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“Relaxing Retreat...But don't expect luxury.” 5 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 #12 of 24 hotels in Isla Colon
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Relaxing Retreat...But don't expect luxury.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 25, 2012 via mobile

I want to start by saying that we had an amazing time at this hotel! The setting was fabulous...a quiet paradise. However, as previous posters, I will caution people not to expect luxury. The hotel is basic, but clean.

If you are not looking for luxury, but for relaxation, then don't let the cover of this book fool you. The pool was fabulous, the view from our room marvellous and the ocean front restaurant as relaxing as it gets ( provided you are not in a rush...and know that food quality and taste can be inconsistent...smoothies were good though!).

They offer a shuttle into town roughly every 4 hours, which is great. While Bocas town is wonderful, 4 hours there is probably a bit much so cabbing there or back at $2 per person is a good option.

If you are a backpacker looking to party, Bocas town is probably better, but if you are looking to enjoy the quiet of a beach with the proximity to Bocas I would not hesitate to recommend Playa Tortugua!!!

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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332 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 (39)
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English first
Los Angeles, CA
Top Contributor
112 reviews 112 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
304 helpful votes 304 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 14, 2012

From the moment you arrive at the airport and are greeted by Hotel Personnel, you get the feeling you are going to have a good time. The 10 minute drive through the quint town of Bocas del Toro to the Hotel is unique, and the driver points out some of the interesting sites.

Upon arrival at the Hotel you are warmly greeted by Hotel Staff, and if you are serious with them, they are serious with you, if you kid with them, they will kid with you.

Great room, great view, comfortable bed, quiet and "cold" ac, nice bathroom, nice balcony. Breakfast was included with room, and was descent (better than Hampton, or Holiday Inn Express breakfasts).

Bar on the water is great, and staff is warm and amicable. Drinks are fairly priced. There are two food services (one at the bar on the water, and one at the same place they serve breakfast). The menu at the bar is very reasonable, food comes up fast and is tasty, but the one at the Restaurant is expensive, and takes forever to be served. I ordered a "fresh" pizza and it took 60 minutes. It was a fantastic tasting pizza with all fresh ingredients, but very long wait.

The Hotel provides free bus service into town, and even if a trip is not scheduled, if enough hotel guests want to head for town, the front desk does their best to have someone take you. Otherwise, it only costs $2.00 for a Cab.

Town has descent food and restaurants, with fresh fish and seafood at very reasonable prices. They love tourists, and there is 99.99% certainty that no one will ever bother you or cause any potential harm. In otherwords, it is a very safe place to go with the family or your significant other. They "love" tourists. Many of the folks that own Restaurants or shops, started out as tourists, and decided to stay.

Boca del Toro has some wonderful Snorkeling and Skin Diving, and fantastic boat tours, and guides that love what the do. I recommend "Water Sports" tours for all your snorkeling, skin diving, and boat tour needs. Fair prices, great guides, and it is owned by an "X" tourist that decided to stay. Support him and his business! They will not disappoint.

Hotel has well maintained main pool, and kiddie pool, ping pong, air hockey, cable in all rooms, free internet, and free kayaks, if you like to kayak.

They also have a very nice gym with modern equipment and TV to watch while you work out.

They accept mc/visa/amex, do not accept Discover. Leave yourself a few minutes to check out, they want to go over the bill with you and do everything in duplicate so you never need to worry about being charged extra for something you did not have, or order.

Room Tip: You definitely want an "ocean view" room
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  • Stayed November 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 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Panama City, Panama
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 14, 2012

Taking in account this Panama area, for me Playa Tortuga best choice in Bocas, since the hotel has good promises, maybe the best in town, with comfortable rooms, all located in front of the see, good beds, clean, Wifi every where, close to the town by taxi, bus or bike, good surroundings. Situated in Isla Colon where are many for dining to choose. In general, the services are good, but still the hotel needs to improve the food and the tour services. The best beaches are in the keys. My favorite is Isla Zapatilla where you can go from the hotel or less expensive from public boat transportation. I recommend bring you drinks and sandwiches of course solar protection. There is nothing there. In others keys are places to eat but some of them look terrible. As soon as I can I will be back! Enjoy your trip!

Room Tip: Rooms have 2 queen beds and have panoramic sea views. The hotel has NOT elevator is better to ask fo...
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  • Stayed November 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
    • 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.
Avignon, France
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 13, 2012

Playa Tortuga is a perfect hotel for families looking for a hotel with a good variety of amenities: kayaks, swimming pool, gym, bar, restaurant, etc.They also offer tours departing from the hotel, with boats and guides of the hotel. The rooms are nice, with balcony and comfortable bed.The only thing that I didn´t quite like was the buffet and the defective shower.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 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
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Palm Bay
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2012

Stayed at this hotel for 1 night and the front desk staff was great. They have a free shuttle to take you back and forth to town.. We enjoyed the room, comfortable bed and great view . They have a wonderful pool. Only negative is be wary of the prices of alcoholic beverage at the bar over the water. $10.70 for a mixed drink

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
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
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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 Playa Tortuga Hotel & Beach Resort

Also Known As:
Playa Tortuga Hotel & Beach Isla Colon
Playa Tortuga Hotel & Beach
Playa Tortuga Hotel And Beach Resort
Playa Tortuga Hotel Beach
Playa Tortuga Resort Beach
Playa Tortuga Hotel & Beach Resort Panama/Bocas Del Toro - Isla Colon
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
#5 Romantic 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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