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“Too many bugs for me” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Starfish Reef Resort

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Starfish Reef Resort
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Starfish Reef | Shepherd Island, Panama   |  
Hotel amenities
Kanata, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Too many bugs for me”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2013

This resort is on a small island surrounded by mangroves. It may be a great place for some people. It was not great for me as I was one of those unfortunate tourists the critters (chitras ) seemed to love feasting on. I forgot to ask some very crucial questions before going. Netting over beds and windows that don't seal are no protection against these sand fleas. It can indeed make a holiday very miserable. It is also difficult to enjoy an Eco resort if you have to keep your windows closed between dusk and dawn or run inside at dusk every day. I do not recommend this place for a long stay....just too isolated, too little to do. A few days at most would suffice. 40$ for a round trip for 2 to town ....to get supplies or have a bite to eat , ads up quickly.
Not my dream vacation.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 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.
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26 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    16
    8
    0
    2
    0
See reviews for
15
4
3
1
Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (2)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Panama City, Panama
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2012

WOW, can you just imagine being dropped off by a speed boat after a trip across the ocean to be left at dock set into one of the most beautiful islands of panama. Not only is this island beautiful because of the land but because of the two humans that landed here. Jack and Kelly have created an incredible environment to enjoy mother nature at her best, natural trails through out the land, paddle boats to enjoy the water, your own little swim area to basque in the sun with beach chairs... and after all that our house a feeling of luxury in a beautifully designed comfortable space to retreat to and still be right amongst the trees in nature. WOW thank you Kelly and Jack...
Oh and don't forget to buy some coconut oil!!! Wow AMAZING... LOVE LOVE LOVE

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glencoe, IL
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2012

Jack and Kelly have created a fabulous small group of villas, with ocean views, modern conveniences and plenty of room. This place has a wonderful mix of jungle, ocean access and just the right balance of solitude and community. The review by Bill P, below, put it well.

Our family of 6 was very comfortable in the three bedroom villa. The views from the balcony and porch are spectacular. Imagine waking up to the sound of birds, the view of the water below and tranquility. We love to cook, and the kitchen was remarkably well outfitted for its remote location.

We spent some days at home -- swimming and snorkeling off the dock, reading on the beach or on our porch, or making tasty meals (often incorporating what we could collect on the property, including bananas, mangos and coconuts). Some days, Kelly would arrange a boat driver for us for the day, who took us to Dolphin Bay, to Krawl Kay for lunch and snorkeling, to Zapatillos Cays for great beaches, to Red Frog Beach for body surfing, and into town.

Jack and Kelly could not have been more hospitable -- available to help, schlepping our groceries from the dock up to the house, or giving advice on local sites, but never intrusive.

We ended our time with a fire on the beach, a pot luck New Years Eve dinner and Kelly's Sangria. My only advice: don't wait until your last day to ask Jack to tell you some stories. Or maybe that requires a booking over New Years.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • 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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Toronto, Canada
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2011

The villas at Starfish reef are beautifully designed and built. The things that need to be "like home" are that. That is, the two washrooms in each villa are modern, large, clean and well laid out. In the kitchen, the appliances are top grade, with lots of cooking area. Small appliances like coffee makers and mixers are supplied. You do not have to worry about the basics.

The villas have a nice "local" flavor with lots of wood and tile, and the beds are comfortable (in the master bedroom, there is a queen size, with two single beds and a bunk in the second bedroom and a double bed on the main floor). The setting is beautiful, with the jungle coming up to the villas that are set up on the hill with breathtaking views of the ocean from the main floor balcony and the upper floor balcony. We founds bananas in the jungle, and the kids drank coconut milk that they picked from the trees. There is a beach were one can relax and the ocean is warm at all times of year for swimming. One night, the family was on the upper balcony, counting shooting stars with the sounds of jungle nightlife in the background. At night, you can sleep with the windows open and the sounds and smells of the jungle coming through the screens. It does not get better than that.

Jack and Kelly are wonderful. They cooked Christmas dinner for the families. Their natural warmth creates a really nice atmosphere. We met the other two families staying at the villas and this sense of small community added to the place. There are lots of day trips one can take to the different sights. However, this is the best place to call "home base".

Room Tip: All the villas are identical and offer good views.
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 30, 2011

This place is a nature lovers delight-just what the doctor ordered. The views are gorgeous, the sounds are bird and frog songs, you can put your fins on and start snorkeling right from the beach. The snorkeling is very colorful and there are a lot of fish. It was very relaxing and we had fresh papaya and bananas. We got to try the cacao beans which are very tasty. Our villa had great views from every room and it was quite spacious with comfortable beds.

Thanks Jack and Kelly for a wonderful vacation!

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with family
    • 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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Mobile, Alabama
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2011

We enjoyed our stay with Jack and Kelly for 4 nights. The villas were nice and comfortable with a beautiful view. We enjoyed snorkeling and hanging out the 1st day and did a few tours with a guide the rest of the time. It is very relaxing, quiet, and remote. But it is quite a boat ride to make it anywhere. Would reccomend for relaxation and peaceful surrondings with good hosts. But not if you want to hang around the city.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Antonio, Texas
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2011

If you are looking for a place to get away from everything and everyone, this is the place to stay. Great place to enjoy a nice book, hearing the parrots flying by the island in the morning, pick up some fresh mangos and coconuts and go down to sit by the calm waters. However, if you are looking for some adventure, go to the beach or go party every night, take in count that all other islands are kind of far and you'll need a boat ride to get anywhere.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Starfish Reef Resort

Address: Starfish Reef | Shepherd Island, Panama
Location: Panama > Bocas del Toro Province
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #39 of 67 Specialty Lodging in Bocas del Toro Province
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Starfish Reef, a Small Caribbean Island Resort and beautiful bature retreat, claims beautiful ocean & mountain views from all 10 hillside Villa rooms, Jungle hiking trails in hill & valley topography, a colorful coral reef, a palm fringed white sand beach, and sand bar rimmed salt water swimming lagoon. All of this amidst a working Cacao (chocolate) plantation interspersed with many mango, coconut, papaya + trees. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Starfish Reef Hotel Bocas Del Toro Province

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