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Impressive Panama Lodge - Punta Carcol, Bocas

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Written by Madeline Schuler   
Wednesday, 29 October 2008 08:32
Punta Caracol Panama LodgePunta Caracol Aqua Lodge is set in an amazing location. It is very secluded so I suggest you bring someone you really like. The resorts bungalows are suspended over the turquoise water and sit on wooden stilts which makes for a floating-like feel. These cottages are all solar-powered. Each has private wooden verandas overlooking the distant hills and the calm Caribbean. The first thing guests might miss is a/c, there but we got used to not having it and were just content with the small ceiling fan. Note: electricity in the resort is not 24/7, buy which is strange at such a high price. The king-sized bed in the upstairs bedroom was nice. It is encased in gauze netting to avoid bugs which we were greatful for seeing as though there are quite a few in Bocas del Toro. Together with soft lighting, this netting and overall bedroom ambiance made for the perfect for romantic scene. The bathroom is small and has tile floors. The water in the shower is hot which is impressive for such a remote/eco resort, which itself is clean and simple.

It was wonderful to be able to snorkel and canoe right from our cabana. You can ask the staff for mask and snorkel which they won't charge you for. The sea around the cabins was full of fish, huge starfish and some scattered coral.

The staff were good even though we had heard they had some issues. They picked us up at the airport. They were all very attentive, friendly, and pleasant: eager to please and help in any way possible. You can even ask for a ride to Bocas with the staff boat without additional charges. NICE!

Their open-air restaurant also sits on stilts, open to the ocean breezes. The food was the lowest part of our trip. It really didn't live up to the billing. I was expecting more. Sometimes it was okay but sometimes either looked pre frozen or overcooked. Drinks, such as Coke are expensive, so if you want you can pick some of these stuff in town which is way cheaper. But don't forget to try their Pina coladas. It takes them a few minutes to prepare , but they were our favorites. The food is a tough scenario here because you literally cannot go anywhere else to get stuff. If you're a picky eater, stop at the gourmet deli in town on your way out: otherwise you'll be stuck.

The tours they offered were wonderful but definitely expensive. The staff can organize activities and tours. We got the chance to visit local Indian villages and nearby wetlands which was quite the cultural experience. We enjoyed the search for dolphins and other local wildlife, even saw some cool sting rays.

By far, the best part of our stay at Punta Caracol was being able to jump of our dock into the crystal blue ocean for a little snorkeling. My boyfriend enjoyed it more than I, but for water lovers, this is about as good as it gets (next to living on a house boat). The hotel itself is one of only a few in Panama that are situated out over the ocean (the only other one that I can think of being Coral Lodge and perhaps one or two in San Blas).

This place is peaceful and quiet, a beautiful romantic getaway and probably not terrific for families or groups who like lots of activity. There's no TV nor internet, though that's not really what these kinds of places are about. The hotel industry in Panama is so under-developed that places like this are a great treat, even if there are small glitches that they're working on.


Comments (2)Add Comment
Punta Carcol sucks
written by Alison from SC , November 21, 2008
WARNING! This place is the biggest rip off in the Caribbean and may be hazardous to your health!

Food sucks: horrible tasting mush meals. Cooks don't have any training. Very little good food locally due to remoteness of area.
Service sucks: long waits & often left unnoticed in dining area, waited over an hour for transport from town.
Water is brown and not suitable for brushing teeth. It gave us serious GI problems.
Platform beds were cheaply made. Sagged from the weight of our bodies (we're not overweight), giving us back aches. Pillows and mattresses stained and smelly- very unsanitary!

Punta Carcol was the worst place we've ever stayed. Don't believe the hype from the people marketing this poorly run hazardous operation.
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written by Sue Kamacock , January 17, 2010
I loved that from Alison from SC. Alison, welcome to the real Panama. Whole thing is like this from end to end.
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Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 October 2008 08:35