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“Frankly impressive” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Boca Brava

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Hotel Boca Brava
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Boca Brava Island, Isla Boca Brava, Panama   |  
Hotel amenities
London
Top Contributor
205 reviews 205 reviews
112 hotel reviews
Reviews in 107 cities Reviews in 107 cities
126 helpful votes 126 helpful votes
“Frankly impressive”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2013

It's a shame that some people were less than impressed; I found the on-line booking service to be efficient and had no nasty surprises on arrival. Without being exceptional, Room 2 was comfortable and clean. The wildlife was on song at dawn to get me up for the sunrise.

In the restuarant, there is an excellent choice of music, mostly traditional salsa and bossa nova, including a number by a female singer with an intro sounding bizarrely like the riff from "Smoke on the Water". A bottle of Cerveza Panama to anyone who can tell me what the Brazilian song is!

The boat trip is well worth the money. The beaches on the small islands are nicer than those within walking distance on the main island, but those are worth visiting as well. The forest abounds with animal and bird life.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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135 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (20)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2013

If you want paradise stay in elsewhere!!!

F YOU STAY HERE MAKE SURE YOU HAVE PROOF OF YOUR RESERVATION!!!

BE AWARE THAT THIS HOTEL NEEDS A MASTER PLUMBER.I have done alot of traveling and don't expect alot unless I am paying for it BUT I do expect plumbing to work!!.Toilet that didn't flush, toilet that ran nonstop, broken, yes literally cracked and leaning to 1 side sink and clogged sink in the 2nd bathroom and Jacuzzi tub in the Jacuzzi suite that does not work...this was just in our room!!!! Also, the shower is in the Jacuzzi so you walk up and down marble stairs and step into the tub to shower..not a big deal for us but really slippery ..oh and the handle for the hot water fell off!!

Honestly..I couldn't have made this up!!!

We were excited to stay here...took the water taxi to the island..$6.00 pp..about 5 minutes then you head up a big flight of stairs to the hotel, with your luggage..I had a 20 LBS and snorkeling gear so it wasn't too bad. But be aware that there is no one to do this for you. We wanted at least 2 nights..maybe 3. Checked out the chart for room rates and talked with staff...most rooms DO say they have A/C BUT it does not work. All rooms with A/C king beds were book..so we choose a room with no A/C. February here is HOT, 90 degrees and 90 % humidity.... but what do you do?? We are sitting at the bar talking with another couple and the staff asks us if we want the room with the King bed and A/C, aparrantly the other people did not want the room and chose others.

The condensed version per the manager was that after they gave us our room..about 4 pm that day it was booked via the internet about 7 pm The people show up to check in and hotel management decided to bump us to another room. The hotel had helped us book a boat for the day for fishing and snorkeling ($180.00 incl tip for a covered panga) which was awesome..we caught lot of fish and were excited to come back and have the hotel cook and share our fish but we were forced to move VERY UNPROFESSIONAL. So we packed up and moved not what we had planned after a day of fishing and snorkeling..

Anyway..stay else where... you can come have a drink, see the monkeys, beaches and go fishing and snorkeling without having your fishing/snorkeling trip interrupted because of someone's lack of organization!!

Room Tip: Make sure you check out your room, check that the plumbing works and the A/C or just stay elsewhere...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
des moines
Top Contributor
103 reviews 103 reviews
45 hotel reviews
Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
68 helpful votes 68 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2013

Great variety of rooms, great staff, and a very helpful owner. The standard rooms are pretty basic but work. We spent two nights in standard, then upgraded to Deluxe. The Deluxe rooms have air conditioning, a little patio, a small table, two beds and are well worth the $62. The whole place revolves around the bar restaurant and there are people 18 years old to 80 years old from all over the world staying there and it's really quite fun. Walks around the island are for early morning because it gets hot! Snorkeling trip was fun and easy to organize. But at the first island make sure you have the boat man pull in so you can get your stuff, drinking water, towel, eyeglasses, hats, etc. off the boat. We assumed something was wrong, we were on the beach over an hour while the two boatmen were taking a nap. But there was nothing wrong, they were just too lazy to bring the boat into shore. So we were there with no stuff.
The owner of the hotel is very helpful and we would go back for sure.

Room Tip: Go Deluxe, it's worth it.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Amsterdam
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2013 via mobile

If you want to go to isla boca brava and dont want to spent a lot, this is your only choice, and so the best choice.
If you have red all the comments, you know what to expect; crew who do not speak english, waiting for your drinks and meals. Poor maintained rooms, and Thats really a shame, but so Panama...
If There is much wind, do not go on the snorkle trip! Espacially the way back is horror! Waves coming completely over the little boat. Soaking wet, cold and frightened, That Will be your experience. Not so much to see As in coiba.
So It's just a place to relax. And just expect not too much

  • Stayed March 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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Ljubljana, Slovenia
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2013

If you are searching for paradise, you have to go to Boca Brava. Hotel is very simple and that makes it so special. We had a sea overview room with shared bathroom and everything was clean and comfortable. At the morning there was a monkey family playing on the trees in front of our room and there was also a lot on monkeys on our way to the beach.
Hotel staff was nice and beside their English was very poor, they always tried to help us. Taking into consideration that there is no stores, bars or other restaurants nearby we were expecting higher prices, but surprisingly, food and drinks were cheaper that in most of other restaurants around Panama. Food was delicious and portions were huge.
We took a snorkeling trip with local guys and it was the most relaxing day you can imagine.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2013

We really enjoyed our stay at Hotel Boca Brava! Our room was simple, clean, and had a water view with jungle trees and monkeys right outside.

I would recommend taking the snorkeling trip if its offered! We boated out in a water taxi with local panamanian guys to islands with fine coral sand and gentle beaches. An awesome day AND at a great price. Other days we explored the island paths, beaches, and took out a kayak paddling to other islands, and watched the sunset from the sandspit nearby.

The atmosphere of the main dining room bar area is awesome. Its up on the hill, surrounded on 3 sides by water, breezy, open air tables on multiple levels, hammocks, good wifi. We ate so many good, fresh homemade meals there.

Some of my favorite things on the menu were fresh local spiny lobster, Panamanian bread filled with cheese and ham, strong coffee, freshly squeezed juices, freshly caught whole fish with rice, linguini carbonara, lobster salad, and brownies con helado. We knew not to expect super fast service so we paced our time at the restaurant to be leisurely.

It was relaxing to be surrounded by water and national park islands, with access to jungle trails, kayaking, swimming, hiking, and fishing in an undeveloped area. There are tons of birds, butterflies, monkeys, geckos, and iguanas. We met nice, like minded travelers from the US, Argentina, Canada, families with kids, and Panamanians on vacation, too.

On this trip, we found out that the owner of Boca Brava runs another hotel, the Surfside Inn, in Santa Catalina. Next time we come to Panama, we'd be excited to return to Boca Brava, and then head to Surfside afterwards!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 17, 2013

By and large I would agree with the other currant reviews ... However, given where they are and how to get there .... It's pretty cool. It may have seen better days, but the place offers a lot. Really cool bar restaurant area .... Where everything happens. Good food, wi-fi, warm water. The walk to the beach area is interesting (20 minutes on trail). But for a couple of romantic days were the pace is slowed down, it's pretty nice. I would go back in a minute, and look forward to it.

Room Tip: Check out what's available at the time .... Balcony to watch monkeys
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Boca Brava

Address: Boca Brava Island, Isla Boca Brava, Panama
Location: Panama > Chiriqui Province > Isla Boca Brava
Amenities:
Kitchenette Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Isla Boca Brava
Number of rooms: 16
Also Known As:
Hotel Boca Brava Panama/Isla Boca Brava

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