We stayed at two hostels during our time on Isla Colon in Bocas Del Toro. The first was Mondu Taitu, which was renowned as the ‘party’ hostel in a town already focused on partying. The hostel was friendly and had a nice vibe to it (lots of colourful murals). We chose to get a private room at $28 a night and ended up with a little shack out the back. It was pretty basic and during the 5 nights we stayed, no one came to clean the room so it became a bit gross in the 38 degree heat, with no air-con.
Every evening kicked off with a dangerously cheap happy hour with the main attraction being 50 cent beers. I have vague memories of Jagermeister being part of the mix but in true Jager style I’m unable to provide a recap of prices or quantities… Happy hour was always busy and the best place to meet new friends to party into the night with, but after almost a week it was fair to say we needed some clean sheets and a change of scenery, so made tracks and found a new place to call home on Bocas’ main street.
We stumbled across a quieter and much cleaner operation called Tungara Hostels. A skinny rasta was sat outside smoking. He had amazing dreadlocks and as I was currently half way through dreading my own hair (basically looking like a bit of an idiot) we starting chatting. He was a lovely chilled guy and showed us around the hostel, explaining that they owned another hostel around the corner and the owner had expanded. It was so new the mattresses hadn’t been slept on and more importantly it had air conditioning! At $14 each, it was the same price we had been paying at Mondu Taitu and most of the dorm rooms were empty, as a result we had the entire room to ourselves anyway.
The customer service at Tungara was amazing and if we returned, I would stay there, and make the 5 minute pilgrimage to Mondu Taitu’s happy hour at 7pm every day.
A place we didn’t stay at, but heard some great things about was the Palmer Tent Lodge over on Isla Bastimentos. The accommodation is unique, and I imagine you need to be pretty accustomed to insects to stay there, but it’s very reasonably priced at $7 per night and offers a great community feel. There are plenty of volunteering projects currently running on this island and some decent opportunities to surf on Red Frog Beach and Wizard Beach.