Bocas del Toro Archipelago Hotels

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Punta Caracol Acqua-Lodge

At a Glance

    Pros

  • gorgeous setting
  • charming rooms
  • eco-friendly

    Cons

  • expensive for Bocas
  • sometimes buggy, minimum stay is two nights

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating:  

Punta Caracol Acqua-Lodge Review

This collection of spacious bungalows above the turquoise shallows off Isla Colón's western coast is both gorgeous and innovative. The hotel consists of nine wooden cabañas (bungalows) perched atop pilings, all connected to one another, the restaurant, and the mainland by wooden walkways over the ocean. Each has a living room downstairs that opens onto a wide porch with lounge chairs and a ladder leading down to the crystalline waters. Bedroom lofts hold a king bed or two twins with mosquito nets. The eco-lodge uses only solar energy, has its own sewage-treatment plant, and protects 150 acres of rain forest and mangrove reserve. Rates include snorkeling, kayaks, breakfast, and dinner by candlelight, and the service is excellent. The isolated property forces guests to relax, which may not be for everyone. It is accessible only by a 15-minute boat trip from town.

    Hotel Details

  • 9 cabañas
  • Rate includes some meals.
  • Credit cards accepted.
Updated: 09-24-2012

Fodorite Reviews

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    Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge Review

    I am a traveler that depends greatly on reviews posted by others, whether it be for a local restaurant, a massage or a place to stay. It is very rare that I am not able to read through the fake posts from the company & their friends...in the case of Punta Caracol I clearly made a mistake and did not do my homework well enough as my girlfriend and I both arrived and immediately felt "duped" as the hotel is misrepresented online. I ask only that if you disregard this review, that you please please please post your own review upon your return as I guarantee you it will not be a positive one. To preface my reviews: I travel extensively and have stayed in everything from a sleeping bag in a tent on safari to the most beautiful of Auberge resorts. When staying in a tent I know what to expect and plan accordingly (and pay accordingly!) and when staying at an Auberge property I also have a certain level of expectation, and recognize I will be paying more for the experience. Punta Caracol claims to have a high quality "resort", charges hundreds of dollars a night, and does not come anywhere close to living up to what they advertise. I will start with the positives: * The arial and exterior views (from a distance) of the individual cabins is great. Makes for a beautiful postcard. * The isolation from the rest of the world, town, etc. is quite nice (although cabin fever can easily set in) * The staff is nice | And the issues, from big to small: * The rooms are damp and smell slightly like mildew * There is only 12v electrical in the cabins and it is hard to see/read at night * The hotel is on a sensitive septic system. Used toilet paper must be put into a garbage can that is emptied once a day. Mixed with the heat...not so nice at times. * The cabins are old, the paint is chipping and mold spots are in the showers * The food at dinner is poorly prepared. One must choose that morning between 2 or 3 options (most of which include frozen, chewy shrimp) and as someone who enjoys good food, I was shocked at the lack of flavor and poor preparation. * There are hundreds of little black bugs (gnats?) that are hard to see and bite ankles and exposed body parts. Wear bug repellant. * At dinner the staff has one mix on their iPod that includes Celine Dion (Titanic song) and it is the same music each night * The hotel & wait staff (one in the same) are free to use their cell phones (even in the middle of meal-time) and many of them have the latest hip hop beats on their phone that competes with Celine Dion, not helping to make a romantic dinner (bad food, lots of biting gnats(?) and repetitive music) * The water in the showers smells terrible (sulfur?) and the heat is inconsistent * The coral surrounding the hotel is dead and there are only some fish when the hotel staff throws bread into the water) * There are a handful of starfish in the immediate vicinity of the hotel...and many dead ones (black in color). If you venture out, beyond a stones throw, from the rooms there are no starfish and no mollusks (what they eat) anywhere to be found. This is not their native environment and I would not be surprised if the hotel collects them and throws them there every couple months. * The housekeeping was washing a raft with soap and a hose and dumping huge amounts of soap into the water (which is clearly part of the reason why the coral is dead) * The tea available is so old it literally doesn't steep even with two tea bags. * To charter a 4-hour private boat tour we were quoted $60 at Hotel La Coralina (highly recommended) whereas at Punta Caracol we were offered 2-hours for $80. * There was no reception person most of the day and when we tried to book massages we were told that they didn't have anyone and that we could rent a boat to go into town and try to find a place there. I truly could continue to discuss the numerous small and large issues that I experienced with Punta Caracol. If, after reading this review and others, you decide to stay at Punta Caracol I can only urge you to please complete review upon your return (with photos, if possible) so that other travelers who also depend on review-sites are able to make an informed decision about where they stay.

    by dhughes_01, 1/11/11

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