We've had a great trip, 5 months now of travel all around Central America and Mexico. We had one bad experience I would like to warn others about the other day in Boquete, Panama. This is a lovely town near the mountains and Volcan Baru, where many backpackers go. We were met off the bus by a man holding a flyer for his hotel, and searching for guests as often happens. His name is Pancho, or Francisco, and he owns and runs the Hostal Paraiso, a little brown house right on the main square. I must warn you that this man is insane, he acts very friendly at first but is a cocaine maniac and sells drugs at the hostel. The rooms are dingy and sad and terrible value, we were fools to stay even one night, but anyway. As we were leaving we asked him for the change he still owed us from when we paid for our room, he owed us about $30. That's when he got nasty, refused to give it to us for no reason and became extremely profane. We demanded it and a terrible frightening scene then occured during which he worked himself up into a drug-induced frenzy, swore at us and threatened us with "real trouble". This is the first time we've been robbed on the trip, so it was a real surprise, but he scared us so terribly that we just wanted to leave town and forget the money. Please do not go with Pancho when arriving there, or anyone from the Hostal Paraiso. Nikki Newman
Its relly horrible when one person can ruin a place as wonderful as Boquete! We stayed in a wonderful hotel with friendly owner who loved to practice his English on me!
The little town is so pretty and lively and this shouldn't put anyone off from visiting. Just make sure you don't go to that hotel!!!
Don't believe the above post about Pancho. We've been staying at his hostel for 5 nights now and he's been nothing but helpful, polite, and honest. We've seen no drugs during our stay only his family (wife and son) and his dog. There are better deals elsewhere in Boquete but hostel Palacios is a good place to meet other young travelers and it's right in the middle of everything. Our blog, lostonpurpose, has more info on Boquete and Hostal Palacios if you'd like to check it out.
Never take a hotel or lodging place sight unseen, especially on advice of hustlers at a bus stop. Ask around, check your guide book and always ask to see the room before you pay, if you don't like the room look at another one, if you don't like the hotel leave and find another one more suitable. If you pay in cash make sure you get your change, always advisable to cary small bills. There are a few lodging places like the ones you described in Latin America, as well as a few looney "guides" and "Tour operators" that just want your money..however 95% of travel providers are competent..for most all services try to pay by the day..so if you don't like the hotel, guide or tour you're not stuck 3 or 4 days with them.
One of the worst accommodation in my life.The first three nights were O.K., quite noise, dirty, but so, so. The real horror night started on Saturday, when they brought some friends to the Hostel. The owners started smoking marijuana and drinking around 1 am. They started singing and shouting. Some of them started to complain about us that we are the rich gringos paying only 20 $per night, They started to shout about killing us and selling our passports to Guatemala or Mexico. Thea talked about us, because they mentioned the number of our room and the day we arrived.The noise, but without further complaining, continued until 6 am.Even though we had paid one more night, we just left early next morning. Later on we checked the reviews about this hostel on the Internet. We found a lot of bad reviews, about other guest being robbed by the owners of this hostel. The owners present themselves as being very friendly, but it is fake.The owner tries to catch new arrivals at bus stop of Boquete. His hostel is located just opposite bus stop. Be careful about him. Around the main square of Boquete there are a some nice and save hostels. People in and around Boquete are very nice and friendly, except for the people around the hostel "Palacios"