Panama is one of the more popular destinations in Central America for hostel backpackers. When travelling into Panama from Costa Rica, you can head across the border in either the northern part of the country or the south. When heading in from the north, you will come to the islands of Bocas del Toro (often just called "Bocas", a popular region for hostel backpackers, partying, sun and surfing. It is a great place to chill out and relax and there are a number of hostels that you can stay in while you are here, with the majority on the largest island of Bocas, Isla Colón. There are quite a few places around the islands that are remote, so check out the location if you are looking to be in a region that is either quiet and remote or in among all of the partying that goes on there of a night with all of the free and cheap drink deals. Most of all, enjoy the border crossing of walking along the old railway tracks to enter the country. It is certainly a novel way to arrive.
If arriving into the southern part of the country you will come down on the bus into the town of David City. You will find some hostels to stay in here as you figure out your next move and explore the charming little town. From David, you can head up to the small mountain town of Boquete, Cerro Punta, or Volcan. Here you can climb Volcan Baru, one of the most popular volcanoes in Panama to hike. Most of the buses go to Boquete from David, but there are hostels in all of these places. From David you can also head north to the beaches, or east along to the capital city.
There is a region on the southern peninsula which has many towns with the odd hostel in them suitable for a quieter beach holiday and getting some surfing in. The towns along the way that you can stop in here include Torio, Pedasi, Guanico, Las Tablas, and Las Escobas del Venado. These regions tend to be quite popular with resorts, however, so will be more expensive than other destinations. So do your research before you go if you're looking for a hostel.
Panama City is the capital of Panama and it is here that you will find the famous Panama Canal that was build as a passageway for ships so they didn't have to route themselves down through the bottom of South America to get between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. It is a great city with quite a few things to see and do here so ask at your hostel. Make sure you check out the Casco Viejo, which is the old quarter of the town, and all of the churches and archaeological sites within it, as they are quite charming. There are also a few good museums here depending on the time you have to see them.
If you are planning on making your way down through to Colombia, the best options are to either fly or to take a boat through the San Blas Archipelago, which your hostel can help you organize. The border area of Panama and Colombia is notoriously dangerous and is not recommended for travelling as a backpacker. There are also no hostels from Panama City heading towards Colombia.
Hi, I'm Globetrotter,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Panama hostels. Welcome.
Boquete is a lovely place. But a bad man there runs a hostel called Hostal Paraiso, he may approach you at the bus stop there. His name is Pancho or Francisco. He acts friendly, but the man is a cocaine fiend, and I`m pretty sure he was selling drugs at the hostel. He stole about $30 from us (by refusing to give us …