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“Open to the elements, including scorpions”
Review of Al Natural Resort

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Al Natural Resort
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 26 February 2014

My wife and I traveled here in February 2014 and had mixed feelings about Al Natural. To summarise:

PROS
- The food is outstanding. Vincent, the Belgian chef, is a great character and an excellent chef. Our time spent in the common dining area was very enjoyable. The wine flowed freely, we met some great people and there was a laid back atmosphere (which got pleasantly raucous on one night). Plus the western night monkeys, who visit every night for food, were gorgeous.

- The plus side about being so open to the elements (there are literally no walls on the 'cabins') is feeling amongst nature. We saw an owl on our first night and huge moths; it was quite romantic when it rained and you felt in the jungle but dry. The views over the lagoon were wonderful.

- The kayaks and snorkel equipment is plentiful and in good shape. We had a great time surfing the waves between the lagoon and the ocean. The snorkeling within swimming distance of the resort suffered a bit from poor visibility but was still enjoyable; another couple took a boat trip to snorkel in the lagoon and said the snorkelling was great, with good visibility. We kayaked through the mangroves to the Salt Creek village, which was like visiting another world.

CONS:

- You are very exposed to the elements, including creepy crawly creatures. My wife was stung by a scorpion on our first day there even though we took every possible precaution, such as zipping up our bags constantly and always shaking out our clothes and shoes. Needless to say, it was very painful.

- The customer service here is really not what you would expect of a high end resort, unfortunately. The reaction from both the owner, Michel, and the manager, Abner, to the scorpion sting was of slight amusement only. There was no apology, offer of any compensation (a free beer would have been sufficient) or even sympathy despite the fact that it was very painful and made us paranoid for the rest of our stay.

- We felt like we were left to our own devices for the most part, which is nice in a way, but more guidance on activities and how to enjoy the surrounding area would have been welcome.

- Toiletries were not replaced during our 3 night stay which, at $300 per night, is a bit rich (or poor).

- There is no real beach here, just a strip of sand on the lagoon. Don't expect a Caribbean white sand beach where you can relax with a book (but I'm not sure this exists in Bocas).

SUMMARY:

We wouldn't tell people not to stay here necessarily as we, for the most part, enjoyed our time. However, we were disappointed because with better customer service and attention to detail this place could realise its full potential. In the meantime, it is not good value. We would look elsewhere if we were to return to Bocas in the future.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank lbaez
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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92 - 98 of 346 reviews

Reviewed 25 February 2014

I can't even begin to put into words what an amazing experience Al Natural was. It was a bit of a splurge for us since we usually backpack, but we had just gotten married in Costa Rica so this was our honeymoon! It was well worth it! After seeing the remoteness and the way that this place functions, I feel like the price is more than fair.

We stayed in the Superior Natural House. It was perfect for us. There was a bit of vegetation between it and the beach so that it felt really private. The front was completely open. We fell asleep and woke up looking at the ocean. The meals were all very good. It was great meeting other guests during this time. There is a game room and a collection of books on the floor above the dining area.

While there, we used the kayak and snorkel gear. We found several reefs right off of Al Natural. There were very pretty fish. We also did an excursion trip and snorkeled at Crawl Key and went to Zapatillas. The excursion was great and Zapatillas was beautiful!

Also while staying there, we did several hikes to nearby beaches and into the woods. We saw sloths, birds and lizards. Every night, there were some tiny monkeys that came to visit Al Natural for bananas which the staff would give you to feed them. And as if all of that is not incredible enough, the water is bioluminescent and reacts to light. When you go out onto the dock at night and flash the water with light, it lights up with a million tiny "stars". It feels like between the sky and water you are surrounded.

I am firmly convinced that no review or picture can do this place justice. It is one of my all time favorite places! I am so glad we made this a part of our trip.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank swyooz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 February 2014

I spent 2 fantastic nights with a group of 3 friends at the Al Natural and we wanted to stay forever. We had a cabin with 2 queen beds overlooking the ocean. The water was approximately 5 steps from our deck. All of the meals are served family style in the dining room which was a great way to meet other people. We had a lot of fun with the other guests and enjoyed some delicious food courtesy of chef Vincent. The staff can set up activities for you or you can just relax in a hammock all day long. If you want to get away from it all, but do so in comfort and tranquility--Al Natural should be on your list.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank trjnsarah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 February 2014

A welcome change from everyday life-so refreshing and laid back. The rooms are cool with no fourth wall facing the ocean. Food and service were great the Island tour to the local village was a highlight as was the Zip lining a few islands away. By far the highest and most exciting of any we've been on! My family loved it

  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled with family
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Thank basinharborbob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 February 2014

Loved our cabin,the tree bathroom was great,very close to nature.The blue glowing water,, at nite was very cool,great food,wine,enjoyed the isolated location.gene two hundred characters two hundred characters

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank skittlesSunPrairie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 February 2014

Stayed 5 nights at this resort. Arrived at Bocas airport at 7:30 a.m. and had to wait until noon for the boat to the resort. Although we knew this in advance it´s a bit uncomfortable. Room for improvement..............
First 2 nights stayed at one of the Superior natural houses linked by a bridge. Sounds nice, but it´s good to know that the separated toilets of these natural houses are right in the middle of this bridge- door to door. Takes some time to get used to it- specially at night ;-)
For last 3 nights we could change to awsome two storey superior natural house- privacy at it´s best, highly recommended!!!
Great food, when Vincent is at the resort- good food, when he is not there. Vincent is not only an excellent cook but a phantastic guy and entertainer as well- he made our days.
Of course this is an isolated location- but probably most people booking this resort know this.
It´s peaceful and sea-views from the bungalows are gorgeous.
Activities range from hikes on the island to snorkelling trips to Zapatilla Cays.
Perfect relaxation at the end of a six weeks trip through Costa Rica and Panama!

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Josef R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 February 2014

We stayed at Al Natural for 10 days in October. It is an amazing island getaway for the adventurous souls. Open air bungalows on the edge of the ocean, what more can you ask for! While it seems isolated, there are many things to do on and around the island. Scuba diving was our favorite activity. Abner, Vincent, Junior, and everyone else that works there are the best. They go out of their way to make you feel comfortable and like family. We will definitely go back!

Room Tip: All rooms are open air, meaning no walls. Bathrooms in some rooms are not attached.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Jessica G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Al Natural Resort

Address: Old Point, Isla Bastimentos, Panama
Region: Panama > Bocas del Toro Province > Isla Bastimentos
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Shuttle Bus service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 20 B&Bs / Inns in Isla Bastimentos
Price Range: £191 - £382 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Al Natural Resort 2.5*
Number of rooms: 9
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Al Natural Hotel Isla Bastimentos
Al Natural Resort Panama/Isla Bastimentos, Bocas Del Toro

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