Bocas Del Toro - accommodations

Old Oct 1st, 2008, 04:51 AM
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Bocas Del Toro - accommodations

I posted this as Thorn Tree as well but didn't get any responses...
I have narrowed my options for where to stay in Bocas to 3 places, in different price ranges. I am wondering if anyone has a personal recommendation or preference. I don't want to stay in Bocas town but would like the to be able to get there for dinner and drinks, so we were looking for off Colon but near by. Bastimentos seems to be the island you would take a taxi to for all the beaches anyway, so it would be nice to be closer and on a more natural island. I've read some mixed reviews of Isla Carenero due to bugs, lack of beaches, noise if you are close to Bocas town and a swampy center. Is the extra price of the over-water bungalo worth it to be on Bastimentos, verse the more reasonably priced Carenero options. Any recommendations about these places would be helpful.

Isla Bastimentos - Eclypse Del Mar
http://www.eclypsedemar.com/#
This place looks fun, and got almost all good reviews. But its pretty expensive and I am not sure how close to anything it is.

Isla Carenero - Careening Cay
http://www.bocasdeltorohotels.ws/
Less expensive, and has good reviews post 2006, all the pre 2006 reviews were not good (anyone know what changed). But I read somewhere that this side of the island has a pretty bad sand flea problem. Also, I am not sure what is near this place to do. I know there is a restaurant on site, but if there were other bars on the island nearby.

Isla Carenero - Tierra Verde
http://www.hoteltierraverde.com/home.htm
The cheapest option, but this place seems to be closer to a guest house / hostel then the other options. I also read some bad reviews about the bugs here as well. Otherwise, it has been recommended and has good reviews.
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Old Oct 1st, 2008, 07:58 AM
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I saw your post as well - it seems like no one posted on those specific places. We're going to Bocas in February, so I was interested in what people had to say. Hopefully this note will get some answers. Good luck!
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Old Oct 1st, 2008, 12:10 PM
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Please report back. I have been curious about this area and perhaps taking a future trip to Panama.

Let us know!!

MY
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Old Oct 1st, 2008, 12:53 PM
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I booked Eclypse Del Mar. My trip is not until March so it will be a while.
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Old Oct 1st, 2008, 06:23 PM
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Our experience at Bocas was pleasing to us, but perhaps wouldn't be to you. We were there 4 nights, stayed on Isla Caranera (o) at Dona Mara. It was $40 per night including tax and a slight breakfast. It was right on the water, but not a "hang out" beach if that makes any sense. We walked through the little town a bit, but really, not much there. However, the water taxis are fast and cheap.

We went to other beaches. Took a full day dolphin, snorkel, Red Frog Beach tour that was great. Went to a beach on Isla Bocas one day and spent most of the day. Took a taxi and arranged for a pick up. We spent another part of a day on Bastamientos, walking around and having lunch. It was an interesting little town.

Spent very little time at Dona Mara's, of course. However, the room was clean, neat, nothing wrong with it at all.

We enjoyed experimenting at the restaurants and bars in Bocas town.
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Old Nov 6th, 2008, 04:31 PM
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Shillmac: could you add a little more insight in respect to traveling to Boca at Christmas with my 20 and 21 year old children? Will there be enough for them to do and explore? WE are planning the tours you have mentioned and am staying at Hotel Angela.
Muchos gracias from RI!
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Old Nov 6th, 2008, 08:08 PM
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Oh, no, probably I can't help you much with how to entertain a 20-21 year old at Bocas aside from what you already have planned.

I don't know much about the nightlife, etc. That said, there were a lot of young people and the bars and restaurants were fairly lively.

Hopefully someone else will chime in with more info.
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Old Oct 4th, 2009, 01:58 PM
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Susan,
Looks like we like the same places! We went to Roatan last winter on your recommendation and loved it, but looks like the political situation will keep us from going there again in '10. We're looking into Bocas del Toro - did you like it? How was the snorkling?
Lucy
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Old Oct 4th, 2009, 04:07 PM
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I'd say the snorkling was better in Roatan, but it was pretty good in Bocas as well. One of the differences was that it seemed easier to snorkel off the shore in Roatan, whereas we went out in a boat in Bocas. But we enjoyed Bocas. There was definitely enough to do for a few days, and some good restaurants, that kind of thing. We had 2 weeks in Panama, and spent 4 nights in Bocas. That was about right for me.

One difference was that I really got a lot of bug bites in Bocas, but I didn't really have a problem on Roatan. I'm not sure what wazs different - they loved me in Bocas!
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Old Oct 5th, 2009, 05:35 PM
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Where did you end up staying in Bocas? Could you tell me about how much you paid for snorkling trips? Any recommendations for good restaurants?
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Old Oct 6th, 2009, 04:37 AM
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Lucy, you can click on my name and it'll pull up all my posts. I posted my Panamanian trip report.
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Old Oct 6th, 2009, 05:10 PM
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Susan, Thank you - great trip report! Hope you have something just as great planned for this winter!
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Old Oct 6th, 2009, 07:03 PM
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While I haven't posted my Panama trip report from this summer, I can add the following thoughts about Bocas del Toro:

1. We went this year in late July/early August. We rented a charming "surf shack" with all the comforts of home in Bocas town. The other island did not have the access to restaurants, etc. that we hoped for. Bocas is inexpensive to eat out and we took full advantage of that!

The house is waterfront and VERY comfy for a large group, with plenty of space. 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms make it easy for adult children. We took our kids, ages 15, 13 and 11. We found it on www.VRBO.com. It's rental number 175804. I have the owner's contact info if you need it. Please tell Clay that the Shaw family sent you!

2. We used a boat (skiff) captain named Bobby for all of our day trips to other islands and beaches. Bobby can be found next to the Bocas Water Sports at the small dock next door. He was also recommended by Senor Rivas, who was the property manager where we rented. He was completely reliable and even on days when he was otherwise occupied, he sent another boat to pick us up on time or early at our dock. We did NOT go out for full days with the other more "commercial" and expensive captains.

3. We did not find Bocas to be noisy. On a few nights, we could hear some music from somewhere, but the house was quiet.

4. My DH said to make sure to tell everyone that Bocas was just terrible, expensive, noisy, crowded, mean, smells, no character, no wildlife and has murky water. He says, by all means, DO NOT GO. Okay, he's only saying this so that it does not get too commercialized or overrun with tourists. SAVE IT FOR US SO IT'S THE SAME WHEN WE GO BACK EVERY YEAR!!!
Just kidding...

Let us know if you need additional details...

But just be sure to kick back and enjoy the pace of this wonderful little island community.

-Mom
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Old Oct 11th, 2011, 08:56 AM
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I'm topping this for the earlier question about Panama... See my prior post below for details.
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