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Rio Encantado Nature Reserve Resort

View from the mirador
View from the mirador
View from the mirador
Pool
Cottage #1 porch with pool ,river and volcan baru view
Cottage 1 KITCHEN
TREE HOUSE IN THE JUNGLE
Caldera
|
Rental Home – 
1 Bedroom, 1 Bathroom, Sleeps 4

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Reviews from our community

Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
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English first
Bruce_Ray...
Edmonton, Canada
Top Contributor
83 reviews 83 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
75 helpful votes 75 helpful votes
“True beauty, good value, private & safe .... really!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 12, 2013 for a stay in December 2013
3
people found this review helpful

What a nice place..... We travel to Central America a couple of times a year and do not do a lot of planning beyond the first few days. We were very fortunate to be referred to Franks place by his & my dentist (Dr Luz) and that he had his newest and most private cabin available for what we anticipated was a 2 day stay. The location in terms of climate, geography, sheer beauty and privacy was so nice that we ended up staying for a week and would have stayed longer had we had the time. It is hard to beat private 650' cabin located in the shade next to a clear flowing and swimmable small river with a waterfall on the opposite bank. I was able to easily fly fish on a sandy or rocky shore a few feet from our covered patio. If we wanted to swim in a custom swimming pool or join friends for socializing, the walk was maybe 200' along a groomed and lit path. It is amazing this place is not booked years in advance and that Frank even considers hosting stays of less than a week. This is a great place at which to base yourself when in the Boquete area.

Cabin 3 has ceiling fans, hot water, a naturally lit shower, a large vented closet, a full kitchen (less oven) and an outside barbeque. Furnishings include a TV with satellite channels, a dining room table, 3 single beds and a fold out couch. There is a hammock. lounger, chairs and a glass table outside along side a modern gas barbeque. The cabin is completely finished inside with plaster walls and modern windows with a locking sliding glass door. It is basically a large room divided in the middle by a half wall with the bathroom built onto the outside back corner. The lighting is excellent both day and night. The entire 15 acre property is secured by a fence and the very steep (cliff) opposite bank of the river. WIFI is available in all three cabins, though it was a little spotty in cabin 3 for most of our stay. Cabins 1 and 2 are closer to the pool, not on the river and have bedrooms that are separate from the living area.

Frank is a social kind of "real character" who has developed this property in a way that enhances its natural appeal without making it feel anything but private and safe. He is a "doer" and is someone worth meeting if for no other reason than understanding what it is like to live in this area while pursuing your dreams. While we did not have the chance, I would have liked to have gone out to the coast and toured with Frank on his boat for the day. His prices are as reasonable for this as they are for the cabins. Likewise if you want to have a custom meal cooked on site, Frank's chef is available at a reasonable price. I am sure you could even arrange for an all-inclusive package with enough notice and coin.

This is a place best suited for those who enjoy nature and a feeling of being on their own while still feeling the security of being in a "resort". In all of the years I have travelled I have never stayed in a place that offered so much of this or that was as well thought out. It is not a place for those who might be afraid of total night darkness in which the stars compete with the fireflies, or who might be not be comfortable with the fact that this area is shared with critters like a river otter, owls, toucans, Franks dog Moe (who only roves with Frank) and insects of many sorts (no mosquitoes though). The sound of the river dominates the property, not other guests, roosters, barking dogs or diesel trucks down gearing.

Lastly, the property is 8 kms off of the Boquete road about 25 kms up this highway, 12 kms before your reach the edge of Boquete. It takes about 20 minutes each way to go back and forth by private car to Boquete, 30-35 minutes to David, depending on traffic. Buses run regularly on the highway as well as the Caldera road. Caldera is about 5 minutes from the property gates and has a basic grocery store and a couple of local, very reasonably priced restaurants. The town of Boquete tends to be wet in the shoulder seasons and most of the region has a constant wind. Franks place and some of Calder avoids much of this weather and has a generally more pleasant micro-climate than just about anywhere else in the region

5 of 5 stars How easy was it to book the property? 5 of 5 stars How helpful were the directions to the property?
5 of 5 stars How easy was key pickup/access to the property? 5 of 5 stars Overall condition of the property
5 of 5 stars Bedding & mattresses 5 of 5 stars Kitchen & utensils
5 of 5 stars Bathroom cleanliness 5 of 5 stars Other facilities & amenities
5 of 5 stars Service
Liked best: Fishing on the river & nature photogrphy
Liked least: Wifi was spotty in our cabin, but available on the property
Traveling group: Spouse/Partner
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway Older travelers
People with pets
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
  • Was your security deposit returned on time?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management Response
Dec 12, 2013
Thank you so mucho, you would have appreciated to see the full weather change to our dry season. Now we must have the sprinkler system on every day.
well, I am in a real challenge to build the tree house right on the river. It will be super special, look for photo,s as we move along. Expect to have it up by february.

Thanks again for your stay and input.

Frank
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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oberboque...
Maryville, Tennessee
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Shangri-La Refound!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2013 for a stay in November 2013
1
person found this review helpful

Rio Encando is an amazing microclimate in the Western Highlands of Panama about 30 miles from the Costa Rican border. The owner, Frank Stegmeier, an expat from the US, has built a mini resort on the sides and the bottom of the Caldera River gorge with three simple but very comfortable and spacious cottages, each very private from the others. On the plain above the gorge the climate is almost semi-arid, but in the gorge it is incredibly lush and verdant and green, and that combined with the sound of the white water in the river makes for a separate special world that you have all to yourself!
The entire grounds are gorgeously landscaped with innumerable tropical plants and flowers, and there are many long lighted walking and hiking paths. At night it's cool in the gorge, and blankets on the beds make it warm and cozy. During the day the very large pool and gazebo area are a delight. If you don't want a pool, there are several fantastic swimming areas in the river.
Cook your own meals in your cabin or go a couple miles down the road to Melissa's restaurant and have a full supper for $2.50. Or if you want fine dining drive about 20 minutes to Boquete with it's many elegant restaurants.
We have stayed with Frank several times now and are going back in a few weeks. We have been all over the Chiriqui highlands and Rio Encantado stands out as a very very special place.
Come and stay a while---- I guarantee you'll want to come back soon.

Traveling group: Spouse/Partner
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management Response
Nov 25, 2013
Thank you so much, I just learned how to respond. imagine when you rtn we will have our super special tree house at the swimming hole, PROFUNDO with a zip line and all.

Thanks again

Frank
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Jay M
Los Angeles, California
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Private Paradise Discovered!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2013 for a stay in September 2012
1
person found this review helpful

First off, I would like to say I never write reviews unless I am particularly impressed, and this would be one of those moments. From the second I arrived, I was in awe of how spacious, well manicured, and private the property was. My friends and I felt as if we had been friends of the owners for years because they were so welcoming and accommodating far beyond what we ever expected or experienced at any other resort or hotel in central or south america. The river, flowers, wildlife, locals, weather, and food couldn't have been better. I can absolutely guarantee I will visit this wonderful preserve again....in fact, my friends and I are in the planning phases now!

5 of 5 stars How easy was it to book the property? 5 of 5 stars How helpful were the directions to the property?
5 of 5 stars How easy was key pickup/access to the property? 5 of 5 stars Overall condition of the property
5 of 5 stars Bedding & mattresses 5 of 5 stars Kitchen & utensils
5 of 5 stars Bathroom cleanliness 5 of 5 stars Other facilities & amenities
5 of 5 stars Service
Liked best: The huge swimming pool
Traveling group: Friends
Your age range 35-49
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
  • Was your security deposit returned on time?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Dutch0469
Naples, Florida
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Paradise found”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2013 for a stay in July 2013
1
person found this review helpful

My wife Nina and I stayed at Frank's paradise in the mountains for a week. Frank has done so much to the property to make it seem that you are in a different world, words canot describe it. From the mement we arrived, Frank was the most gracious host. We rented the cabin by the river (#3) and truly enjoyed it's privacy and location. We went to the Boquette area to explore potentially moving to Panama and did not want to spend too much money to stay in some fancy hotel. To our suprise, Rio Encantado was more than a hotel it was a retreat from the daily grind and offered so much more than any hotel I have ever stayed at. Come with a sense of adventure and enjoye nature as it should be....and Frank too ...he is a hoot! We will miss you Frank. But who knows when my wife and I move to Panama, we will come and visit for sure. Thanks for your kindness and wonderful conversations. Rob and Nina

5 of 5 stars How easy was it to book the property? 5 of 5 stars How helpful were the directions to the property?
5 of 5 stars How easy was key pickup/access to the property? 5 of 5 stars Overall condition of the property
4 of 5 stars Bedding & mattresses 5 of 5 stars Kitchen & utensils
5 of 5 stars Bathroom cleanliness 5 of 5 stars Other facilities & amenities
5 of 5 stars Service
Liked best: being away from the tourist area
Liked least: to little to mention
Traveling group: Spouse/Partner
Your age range 50-64
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management Response
Jul 15, 2013
Thank you so much for you visit and review. We are always trying to improve things here. the next addition will be a tree house next to the river.

Thanks again, till next time.
adios,


fank
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Bleacherd...
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Enchanting Blend - Pampered & Rustic”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2013 for a stay in June 2013
1
person found this review helpful

We stayed at Rio Encantado for a family vacation with my wife and two teenage boys in June 2013. We were hoping for some adventure off the beaten path and a comfortable venue.

The site far exceeded our expectations. Overall, the world class grounds include a fantastic in ground pool, pool area, and a lovely canyon and bubbling stream.

The cabins (we ended up using 3 different ones) vary from perfect to good. Some have air conditioning and wifi, some don't. This wasn't a problem for us, since you can get wifi by the pool and there are fans, but choose wisely.

Since facilities are on a hillside, you can drive from the entrance level to cabins. If you choose, there are stairs to travel between cabins on different levels. This facility will be more comfortable for people that can walk up and down stairs.

The owners are very accommodating and offer much local advice if you inquire. We felt fortunate that Frank led us on a tour one morning to a local waterfall that highlighted our trip. His recommendation to eat at Melissa's for $3 per meal was a nice local food choice. Jose helped us find restaurants and hot spots in Boquette.

We loved the stay and felt this was a great home base for our visit to the mountainous region of Panama.

4 of 5 stars How easy was it to book the property? 5 of 5 stars How helpful were the directions to the property?
4 of 5 stars How easy was key pickup/access to the property? 5 of 5 stars Overall condition of the property
5 of 5 stars Bedding & mattresses 4 of 5 stars Kitchen & utensils
5 of 5 stars Bathroom cleanliness 4 of 5 stars Other facilities & amenities
5 of 5 stars Service
Liked best: A rural oasis with helpful owners
Liked least: Inconsistent wi/fi and amenitites on site
Traveling group: Extended Family
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway Families with young children
Large groups
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management Response
Jun 30, 2013
thanks again, happy that we got to show you the waterfall near us.
Our next project will be to build a tree hous next to the river.

Come on back for a few weeks.


Frank
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Frank_Ast...
Eersel, The Netherlands
Top Contributor
84 reviews 84 reviews
56 hotel reviews
Reviews in 65 cities Reviews in 65 cities
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
“We loved the natural and green environment, perfect cabin.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2013 for a stay in April 2013

Rio Encantado is a green tropical oasis in a rapidly changing environment at about 20 minutes drive from the town of Boquete. It's at a lower altitude then Boquete and hotter and drier. Its a beautiful protected terrain (nature reserve) with a river that is surrounded by tropical vegetation and lovely gardens.
We stayed 4 nights in cabin #3, the most most remote of the 3 cabins and located next to the river with a lot of privacy. We are nature lovers and absolutely loved the location of this cabin. We slept with the sound of the river and the cicades. We enjoyed swimming in the river right in front of the cabin (deepest part is located to your right) and in the wonderfull swimmingpool.
Matrasses were excelent as wel as the equipment of the kitchen. We did not miss the airco because it cools down a little at night.
Our favourite bird, the colourful motmot visited our garden every day as well as the (friendly) toads in the evening that were catching insects.
We loved this location and could easily stay for another week here.

5 of 5 stars How easy was it to book the property? 4 of 5 stars How helpful were the directions to the property?
4 of 5 stars How easy was key pickup/access to the property? 4 of 5 stars Overall condition of the property
5 of 5 stars Bedding & mattresses 4 of 5 stars Kitchen & utensils
5 of 5 stars Bathroom cleanliness 5 of 5 stars Other facilities & amenities
3 of 5 stars Service
Liked best: Natural environment and privacy
Liked least: Not applicable
Traveling group: Partner
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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cjmumma
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“A perfect Chiriqui Highland Escape”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013 for a stay in January 2013

We had a perfect two month stay in cottage number one. The lovely cottage was beautifully appointed with rock walls, a garden shower and comfortable furnishings. It had a wonderful view of Volcan Baru and overlooked the gorgeous swimming pool and gardens! Frank and his partner, Jose, have indeed created a magnificent nature reserve filled with acres of lush tropical plants which are a bird lovers dream. We particularly enjoyed the crested oropendola, fiery-billed aracari, red-legged honeycreeper, blue-crowned motmot, and rufous-tailed hummingbirds.

The weather was fabulous - cool nights for comfortable sleeping but unlike Boquete (which is often rainy, windy and always at least 10 degrees cooler), the days were warm enough to appreciate both the pool and the swimming holes in the river. In the two months we were here we never saw a single mosquito!

We rented a car for easy access to the many wonders of the area such as the gorgeous mountain drives, rainforest hikes with glimpses of resplendent quetzals, coffee fincas, markets and excellent restaurants in the nearby town of Boquete. We also enjoyed rides in Frank’s boat out of Boca Chica. We visited a number of palm studded islands with white sand beaches where we snorkeled and swam in warm, clear, aquamarine waters.

Frank and Jose were the perfect hosts in every way and we left considering them good friends as well.

This is a perfect place for those like us who enjoy the quiet relaxing beauty of nature.

5 of 5 stars How easy was it to book the property? 5 of 5 stars How helpful were the directions to the property?
5 of 5 stars How easy was key pickup/access to the property? 5 of 5 stars Overall condition of the property
5 of 5 stars Bedding & mattresses 5 of 5 stars Kitchen & utensils
5 of 5 stars Bathroom cleanliness 5 of 5 stars Other facilities & amenities
5 of 5 stars Service
Liked best: The quiet relaxing beauty of this true nature preserve.
Traveling group: Spouse/Partner
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Owner
frank s
Speaks English, Spanish
Listed since : Aug 2011
Response Rate: 65 %
Response Time: Within a few hours
Calendar Updated: 119 days ago
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