Located in the middle of the Panama highlands, Lost and Found Hostel is the ultimate stop for every kind of backpacker. Although 2 nights is minimum stay requirement, I recommend spending 3 nights here to explore all of the hiking trails and take advantage of the activities offered by Lost and Found Hostel.
Getting to Lost and Found Hostel
Lost and Found Hostel is on the road from David to the Panama border (located at kilometer 42). Take the bus at the David bus terminal going to Changuinola. Ask them to drop you off at Lost and Found Hostel. They should know where to stop. The cost should be $3.50 but the driver might charge you $4.00 or $5.00 when you get off. Coming from the border or Bocas del Toro take the bus going to David. Ask them to drop you off at Lost and Found Hostel. The cost for the bus ride from Almirante should be around $7.50. Your journey doesn’t end here. The hike up to Lost and Found Hostel takes 15-20 minutes so pace yourself accordingly. You are treated with a fresh glass of water upon arrival.
The Treasure Hunts
There are two treasure hunts you can do at Lost and Found Hostel. The Indiana Jones Treasure Hunt takes you on a journey hiking the beautiful trails to uncover hidden clues and solve the final riddle. This is probably the most popular activity at the hostel because it encourages socializing and working together as a group all while exploring some really great area. The treasure hunt will take you to a lookout, swimming hole, cave and a few cool little spots. The Sherlock Holmes Treasure Hunt has you uncovering a strange mystery by gathering different clues around the hostel.
If you decide not to do the treasure hunts, I still recommend hiking and exploring the trails around the hostel. Continental Lookout, Little Kitten Falls, and Pink Panther Canyon are definitely worth the hike. I also spent an extra day doing more hiking down the river, which took me 3 hours to complete. I would recommend checking out beautiful spots like Little Oven Lookout and Quetzal Point. Check out my hiking video of Lost and Found Hostel and discover all the cool spots along the river and amazing viewpoints on the trail.
Bonus Adventure Activites
The hostel also organizes a variety of daily activities such as a coffee tour, horseback riding tour, night hike and interacting with Rocky (the resident Kinkajou). I recommend going on Paco’s night hike because you will a variety of interesting animals you wouldn’t normally spot during the day. For example, during our night hike, Paco spotted a tarantula well-hidden on the side of the tree. The following night he spotted a rhinoceros beetle lurking on the hostel grounds. I included these pics below (apologies for the low-quality phone pics, it was a night hike after all).
Los Cangilones River Canyon: Take a minibus heading south to Gualaca (around $2 each way) and follow the signs. Grab a map from the hostel so you don’t get lost. It’s a 15-minute walk from the local park in town. Great spot for some cliff jumping or just relaxing in the cool water on a hot day.
Celestine Waterfall: Flag down the David-Changuinola minibus heading north and ask them to drop you off at Celestine Waterfall (located at kilometer 67) in Palo Seco National Park. You should only have to pay the driver $1. Cross the road when you get dropped off, slip under the guard railing, walk downstream for a few minutes and you will see the waterfall! It’s definitely worth a stop if you have an extra day or two in the area. I stopped at this waterfall with a few new friends on the way up to Bocas del Toro and we had a blast!
More Resources and Articles
If you love this hostel, you will also love Bolita Hostel. Read about my experience at this jungle hostel!
Plenty of travel bloggers write about their stay in Lost and Found Hostel. Below are my recommended readings about the hostel!
Dutchess Travel Diary
Girl Gone Gallivanting