Hotel y Restaurante Don Tavo (tel./fax 771-5144, www.hoteldontavo.com , starts at US$28.88 s, US$38.12 d) is on the right just past downtown. It’s set around a pretty courtyard and offers 16 simple but clean rooms with TV. It’s by far the best moderately priced place to stay in the area, and the best value overall.
Hotel Dos Ríos (tel. 771-5555, www.dosrios.com.pa , starts at $77 s/d, including a minimal continental breakfast), on the outskirts of the Volcán area, 2.7 kilometers from the crossroads on the road to Río Sereno , was renovated in 2000 by its former owner, the Spanish Barceló chain. It’s an attractive place consisting of 14 rooms, two suites, and two casitas (here meaning tiny bungalows with bunk beds) set in a garden with a creek flowing by.
Rooms are dark but have cheerful touches, especially the painted vines and startled-looking toucans that adorn the walls. Windows can’t be opened, so forget about ventilation, and the rooms were already showing signs of wear shortly after the renovations thanks to a casual attitude toward maintenance and cleaning. Rooms have TVs that get fuzzy local channels.
All the polished wood everywhere is a mixed blessing. It looks nice, but it makes the place resonate like the sound box of a guitar, ensuring that anyone who walks by sounds like an army of storm troopers. Try to get a room on the 2nd floor.
You can choose from 19 quaint cottages at Cabañas Kucikas (Bambito tel./fax 771-4245, www.kucikas.com , starts at US$72 s/d), 0.7 kilometers up from Hotel Bambito, just past the trout farm . It’s on the left, but there’s no sign so it’s easy to miss the turn. The cottages are on forested grounds snug up against the mountains. It’s a pleasant, if aging, place.
All the cottages are different, with some more cheerful and well appointed than others. There’s no restaurant on the premises, but all the cottages have full kitchens. This place is a good deal for larger groups. There’s a fancy Honeymoon Cottage for US$72. Rates for the other cottages, which are intended for groups, run US$81–181 for 6–10 people.
Hotel Bambito Resort (tel. 771-4373 or 771-4374, www.hotelbambito.com , starts at US$99 s, US$110 d, including breakfast), about six kilometers north of Volcán , is an aging luxury hotel that’s pretty imposing, but which you may find out of keeping with the natural beauty of the surroundings.
It was built in 1981 and almost nothing about it has been changed since then, including the Last Days of Disco decor. It offers surprisingly plain standard rooms and several varieties of large suites. The place has seen better days.
There are tennis courts, an indoor/outdoor swimming pool, sauna, hot tub, and a few pieces of gym equipment. Note that rates can be as low as US$77 during low-season weekdays or during promotions, which occur frequently. Check the hotel’s website and ads in national newspapers.