It’s not often that a hostel is a destination in its own right – with a cloud forest jungle setting, treasure hunts & friendly travellers, find out what makes Lost and Found a must-stop on the backpacker trail in Panama!
Lost & Found Hostel Location
Lost & Found Hostel is located roughly halfway between the hotspots of Boquete & Bocas del Toro, but distant from any real tourist infrastructure.
We recommend it as one of the best places to visit in Panama if you’re looking to go slightly off-the-beaten-path.
Although there are a few hostels open nearby that are trying to make the area into a stopping point, the real destination is Lost & Found Hostel itself.
You can easily reach Lost & Found Hostel from any David to Almirante public bus that run every half hour.
Check out Lost & Found’s transportation webpage for more details on how to reach their hostel.
Our bus conductor didn’t understand an English pronunciation of Lost & Found, but knew it when shown the text version.
Once you depart the bus, it is roughly a 15 minute hike to Lost & Found Hostel.
You have to earn the awesome views at the top! Unlike us here at DIY Travel HQ try to arrive before 6 pm when it gets dark, or at least be prepared with a headlamp.
Follow the signs & path past the bar, showers, Rocky, & ultimately to the reception.
All guests are treated to a glass of purified water upon arrival before checking-in which was much appreciated after the mini-trek!
* Don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before any trip to Panama. We’ve been using World Nomads for over 10 years – it’s the best-value provider we’ve found & we’ve also never had any issues on the few occasions we’ve had to make a claim.
Lost & Found Hostel Layout
Lost & Found Hostel is spread out on a sprawling property that promises to keep getting bigger & better. The current infrastructure includes:
- Bar with daily happy hour
- Separate toilet & shower stalls
- Rocky in the kinkajou cage
- Kitchen with open air dining
- TV lounge
- Mix of dorms & private rooms
There is apparently an obstacle course under development with a planned rock climbing wall, zip line, & other obstacles.
This might be just the reason you needed to return to Lost & Found Hostel if you have previously visited.
It’s great that the original owners, Andrew & Patrick, are still trying new things & continually improve upon their adult playground.
Lost & Found Hostel Accommodation Options
Lost & Found Hostel has a combination of private rooms & dorms, all with shared baths. The private rooms come with either 1 or 2 double beds, while most dorm rooms are equipped with 8 beds.
The two newest dorm rooms are capsule style with a private outlet. Future additions will include individual lights with lockers across from the beds.
The original dorm was solidly constructed & can house 16-24 people, but they typically don’t use the upper bunk level. There are a few single beds, but the main focus are the double-sized dorm beds great for couples or friends trying to save a few dollars.
Lockers & a collection of 3 bathrooms can be found along the outside of the original dorm. Another set of toilets can be found behind the bar with hot showers located next to Rocky’s cage. The 5 showers have a unique ventilation system as the large window for each looks out into the jungle!
Lost & Found Hostel Common Areas
The common areas at Lost & Found Hostel are all centered on reception, where the WiFi connection is the strongest:
- Kitchen with common crockery & electronics (toaster, microwave, coffee maker)
- Outdoor seating with a large table & breakfast bar overlooking Volcano Baru
- TV lounge with charging station
- Hammocks spread throughout the property
What to Eat & Drink at Lost & Found Hostel
Lost & Found Hostel is remote so you either need to plan ahead with your grocery shopping, purchase staples & alcohol from reception at an increased cost to account for transportation & convenience, or enjoy their group meals – make sure you sign up for the communal dinner by 4pm.
Lost & Found Hostel have just started offering breakfast again too. You can also purchase fruits & vegetables at the local stall on the main road.
Lost & Found Hostel Activities
Although the view at the hostel is nice, the main reason people visit Lost & Found is for the activities. The most unique are the treasure hunts, which coincidentally complement the hostel’s name.
You can choose between the Indiana Jones Treasure Hunt that takes you on an exploration of all the highlights of the local forest, or the Sherlock Holmes Treasure Hunt that has you solve puzzles around the hostel.
We completed the Indiana Jones Treasure Hunt with a group of 7 others, & claimed our prize afterwards. If you are by yourself, ask around & surely someone will want to enjoy the challenge with you since extra people help make the experience.
No matter where the clues take you, the Pink Panther is a great swimming hole.
Lost & Found also has three official tours that you can join:
- Organic Coffee & Wine Tour
- Valley on Horseback
- Nighttime Nature Walk
We’ve heard great things about each tour led by Paco, but the most popular seemed to be the Night Walk. Unlike our Night Walk in Costa Rica, this tour by donation focuses on survival skills in the jungle with a slight emphasis on wildlife.
Another nightly ritual is visiting the cute & curious Rocky the Kinkajou at 7:30 pm. He was rescued by the owners after they found out about his horrible conditions while being kept as a pet in Boquete.
He can’t be released into the wild so guests get the chance to be sniffed by him for 15 minutes each night.
There are also two independent excursions you can take when staying at Lost & Found that can be combined into one day. These include the Cangilones de Gualaca & Celestine Waterfall, just off the David to Bocas del Toro road in opposite directions.
Although you can visit either first, we here at DIY Travel HQ recommend visiting the Celestine Waterfall first, followed by an optional stop at the Dam Lookout (that produces 40% of Panama’s electricity) & then end with Cangilones de Gualaca.
This allows the temperature to heat up for swimming & for you to enjoy with an open schedule. You can also jump into most of the mini-canyon, but check first to make sure there are no large rocks where you intend to land. The bigger worry may be jumping too far as the walls can get surprisingly close.
Regardless how you explore the surrounding area, grab a map at reception & catch the regular buses that pass by on the main road.
Know Before You Go
Location: Lost & Found Hostel is located roughly half way on the Boquete to Bocas del Toro trip. You also need to hike approximately 15 minutes upon departing the shuttle bus.
Prices: Single Dorm Beds $14.00 (1 person), Double Dorm Beds -$24.00 (2 people), Private Rooms $33.00-$66.00 – minimum 2 night stay
Amenities: Use of kitchen & common areas, filtered drinking water, hot water, Wi-Fi, hammocks, & Treasure Hunts
Food & Drinks: Purchase in advance with the option to buy staples at reception or fruits & vegetables at a stall on the main road. Prepared breakfast & dinner can also be purchased in advance.
Read Lost & Found Hostel’s Tripadvisor reviews here
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***The Final Word – Lost & Found Hostel is definitely unique & has enough free activities to fill at least two full days. Plan on a third if you want to go horseback riding or visit a coffee farm.***
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* We enjoyed a complimentary stay at Lost & Found Hostel – thank you to Andrew for hosting us & Ayla for looking after us. We only recommend great value accommodation that we would choose to stay at regardless & as always, all opinions & photos are our own.
Visited in February 2017