The overall best hostel in Panama City is El Machico, located in the most exclusive neighborhood of the city, Marbella. As the best hostel in Panama City in 2018, El Machico offers everything the modern backpacker could need, plus a swimming pool, outdoor terrace, and their own bar. The El Machico team are super clued up about travel in Panama and are always on hand to help. El Machico has a resident dog called Bruno who is always super excited to greet new arrivals at check-in. El Machico even has an open-air cinema which could make it the coolest hostel in Panama City too!
Conclusion to the top hostels in Panama City, Panama
It’s hard to have a bad time in Panama City, and with the help of this guide, you’ll be able to quickly book a hostel in Panama City and focus on what matters – partying and working on your tan! So which of the best hostels in Panama City are you going to book? The best party hostel in Panama City? Or how about the best hostel for solo travelers in Panama City? If you still can’t pick, we recommend booking at El Machico Hostel.With a great location and an on site bar, swimming pool and open aired theatre, it’s hard to beat it!
I did nothing but swim, eat, watch football and blog on my penultimate day – and El Mahico Hostel is a great place to do all three. One of the better hostels I have stayed at so far for sure – really helpful staff, an awesomely clean pool and a first hot shower for three weeks! Definitely recommended. They even lent me a Rapi Pass card for the public transport system (the metro system is good although it could do with expanding to get to more parts of the city) which I used to visit Panama Viejo on my final day.
I stayed a few nights at the El Machico hostel - Panama City
I stayed a few nights at the El Machico hostel. It is the closest hostel to the center of everything and is ran by a really cool guy from Italy. It was once a mansion now turned high end hostel. The rooms are clean and the bathrooms are good. One bathroom has a massive garden tub with mirrors on the walls and a two person stand up shower. Bow-chicka-wow-wow. The real reason to stay here though is the pool! From El Machico you are in the vicinity of many great restaurants! And you can walk across Avanida Baloba and take a stroll down Cinta Costera or it also has great bicycle lanes of you want to explore on two wheels.
San Blas Islands - We arranged the trip through El Machico Hostel in Panama City. There are a few options of islands to stay on but they told me Diablo Island was a bit more money but that it was the best. The next morning at 5am a guy in a land cruiser picked us up. After a pit stop at a 24 hour grocery store for supplies we hit the road for a couple hour jeep ride. From Panama City through the jungle from the Pacific to the Atlantic it took about two hours. We drove through the hills and farm land of Panama to the Kuna Reservation. The Kuna have rule of the islands and some of the jungle of the mainland Panama since Spanish conquest. They have their own borders, checkpoints and police. A few “taxes” paid and they welcomed us with open arms to their islands. They picked us up at the shore in basically a motorized canoe. We were taken to Diablo island. If you are backpacking for many months and want the best for less, this is the island for you!
Getting there - You need to organize your tour in Panama City. They will arrange for your jeep to take you from the Pacific through the jungle to the port on the Caribbean side. Cost-$70. There is also a $20 tax to enter the Kuna Yala land. It does add up but it’s worth every penny! Book through El Machico Hostel. They are very helpful!
I stayed at El Machico Hostel who organised my two night trip for me. The hostel was really clean and safe. There are packages that take you there but the main cost is the transport there and back to Panama City. Once you arrive on the islands, it can be as cheap as $20 a night in a dorm room with 3 meals included, which is normally fresh fish every night.
Would I Stay There Again? most likely not. One of the reasons I chose to stay at Luna’s Castle was to try out a new area of Panama City. I had previously stayed for a a week in the Marbella District (at El Machico Hostel) and I much prefer that neighborhood and hostel. While Casco Viejo is pretty, it is very touristy and the prices are higher. This short missive details a few other reasons I’m glad I didn’t originally stay in Casco Viejo and it still holds true now that I’ve actually stayed there. Everyone has different travel styles though and Luna’s Castle is a very popular and well-reviewed hostel. It’s just not for me.
Who I Booked With: I booked straight with my hostel in Panama City – El Machico. The staff were wonderful and helpful when booking. They also arranged for a shuttle to take me to Puerto Lindo (it cost $25) even though I had switched hostels by the time my sail came around. Most other travelers I spoke to booked ahead of time from online tour operators.
I particularly liked this hostel because of its swimming pool and atmosphere
El Machico is a nice social hostel located in an upscale residential area, within walking distance from the Cinta Costera and Multicentro mall. I particularly liked this hostel because of its swimming pool and atmosphere, it’s very easy to make friends here and it’s nice to start your day in the city with a dip in the pool. Dorms from $15.
Although I heard it’s possible to go on your own to San Blas, there is no public transportation going to the harbor from where boats to San Blas Islands leave. Most people (including myself) book an organized package including transportation, food, and accommodation. I booked my package via El Machico Hostel in Panama City, which seemed to the best deals at the time.
This city reminded me a lot of Miami, Florida. There were tons of great places to eat but my favorite was the Fish Market. With hundreds of little restaurants lining the pier the food was fresh and full of flavor (a place my boyfriend would probably loathe being a veggie!), but if you enjoy some fresh seafood this is the place to check out. The local Panama beer is also delicious and its only $1!! Best Places To Stay In Panama City El Machico Hostel – Every time I passed through Panama City I stayed in this hostel. First of all it has a pool! Great atmosphere and is located in the best area. Close to the mall, restaurants, bars and the pier. Bonus- if you stay here you get a discount on the San Blas Islands!