Bolita Hostel is the perfect off-the-beaten-track destination for anyone looking to escape and truly get in touch with nature without breaking your budget. I recommend spending at least 3 nights here to explore all the trails and get a full rainforest experience.
Getting to Bolita Hostel
Bolita Hostel is near the town of Dos Brazos del Rio Tigre on Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula. The hostel office is located in the town, which we’ll get to in a bit. A minibus leaves twice a day at 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to Dos Brazos from Puerto Jimenez (40 minutes, costs $4). You can catch it from the Grupo Materiales hardware store in Puerto Jimenez. If you tell the driver you are going to Bolita Hostel, they should drop you off closer to the office further down the road. It’s no more than a 10-15 minute walk to the office. There are plenty of signs directing you to the right place. It is important to remember there is no weekend bus service to Dos Brazos. The only other option is paying $20 for a taxi so plan accordingly.
After arriving at the office, you can leave some of your stuff locked up here and only bring what you need up to the hostel itself. After this comes the hard part. A 25-30 minute hike through the jungle which includes TWO river crossings. It’s quite the adventure and really challenging carrying extra gear hence why you should store some of your things at the office.
Exploring the Trails
Co-owners Ron and Val have been running Bolita Hostel for over a decade. They have built up 15 kilometers of trails on over 60 hectares of land. There are laminated trail maps at the hostel so take one with you before hiking. If you want a good idea of what the different trails are like, check out my Bolita hiking video on YouTube. If you are not a guest of the hostel, you can still explore all of the trails around the hostel for $10.
I highly suggest exploring all the trails The Bonanza trail was my favorite place to hike because it takes you to two great little waterfalls which are the perfect spots relax and cool off. The trail that impressed me a lot was the Valle Frijol trail. It looks like a pretty difficult trail to create and maintain because it hugs the side of a mountain but it provides amazing views of the valley below. The best viewpoint has to be the Gottogo Lookout which is probably the highest points on the property and probably an excellent view of the rainforest, Golfo Dulce and even Panama on clear days.
Things to know before you go to Bolita Hostel
Bring enough food!
Lots of guests stay at Bolita Hostel longer than expected. Before arriving at Bolita, buy groceries in Puerto Jimenez. There’s more variety and it is cheaper than what you will find at the two grocery stores in Dos Brazos. Bolita has no refrigerator so keep that in mind when deciding what to bring. Ask Ron to demonstrate a technique to cooking pasta which saves time and uses less gas. I’ve been doing this ever since I left the hostel!
Bring a flashlight!
You will need it to move around the hostel at night. There are just two lights in the common area and you don’t want to step on any big toads or other critters lurking around the property. It’s also crucial to have a flashlight if you plan to do the sunrise hike up to Gottogo Lookout. A solar-powered charger is in the kitchen for guests to charge phones and camera batteries. I also suggest showering before it’s completely dark to avoid any unintentional mishaps.
Bring a pair of water shoes.
I slipped on my water shoes before the hike up to the hostel and I have no regrets. The first river crossing is in knee-deep water and the second crossing is ankle-deep water. There are also hikes like the Bonanza hike, which involves some walking upstream to get to the waterfalls. Water shoes will make this part of the hike much easier. Walking in the Rio Tigre is a fun alternate route back to the hostel. However, only do this when the water is clear.
When I visited this hostel, the river current got really strong, really fast. It got to the point where another hiker and I had no choice but to make our way back up the trail. You can watch clips of this on my Bolita hiking video above or by clicking here.
Don’t stay awake past 10:00 p.m.
Otherwise, you will be super tired when the wildlife noises wake you up every morning at 4:00 a.m. or 5:00 a.m. You hear everything in the middle of the rainforest. Howler monkeys, toucans, cicadas, macaws, hawks, frogs, toads and much more! This can also give you an early start in the morning to hit the trails and have a better chance of seeing wildlife. You might get super lucky and see a toucan perched on a tree close to the hostel!
More Resources and Articles
If you love this hostel, you will also love Panama’s Lost and Found Hostel.
Bolita Hostel Website. If you would like to make a reservation, send an email to [email protected]
The town of Dos Brazos del Rio Tigre, Costa Rica also has an excellent website full of great information about Corcovado National Park!
South African travel bloggers Stingy Nomads have a great post about their experience at Bolita Hostel!
Inna from Peach Plum Pear Photography has a beautiful photo diary of her stay at Bolita Hostel!