My husband and I spent 5 nights at Popa Paradise the beginning of December. After much dilemma about where to go for our annual getaway, my daughter in law suggested Bocas Del Toro. She had been to Red Frog Beach a few year ago and thought it was amazing. I chose Popa Paradise instead of Red Frog because it is all inclusive, and I really like that aspect in a resort. I was not disappointed.
We were greeted at the Bocas airport by one of the employees and taken to their sister hotel in Bocas Town, Popa Paradise, where a boat was waiting to transfer us to paradise!! It is a small boat with not much protection. About halfway there it started to pour down rain and we were soaked by the time we arrived. Fortunately it was warm and just another experience!!! The boat transfer is one negative I have about the place. I think they should invest in a boat with a bit more protection if needed. The captain was going to David to pick up a new boat, the day we were leaving, so maybe the new one has this.
Upon arrival at the resort, we were taken to checkin and given a yummy coconut drink. we realized there was only one other couple there at the time, which we liked. Almost had the resort to ourselves!! The next day 3 other couples arrived, and the day after the first couple left and then the next, one of the other couples. The last two days there were only 3 couples still there. NICE!!
The resort is beautiful and the food was fabulous. It is a bit different than other all inclusives in the fact that you have certain meal times and a few choices at that time. No all day long buffets. I suppose if you were hungry between meals they would prepare you something. This was never the case with us. The meals were filling and exceptionally good. My husband and myself both commented that this was the first Latin American vacation we had been on that we never got an upset stomach, even a little!!! One of the evenings they had a beach BBQ at Rosies, the beach side bar. It was so fun and lots of choices of meat. We especially enjoyed the 2 bartenders from Argentina, Maria and I forgot the guys name. They were so delightful and tried so hard. All of the staff aimed to please in whatever they were doing for you. The natives that work at the resort were all very efficient and helpful. It was a delight to have such good service.
The beaches at Popa, there were 2 while we were there, were alright, but the water was never clear. I think this may have been due to recent storms churning things up. My husband and several of the other guests were stung by Jellyfish, which you could not see due to the cloudy water. We were told the Jellyfish were there because the storms the day before we arrived pushed them over the reef, a ways off shore. He was stung not only while swimming by the dock, but also got a small sting when we went around the rocks to the private beach.
We were in Casita 5, which had a small view of the ocean and some of the trees. It was very clean and quiet at night. The bed was very comfy and we never had a problem with hot water for the shower. It would just trickle out when you turned it on, but as soon as you added cold water to it there was plenty for a shower. The housekeeping would always sneak in and clean sometime while we were at breakfast. We never did see them!!! I was hoping for Casita 10, which is closer to the beach and empty when we arrived but I think had already been requested by a couple arriving the next day. They did comment that it was almost too close to the beach and a bit harder to sleep due to the loudness of the waves. If the resort had been full there may have been noise and less privacy due to more people hanging out on the beach. Who knows!!! Casita 6 is probably the most private and is close to the beach. If we ever returned we would opt for one of the Casitas overlooking the rain forest (2-4) so we could watch the animals and birds from our deck. We always stay on the beach and would like something different next time!!!
They offer many excursions, if you feel the need to leave the resort for the day. we did a half day snorkel trip, which was fun, and went to the Zappatillos to walk around the beach in the afternoon. It was beautiful and almost deserted. We also spent one morning at Red Frog Beach, which is beautiful but the waves are pretty rough. We did find the Red Frogs, though!!!
I was really hoping to see a sloth and some colorful birds while on Popa Island, but never did. We walked around the property every day looking with no luck. Darrion said there was a sloth hanging out by the generator building, but we couldn't find it. I did finally see one when we returned to Panama City and went walking around one of the islands there.
I think the only thing keeping me from giving Popa Paradise 5 stars is the unkept pathways with trash on them around the resort. This was not the case around the pool, casitas or club house, but if you walked around the property it was everywhere. It would not take much to have one of the workers trim back the grass and pick up the trash. There was a rubber boot just laying along the path when we did the jungle walk, a few odd flip flops, shoes and an old cooler by the beach at the end of the concrete path leading to the private beach, and just odds and ends laying around on the property. We would return a few days later and it was all still there, so no one intended to pick it up. One morning there was a shoe laying on the path to the "Jungle Gym" and it remained there the rest of our stay. Just pick it up!!!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Popa Paradise is an Adults-Only (18+) beach hotel located on a stunning island called Isla Popa in the Bocas del Toro archipelago, off the Panamanian coast in the Caribbean Sea. We are located about 30 minutes away from Bocas del Toro by boat. Stay with us for an unforgettable vacation where you can relax, snorkel in beautiful clear water and visit the amazing outer islands. Our chef creates a spectacular, tasty, unique and healthy menu and can cater to vegetarians and vegans, which is all included in our all inclusive rate. We have a large range of activities and excursions from diving, fishing, zip lines to the spectacular Zapatilla islands marine park or simply relax by our swimming pool and enjoy a Popa Paradise cocktail at our swim up bar, enjoy a massage in the spa or take a walk on one of our stunning beaches. Our new beach bar and restaurant "Rosie's" is great for cool drinks on the beach all day and at night beach BBQs, bonfires, and occasionally live music under the stars. Our dedicated team of professionals will take care of your every need and ensure you have a memorable stay at our boutique resort. We look forward to meeting you at Popa Paradise - barefoot luxury! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Popa Paradise Beach Hotel Isla Popa
- Popa Paradise Beach Isla
- Popa Paradise Beach Resort Isla Popa, Panama - Bocas Del Toro