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“Bocas Playa Tortuga - A Pana-Gringa Review” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Playa Tortuga Hotel & Beach Resort

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Playa Tortuga Hotel & Beach Resort
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   Isla Colon, Panama   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #11 of 24 hotels in Isla Colon
Panama City, Panama
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Bocas Playa Tortuga - A Pana-Gringa Review”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2012

I went to Playa Tortuga with a group of friends, there were 10 of us.

The bus was there to pick us up at the Bocas Airport - we checked in pretty efficiently and they allowed us an early check in. (Our flight arrived at 7:30am from Panama City). Those both surprised me. The views from our room were simply amazing. We overlooked the ocean and a hut bar.

We ate breakfast at the buffet (Breakfast buffet is free to guests, but we came early, was not included - $17)

We arranged tours through the front desk. That flowed very well. There was a dock on the back of the hotel for the water taxis to arrange transportation.

Now our hotel seemed very clean, but it was old - and run down, there was moisture in the rooms as well. So if you think this is a fine resort - you will be disappointed. It is serviceable and I was pleased.

The hotel staff was not equipped to handle issues (such as bees overtaking the breakfast buffet), extra towels, arranging a shuttle to go to town, bars staying open after 11pm, slow response from the front desk - these are things that I've grown accustomed to in Panama after living here for 2 1/2 years. So I was not surprised - had I come from the US without having that knowledge, I would have been severely annoyed.

Playa Tortuga did have a nice pool area, the view was absolutely amazing, you could listen to the ocean at night from your room. The beds were comfortable. The lobby area provided space for meeting up with groups.

Another small drawback is you are away from Bocas Town - however there is a free shuttle that runs and a taxi will charge $2 (per person / before midnight / each way), or you can arrange water taxis - but it's fairly accessible.

Room Tip: Room 112 had an amazing view - and if you opened the door, you could hear the ocean.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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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367 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (44)
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English first
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2012

Stayed at this hotel for 3 nights and the front desk staff was great. They have a free shuttle to take you back and forth to town which we used a lot. We enjoyed the room. It was clean and the housekeeping was great. They have a wonderful pool and great view.

We didn't include the breakfast on two of the nights so brought back pastries from the bakery in town which were great with the coffee the hotel serves. The one night our stay included breakfast it sure wasn't hot and the selection was on par with most other places we stayed. The food was good but just not hot at all.

The only problem we encountered was trying to go on tours from the hotel. The man that does the tours was away our first day so the girl at the front desk arranged it for us. We have to give her a lot of credit as she made a lot of phone calls but did get us to Starfish Beach. The next day we wanted to go to Red Frog Beach and got up early so we could arrange it for that day as he started at 8. The guy said he would get it arranged and call our room as the tours leave about 9:45 and as soon as he could arrange it he would call our room. We waited until 9:30 and after no call went into town and went to Red Frog Beach on our own. We saw a tour leaving the hotel and while we were at Red Frog Beach we saw them arrive but when we got back to our room that afternoon there had still be no call. I don't even know why he is there as we talked to other people that had problems trying to do tours from the hotel. We watched him for awhile after we had asked him to arrange for us and he never once picked up the phone and spent the next 15 minutes playing on the internet. If you want to do anything from the hotel your best bet is to go into town and arrange your tours with the companies directly.

The rest of the staff was wonderful from the minute we arrived we were made to feel welcome. The shuttle back and forth has the best driver who is quite helpful.

All in all we were happy with the hotel but found it a little over priced for location and condition.

Room Tip: We were on the first floor and like the walkout patio and being able to walk from our room to the po...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 12, 2012

Let me be clear, if you are expecting a luxurious resort, this is NOT it. The hotel is very run down, I would say it is a Motel 6 equivalent...from 2000. The rooms and bathrooms show A LOT of wear and tear and are in dire need of renovation. The food served at the restaurant is not great, but edible and the service in the restaurant is poor. Despite this, I still am willing to give this hotel a good review for these reasons.

Location: I liked that it was removed from the hustle and bustle, yet its just a few minutes from town. You could walk, but I would NOT recommend it. The cabbies drive like mad men there!
Free Shuttle: The hotel offers scheduled shuttle drop offs and pick ups to downtown. The shuttle driver even took us a couple times off schedule which was greatly appreciated.
Tour Desk: They have a tour desk where you can arrange all your tours. We arranged a tour the day of and had a water taxi headed to pick up within 5 minutes. It's very handy.
Staff: There are a lot of staff at Playa Tortuga and they all do a really good job of keeping the facility clean and orderly. The front desk staff were also very nice and helpful. The only service that was lacking was the service at the bar/restaurant on the pier.
Pool: The pool is not huge but its nice and clean and while we didn't spend a lot of time there, it did seem like a good place to relax.

While Playa Tortuga didn't knock my socks off, I think it was the best possible option for Bocas Del Toro and I would stay again if I returned to Bocas.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Whitby, Ontario, Canada
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2012

Stayed at Playa Tortuga for 4 nights in 2009 and LOVED it! It's accessible to all of the local attractions, either by a bumpy cab ride or by boat (one night we chartered a boat from a floating bar...wish I could remember the name!) The food was ok, if a little expensive to eat / drink in house for an evening but it was OK to bring our own food and alcohol in from the local businesses. The pools were clean and beautiful, the breeze floating in from the ocean was like a dream. All the rooms are ocean view and extremely clean and comfortable. I seem to recall some issues with our air conditioner but otherwise no trouble at all. Looking forward to another trip.

Stayed December 2011, traveled with friends
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Charleston, South Carolina
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 1, 2012

Just returned from a 5 day stay at Playa Tortuga. It was a quiet, clean and peaceful environment which we were looking for. The service staff was very helpful. The only problem we had was the breakfast not being up to par. It was always cold. They didn't keep it hot. The mixed drinks and food at the restaurant across from the hotel was excellent. I also have to compliment Iveth Michelt who is the assistant Manager? She was very professional and accomodating and so was her staff. She made our stay delightful and because of her, we would definitely recommend your hotel to friends and if we should return to Boca, we would stay at your resort again.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Tambor, Costa Rica
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2012

The front desk and Airport Pick Up was very good. The overall condition of the hotel, service staff, and restaurant are definately lacking. Rooms are tired. property is not well maintained and restaurant menu is poor. They say they have two restaurants, yet only one menu and it is a pub style menu. Location is a little far from town, but do able. I found bar prices quite high for Panama. No mini bar in room as advertised, no spa services, and overall very unattentive staff. Would not return.

Room Tip: Pick another Hotel
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled solo
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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Tucson, Arizona, United States
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2012

Booked this place as a getaway while visiting Panama. A bit detached from central Bocastown, will be a long walk, short bike ride, or shorter taxi to town.

This is the luxury resort on Isla Colon. By local standards, that's true. If from North America, compare accommodations to a really nice Courtyard. Large bed, clean and cool-looking bathroom.

Decent bar food, though not spectacular. Cheap drinks and long happy hour.

Close to beach, but you're better off visiting Starfish Beach or another local beach if you want to see beauty. Close to nature though, each night here we saw crabs walking with us in hotel's exterior corridors.

Only complaint, room a bit musty, smelled of mildew . . . common in tropics. Hotel staff brought an ozone machine promptly and left it with us for the entire time.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Playa Tortuga Hotel & Beach Resort

Address: Isla Colon, Panama
Location: Panama > Bocas del Toro Province > Isla Colon
Amenities:
Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Isla Colon
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Isla Colon
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Playa Tortuga Hotel & Beach Resort 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Tropical Caribbean Beach Resort on the crystal clear waters of Bocas del Toro, Panama.Playa Tortuga offers 117 stylish room accommodations, each with a balcony and spectacular ocean view. Guests may choose from standard rooms, junior suites and large grand suites, all offering a contemporary décor, modern amenities and a soothing tropical atmosphere.Relax in the hotel’s sea view pool, or sunbathe in our water mirrors while enjoying your favorite beverage from the nearby bar area. Little ones will enjoy the children’s pool. Other modern and convenient amenities include free WIFI and a state of the art Fitness Center featuring a private massage area. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Playa Tortuga Hotel & Beach Isla Colon
Playa Tortuga Hotel And Beach Resort
Playa Tortuga Resort Beach
Playa Tortuga Hotel & Beach Resort Panama/Bocas Del Toro - Isla Colon

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