El Machico Hostel Boquete: At Home in the Highlands

In North America, Panamaby Sheena5 Comments

El Machico Hostel Boquete is the kind of place you end up staying longer than planned… find out why you should put aside your schedule and settle in for some fresh air, hiking & R&R in the mountains of Panama.

El Machico Hostel Boquete: Location

El Machico Hostel is situated 4kms from downtown Boquete – an easy walk, bus or cab ride away (more details at the bottom of the post).

Boquete is one of the top places to visit in Panama.

It’s in a safe & quiet neighbourhood, surrounded by trees & mountains. When the skies are clear, you can see the peak of Volcan Baru from the front of the hostel.

There’s a small convenience store in the area selling basic vegetables, pasta, snacks, etc . The bus stop is also here, a 5 minute walk away from El Machico hostel.

Volcan Baru

View of Volcano Baru in front of El Machico Hosel Boquete

El Machico Hostel Boquete: Check-in

From the moment you open the beautiful wrought iron doors, you’ll realize that El Machico Hostel is something special.

Here at DIY Travel HQ on first impressions, the hostel looks fresh, colourful & very clean. The feature wall is painted with greetings in the languages of the world, which is really welcoming when you first arrive in any new place – see the cover photo!

And when you check-in at reception, you feel the warmth of European hospitality.

El Machico Hostel in Boquete is owned & managed by the same team behind the popular El Machico in Panama City, Cesare & Katia. Previously, they also ran a bed & breakfast in Bocas del Toro, before seeking a sea change… in the mountains of Chiriqui 🙂

Backyard El Machico Hostel Boquete

El Machico Hostel Boquete gardens – who wouldn’t want to move here?!

Cesare & Katia are from Italy, where a “machico” means a cool person – in Spanish, it translates to magician, but what’s in a name?! Either way, we like it!

In the reception lobby, there’s a large sofa & coffee table, sprawled with maps & information on Boquete. The wooden bookshelf holds novels, magazines & board games which guests are free to use during their stay.

There’s also a drinks fridge with water, beer & soft drink. Basic necessities like pasta, toothpaste & locks are also for sale, in case you don’t feel like going out or the shops are closed.

El Machico Hostel Boquete

Check-in to El Machico Hostel, you won’t want to leave!

El Machico Hostel Boquete: Rooms

We here at DIY Travel HQ stayed in a dorm room at El Machico Hostel, which was immaculate. With metal bunk beds, blue curtains & a window opening on to the gardens, it was simple but airy & clean.

The wow factor was in the sheets – we’ve never stayed in a dorm where every bed had different, patterned sheets AND blankets! It really added a bright touch to the room & characterized our stay at El Machico Hostel, where we felt like individuals & not just another backpacker passing through.

Dorm El Machico Hostel Boquete

Dorm beds with different, colourful sheets… it’s the little things that make a huge difference!

The dorm room featured an ensuite bathroom, which was spacious, clean & modern. The shower was amazing, with REAL hot water & excellent water pressure – these were probably the best showers we’ve had in Central America, and that’s including hotels. So if you are in need of a good one, check-in to El Machico, it’s worth it for the shower alone!

El Machico Hostel also offers private rooms. The complete room options are:

  • 6 & 8 bed mixed dorms from $13.00
  • 4 bed female dorm from $16.00
  • Double, triple, quadruple private rooms from $45.00
Bathroom El Machico Boquete

Bathrooms with the best hot water showers in Central America!

El Machico Hostel Boquete: Lounge

El Machico Hostel Boquete features a shared lounge & TV room with a Playstation 3 console & games.

There’s a long sofa & armchairs, against another feature wall painted with the words “Don’t tell me how educated you are! Tell me how much you have travelled!” What do you think of this quote? We think travel makes you well-rounded but formal education & self-education are also important. Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments…

Along the opposite wall, there’s a long wooden bench with metal high chairs, with plenty of outlets – perfect for working or surfing online.

Lounge El Machico Hostel

Relax in the lounge with an LED TV & Playstation on the opposite wall

El Machico Hostel Boquete: Kitchen & Breakfast

Before Cesare & Katia took over, the property was a boutique hotel. In renovating it to El Machico Hostel Boquete, one of the biggest changes was the addition of the outdoor kitchen.

There’s a fridge, oven & microwave with all the cutlery & crockery you might need – it’s a pleasure to cook in a space that is not only well stocked but also new & clean.

There’s a wooden table in the middle with more bench-style seating along the wall, overlooking the gardens.

Kitchen El Machico Boquete

The brand new kitchen is fully-stocked with everything you need

The main kitchen area opens out to a patio with more dining options, surrounded by nature.

There are no windows but it’s the space is completely covered. The temperature drops sharply at night in Boquete but it was never chilly in the kitchen.

Dining El Machico Hostel Boquete

Meals & drinks with a view at El Boquete Hostel Boquete

Nevertheless, the perfect time to enjoy the kitchen & outdoor dining is in the morning. El Machico Hostel offers a complimentary breakfast, which you make yourself. It includes:

  • Pancakes
  • Bananas
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Eggs
  • Italian Tostini bread
  • Jam
  • Coffee

There’s no better way to start your day in the highlands of Panama!

Free breakfast

DIY breakfast is included at El Machico Hostel Boquete!

El Machico Hostel Boquete: Gardens

El Machico Hostel Boquete is situated on a large property, with a huge backyard brimming with green grass, towering trees & pretty plants. Vegetation thrives in Boquete’s rich soil & here, there’s much to explore – make sure you take the time to stop & smell the roses, literally.

There are also large, stylish outdoor table settings, with colourful beanbags scattered around the garden.

It’s a beautiful, relaxing setting to enjoy the good life, whatever that may be for you. We loved having lunch under the shade of trees & then reading in the comfy bean bags under the rays of the sun.

Garden El Machico hostel

Enjoy nature in comfort & style in your very own backyard at El Machico Hostel Boquete

Things to See & Do in Boquete

  • Volcan Baru – Climb Panama’s only volcano & highest point
  • Sendero Los Quetzales – Search for quetzals on Panama’s most scenic hike
  • White-Water Rafting – Tackle the rivers that flow from Volcan Baru
  • Los Pozos de Caldera – Soak in hot springs
  • Boquete Tree Trek – Zip line, rappel & Tarzan swing through the forest
  • Coffee tours – Discover the process from bean to brew
  • Learn Spanish – Go from “Hola” to “Que pasa”!
Quetzal Trail Boquete

Hike the scenic Quetzal Trail in Boquete where you can indeed spot quetzals

How to Get to Boquete & El Machico Hostel Bouquet

  • To Boquete

All local transportation to/from Boquete run via David, every 30 minutes in both directions. The trip takes approximately 1 hour & costs $1.75.

Shuttles between Boquete & Bocas del Toro cost $30.00 & depart several times a day.

  • To El Machico Hostel Boquete

A taxi between Boquete & El Machico costs $2.00 + $0.50 for each additional person. The trip takes 5 minutes

A local bus/mini-van departs from Nelly supermarket (5 mins walk from El Machico) to Boquete town centre every 40 minutes. The fare is $0.75.

El Machico is 4kms from downtown Boquete – walking takes approximately 40 minutes.

Boquete valley

Which every way you take to get there, don’t miss out a visit to Boquete!

Know Before You Go

Address: Volcancita W Road, Bajo Boquete, Panama

Prices: Dorms $13.00-$16.00, Private Rooms from $45.00

Contact Information:

Read El Machico Hostel Boquete’s Tripadvisor reviews here


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*** The Final Word: Make El Machico Hostel Boquete your home away from home in Panama! ***

“Don’t tell me how educated you are! Tell me how much you have travelled!” – Agree or disagree?

* We enjoyed a complimentary stay at El Machico Hostel Boquete – thank you to Cesare & Katia for hosting us. We only recommend great value accommodation that we believe our readers would enjoy & as always, all opinions are our own.

Visited in February 2017


  1. Thanks for the advice!, I was thinking in going to Panama and this is a great option to stay in a nice place and go to the Volcan Baru and do white water rafting!

  2. Nice… looks so cool and homey… The view from the breakfast table looks so familiar… looks like home in the Philippines:) Not really visiting this place very soon BUT one day:) Thanks for sharing…. Happy travels. xoxo

  3. I travelled in Central America back in 2012 and found the standard of hostels there, superb. Panama looks like a friendly, safe and exciting country to explore. And who doesn’t love staying in a cool and chic hostel?

  4. Sounds a really good place for travellers – love that breakfast, but particularly like the little touches which made you feel you were treated like individuals, as you say. I can see why you enjoyed it.

  5. Thanks for sharing and it’s relaxing place to stay at;
    I wonder what to see and do in Boquete , Panama? Is it a tourist destination?
    However, i don’t mind to stay there for a few days just to unwind if I have the chance.

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