My wife and I traveled here in February 2014 and had mixed feelings about Al Natural. To summarise:
- 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.
- 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).
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.
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com, Ebookers, Evoline ltd and Odigeo so you can book your Al Natural Resort reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Al Natural Hotel Isla Bastimentos
- Al Natural Resort Panama/Isla Bastimentos, Bocas Del Toro