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“Hotel is nice - the islands...not so much” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hotel Bocas del Toro

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Hotel Bocas del Toro
Ranked #3 of 13 Hotels in Bocas Town
Certificate of Excellence
Omaha, NE
Level Contributor
38 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Hotel is nice - the islands...not so much”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 April 2011

Always in pursuit of places that mass tourism hasn't ruined like Cancun; we concluded a 3 week trip to Panama with 4 nights in Bocas del Toro. We arrived from the mainland via the port town of Almirante. Avoid this at any cost. It is an unpleasant town and young thugs hassle you for tips while trying to help you board the ferry boat. No where else in Panama did we feel unsafe or hassled except here. We left via the tiny airport which is 1 hour flight from Panama City. This is a much better way to get here.

Hotel Bocas reminds me of an old ship. The entire hotel is well maintained with dark woods set against white plaster walls. We stayed in a large room on the 3rd floor. It had a comfortable king bed, an average bathroom but plenty of hot water and a strong A/C which you will want in humid Bocas. While the included breakfast was ok, we only had an option for the American style. Eggs, meat, toast, juice and coffee. They have other options but were not included in our deal - make sure to ask. The hotel is very clean and is in an excellent location for catching ferry boats and walking distance to many restuarants, at the heart of Isla Colon. The staff are very friendly and the hotel is impecably clean unlike most every other place in town. They also have a nice bar and restuarant that is directly over the water.

Do note that some rooms say ocean view but are actually "restricted" view. In otherwords, you can see water but they are not the expensive rooms directly facing the water. Make sure to get what you want and expect. With the A/C on, noise was not an issue in our room at all.

There are terrific places to eat in Bocas including the following: El Pescado, Alberto's, Gringo's and Casbah. If you want a great local dive, Restuarant Chitre is 2 minutes from the hotel and a local style meal is under $5 for meat, rice, beans, slaw and a soda. Don't miss the fruit smoothie guy - go out the hotel door, turn left walk about 25 yards. He has a tiny truck and cart he pulls behind it. A giant fresh pineapple smoothie is under $2.

The scuba was surprisingly good. I went with La Buga which also has a great little cafe attached. They also offering surfing but weather precluded us from going. Be careful about the guys on the street by the ferry boats selling tours. They are paid comission and will tell you what you want to hear.

You should also know that good beaches are 20 minutes away by car and while you could walk or take the bus, a taxi or water taxi are the best options for most travelers but will cost $10-15 each way.

In conclusion, if you visit Bocas, Hotel Bocas is an excellent choice. Just don't expect an unspoiled island paradise with great beaches.

Room Tip: Water view or "restricted" water view
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  • Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank tonyandk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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371 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (72)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 April 2011

There are many hotels on Isla Colon but we can, without hesitation, recommend the Hotel Bocas del Toro. The night we spent there in February was magical. The Premium Luxury room in which we stayed is splendid; an enormous, decadently comfortable room opening out onto a large balcony with what must be the most impressive view on Isla Colon. My partner and I sat with our evening cocktails watching the boats dart back and forth from the islands and woke early specifically to watch the sun rise from this spectacular setting.

The diligent and attentive staff are clearly so proud of their place of work and extend themselves way beyond their duties - when luggage belonging to friends who were staying at the hotel failed to arrive on their flight, Hotel Bocas Del Toro staff settled them in to their room and then went to the airport to collect the bags when they arrived later that day.

After an adventure filled day on the islands, it was a wonderful to return to such a calm, quiet and beautiful hotel.

Stayed February 2011, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank chinacatrider23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Diego, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 March 2011

My stay at Hotel Bocas del Toro was awesome. The rooms are beautifully decorated with a nautical flare and delightful furniture. I booked the room on special for $100/night, including breakfast, and it was quite the deal. The hotel has a beautiful deck where you can sit and eat, drink and just relax. The view of the other islands from the deck is awesome. The staff was wonderful, warm and made me feel very welcome. I highly recommend this hotel to anyone staying on the island. There are numerous water taxi's to escort you around to all the other islands.

  • Stayed February 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank sdphotogirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
North Vancouver
Level Contributor
10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 February 2011

Loved the hotel and the staff. The building is beautiful, the waterfront restaurant is amazing and the WiFi connection in the lobby was a nice and unexpected perk so that I could make Skype phone calls. The location is second to none...absolutely the best in all of Bocas.

The rooms were well appointed, extremely clean and the beds were very comfortable. The only thing that kept getting to me was the price. I realize that breakfast was included, but $159 per night USD for a street view room was a bit hard to stomach. I know that's not excessive or anything, but I would expect a room like that to be in the $100 USD range in a country like Panama. It's too bad really. Still...that's just me....I would still happily recommend this hotel.

Oh, and don't listen to the guy at the airport who says all of the hotels in Bocas are booked (other than the one he recommends....Hotel Olas). Oldest trick in the book.

  • Stayed January 2011, travelled with friends
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank LogicSnow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Playa Samara
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 February 2011

We spent three nights at this very pleasant, romantic, and fun Hotel as part of a Nature Air package. Our first choice for a hotel was full and after looking at the website we chose the Bocas Del Torro. We could not have made a better choice. We are still thankful that the original choice was booked. The rooms are clean and charming without being overdone. They have a nautical feel and that is by design. The rich wood floors and trim are soothing and cool. The bar on street level is convenient and the full breakfasts (included) were great. Carla is cool and outgoing and she made us feel welcomed. Thanks to her and her staff. We will see you again.

  • Stayed January 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank didgeman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edmonton, Canada
Level Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 January 2011

We stayed in this hotel one night to upgrade from the dump we stayed in across the street. For 60 a night we were thoroughly impressed. The room was clean and nicely decorated. The bed was comfortable, we had television, a safe and breakfast included. Breakfast only consisted of toast, but still a nice addition to have included. The location right on the water is awesome and the restaurant was one of the best in town.

  • Stayed January 2011, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank cdawn3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 December 2010

This winter we decided on Costa Rica. Please look out for many reviews, from small boutique hotels to five star resorts.....

Hotel Bocas del Toro (our little outing to Panama ) has surprised us in a very pleasant way. A smooth check in, with three local ladies whose smiles could not have more welcoming and genuine. We even got upgraded to a huge penthouse suite, overlooking the waters and an ocean of space on a beautiful deck just for us! As it was our fifteen year anniversary, we found a chilled bottle of Champagne in an ice bucket waiting for us in our lavishly appointed room, filled with fresh exotic freshly cut flowers...

The room and hospitality where great. We could not fault anything. Quality cottons on the bed, nice warm shower and solid furniture. Our room looked kind of the inside of a boat, with lacquered wood shining and polished to the max.

Owner and hostess Carla made a point of having a chat with us at breakfast, to see if all was fine. The three local ladies working there had the loveliest smiles and surprised us with fresh fruit platters and sometimes even showed up together at our table to wish us a happy anniversary when we where eating. Quality of the food was good, I guess a Club Sandwich served within fresh pita instead of toast are part of the experience.

Concluding we can say it is a good location, a great service and very comfortable. Boat taxis wanted to take us to a far away beach @ 20 dollars, as we had two hours planned for a swim, but receptionist tipped us of a small beach at a 1 dollar boat trip just across the hotel and it was fine. Take DEET SPRAY against the NO SEE UMs as tipped by the knowing receptionist.

A mini point of critique... The rooms are not cheap, and that is ok if you can afford it. I have slept in two dollar huts in India as well as in 600 a night five star resorts, and have been fine at both, as you expect what you pay for. The thing I like about splurging 200 a night, is that kind of gentle softness and feel of quiet exclusivity that is understated, yet very present. As hotel Bocas has a downstairs bar welcoming all (like a group of drunk marines from the hostal across the street), this idea kind of gets spoiled, as it could give an almost too lively more hostel like atmosphere....

Having said all this> Yes, we would stay again, yes, we will recommend this hotel to our friends, and yes, the upgrade, service, quality of the rooms and location is IMPECCABLE!

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank eyeofthebeholder1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Bocas del Toro

Property: Hotel Bocas del Toro
Address: #2 Calle | No 2 Calle, Bocas Town, Isla Colon, Bocas Town, Isla Colon 77777, Panama
Phone Number:
Region: Panama > Bocas del Toro Province > Isla Colon > Bocas Town
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Romantic Hotel in Bocas Town
#4 Family Hotel in Bocas Town
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Bocas del Toro 3*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Newly upgrade high speed internet along with Hotel Bocas del Toro Restaurant & Bar honored as one of the "Top" Caribbean Bars in the best spots in the world on Conde Nast Traveler's Gold List, ¨Cuisines & Bars, IPAPP. The Hotel consistently receives TripAdvisor's "Certificate of Excellence". We've discovered that understated elegance in our Caribbean Wood Design and superior service are essential. From every vantage point, the ocean & island views inspire us to respond to the elements. 2013 Hotel Bocas del Toro was chosen and featured in the Conde Nast Traveler January issue under ¨Caribbean Secret Islands, The Bliss of Bocas¨, for our commitment to Sustainable Tourism over the last 11 years. Bocas del Toro's oceanfront boutique hotel, restaurant & bar are unique to this island paradise. Eleven perfectly appointed nautically inspired rooms, displaying thirteen different types of exotic Panamanian hardwoods, custom built furnishings, some with ocean view or town balcony rooms. We invite you to join us for a memorable experience at the best sustainable boutique hotel in Bocas del Toro, Panama. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bocas Del Toro Hotel
Del Toro Bocas Town
Hotel Bocas Del Toro Panama - Bocas Town

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