The Best Hotels in Panama for Every Traveler

American Trade Hotel, Panama City
American Trade Hotel, Panama City | © JJM Stock Photography / Alamy Stock Photo

While famous for its exports – whether literally, via the Panama Canal, or culturally, thanks to the popularity of Panamanian-influenced reggaeton – Panama and its hotels are more diverse than ever. Choose between warm Caribbean waters or pumping Pacific surf, or explore the volcanic landscape in between. Find what you’re looking for on our list of the best hotels in Panama.

1. El Otro Lado


Courtesy of El Otro Lado / Expedia
Travel to ‘the other side’ of the Bay of Portobelo at this private retreat, accessible only by boat. El Otro Lado’s owners, the Eleta family – famous for songwriter Carlos Eleta Almarán’s Historia de un Amor and founder Sandra Eleta’s groundbreaking photography – infuse art throughout the property, incorporating the colors of nature in the resort’s design. Exclusive experiences, like a tour of New Portobelo, evacuated during the construction of the Panama Canal, and hikes through two 16th-century Spanish forts, make El Otro Lado an easy pick.

2. The American Trade Hotel


Courtesy of American Trade Hotel / Expedia

This 1917 hotel embodies the elegance of Panama’s Old Quarter (Casco Viejo), with the airy modernity of bright beadboard-lined rooms and marble bathtubs. Soak up the atmosphere at Danilo’s Jazz Club, run by Grammy-winning composer Danilo Perez, or explore the hotel’s famous surroundings, such as the Plaza Simón Bolívar, Panama Canal Museum and the Paseo de Las Bóvedas.

3. Las Clementinas

Boutique Hotel, Budget Hotel, Apartment

Courtesy of Las Clementinas / Expedia

Relax and stay a while at Las Clementinas, which feels more like your stylish friend’s apartment than a typical luxury hotel, with its cloth couches, modern art and woven rugs. On the edge of Panama City’s Casco Viejo, the hotel’s European architecture and colonial design fit in nicely among the other attractions in the historic district, like the Metropolitan Cathedral and Plaza V Centenario.

4. Bambuda Castle

Hostel, Apartment

Courtesy of Bambuda Castle / Expedia

Feel like Rapunzel and let down your hair from one of the rooms in Bambuda Castle’s turrets, or make like Prince Charming and shimmy up the side via a rock-climbing wall. If that wasn’t enough action for you, this hostel, the only castle in Central America, is close to a volcano, rolling hills filled with coffee farms and the tiny town of Boquete, in western Panama.

5. Togo B&B Farallón

Bed and Breakfast, Inn

Courtesy of Togo Bed and Breakfast Farallon / Expedia

This rustic, red-roofed B&B practically sits on sandy Playa Farallón, an hour-and-a-half drive down the coast from Panama City. Soak up the sun from your hammock, or convince some locals to take you out to Isla Farallón, just off the coast, to see where the seagulls nest. Many travellers also trek into the cloudy Valle de Antón for a day trip.

6. Taca Tucan Hostel


A graffitied toucan greets you as you enter the bungalow-style Taca Tucan hostel, a block away from Playa Farallón. As its painted walls say, “life is a journey, not a destination” – so get to know your bunkmates, whether that’s cracking open a cold one on the beach together or challenging them to ping-pong on the patio.

7. Koko Acqua Lodge

Boutique Hotel, Guesthouse

Courtesy of Koko Acqua Lodge / Expedia

Your yellow stilt house awaits on the waters of Saigon Bay, off the coast of Panama’s Bocas del Toro island, with unbeatable views of the mainland, mountains and sea. Koko Acqua Lodge is just a short walk from Playa El Istmito, which hosts an annual International Sea Fair, and 15 minutes from Bocas del Toro town centre.

8. Hotel Santa Catalina Panama


Courtesy of Hotel Santa Catalina Panama / Expedia

Surfers’ paradise lies in Santa Catalina, a Panamanian beach town facing the Pacific. For a place to put your head at night, consider the Hotel Santa Catalina Panama, with its vaulted wood ceilings and stone-carved showers providing a respite from the world-class waves, filled with wildlife like whales, sharks and snapper. Located between Santa Catalina, Arrimadero and La Coca beaches, there’s no shortage of things to do.

9. Istmo Beach and Jungle Bungalows

Hostel, Hotel

Courtesy of Istmo Beach and Jungle Bungalows / Expedia

Wellness gurus can go off-the-grid at this yoga and adventure retreat, surrounded by a meditation labyrinth, nature trail and Playa Grande’s iconic black-and-white-sand beaches. Istmo – Spanish for ‘isthmus,’ a small body of land connecting two larger bodies – hopes to connect its guests in a similar way, encouraging personal transformations.

10. Canopy Lodge

Luxury, Hotel

Swing from the treetops in El Valle de Antón, a misty mountain town situated in the caldera of a volcano thought to have last erupted more than 13,000 years ago. The lodge has proudly played host to a number of celebrities, like actor Brad Pitt and naturalist Sir David Attenborough – who came to observe the local wildlife, such as two-toed sloths and dazzling tanager birds.

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