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“A stay in paradise so perfect we had to return again!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Bluff Beach Retreat

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Bluff Beach Retreat
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Playa Bluff, Isla Colon, Panama   |  
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Guided Horseback Ride
Ranked #2 of 36 Isla Colon B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Boulder, CO
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“A stay in paradise so perfect we had to return again!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2009

This is my wife and my second stay at Bluff Beach Retreat. Our first stay was so fantastic it was when, not if, we would return. Off the beaten path but with amenities so nice you can't help but make jokes about it. Limes for the drinks come from their own farm in the jungle, lettuce, veggies and passion-fruits from a local organic farmer. Ron served up steaks, chicken and tofu and everything else our hearts desired. Ron and his wife Christine picked us up from the airport and were great hosts in every way! They gave us tons of fantastic things to do including sending us to Starfish Beach and on a boat ride to Isla Bastimento where we had some insanely good Thai food in the middle of the jungle at Island Time Thai with an amazing view of the bay through the trees.
The location is truly amazing and parrots, monkeys and sloths can sometimes be seen or heard in the trees. The beach right in front of the main house is truly picture perfect and so deserted it will spoil you for life. On our first trip we even saw a turtle nest right in front of the retreat; seeing a huge mound of eggs and the momma's 5-6' wide tracks in and out of the water was worth the air fare alone!
We can't wait to get back for our third stay, maybe in the new honeymoon villa!

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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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179 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (37)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Big Sky, MT
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2009

Ron and Christine are fantastic hosts. Our group of 5 women really lived in luxury for the week, dining in style in the big house, surfing, snorkeling, beach walking and bike riding. We loved the jungle and the beach and we can't wait to come back and rent the whole thing with all of our friends!

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
washington, dc
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 20, 2009

This was a true escape in paradise. Bluff beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Bocas del Toro and Bluff Beach Retreat puts the entire beach just outside your door. We were also lucky enough to see howling monkeys right from our balcony.The rooms were clean and well kept. The service was great as the pick up and drop off was timely and the driver took us around town to buy all of our groceries before going to Bluff Beach Retreat. Breakfast was delicious and the full kitchen allowed us to do all our cooking for lunch and dinner. Very clean and private. If you are looking for a private escape to paradise and you are ok with taking care of your own lunch/dinner, then this is the place for you!

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2009

I went with 11 friends and spent an entire week at the retreat and it was really an unbelievable experience. The best way to describe it really is that you completely lose track of time while there. We paid up front to have meals prepared for us and the food was fantastic. We went downtown a couple of days and found nothing in town to compare. The beach is about 50 metres walk and while were there I think we saw his neighbor on the beach once and two college kids out one other time but besides that is was essentially miles of private beach. I work in a high stress type of job (along with most of my friends) and it was truly amazing. I really loved that we were off grid and using solar power and rain-water collection systems.There is satellite internet access to stay connected but I doubt you will want to. Bring some books, he has games and dvds to watch if you want and plan on just relaxing.

As to some of the other comments, I didn't have problems with construction but it was wrapping up while we were there. They were doing work but I never really noticed. The place really does look amazing, though, and the pictures on the website I don't think does it justice.

The way the place is layed out lends itself well to large groups like ours which wanted to stay all together. There is a private guest house but in the main house, only the "master" has a private bathroom. It never bothered any of us, but I suppose if you are looking for ultra seclusion even from other potential residents you would want to clear that up. I don't know much about the house he just finished building.

Casius, his dog, was great fun. Almost all of us were dog people so we considered it a bonus to have a house dog. He came for walks with us and wanted to play. He is pretty well behaved and we never had any issues. Ron says that if requested he can sometimes keep Casius elsewhere so you would want to talk about that. If you like dogs, though, Casius (a german boxer) will be a bonus for you.

Yes, it is truly off the beaten path, which we thought was great. You have to get a cab with good clearance to take you there / into town. The cheapest we got was $20 but it is reasonable to expect $30. Ron took us into town a couple of times, but we had to get back. Town is interesting but really we were there to relax and being on the beach was far better than staying in town and trying to catch a cab and find a good beach each day.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
new york city
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 12, 2009

We cut our stay short because of the unending noise generated from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. due to construction of an additional guest house adjacent to the one we rented for $110 per night. At around 8 p.m. the generator in front of the guest house started up and ran all night long. It was like being next to a truck stop. My apartment in Manhattan is quieter. Truly, the constant noise rendered the "secluded luxury" pointless, since we were unable to even hear the sounds of surf from the gorgeous beach nearby. Ironically, we had to move into town to find the quietude we were seeking and get some sleep.

Rather than acknowledge the misleading nature of the seclusion offered, our host Ron refused to return our advance payment for the two outstanding nights.

Also note that this resort is only accessible by a $30 - $40 taxi ride each way. The muddy rutted road rendered biking or even walking completely out of the question. A veteran of secluded resort stays, this was truly one of the most disappointing experiences of over 30 years of travel.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bluffbeach, owner at Bluff Beach Retreat, responded to this review, August 17, 2009
You can not always please everyone. Our beautiful homes are off-the-grid and as such our generator does run for three hour periods at times. A taxi ride to our property costs $20 from Bocas each way and we have many guests who use our bicycles. We offer free lifts & co-ordinate day trips with our guests.

I am very sorry that these guests did not enjoy their stay with us, but at no point did they ever verbalize their complaints & never did ask for a refund, but simply told us that they wanted to be closer to the bars & restaurants in town. We arranged another hotel for them.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Milwaukee, WI
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2009

I can't say enough how much we all thoroughly enjoyed staying at Bluff Beach. Actually, the kids can't stop talking about it. Even the girly-girls came around and made peace with nature. We each came away with many awesome lifelong memories.

Between two families we had four adults and five teens so we took over the beach house. It was so comfortably laid out that it lent itself so that each of us did what our little hearts desired: nap in a hammock, watch a movie, jump the waves, take Cassius for a walk on the beach, snack on pineapple, play cards, whatever.

Ron is an excellent host and we appreciate the laid back hospitality. From arranging transportation, the catamaran tour, horseback riding, to making food & supply runs in town and giving tips & information about the local "stuff". "Muchas gracias!" again to Iris for starting our days off with a super & delicious breakfast. It was truly a relaxing adventure that was difficult to leave. Cassius (the dog) was a great touch to really making it feel like home.

Thank you for a wonderful experience. Next time we'll definitely stay longer.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver, CO
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2009

My husband and I stayed at Bluff Beach and WOW, what a treat! If you are looking for something off the beaten path, but with lots of wonderful amenities and authentic (not touristy) things to do, then you should stay here. The house is beautiful! It's difficult to get to, but the hosts will pick you up from town or the airport and make sure you have whatever you need. They arranged all kinds of awesome tours for us too that were totally private....no other tourists around! It was awesome! We went to a chocolate plantation and Starfish Beach plus a snorkling trip. There is also a farm attached to the property and Ron (the host) will gladly take you on a tour. When we visited, a baby calf was just born, so Ron took us over to see the newborn calf. It was one of our favorite experiences! We also rode their horses to a nice beach restaurant. The rest of the time we spent on the pristine and deserted beach in front of the house or napping in the hammocks with some books. My husband and I felt that this was one of the most restorative vacations we've had in years. We felt so taken care of, but also felt like we really saw and experienced the best Panama has to offer. I would highly recommend staying here....Ron will take amazing care of you! We can't wait to go back!

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
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Additional Information about Bluff Beach Retreat

Address: Playa Bluff, Isla Colon, Panama
Phone Number:
Location: Panama > Bocas del Toro Province > Isla Colon
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 36 B&Bs / Inns in Isla Colon
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to Bluff Beach Retreat. Our 4 acre property is located directly on Bluff Beach, Isla Colon, in the Bocas del Toro archipelago of Panama, Panama - with miles of secluded sandy beach for you to enjoy. It is a short walk from the steps of our three homes - the Beach House - Las Palmas Casita & La Pina Casita to spectacular Bluff Beach. Enjoy our spectacular 65 foot Oceanfront pool! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Bluff Beach Retreat Hotel Bocas Town
Bluff Beach Retreat Panama/Bocas Del Toro - Isla Colon

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