Over the years I lived on Jinja Island, I opened the place up to visitors, friends, backpackers, wayfarers and adventurers.
Here’s what they had to say…
- December 2015
Graham was a great host and we had a fab time on Jinja Island. He was always quick to respond to all messages, very hospitable and made us feel really welcome on the island. The island itself is lovely and exotic I only wish we’d had more time to explore it. I’d definitely visit again.
- December 2015
Graham is admittedly one of, if not the coolest dude i have ever met. His energy is amazing, super positive and he is always with a smile on his face. The dude is also seriously funny, cracks me up almost every single time (except for one joke about r2d2 that i didnt get)
PLEASE stay on his island, its obe of the coolest things u can do and PLEASE ask him about his travel stories, they are so many and super cool that can fill up volumes of books (and he is eriting many of them as we speak)
Definitely totalky recommend to host, couchsurf out or even for a bloody beer that u should have with this top bloke anyways, Cheers
- September 2015
Graham is a wealth of knowledge with regards to all things worldly; politics, arts, film, history, you name it. Though he wasnt hosting at the time, he agreed to let me spend a few days on his private island where I got my first hot shower in weeks, maybe longer. I also crossed an item off my bucket list during my time on Jinja Island when I went for a midnight snorkeling adventure in the bio-luminesent waters off his dock. We had a great time watching films, working on projects to beautify the island for future traffic, and discussing world politics and history. Graham has one of the most interesting lives of anyone Ive met on my travels — I look forward to the next, random time our paths cross.
- August 2015
It was a pleasure to be hosted by Graham!
His humour and chill out personality made me feel really comfortable even when my English was so stuck and rusty. That was a pity for me I would loved to better play Cards against Humanity!! lol
Anyway, If it’s possible for you to visit him, it would before sure a memorable couch surfing adventure!
Thanks for all Graham! It was amazing!
- May 2015
- May 2015
I really enjoyed my time in Jinja Island! It was the perfect get away to chill and relax.
Away from all the noises and party from the city, in a beautiful place surrounded by the ocean, with lots to do if you want to do or just have a quiet time on a hammock drinking coconut water .
Graham is an excepcional guy! Very polite, kind and a really good friend. He has lots of good stories and is also a good listener, you can not get bored around him!
Thanks Graham ! I’ll definitely visit you again !
Ps. And I can proudly say I have the record of wining on the card games!!! :p lol
- April 2015
Graham made our first Couchsurfing experience so great. He was such a nice and interesting host and very generous! He let us sleep in an amazing bedroom with direct view on the sea from our private balcony. Although the weather wasn’t very good, we had much fun! His island is amazing and so are the animals that live on it. Campasino, Grahams dog, is very cute and good trained.
Graham is cleary a nice guy who is very funny, he knows many card tricks and jokes, he is an amazing cook (cooked us the best dinner we had in ages) and with him you won’t get bored.
Thank you Graham, that we could stay on Jinja Island. We miss it and you already!
- April 2015
From simply reading Graham’s profile you can see that he has been, literally, everywhere. And when you meet him, you will see that he left a little piece of heart in each one of those countries. A generous and accommodating host who will keep you asking questions about random countries in the world and laughing with (terrible, I mean awesome) jokes 🙂
I have nothing but admiration and respect for Graham and I hope to see him, or know of, living another crazy adventure.
Cheers mate, it was grand.
- April 2015
Jinja Island is by far the coolest place I’ve ever surfed on! Graham is a lot of fun to hang out with and of course full of stories. And he knows an indefinite number of mind-blowing card tricks! Thanks Graham for hosting us in your oasis of tranquility and I really hope you get your boat back soon! Best of luck with your future plans!
PS: love your coral reef 🙂
- March 2015
As Graham said, we are super lucky during our time in Bocas, because it was sunny EVERYDAY.
It’s really quite an “achievement” to meet a guy who hold a Guinness World Record about travel and also own a private island in Panama, which hilariously called Jinja Island.
Staying in the island itself is not the highlight. Just talking and listening to Graham’s story is the best part, and we wish we could have heard more.
Really really looking forward to meet again somewhere in the world and next time we will prepare more questions to ask!!!
- January 2015
My misses Paty and I had the pleasure to stay with Graham on my b’day last October. He made sure we were always very comfortable like if we were in our own place. It was a very special couple of days.
Thanks my friend. I hope all your plans come true and maybe we can catch up again Down Under or back in Brazil. Take it easy bro.
Dan & Paty
- December 2014
It is hard to write a reference for such an incredible traveller and such an unique surfing experience. Graham is a genuinely friendly, warm, caring and open person that makes him a great host. Staying with him was fun for me and everyone I met there, despite of all that bad weather. I am truly impressed by his great balancing acts, idealism with practical abilities, intellectual and yet down to earth approaches, and great story telling while being a good listener. It was great meeting you, hope to see you soon.
Carmen Jiménez Kaiser
- December 2014
Graham is just the perfect couchsurfer: he is super interesting, friendly and one of the funniest persons I know. You can really have a great time with him (especially on jinja island, but also while going out at bocas town). Thank you so much for everything, I’m looking forward to see you soon:) The best!
- December 2014
This man is an adventurer and a impeccable host. Really, he’s what couchsurfing is all about. Was blown away by his knowledge of culture, geography and history, he is truly an inspiration to a traveler such as myself. Not only did he go out of his way to host me(he battled waves and rain) he made my experience even better by his presence. Such a positive person with a zest for life and a heart of gold. I came to him as a couchsurfer and left as a friend. I wish him luck in his future endeavors. If you are lucky enough stay with him in Jinja Island, jump at the chance. Good times!!
- December 2014
Staying in Jinja Island was a memorable adventure. Graham Hudges is a humorous , kind, helpful, easygoing, and joyful guy who makes people feel like if they were in their own home. Extremely hospitable and gentle. Graham is a walking travel encyclopedia willing to share all his knowledge with the couchsurfers who visit him. I recommend him one million %!
Ben and Jazzy Porter
- December 2014
What can I say, this guy opens his private island to CSers, that alone tells you what kind of person he is. We spent two nights on Jinja island and though the weather was bad that didn’t stop us from having fun. Laughed, cooked, played shithead (card game… p.s I am the queen at this game.. and you know it Graham) shared travel stories, attempted to fish.
One and we had a hell of a rollercoaster ride getting back to Bocas because of the waves…
P.s. if you are traveling with cards of humanity mention it in your request!! Trust me it will help lol
- December 2014
Spent 2 nights with Graham and 3 other CSers on Jinja island. In spite of some pretty bad weather, and missing out on some of the islands ‘attractions’ it was an awesome experience. He has some great stories of past adventures, future travel plans, and Cs experiences which inspire me to travel more and be more active on CS. Sipping beers over card games and topical debates was a lot of fun! Don’t miss out on the chance to chill on Jinja island, it beats Isla Colon hands down 🙂
- November 2014
It was such a great time with Graham!!
We had cool partys, delicious food (mainly caramel popcorn), beer and wine, funny card games, went to Dolphin Bay and snorkeling…and just enjoyed the time on Jinja Island:)
On top of that we had the best halloween party in Bocas.
Thanks for everything and I’m looking forward to meet you again
- October 2014
Graham is an amazing person inside and out! We met in Bocas town, and then I couchsurfed with him for several days on Jinja Island. His knowledge about traveling, overall intelligence, and kind heart is very rarely found all in one person. I am super grateful for the experience and good times we have had. If you are lucky enough to get to enjoy this beautiful island with Graham as your host, YOU SHOULD TAKE THE OPPORTUNITY! 🙂
- October 2014
Graham is a great couchsurfer in every sense. He is interesting, fun and very clear. I stayed in Jinja island for 3 nights and it was a get away from all the party in Bocas. We enjoyed the moon eclipse and meteor shower, the coconut whispering, long talks about politics, travel and music, tv shows with the best homemade sweet popcorn, and above all, we shared and enjoyed delicious english breakfast tea several times a day. The house is beautiful and he was very kind to give me his room. I think is the best bed I have slept in couchsurfing!. We went to Dolphin bay, and the lack of dolphins was only overcome by a great talk while having a drink on the beautiful speedboat in the middle of the bay while listening to Led Zep.
Cheers Graham! thanks for the jokes, the magic and above all, for being so inspiring!
Hope to see you again in the music fest! 😉
- October 2014
Graham has been our first host and the one who has given us the will to keep couchsurfing. He is a very experienced host and surfer and you can see he enjoys meeting new people. He made us feel like home and showed us all the cool places around his (full equiped) island. He shared with us stories about his trips, his coconuts and his time. Thank you Graham and Jinja Island =)
- September 2014
Staying with Graham in Jinja island was amazing!!!
He hosted me and my bf for one night. He was really kind to wait for us (despite us being late) after we arrived from a tour we were doing around bocas islands. We headed to Jinja island by boat (which was really cool) and had a nice and chill coconut and rum drink in the terrace. He cooked for us bolognesa pasta and we shared many stories with him. We could see the supermoon from his terrace and I even fell asleep in the hammock :)! The following day he offered to drive us around in his boat: we visited dolphin bay and saw many dolphins, and went to red frog.
Overall he is a very nice and chill guy with a lot of promising projects for his island. Although we just stayed at his place for one night it was an amazing part of our trip around PANAMA and COSTA RICA and we really thank him for sharing a little bit of his life with us.
We hope we can meet him again if not in Panama anywhere else in the world!! 🙂
- September 2014
Bon j’écris cette référence en français pour que notre ami Graham perfectionne la langue. Que dire, j’étais très dubitatif sur la réalité de cette proposition:être invité à couchsurfer sur son île tropicale! Mais il est arrivé avec son chapeau en peau de kangourou et bien sûr son bateau… direction l’île, Jinja island… que dire…excellent! je ne parlerai pas des dauphins, des bonnes bières, des discussions enrichissantes…à vous de le découvrir si vous avez la chance de rencontrer Graham et son charisme qui se ballade tout autour de lui… en plus humainement il est vraiment présent à l’appel… (and thanks to dav, and his boat (please if you have his email it will be great..)
en bref, merci Graham, see you soon, you know that you have a place here.
- September 2014
Hey guys, if you want to see a little paradise, ask graham to stay on his island! It was an unforgettable trip, about 20 minutes away from the party-zone of Isla Colón. Graham is going to pick you up with his boat and for sure he will show you the dolphin-bay. And maybe you’re gone be as lucky as us and get to see a group of dolphins, saying ‘welcome in peaceful paradis’ to you 😉 ah, the whole stay was so refreshing! Thanks Graham for the popcorn-and-shit-head- evenings, for the boat-trips, for the fascinating stories and for sharing your time, your food, your beer, your house, your island, your coconuts and your swimming-“pool” (which means the private access to the Caribbean) with us, haha. It was so nice to meet you, Campesino and your lovely, funny chicken. Hope to see you again! 🙂 All the best for you! Felix and Steffi
Brighton, East Sussex, United Kingdom
- August 2014
What can you say about this geezer! It was an unforgetable priviledge and pleasure to get to know this travel legend! Graham is freakily energetic, thoughtful and generous. He is all to ready to share with all the private island he now calls home and that is a great testament to his character. Because Graham seems to be one of those human beings that love all humans! Thank you so much Graham for the chats, the laughs, the beers, the boat excursions and the everlasting memories of Jinja Island! Such a shame that we couldn’t stay longer!
- August 2014
I just came back from the Jinja Island experience, and now when I think about Graham and his whole life (had to separate these two, because the level of awesomeness of the second had to be pointed out =) it makes me a bit more positive about the outcomes of traveling in general, I feel more hopeful about my future (it sounds cliche but that’s the truth)
Graham is the proof traveling makes people more open minded, cultivated and generaly friendlier. He kindly picked us up from Boccas Del Torro and there started my unforgetable journey to Jinja Island.
Graham is an ambitious and motivated person, he passionately shared with us his amazing ecofriendly plans for Jinja. Besides, he knows a lot about international politics and history, it is just good for your brain to listen to him.
He showed us the way around of his island and kindly drove us to to amazing places.
Afterwards, Graham took us back to Bocas, and despite the heavy rain, I was feeling genuinely happy, thanks to Graham.
I spent one of the best nights of my life at Jinja Island. It’s a memory etched into my mind that I will never forget. I loved the comfort of being around nature and Graham was a wonderful host. It was a perfect still December night. Graham and I swam in the calm night waters enclosed by the mangroves. The moon was bright and beautiful and we could see a million stars.
Graham was tired and decided to head back to the hut which worked perfect for me because I was dying to go for a naked swim. I took off my bikini and proceeded to have one of the most magical nights of my life. Swimming at night with bioluminescence dancing around the touch of my skin was an incredible experience. Add to that the ability to float on water, stretch my arms out and cross them over to form a pillow while I floated quietly basking in the moon light and soaking in the star carpet is a night I will never forget for as long as I shall live.
Thank you Graham also for the incredible stories you shared with me with I ate up like a child wanting more and more. Your presence and Jinja island environment truly and totally satiated my need for adventure and magic and I can never thank you enough. After all this year, I still speak about you all the time. “Yeah my friend won an island”, “yeah my friend has a Guinness world record for travelling around the world without flying!” And I very often repeat your words you told me. That one of the greatest lesson of your trip and desire to bring to others is that the world is a safe place and that people everywhere a nice and we should never be afraid to travel or afraid of others. So thanks very much for this lovely moral and exciting story that I will continue to share all my life and I hope to see you again. My best, Vyara. Xoxoxo
- December 2014-January 2015, January-February 2016
I spent a smashing two months with Graham on Jinja island, retreating from my stagnating personal life. Days of absolute tranquility lying on the hammock on the boat dock, finally able to read a beast of a book (Infinite Jest), replaced at the drop of a hat by days of jaw dropping tropical rain that, mercifully, the volume on the multimedia entertainment system was able to rise above.
Sleep in the master bedroom, wake up with an incredible view. Mesmeric whether watching the calm water dappled in sunshine or the rain fall in huge droplets. On island, I had a few happy days hacking down palm fronds with a machete, all the while listening to Serial podcast, then laying the palms down to make the beginnings of an island walkway. I relished in my hot water outdoor showers from the balcony bathroom with a view over the island, the mangroves and the clearer waters beyond. I cooked some feasts in the fully stocked kitchen and provided Graham with his endless cups of tea (and the odd ‘proper’ coffee for me). And for the first and possibly only time I rounded up a chicken or three that had escaped the pen.
I managed to make many brilliant trips all beginning by speed boat–just going to the supermarket on a speed boat is The Tits – but sometimes you see dolphins and then you feel so happy to be in this time and this place, right now.
My Jinja island was mostly solitude and companionship with whoever else was staying. All the other spots we visited had way more of a holiday feeling which was a welcome contrast. Each beach and island has its own personality.
Red Frog is cool with lively beach bars and a hippy conservation vibe. Seeing eight large humans crowded round a tree to photograph a tiny red frog the size of my thumbnail is in my memory for ever.
Bocas town is pretty gnarly with some heavy tourist drinking alongside the everyday commerce of what is the main port town of the region and back to the mainland. But is the place to stock up on food, drink and everything else. You could sit in any bar and be talking to someone within 2 minutes.
Infinitely hipper is Bastimentos which feels like the region’s Dalston to Bocas town’s Leicestershire Square. We ate great chicken and grooved to a local band in a sweat shack slugging chilled beers. Around the corner on the same island – it’s pretty big – we dined another time like kings at the chichi Firefly hotel.
I still laugh at myself and everyone else on the beautiful Zapatilla islands, a day trip only place of two protected, uninhabited coral reef islands. After a long boat ride to get there, stopping at eateries on stilts in the sea, you reach the island, disembark, race to make a shelter and spend all your time hiding from the sun.
Starfish Bay was a little treat that Graham saved for one of my last days. This place is the platonic ideal of a tropical beach. A paddling pool of turquoise clear water for starfish and humans alike, with low key bars and cafes just a few steps back from the shore. Magical.
You can also moor up at any of the infinite number of bars and cafes that dot the waterways for a cold drink and fish taco. Or say hello to the other island dwellers. It’s a real community and you become part of it by being on Jinja. I quite loved seeing all the anchored ships, saying hello and thinking about the maritime way. Island life is so different to city life. Jinja time is not like saying you’ve been to a place when actually you never left the 5 star resort. You feel Jinja, you live there whilst you are there and that’s how the experience and adventure happens.