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All reviews unique hotel kayaks and snorkeling gear breakfast and dinner thatched roof upstairs bedroom overwater bungalow fresh seafood stayed two nights on stilts free kayaks caribbean sea pilar boat dolphins deck breeze lionel
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Reviewed August 11, 2021

We had a terrible stay here in June. The rooms and food are nothing like the pictures shown. We paid over $200 per night and actually tried to rebook elsewhere before our first night here because it was so disappointing! The food is horrible. They price everything out individually - we booked a room with "FREE" breakfast and then were charged almost $30 for a full breakfast. They charged $1 for butter, $3 for milk for my coffee, $6 for eggs, $3 for toast, etc. I ordered a Mediterranean sandwich for lunch for $13 it was 3 pieces of white bread, wilted lettuce, mushy tomato, one piece of cheese, and I added ham which was one slice of lunch meat - no condiments/sauce of any sort. There were even finger prints where the cook cut it in half and crushed the bread with her fingers. We ended up complaining and received a credit on our food for our stay because I showed the owner the photos vs. what they provided. The rooms have no airflow at all despite weak ceiling fans. We were eaten by mosquitos at night because the nets blocked all airflow so we could not use them in the heat. We had massive 2" roaches in our empty drink glasses when we woke in the morning, there is no hot water for showers, and they do not provide free daily drinking water as they state. They charge $2.75 per bottle of water. There is no free snorkel gear as they state - they charge $30 per set to buy. There is no pool or pool towels for you to use as they state - this is an outright lie. The island they show is full of tarantulas crawling along the paths into their dens - not a place for relaxation. We took a water taxi ride into town that they provided for free after we complained about the food and rode back with a boat full of Costco bottled water, white bread, canned tuna (they are on the ocean - why couldn't they buy fresh fish from locals), etc. It was eye opening about why the food was so bad. The staff was extremely rude and acted like we were an inconvenience by being there. The waitress tapped her pen against her leg while we were deciding on our food order. The owner promised us a credit for our stay and I reached out to her several times afterward, she ignored my emails and never credited us.

Room tip: book elsewhere
Date of stay: June 2021
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank moonovrmiami
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed June 21, 2021 via mobile

This was a great space to spend a romantic anniversary. The cabinas were private and the food was spectacular! Staff is incredibly friendly and helpful! Great snorkeling around the area and kayaks are available to borrow. We found a beautiful creek just kayaking around and exploring. The tours around the area are amazing! We visited Zapatilla Beach, Red Frog Beach, and Playa Estrellita. Beware of the tour guides that jump into your taxi and pressure you into sales. Some are sketchy. Instead go with the hotel’s recommendations, they work with some awesome captains. Would love to return again some day!

Date of stay: June 2021
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
1  Thank Ewinn27
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed June 6, 2021

Taxis/transportation were unorganized and Lack of communication. Hidden fees for transportation to Punta Caracol, and for cost of dining that was stated it was included. No power in bungalows, only power to charge was at the dining area and only Wi-Fi in the dining area. The one day that we went to red frog Island and got back to the “shady laundromat house” no one was found. I had to go upstairs to find the son of the manager who then called his mother who then had trouble identifying who I was to send us a water taxi to come pick us up 45 minutes later.

Date of stay: June 2021
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
1  Thank Franklincon87
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed May 29, 2021

If you're looking for an idillic place to rest, the spirit of adventure is your inspiration and the quitness is your best friend, this lodge absolutely deserves a chance to surprise you.
If you're expecting a maldivian all inclusive resort, you're actually far from finding a satisfactory deal and for sure this is not the scenario to rely to post on your social medias a picture of you eating fresh fruit and drinking a cocktail sorrounded by white sandy beaches and palms.
The hotel is small and there's nothing but the restaurant, the catwalk over the water and the log cabins where you will be hosted. You can reach it only by taxi boat, which takes around 10-15 minutes from the main village in Isla Colon. The transfer is provided by the accomodation on request.
Everything is reduced to the essencial and seems to be susteinable: wi-fi connection is available and the quality was surprisingly ok, but please note that electricity is provided by solar panels and by a small generator and in the rooms it is limited to lightning (no plugs working to charge phone or any other kind of device, you need to bring the items to the reception) the water is non-potable; however, I really felt at ease during my stay, cuddled by the silence and by the unusual side of the "caribbean-african" tropical environment you can find in Bocas del Toro.
The room was confortable, composed by two floors, simple.
The upper floor had a canopy bed equipped with mosquito nets, even that I didn't note many mosquitos around.
The sea water is warm, calm: you can swim with no troubles. The colours of the water can be impressive, but you need a sunny day the enjoy the best of the shades.
The staff was polite and discreet.
The menu at the restaurant is limited to a few options, different any day and, preferably, to be chosen and reserved in advance, but I noticed the effort from the cook to provide the best appereance and presentation to the dishes. The quality was reasonable, not sublime as you could expect in a seaside location, but fair.
Kayaks avaible for guests at no cost.
Recommended to lonely travelers looking for a catharting journey outside standard itineraries and options, for couples who love to live in a susteinable world, or for any one fascinated by exploring the secret essence of our Earth.

Date of stay: May 2021
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank sdp_traveller_360
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed May 13, 2021 via mobile

I’ve wanted to visit Punta Caracol Aqua Lodge ever since I saw it in a travel magazine many years ago. Overall it was fantastic with just a few caveats.

Positives;

- Simply a gorgeous and unique setting. We stayed in the Luna Suite #3 at the end of the row of bungalows so it was nice and quiet and private. Jumping off the deck into the water was a blast. Storms roll in often (which bring nice breezes through your bungalow when you open up all the doors) but once they pass the water gets calm quickly and becomes clearer and greener very fast. So don’t fret if it’s raining when you arrive.

- Snorkel equipment is available for free and there are some great fish, crabs, a bit of coral, urchins and sea fans to see. We even saw a beautiful spotted stingray! I’ve read that hammerhead sharks hang out sometimes as well as dolphins....but we didn’t spot any.

- Our bungalow itself had a very authentic and natural feel. Rustic but built with love and you could tell that! The colors of the bungalow against the water make for a gorgeous setting as do the mountains across the water outside.

- The food was very tasty and cooked to order. All of it tasted incredibly fresh. They offered two
or three choices daily at dinner for the main, two or three starter choices and desserts. You’re bound to find something you like even if you have allergies or special dietary needs (they ask). One night an octopus stew was on the menu and it was nice and tender and flavorful. The chicken and grilled pineapple skewers another night were also fantastic and served with a nice subtle garlic rice. Breakfast was a la carte and the fried plantains, fruit and eggs (cooked the way you request) were especially nice and tasty.

- There are free kayaks to use in a little hut and you can literally just grab a paddle and kayak and go explore the mangroves and water all around the lodge. We saw lots of odd crabs and oysters clinging to branches and trees in strange ways when we paddled around. When the water is clear you’ll see bright orange starfish on the bottom also!

- The staff were all super nice and accommodating the whole time. They’re flexible and want to help with whatever you need. They spoke Spanish (of course!) and most spoke at least some English too.

- When flying in by plane make sure you let the lodge know ahead of time and they’ll arrange a taxi at 2$ USD per person each direction to/from the airport to the dock. Pay the taxi driver directly. From there, the Punta Caracol boat will give you about a 20 minute ride to the lodge. This boat is 5$ USD per person, per direction and gets added to your final bill.

- Four small bottles of room temperature water are put out in your room daily. But, the taxi stopped off at a little mini mart before we got to the dock because a passenger asked. Here we were able to get some large bottles of water and liquor as well as some snacks. Keep in mind there is no refrigerator of any sort in your room. So be sure that whatever you pick up at the store you’re fine keeping out at room temperature. The lodge resort also did not have ice most days until later in the evening.

The (well I don’t want to say negatives....but just some things to be AWARE of when visiting);

- Obviously there is no air conditioning and it can get very hot and humid when there is no breeze. The bedrooms are on the second floor and although there is a ceiling fan, it doesn’t do much up there. What I did (since I know I have trouble sleeping when I’m sweltering) was pack two D battery operated 12 inch collapsible fans. Yes they take a lot of D batteries but the ones I found on Amazon.com run for at LEAST 9-10 hours on one set of 6 batteries. And yeah I brought 24 D batteries with me in my luggage.... which meant I sacrificed some other items due to the weight of my suitcase. But it was TOTALLY worth it in my opinion. We set a chair inside the mosquito netting around the bed and placed the fans out at an angle at our feet and slept relatively cool all night.

- Mosquitos. Lots of mosquitoes. Bring bug spray.

-No internet. But occasionally when we turned on our phones we’d pick up a weak land 3G signal. But you’re not really here for internet right?!? :)

- Solar power. You will only be able to charge your phone/devices (should you chose to actually use them) in the restaurant. You don’t have enough power to charge a phone in your bungalow so don’t even think about plugging anything else in either (this is an eco-lodge after all!)

- Punta Caracol is located in a sub-tropical setting. It’s basically exposed to the elements and bungalows have a thatched roof of natural palm-like material. So....there WILL be “critters”. Be prepared for that. If you’re squeamish when it gets dark to certain types of “critters”....well I’ll be honest- it may not be the place for you. Be sure to keep all food and drinks covered and closed up tight and throw your trash away outside of your room if possible (even bring it to the main reception area to throw out). One specific type of the “critters” I’m talking about are also attracted to standing water and the dark so keep that in mind if you catch my drift. This is just part of being in this climate though and there’s really not much else you can do. It’s sort of unavoidable.

- Meals typically aren’t included (even breakfast) unless you specifically pay for a package that STATES it includes meals. Check this. I thought my rate DID include them and at breakfast and dinner I just ordered anything I wanted thinking that. I don’t know where I got that idea because meals were not included in the rate that I got for the bungalow only. This is a small place, over water, off a very small island. Other than fish and I’d assume some fruits...everything has to be brought in by their little boats. So prices are not your cheap, typical “Panamanian” prices (by US standards anyway). The food is quite good however and freshly made with care so it’s fair. Just keep in mind you’ll be paying about 3$ USD for a can of Coke or a can of Balboa beer, and 2.50$ for a small bottle of water. They seemed to have house wine at 3.50 USD a glass but we didn’t try it so I can’t speak to its taste (but that sounds like a good deal). Depending on what you order, breakfast can be anywhere from 9$ USD per person for JUST fruit and coffee with milk, up to about 23$ USD per person if you want fruit, coffee, eggs, toast and fried plantain (highly recommended btw). For dinner, starters ranged from 5$ USD to 9$ USD, entrees from about 14$-20$ USD and desserts about 5$-9$ USD. We didn’t eat lunch at all but drank cocktails and ate snacks every day so I can’t say what is on offer there. A lot of guests arranged tours (we did not) and were gone during the day anyway. I think the lodge can help you arrange tours to “Starfish Beach” etc.

Overall this is a fantastic trip to take! It’s a place and experience I’ll remember forever!

Date of stay: May 2021
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
3  Thank nicolerO7952PF
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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