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Roll Call March 4 - 18 Decameron

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Peterborough, Canada
posts: 169
reviews: 1
Roll Call March 4 - 18 Decameron

Returning for our third time. Can't wait. Don't believe all the poor reviews you see here...the place is clean, safe and HOT. One reason we keep coming back, is that we know exactly what we're going to get....and that alone is worth the price IE: It's going to be hot, it's not going to rain (during the dry season) , the ocean is going to be warm, the pools are clean and the food is going to be something that everyone can find something to their taste. Don't listen to the whiners on here. Yes, some of the rooms are dated, but how much time are you planning on spending in it anyway?

More important...don't believe a single post that says the people are cold and the bartenders are stingy. The people who work here will go out of there way to help you, if you just treat them with a little respect. I speak the most fractured Spanglish you have ever heard...but if I SMILE when I try to say anything, they all smile back, and then try to figure out what I'm asking or go get someone who can help. Understand you are in THEIR country and it's Central America, NOT Central Park. The bartenders (Louis, Ceferino, Andreas, etc...) will pour you as much as you wish, so be careful what you wish for! The people here are so warm and inviting (literally) that we visited with one person IN THERE HOME up in the mountains north of Penenome ($2.00 bus ride that is THE BEST money we spent on "excursions" on any trip, anywhere).

Any questions, post or PM...I'm no expert, but I know what I like and I LOVE this country and it's people. Decameron is what it is (3.5 stars?) but your vacation will only be what you make it!

PS: Bring a stack of U.S one dollar bills and spread them around the resort, and not just the bartenders..it's only ONE dollar to you, but it means so much more to someone who makes less than $20/day. If you get there before me, go see Adriane, the activity guy...tell him his favorite Bomberro is coming back in March!

Kelowna, Canada
posts: 2
1. Re: Roll Call March 4 - 18 Decameron

Thankyou will do! we are going end of Jan to Feb 13 2013 Any info on getting to the canal via locals. Gail

Peterborough, Canada
posts: 169
reviews: 1
2. Re: Roll Call March 4 - 18 Decameron

We use a local guide,Owen, who is also a beach vendor. Really nice guy who charges about half of Nolitours excursions. I'm not too sure about the local guides insurance status though. If you want his phone number, just PM me.

Remember, any trip back to PC is 2 hours, both ways, in good traffic...much longer in moderate to heavy traffic.

St. Albert, Canada
posts: 18
reviews: 4
3. Re: Roll Call March 4 - 18 Decameron

Gail,

We will be there the same time you will be Jan 29 - Feb 13. I have been searching day trips and found a bunch of options - through Road Runner, Woody's and Ty's Grill. We are looking at booking some day trips prior to going. Also learnt that some of the highways might be closed on Feb 3 - as there is an Ironman competition. See you there!!

Calgary, AB
posts: 21
reviews: 4
4. Re: Roll Call March 4 - 18 Decameron

Thanks for your positive remarks.

We are heading to Panama (for the 1st time) at the end of February for two weeks and have read so many mixed reviews that we began to doubt our choice.

After reading your post, it has cemented our decision to enjoy the country as we would any foreign destination. We always treat the staff and locals with respect and with high regard for their country. Doing so, we have never had any problems in any other destinations we have been fortunate enough to travel to - Mexico, Cuba, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Antigua, and so on!

Thank you for reiterating the fact to treat people as you wish to be treated.

We are very much looking forward to enjoying the country, the beach, the ocean, and of course ... the endless round of refreshments!

Peterborough, Canada
posts: 169
reviews: 1
5. Re: Roll Call March 4 - 18 Decameron

You are most welcome.

I know what you mean, about becoming concerned after reading some of the reviews here. We found this particular forum after booking and paying for our first trip to Panama/RD and became equally concerned,,,it seemed like we were headed to a third-world work camp, with our teenager in tow. After about 10 minutes on site, we realized how wrong were were, to believe some of the reviews here. We enjoyed it so much, and met so many really great people, that before we left we had already decided to return in 2012, which we did.

This year it was equally easy to pick our winter destination. There are many places to go in Panama but we know exactly what we will get here...we can eat the food, drink the water, enjoy the sun and just relax. We know the bus ride is two hours. We know the staff don't really get the hang of English and we're prepared for that. Each year we get a little more adventurous and spread out a little further from the resort than previous...we're old hands on the local bus system now and I can even read the bus schedules. We don't expect the bus to show up right at that time, but we know it will be there some time around then :)

So, go with confidence...no one is going to bring your drinks on a platter, but you'll have a great time going to the numerous bars to get your own. I make it a point to visit each pool/bar combo each day :)

If you go down to the beach in the morning, you will see an older couple set up next to the Lifeguard station (not great swimmers) who go there for 4 weeks, every year. Bring Alfredo a gin and Tonic and tell him it's from Blair (he'll know...) and play some Bingo with his wife...maybe you'll win a bottle of rum, like our 13 yr old did, last year!

PS: Get up early on your first full day...go get a number for dinner reservations...watch the sun rise from the beach and then return and book your ala cartes...they all fill up fast.

Hamilton, Canada
posts: 9
reviews: 11
6. Re: Roll Call March 4 - 18 Decameron

Thanks so much for the reassurance. I was getting worried as well whether my husband and I had booked the right vacation!! We leave April 1st and I can't wait to go now! We are staying 5 nights at the Decameron and 2 nights at the Gamboa. We are not big seafood eaters so what are the good a la cartes to book? Thanks for the advice on getting up early to get a number to book...that will be a good idea I am sure. I get so frusterated with people who book places, then find out it is too big,too hot, to whatever and then complain about it. I wish people would just give advice on useful information ie. booking a la cartes, best rooms, good excursions, hints and ideas of what to bring. Not just complain about the culture, heat and such!! We can't waittogoand I look forward to the heat, the animals,flowers, people and whatever other exciting adventure will come my way!! Any other advice will be duly noted!!

Peterborough, Canada
posts: 169
reviews: 1
7. Re: Roll Call March 4 - 18 Decameron

Thanks! Glad to be of assistance. As above, we were prety concerned after reading reviews. You sound like the sort of folks who would be able to enjoy yourselves pretty much anywhere...just pack the right attitude and be prepared to improvise and compromise...it makes it more adventerous. If flowers, people and heat are your thing, you are going to get what you're looking for. Especially the heat!

Re: A la cartes...The Mediteranian place is great...you eat right on the beach. The Italian is all right, but don't expect authentic. I have never tried the Fusion or the Thai. If seafood is NOT your thing, don't bother with El Canal. The Steak place is OK, but it's not Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. Check the speciaty nights at the buffets...you have to reserve for the BBQ night, for instance. Breakfast, lunch and snacks are pretty standard throughout the resort.

Re Rooms...pay the extra and get "Beachfront" unless you are a mountain goat you will be glad you did. We like building 31 and 13...make sure your travel agent requests second or third floor, otherwise everyone will be looking into your room...all day.

Any otehr questions...feel free to ask...

An

Hamilton, Canada
posts: 9
reviews: 11
8. Re: Roll Call March 4 - 18 Decameron

Just contacted my travel agent and we have upgraded to the Beachfront Rooms. Which area is better 31 or 13?...are there fridges in the rooms? I am getting so excited!! We are getting our yellow fever shots next week and possibly malaria? Thanks for all your help and input.If you have any other suggestions I would gladly hear it!!

Peterborough, Canada
posts: 169
reviews: 1
9. Re: Roll Call March 4 - 18 Decameron

We like Building 13 because it's close to the activity pool, the beach, the Atlantico buffet and the Mediterainina bar. Building 31 is nice too if you don't mind a little noise or activity. We never found it too obtrusive but our second trip was spent in Building 13, which we prefered because there are less rooms in building 12,14 &14 (4 per floor as opposed to 6 pere floor in BUilding 31 et al.But frankly, how much time will you actually spend in the room? Be sure to request second or third floor, otherwise you're going to have all the lookie-loos walking past all day.

I wouldn't bother with ANY of those shots, unless you're going into the Darien, which I doubt. The side effects from the shots are too debilitatating.Same with Ducarel...the food is more than palatable and my wife, who is pretty picky, has never had any issues with digestive processes here. I'm not a doctor, but I play one at work :) If your health provided says you need them, then get them, but you will not be exposed to any vectors on the resort...they have a pretty effective spraying program, The worst you'll get is sand flea bites, if you lay in the sand,etc...

IF you PM me here with your email, I will send you an email full of topical advise that I have sent others here who ask. A lot of it is addressed above, but I included a little more detail in it that doesn't need to go here.

PS: You are going to be VERY glad you upgraded to Beachfront.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
posts: 1,235
reviews: 4
10. Re: Roll Call March 4 - 18 Decameron

Wow, I live in Bocas but they way you describe it makes me want to go!!! To the poster before me, you don't need yellow fever or malaria shots, really, save your self the time and pain. The only time you would need those in Panama is if your going to the deep dark jungle.