Hotel Las Brisas (north end of Calle 3, tel. 757-9549, US$27.50 s/d with a/c) is one of the old stalwarts among Bocas hotels, with the accent squarely on “old.” It closed down a few years ago, but now it’s back and under new management, who seem determined to keep it exactly as it was: with dingy rooms, a cracked toilet tank or two, wonky floors, and a general air of decay.
That said, it certainly has character. It’s a throwback to pre-tourist-boom Bocas, when Las Brisas was one of the only options for the rare visitor. It’s basically a glorified wooden deck built over the sea. Rooms are off a central passageway that opens onto the water and lets in the breeze that gives the place its name. It’s not a great first or even second option, but the staff is friendly and the price inviting.
Hotel Dos Palmas (Avenida Sur west of Calle 5, tel. 757-9906, US$30 s/d), at the south end of town, offers nine rooms, all with hot-water bathrooms, air-conditioning, and thin mattresses. It’s a clean but basic wooden place run by proudly “100 percent bocatoreños.” The furnishings are old-fashioned but serviceable. The main reason someone would stay here is to live close to the townspeople. It’s something of a hangout for those who live in the neighborhood, as this place is slightly removed from the touristy part of Bocas town. The surrounding area is a bit squalid.
Hotel Casa Max (Avenida G near the north end of Calle 4, about a block west of the Bocas Inn, tel. 757-9120, casamax1 [at] hotmail [dot] com, starts at US$35 s/d) is a bright and cheerful Dutch-owned place in a wooden building that’s been going strong since the mid-1990s. A recent annex has brought the room total to 14. The original rooms (US$35 s/d) are simple but clean and have private baths, fans, hot water, and firm beds. The new rooms (US$60 s/d) have air-conditioning and TV. The place has a colorful facade that’s hard to miss, even at night, when it’s lit up prettily. A restaurant on the premises, Rum Runners, serves breakfast and dinner, specializing in Indonesian food.
Hotel del Parque (Calle 2, on the southeast side of the park, tel. 757-9008, delparque35 [at] hotmail [dot] com, US$37.50 s, US$45 d) offers eight rooms—four doubles and four triples—in an attractive wooden house right on the park and surrounded by flowering trees. Rooms are simple but pleasant with okay mattresses, cable TV, air-conditioning, and private hot-water bathrooms. There’s a view of the park from the veranda and a nice little garden on the property. Guests are welcome to use the kitchen. This is a friendly place. (They don’t seem to check email often; call if you don’t hear back in a couple of days.)
La Veranda (Calle H near the corner of Calle 7, tel./fax 757-9211, http://laverandapanama.tripod.com , US$29–55.50 s/d) is a Caribbean-style wooden house with a wraparound veranda that gives the place its name. It’s at the north edge of town about a block southwest of Cocomo-on-the-Sea. It offers seven pleasant rooms of various quality. The cheapest rooms (US$29 s/d) have shared bathrooms and somewhat thin mattresses. The nicest rooms (US$55.50 s/d) are cheerful and large, with private bathrooms and air-conditioning.
Air-conditioning may not be necessary since this place often gets a nice breeze, though sometimes the neighbors insist on blasting their music. All the rooms have mosquito nets. Guests are welcome to use the kitchen, and there’s free wireless Internet. The inn was for sale in 2010.