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“Great accomodation” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Koko Resort

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Koko Resort
Las Cabanas, Isla Colon, Panama   |  
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Ranked #1 of 24 Hotels in Isla Colon
Saskatchewan
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“Great accomodation”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2013

We are two couples from Canada who spent six nights at Koko resort in January. We stayed in the back two cabins closest to the shore as they were a little larger and had queen size beds. The cabins had everything we needed and everything worked just fine. Jack and Leigh were the best hosts we could have asked for. They organized tours with locals for a great price and with people they knew were knowledgeable and reliable. They took care of taxis and recommended great restaurants. Breakfasts were great and we really enjoyed Jack and Leigh's sense of humour and chat about local news and politics. Made for lively breakfast conversations.

The location is unique as you are right next door to working families. We really enjoyed this but it might not be for everyone. The locals were very friendly and we at no time felt uncomfortable but their standard of living is very different than ours so you need to be able to accept this. We especially enjoyed seeing the kids out everyday playing soccer or baseball. It reminds me of what our Canadian kids should be doing instead of playing on their computers or watching tv. These kids were having a ball.

We loved our stay here and would return if we came back to Bocas.

Thanks Jack and Leigh

Room Tip: The cabins at the back have queen beds and are a little larger but the waterfront cabins have the be...
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  • Stayed January 2013, 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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210 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
    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 (51)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2013

My girlfriend and I had two nights here. We loved every minute of it right from the excellent family run atmosphere and customer service to the lovely ambience of the place. Our Cabin was kitted out to a very high standard and all functioned perfectly, this was great as it means you can just cook dinner then hang out on the Hammock on the small outside area.

In fact as long as your not fussed about dining out you can save a lot of monet by just cooking in your Cabin and eating outside. Also the free breakfast in the morning is big and tasty, thanks Jack.!

We also really liked the fact that everything was very close by main town just 15 minute walk (if that) and you can rent for free for bikes and canoes which is a real plus. Beach and other islands very assessable.

We felt the owners Leigh and Jack really went the extra mile for us and all other guests we spoke to really loved this place. We would stay here agian without hesitation!

Nick, UK and Brigitte, Colombia

Room Tip: we stayed in Gecko which met and exceeded expectation
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
Boulder, Colorado
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2013

I felt that staying at KoKo Resort was the only place we stayed in Panama where we were able to see the real Panama. Our Island Suite was comfortable for the 4 of us traveling together and convenient to the main lodge. Walking to the end of the deck for the sunset was a nightly ritual and taking advantage of Jack and Lee's suggestions helped make our trip interesting. Jack's breakfasts were a morning treat and we found them to be charming hosts.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
UK
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
31 hotel reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2013

I would summarise Koko Resort in one word - Disappointing. This may be a surprise in light of most of the other reviews. Of course, the rest of the reviewers have their own opinions which you may well end up sharing, but if you go to Koko resort expecting what we did, I can not see how you will leave happy.

My wife and I were on honeymoon and chose Koko for 7 days of relaxing during our travels around Panama. We based our choice on the attractive website, which raised our expectations of being looked after for a week in beautifully appointed cabins. $100 a night is, in the end, quite a lot in Panama.

Even when you get there, the cabins are, on the face of it, promising. However, when shown into our cabin the first thing I noticed was that it smelt like my grandad's underpants - stale and musty. In neither would I like to spend 7 days of my life. The cabins are well crafted out of wood and designed well, but the wooden supports along the walls havent been cleaned or dusted, probably since the trees were cut down from the jungle to make them. Neither I, nor my wife are obsessed with cleanliness in our normal lives, but I think we were entitled to expect a room that does not risk inducing an asthma attack.

Further, the towels and the bedding I am sure were nice at the time they were bought, but technology and comfort have moved on since the Spanish occupation of Panama. Just one instalment of the $100 a night being paid for the 'privilege' of staying there would buy decent upgrades to these essentials.

$100 a night would also, I suggest, be enough to warrant some form of room service. At Koko 'resort' however, that was not the case. While at home my wife makes the bed each morning, she was understandably on strike during our honeymoon and out of 6 hotels we stayed in, this was the only one that failed to take this simple step, despite being the most expensive place we stayed. This reluctance to provide any room service extended to failing to sweep the floor, remove the previous occupants hair from the shower walls, emptying the kitchen bin (despite having food in) more than once a week or even consistently replacing the towels.

In fact $100 does not even get you any washing up liquid, soap for the sinks, nor an adequate supply of toilet paper. Of course, you can buy all of these things, but we though we had as part of the nightly cost.

What you do get for your $100 is breakfast, which is a good standard, although the choice is limited - limited in scope as well as limited to what it is decided that you want. It was decided by the powers that be, that I would have egg almost every day we were there. While my wife enjoyed the breakfasts, I have a long term hatred off the rubbery smelly stuff. To be fair, i didnt "speak up" and say that, but I saw some people try and give some feedback to be faced with a look of distain- as if they had just threatened an arson attack on the resort... And god-forbid you miss a breakfast... Despite there being no system of ordering breakfast nor confirming attendance, it is clear that missing breakfast is a sin. The last time I had this whole experience at breakfast, I was five.

An aspect of Koko that we had liked the sound of upon booking was its' location - away from the town in a more local neighbourhood. However that does not mean it is peaceful - one night we were kept awake by a house close by blasting out music until 4am, and others the admittedly beautiful view of the bay was affected by the constant dog barking. Just because Koko is not in the main town, does not mean that your expectations of peace and quiet will be fulfilled.

Finally (for the benefit of keeping this review as short as possible anyway) while I have nothing against the owners, who I am sure are warm and nice people, the whole set up did not feel comfortable. For example, when faced with cold water one day, and telling the owners in the morning, I was helpfully told "well you should have hot water" probably for the benefit of the other guests sat next to me. Confirmation of my right to hot water was good, but I didnt think it was in dispute. What was in dispute though, after being out for the day only to return to no hot water, was the ongoing nature of the problem - upon telling the owners that there was no hot water, I was told crossly that they had stood under hot water for ten minutes in our cabin earlier in the day. Good for them, but lying about whether I have hot water or not is not a habit of mine.

Jack though did finally agree to show me the "trick". Unsurprisingly however, I had mastered twisting the hot tap earlier in life, and when this didnt work, he was dumfounded. We established that there was hot water for the first 10 seconds of each running, and with that in mind the expert advice I received was "well you will have to play with it". After realising I wasnt too happy with that outcome, assistance was obtained which to be fair, thereafter provided hot water to the cabin. However for the rest of the time there we were faced with the difficult decision each morning as to whether we wanted a shower as hot OR cold, as that was all the system could muster.

While, again, we could have raised this at the time, we did not. However the set up at breakfast, where you have to sit facing the owners each morning does not make it easy to give honest feedback and in any event, from experience, proactive service was not forthcoming.

Again, I appreciate that the above is simply our view of it, and if you go, you might well agree with the other reviewers. However while I am more than happy to give great praise where it is due, and have done so having stayed in a range of hotels throughout Panama and around the world that have been fantastic for less, and more, than we paid at Koko, praise was not due here in this instance.

Koko resort is effectively an upmarket hostel - you have communal eating, basic facilities and no real room service. If that's what you are looking for (which we did at other times on our trip) then you will be happy with everything but the price. $100 can get you so much more in Panama and we really regret spending our money and time there.

Is Koko a resort? Yes, but unfortunately of the "last" variety.,

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 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.
bosstone, Owner at Koko Resort, responded to this review, January 16, 2013
We bend over backwards to make every guest that comes through KoKo as happy as possible. We just got named by Trip Advisor the Travelers Choice 2013 #1 hotel in Panama for customer service and that is not by accident. As many reviews ont his site and others say as well as our website

DO NOT BOOK US IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A 4 SEASON RESORT WITH ROOM SERVICE.

We are more of a bed and breakfast style atmosphere with home style hospitality but with nice private cabins for each guest. If this is not what your looking for then please DO NOT BOOK with us.

$100 is not expensive in Bocas, Panama or anywhere in the world for a large 2 story private cabin built over the water with double balconies and a full kitchen. We provide a excellent value for what we offer and are on the cheap end in Panama for these type of accommodations so we see no justification in your overpriced comment.

So if your looking to book with us at KoKo as we have said before please do your research first.

We serve a communal style breakfast with all the guests that many love. If you do not like this style of breakfast and want a restaurant with a menu then PLEASE do not book with us.

We are on a very rustic Caribbean island and things go wrong.Sometimes hot water breaks, sometimes things happen. When they do we do whatever we can to fix them as quickly as possible considering the location we are in. If you can not deal with hot water going out sometimes, electricity randomly going off, and the other not so great aspects of a country like Panamas and a island like Bocas Del Toro's infrastructure we suggest you do not come to this part of the world period and if you do DO NOT BOOK WITH US.

We want to thank everyone that does love the service we provide and how hard we try to please every guest and make there vacation as personal and enjoyable as possible. Thanks for making us #1 customer service in all of Panama for hotel properties.
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Brooklyn, New York
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2013

We loved our 4-night stay here in early January. We loved it and would love to come back. One of my all time favorites. So relaxing to sit on your own deck with the calm water below you. I could have stayed here for 2 weeks. We were jealous of the couple who was there for over a week.

We stayed in the Gecko cabin. It's one of the two middle cabins. There are six cabins, but basically, you have 3 choices. Shore, middle, and waterfront. The two shore cabins seemed to be a little bit larger, and the other 4 are more or less the same. If a waterfront cabin had been available, we definitely would have chosen it, but there was nothing wrong with our middle cabin. You still get great views and can go sit at the end of the pier. But the views would just be a bit better and you'd have a little bit more privacy with a waterfront cabin. Still, our middle cabin was totally great. The kitchen and bathroom were clean and in good order. New stove/oven, too.

There are a few kayaks you can use to explore the bay. We didn't do it, but it looked like fun.

Jack's breakfasts are delicious. If you're vegetarian, like us, just say so. Then Jack will grumble and make it for you without meat and maybe some extra potatoes or fruit. Very tasty, and a good way to start the day, talk to other guests and see what people have been up to, get suggestions, share a boat/car for the day, etc.

Jack and Lee are great hosts and will tell you the real deal about what to see, what's worth it, how to save money, etc. Also, be sure to ask Jack about the local fish taco joint down the street. I forget the name, but it's delicious.

Before arriving, we were a little concerned about the walk into town for dinner, etc., and availability of taxis. Some people say the walk is 5 minutes, other say it's 20. The walk is probably an honest 15-20 mins, but we ended up just doing that every night. A couple of times we took a taxi back home from town if we could grab one. But it's actually a nice walk through town, past the hospital and cemetery (which is worth a look one afternoon!) and some supermarkets. It's completely safe. We felt safer here than in most other parts of Panama. It didn't even cross our mind after the first day.

If you've read their site or other reviews here, so much has been said about the neighborhood. Yes, it's in a Panamanian (and increasingly expat) neighborhood. So what? You walk down the sidewalk past a few local homes and the friendly locals say hello to you. And then you walk down the pier to your cabin and you have a beautiful view of the bay and other homes spread out across the bay. I guess they're just trying to keep away people who think they're headed to tropical beach resort. But those people deserve the wake-up call. Not that there's anything wrong with going to a tropical beach resort. We've done it and love it. But that wasn't what we were after here. Frankly, the majority of Bocas del Toro and Panama in general probably aren't for you if that's what you're after. (Although my only suggestion would be to maybe take the word "Resort" out of the name. Not sure what difference it would make, but apparently for some people it's a problem.)

If you're going to stay on Isla Colon, I don't know why you'd stay anywhere else. You seem to have two major choices in Bocas Town: stay on/near Main Street with all the backpackers... or over here, just on the other side of town. I'd say over here at Koko or their other property, Bahia del Sol. If you want a more isolated feel, you might want to check out some of the other islands. But on Isla Colon, this is the place to be. It's quiet, calm, cool breezes at night and virtually no mosquitoes to worry about, either.

Room Tip: We stayed in Gecko. It's one of the two middle cabins. There are six cabins, but basically, you...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
San Francisco, California
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2013

My girlfriend and I spent 4 nights at Koko, and it was great. We stayed in the Gecko cabin (one of the middle ones) and the view was amazing. First, the resort is exactly the way it looks online; it did not disappoint. The cabins are huge...two private outdoor spaces (downstairs and up)...huge kitchen...awesome sleeping area and nice bathrooms. Also, the cabin has AC unit and a kitchen utensils, so you can stay-in and cook and enjoy a nice meal with significant other or family. You can watch the sunset from your window or walk to the end of the peer...You can also grab a canoe or go for a swim. The resort is not downtown Isla Colon, but it is a short walk or a 75 cent cab ride away. from the main strip. J and L (and their staff) are amazing hosts...you feel right at home. The resort is in a neighborhood, which did not bother us at all. People where nice and friendly. Oh Yes...BTW - Jack's breakfasts are "awesome"...believe the comments, the man can cook (I can only vouch for the breakfast)...Overall our time at Koko was amazing. You can choose to go Bocas and have the backpacker experience or you can choose to go and have the full touristy experience...Koko is the only place(that i found) that allows you to be in the middle. BTW - the internet works fine - Unfortunately I had to take a couple work calls, and it worked fine - after that, I did not see the point to going back home - LOL

Thanks J + L, we hope to see you soon

Room Tip: The property is in a neighborhood, so if you have a problem dealing with too much culture or looking...
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  • Stayed December 2012, 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brielle, Netherlands
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2013

We spent three nights in the place, we liked it although we had lots of rain.

We had the orchid house which has the best view (according to us). We really loved the design of the house with an upstairs bedroom, and a spacious 'living area'. There are two balconies with a hammock and relaxing chairs and the sunset here is just amazing.

As mentioned we had rain and than walking to town is quite far but with nice wheater it's a nice walk and in about 15 minuts you'll be there. The owners can advice you about things to do in the area and between rain showers they advised us to go to Playa Estrella with the bus, which we simply loved.

Breakfast is fun and is served by a grumpy, funny man and enjoyed together on a bar.

The only point for recommendation is the maid service, which there wasn't during our stay (3 nights). Although after the second night we saw that someone had tried to empty the bins, as they were standing in the room. But maybe was called away and forgot about us. However, as this place was clean enough when we arrived we didn't really mind it.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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 Koko Resort

Address: Las Cabanas, Isla Colon, Panama
Phone Number:
Location: Panama > Bocas del Toro Province > Isla Colon
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Isla Colon
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Like a picture postcard. Cabins built over the water of a beautiful bay. Various size houses. Steps from the beach. 5 Minutes to town. Fantastic sunsets from the dock and lit up fish viewing at night. Full kitchens, AC, fans, maid and laundry service. Full time security, Safety boxes in rooms. Wireless Internet. Kayaks, bikes, snorkel masks free. Grocery delivery. We speak English and Spanish and will help you with arrangements for a perfect vacation. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Koko Hotel Isla Colon
Koko Resort Panama/Bocas Del Toro - Isla Colon

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