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“Whatch out for Uncle Tom ;-)”
Review of TioTomsGuesthouse

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TioTomsGuesthouse
Lucerne, Switzerland
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Whatch out for Uncle Tom ;-)”
Reviewed 27 February 2013

We arrived on Bastimentos without having a hostel reservation or any idea where to stay. We saw TioTom from the boat when we arrived and we had a look at the rooms - they were great- so we stayed!

The room we got was super clean, had many little accessories that we were missing in almost every other hostel (Table, Bedside lamp, shelf for cloths etc.) You could hear some noise from the dock next to the hostel, but you know that when you check in, because you normally arrive on that dock and for us it was anyway super quite compared to the noisy hostels we've stayed on Bocas. We actually thought it is nice to hear the boats and the water lacking up against the floor and the great view out of the window.

They have a family dinner every night for a fair price. The food was not extraordinary but good.
They also offer breakfast, but we always had our own.

They have a few rules and yes they like to remind you, but hey it's their hostel and these are their rules. We tried to take it easy and not be bothered to much about it.

The owners are definitely two special characters and I think either you like them, they like you and you have a great time at their place or NOT....
They have their own way of saying things and if you are sensible you should maybe not stay there as you could think they are rude. You should take what they say with a pinch of salt and you will have a great time!

We definitely had an amazing time and enjoyed the stay at TioToms.

  • Stayed January 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
Thank nicysuter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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159 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
San Jose, Costa Rica
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
Reviewed 20 February 2013

The island is rustic and beautiful! Tio Tom's is clean and in a good location. I didn't find the hosts especially friendly and got the impression that they don't like the island or the local people. It's a bit noisy and didn't sleep well, but that's not the hosts fault. I will go to Bastimentos again, but will stay somewhere else.

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank RusticTraveler738
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level 5 Contributor
92 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 February 2013

I stayed for four nights and then checked out and went to a near by hostel for my remaining four nights as the hospitality is so bad here. On the surface this looks a great place to stay, nice rooms, clean, lovely hammock area to chill but the owners create a very inhospitable atmosphere. They are not friendly, have many rules to follow, and whilst I am happy to follow rules they constantly remind you about them. Fresh water is in short supply on the island and they constantly tell you to conserve water and make you feel guilty for having a shower. I am an adult I don't need to be reminded every five minutes to conserve water. They shut the water supply off at 10pm. The private rooms are nice but the dorm is cramped, thin mattresses, you can hear Tom snoring next door and there is no fan. Tom was very condescending when we mentioned the wifi wasnt working and could he reboot it, he asked us what do we expect we are on an island - we do know that! The final straw was when I saw him shout and kick (hard) a number of times a male dog hanging around the hostel because his dog was on heat - so understandable male dogs were hanging around. I checked in to a new hostal and four other people had also left Tio Toms as they didn't like the hosts- that speaks volumes and the owners should learn they are driving people away. Short story is there are MUCH friendlier and nicer places elsewhere.

  • Stayed January 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Riss2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed 10 January 2013 via mobile

I See some very positive and some very negative reviews. Hopefully adding our experience helps for others to make up their mind.
We stayed with 2 couples for 4 nights at Tio Tom and had a great time. We are Dutch and currently living in NYC so I guess we can understand some of the differences between the German hosts and the American great service... Or the other way around. Simply said, we think Tio Tom offers great value for money. You get clean rooms, and a great sun/ hammock deck over the water, and if you understand the fact that you are a guests in Tom and Ina's 'House' you get the service you are looking for.
1) + we were so happy that we didn't stayed in bocas town! (noisy, teenagers, less charming etc)
2) + budget sleep, with relatively good beds and private bathroom (27,50usd, cold water but you don't need warm)
3) + good breakfast (between 5-10 usd healthy or greasy options...)
4) - the walls are thin, so you hear your neighbours, like almost everywhere in bocas I guess
5) + perfect chill deck with some hammocks
6) - next to main bastimentos boat dock, so lots of boat sounds
7) - not the best swim spot (just need to get a water taxi to go somewhere)

Tom and Ina live on Bastimentos for 15 years now, so the know all the spots, folks, etc. Just spend some time with them with a beer and you'll benefit from all their knowledge!

Stayed December 2012, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Wouter v
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Denbigh, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 23 July 2012

Tom and Ina are running the hostal for many years now and have perfected their customer service. The stay was comfortable in clean rooms with lovely food in fabulous surroundings. The hosts are never short of a smile and are very helpful with informations etc. I wished we could have stayed longer, but we had booked to go to Chiriqui, Boquete to La Casa Romantico (excellent as well) and we will definitily come again! Thank you so much for a wonderful time!!!

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank fromWALESwithLOVExxx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Antwerp, Belgium
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 May 2012

Tom was friendly when we booked our room over the phone, but when we arrived we received a very FREEZING welcome. He offered us a free drink while we were waiting for the room, and could only serve me 1/4 a glass of lemonade because they were out (1/4 was good enough, as it was free), nice! He asked us to open a tap, because he didn't have to much change. we paid him 40USD upfront, he would charge the rest afterwards, fine! (check that bill!)
I became very ill and and was only able to eat crackers and a bit of yoghurt. My husband ordered cereal for breakfast (which came with too little milk, for which we had to pay extra), and when Tom came to get the plate, I asked him if I could use my husband's spoon. With an angry face, he pointed to a paper stating that one should not sit on the tables if one does not consume their breakfast. I repplied that I would love to have a real breakfast but that I was too ill, upon which he repplied arrogantly and with anger in his voice "oh, and that's the reason you have to sit here?" That is no way to treat a customer and definitely not one that is ill!
Then the check came... To our surprise, he had charged us: the free coffee and a lemonade (full price while I received just one zip) and the breakfast of my husband was 6USD more than on the menu. I guess the the overcharge was for the usage of the spoon?
he takes pride in warning his guests about the locals and talking bad about them. This made us feel very uncomfortable, as we are travelers that like to get to know the local culture, and interact with people we meet..

Our advice: If you go to Bastimentos: stay with the locals and not with this grumpy arrogant old man! You can stay cheaper, with nicer service and better value at the other hostels on the island, eat great breakfast at alvin's or the Pad Tai local pizzeria (not sure about the name) for halve the price. We will write to LP about this, as we do not want Tom and his wife to ruin the stay of future travelers, as Bastimentos is a fantastic place with a great vibe!

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank VEDEMA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles, California
Level 6 Contributor
102 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 November 2011

This is a long overdue review, but we loved Pension Tio Tom! My husband and I stayed in the separate bungalow, and Tom and Ina were both great hosts. They were helpful with information on hiking around Isla Bastimentos, going dolphin-spotting, visiting Isla Colon. They also whipped up some tasty coconut pancakes for breakfast. Would definitely stay here again.

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank zengirl_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about TioTomsGuesthouse

Property: TioTomsGuesthouse
Address: Main Street, Isla Bastimentos, Panama (Formerly Pension Tio Tom)
Region: Panama > Bocas del Toro Province > Isla Bastimentos
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 19 B&Bs / Inns in Isla Bastimentos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
You are looking for a nice place at the Caribbean? Our family-guesthouse is builded over the water of the lagoon and located in the centre of the village Bastimentos on the same named island in the north of Panama at the archipelago Bocas del Toro. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Pension Tio Tom Hotel Isla Bastimentos
TioTomsGuesthouse Panama/Isla Bastimentos, Bocas Del Toro

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