Our journey west along the Panama highway had taken us through the foothills of the Cordillera de Talamanca mountain range to the city of David in south central Chiriquí. From here we took a bus north to reach our first guesthouse in the Boquete region – the Jungla Experience Boquete.
The aptly-named Jungla Experience is a well-equipped hostel, combining a dormitory with a couple of private rooms.
The place is hard to find. There are no boards or signs indicating where it is. If you arrive after dark or don’t get lucky with a savvy taxi driver, you’ll have problems finding it. It’s a good 5 or 6 kms south of Boquete town, in Alto Boquete. The house is just off the highway in the middle of nowhere.
Jungla Experience Boquete – Dormitory hostel for young backpackers
All facilities in the house are shared including a large kitchen/dining and a single indoor bathroom/wc. The couple that run the place are very friendly and welcoming, and work hard to keep everything on track.
There is an ‘honour’ system for food and drinks. Take what you want from the well-stocked pantries and fridges, and sign your name on the attached board. All is billed when you checkout.
We paid $77 for 2 nights in the private ‘monkey’ room (which for some reason they call the ‘Queen’ room). This rate included breakfast, but don’t get excited. It was in fact a DIY pancake breakfast (i.e. YOU cook it, eat it, and YOU wash up afterwards).
A little disingenuous to call this breakfast.
You’ll also find a crowd of young backpackers waiting in line to cook their pancakes, so good luck with that. Speaking of the other guests, at checkout we were surprised to find that one of them had added 5 beers to our name on the drinks tab: So much for the ‘honour’ system.
The private room we were given was fine, with a comfortable bed and plenty of storage space.
Book a private room – but you’ll still have to share the bathroom
The main problem was the shared bathroom. With up to a dozen guests, we were often waiting with crossed legs to use it. Some guests also found it convenient to leave their wet clothes drying on the bathroom curtail rail.
Finally, at a quarter to midnight on our last night, I had to get out of bed to shut up some kid who was noisily trying to learn to play an acoustic guitar, just outside our bedroom window.
When we left we paid our bill for the 2-night stay (excluding the extra honorary beers).
As a dormitory hostel for young backpackers, the Jungla Experience is doing a good job. If you’re a little older and want some privacy, peace and service, you need to look elsewhere.
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