not stay here!
I stayed at the hostel few days and I didn't like the experience, would not repeate it. First of all the staff was not helpful at all, security sucks as anyone can enter the rooms without being stopped and cleaning. Well, I'll just say that we saw A MOUSE walking around our room!!!!!!! It was horrible to see. Also the hostel has a laundry service which is good, the only small problem is that the staff gave us back LESS THAN HALF THE CLOTHES we washed. The thing is there was a strike those days so we picked up our clothes and rushed to the last available boat and tried to make it to Panama City so we realized we were missing almost everything only once in Panama. We tried to call and sent several emails asking for an explanation but we were always ignored. "Great" customer service!! So do not stay at this hostel!!
Clean, fun hostel!
Great atmosphere, free internet for guests, and helpful staff!

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