When it comes to planning a trip to Panama City, all roads point to the Amador Causeway. Built from rock that was excavated during the construction of the Panama Canal, the Amador Causeway, also called the Causeway Islands, forms a tiny archipelago off the mainland in Panama Bay. Its top attractions include the Biomuseo and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute’s Marine Exhibition Center. Visiting this area needn’t be expensive. Find an affordable stay, with our curated list of the best hostels near Panama City’s Amador Causeway.
You won’t be crammed into bunk beds at Ibrais Hostal. Instead, you’ll be given one of several tidy, no-frills rooms with much more privacy. This hostel is located in the Cangrejo district – named after the Spanish word for crab, and famous for its nightlife. It’s also just a block away from the metro line that will take you to Panama’s historic Casco Viejo or, with a transfer, all the way down to the Causeway Islands.
Not many hostels can brag about their digs the way Magnolia Inn can. Located in a sky-blue, French colonial mansion in the heart of the historic Casco Viejo neighborhood, the Magnolia Inn is both a 16-room hotel and a six-dorm hostel. It’s in a great central location and within walking distance of sights such as the Presidential Palace, the National Theater and the Metropolitan Cathedral.
From the edge of the terrace at Selina Casco Viejo you’ll be able to spot skaters coasting down the Amador, cargo ships passing through the Panama Canal and tour groups milling about the Casco Viejo itself. In addition to budget-friendly accommodation, this hostel hosts a co-working space and an underground club, so you’ll be kept busy both day and night. If you’re not here to work or party, you can always retire to the library, see what’s playing in the movie room or sign up for upcoming activities such as cooking workshops and architecture walks.
You get more for your money at Mamallena Backpackers hostel, with free tea, coffee and pancakes available all day, every day. The two-story blue house in the Perejil neighborhood also treats its guests to boat trips to the San Blas Islands, or Cartagena in neighboring Colombia. There’s air conditioning in every room (a rarity in some hostels) and a 24-hour reception, so there’s always someone around to cater to your needs.
For travelers seeking a bit of privacy after weeks of sleeping in dorms, a stay in one of the pod-style beds at the Hostel Casa 33 may be just the thing. The hostel is a renovated two-story, colonial-style home built in the 1940s – one of the few that have survived as towering skyscrapers and posh apartments continue to appear throughout the area. A number of Panama’s top attractions are within walking distance, but if you’re looking to make it out to the Amador and back, you can rent a bicycle for the day at the front desk.
Zebulo Hostel promises good vibes and a comfortable stay in the heart of Panama City, just two minutes’ walk from Via Argentina station. Inside, mixed dorms with comfortable mattresses and air conditioning provide a good night’s sleep, and lockers are available in the lobby. There are also three private rooms with a higher price tag. Perks include a jacuzzi, badminton net, ping-pong table and 24-hour reception.
Magnolia Inn is both a boutique hotel and a hostel. This favored resting place for travelers is a French colonial mansion that has been restored to showcase its historic charm and original character. Choose between air conditioning or fan-cooled rooms, the latter being in a former ballroom with a piano at one end. Free wifi and orthopedic beds await you, plus there’s a bright, communal kitchen overlooking Casco Viejo below.
There’s a small handful of rooms at Sofia’s B&B, a low-roofed, yellow house that feels like an authentic Panamanian home. It’s a great spot if you want to stay near the Amador Causeway and Panama City’s hotspots, it’s only one block away from El Dorado Mall and a short walk from the leafy La Gloria park, known for its hidden viewpoint overlooking the city.
While Zebulo may have an unassuming exterior, you’ll quickly be enveloped in the multicolored murals and inviting atmosphere once you’re inside. Grab some bunkmates to play badminton or board games indoors, or venture out of the commercial Obarrio district where Zebulo is located to take the four-hour bike tour down the Cinta Costera to the Casco Viejo and the Amador Causeway.
You’ll be in the middle of the action at Los Mostros, a hostel in the Obarrio district just steps away from the designer-filled Soho City Center mall and the twisting, dizzying F&F Tower. Back at the hostel, there’s plenty to do, whether playing ping-pong with your travel buddies or diving into the backyard pool to cool off from the Panamanian heat.
Bodhi Panama City is hidden away at the base of the hill that’s home to the Reserva Cerro Ancón – a nature reserve that offers unbeatable skyline views and wildlife encounters with toucans, sloths and monkeys. At the hostel, wake up with a yoga class on the terrace, or channel your inner artist in the art room – a creative space set up by Burwigan, a social and environmental project leading the local fight against climate change.
This is an updated version of an article originally written by Brittney Schering.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
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1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
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1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
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1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
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1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
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