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“A Magical Place” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Koko Resort

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Koko Resort
Las Cabanas, Isla Colon, Panama   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 22 Hotels in Isla Colon
California
Level Contributor
17 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“A Magical Place”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2013

My family has taken 4 trips to Costa Rica & last year my son and I did a one day side trip to Bocas del Toro in Panama. On this trip in July we decided to send 2 nights in Panama and stayed at the Koko Resort. It surpassed all our expectations and even though we have stayed at some very fine hotels in Costa Rica, this was our favorite.

Jack and Lee are very nice hosts and will help arrange your tours (I would urge you to let them setup your tours instead of booking them yourself. It may be a more intimate experience and save you money). Take their advise on restaurants and you won't go wrong. Their cottages are on Saigon Bay and are a bit out of town, but that gives you more seclusion and less noise. You can hire taxis to and from town for $2 and there's a good market close by.

The cottages are very spacious and have air conditioning and full kitchens. Even though we were there in July we found them very comfortable and did not need to use the air conditioning as there was plenty of ventilation from all the windows (most of which have idyllic views). We saw many fish, sting rays, star fish and crabs in the waters below.

Jack cooks you an excellent breakfast.

I read some reviews commenting negatively about the working class neighborhood where the resort is located. While this is not Bora Bora, it is a genuine and unique Panamanian experience at a very reasonable price.

If you are visiting from Costa Rica please be advised to bring US dollars and not colones. You will need dollars to pay entry and departure fees at the Panamanian border. You will find that your money goes a little farther in Panama than Costa Rica.

  • Stayed July 2013, 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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255 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 (61)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2013 via mobile

I had done a lot of research looking for a cabin on the water close to town and after much thought had chosen koko. We love it here. I read a lot of the reviews about being away from town and in a residential area. I can't laugh at that enough, you're in a foreign country, you are bound to mix with local communities, hence the point! Yes it's 10 minutes walk so what?! Rent a bike for a couple of days and it's a perfect ride. It's nice and quiet away from the bars and very relaxing Yes it's in a residential area, locals are very harmless and quite welcoming to foreigners, always had a smile for us. We have travelled all through Central America/ South America and believe me this is the safest we have felt. Lee was great, she had so much knowledge of the area and was so helpful. Over breakfast we would discuss what best options for day trips were and gave us the best advice. Would recommend to anyone! Our little oasis away from home. Perfection! Thank you.

  • Stayed July 2013
    • 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York, NY
Level Contributor
50 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2013

We stayed in the Gecko cabin for 5 nights. It was quiet and peaceful. Other reviewers complained about the locals, but we had no problems with noise. The locals were all very friendly and we loved that all of the kids were playing outside, either soccer or fishing in the boats or playing in the water.

The cabin was really cute and had everything we needed. The breakfasts were all yummy. We used the kitchen quite a bit, and we went to Tony's (a small grocery store) to buy lunch and dinner every day.

Jack and Lee are incredibly nice and helpful. When I sprained my ankle Jack made some phone calls to find me some crutches (crutches are notoriously hard to find as the clinic doesn't loan them out any more). They both checked on me regularly to make sure I was ok and offered to bring some dinner to me. They definitely went out of their way.

I'll have to come back to Bocas in order to see the sights (doctor's orders: stay off my feet) and when I come back, I'll definitely be staying here!

  • Stayed July 2013, 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.
Kalamazoo, Michigan
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 5, 2013

My husband and I enjoyed a 4 night stay at Koko just a couple weeks ago. We read a lot of reviews on trip advisor before choosing Koko and were very happy with our choice. The cottages built out over the bay are unique and provide more than most places on the island... Coffee maker, full fridge, air conditioning, nice deck for relaxing, etc. We liked being just far enough away from Bocas Town to have some peace but an easy walk or bike ride if you want to avoid the 5 min taxi ride to town. You're definitely in a neighborhood in a developing country (yes there is a lot of trash) but we felt safe and welcomed. We got into the habit of stopping by the nearby Tony's Market for beer, coffee, water and snacks. Jack was traveling during our visit, but Lee was a gracious hostess and her breakfasts were wonderful. We really enjoyed meeting at breakfast with other guests from Australia, Argentina, USA and talking about what our plans were for the day. Lee arranged boat tours, advised on bike rentals and beaches, and recommended restaurants and was fun to talk to about the islands. Only complaint is the music into the wee hours on weekends from a local bar around the corner, but it is all part of the experience. We would definitely go back to Koko.

Room Tip: Pick the cottages on the very end of Koko for the best views and most privacy.
See more room tips
  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Victoria, Canada
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 26, 2013

We stayed at Koko Resort in April in the Starfish Cabin for my husband’s 60th birthday. We loved almost everything. The location was great – not in town, but in a residential area, an easy walk or cab ride to wherever we wanted to go. It is rustic and not 5 star (as the website will tell you) but worth the effort to experience Jack and Lee’s warm and earthy personalities and something a little different. Jack and Lee have blended into the local community, not tried to make it North American and clearly care about their neighbour’s well-being. We loved this.

Good sense of humour, great breakfasts, arranged boat/snorkelling trips, taxis, anything we wanted/needed. We had a few great days/outings with others who were staying there – snorkeling, dinners. Good recommendations on places to eat. Try the fish taco stand just down the road and El Pecado for dinner. Do the Oreba chocolate tour if you have time. We loved it! Only thing we disliked was the locals played their boombox on the beach the first two (weekend) nights until the morning (4:30 am one day). Other than that, we wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Jack and Lee were there to help you have the best experience – through their local connections and knowledge:

• If we needed transportation, they would call their favourite (reliable) taxi drivers
• If we needed a suggestion for dinner, they came up with them, arranged the land and/or water taxi and the reservation.
• The first day there, we wanted to go snorkeling, so they arranged with others staying there, called someone they knew and a boat arrived at their dock (almost in their kitchen) and we were off
• When we wanted to go on the Oreba chocolate tour, they helped with the water taxi and the booking.

If you’re looking to be pampered, don’t come here; if you’re looking to stay in a laid back funky place – we thought of it as an adult hostel – hooking up with like minded travellers while there – stay here!

Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Curacao
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2013

We stayed 10 days in Panama, Couple of days in Panama City, and a couple of days in Koko Resort. We did read reviews of Koko so we kind of knew what to expect. Apartments are fair, nothing fancy, but not pretending either and everything is there. So far so good. BUT, to have a lumber shop right next to you, which start working at about 9 and closes at 9 in the evening. Off course I appreciate 4 families LIVE from this shop, but to have this noise all day long next to my vacation address??? Sorry, NOT acceptable. We only came "home" to sleep: Surfing is great (Bibi's on the Beach) - ATV tour is FANTASTIC - Red Frog Beach FANTASTIC.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
bosstone, Owner at Koko Resort, responded to this review, June 1, 2013
The very small woodshop that supports many families in the local community where we live is open during normal business hours like every other business. They are not loud, obnoxious or a problem for us or anyone else.

Sorry but we are a property located in a community, the people in our community do not stop working because tourists decided that their island was a beautiful place to visit.

Talk to the local people, watch their work, embrace the area.. If you can not do that then as we have said before simply do not book with us and go stay at a normal hotel. Do not book with us and then complain that the entire local community that we live in did not stop dead in their tracks when you arrived and accommodate to your personal schedule.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vermont
Level Contributor
27 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 26, 2013

The cottages and boardwalk are a beautiful design and the accommodations are clean and efficient. Lee was terrific in the morning and breakfast was delicious. It was very quiet and we were glad of it after seeing the bustle of Bocas Town. In the evenings, we'd sip cocktails on our deck or go out to the big end deck and peer down into the ocean with the deck's lights, to watch the jacks feeding on minnows, the occasional eagle rays cruising and the gigantic bats swoop by!

The value here is unparallelled. Clean, safe, warm, quiet. It is a neighborhood rougher than most of us are used to, but I never felt unsafe and once greeted, locals return a smile warmly, every last one.

  • Stayed April 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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 Koko Resort

Address: Las Cabanas, Isla Colon, Panama
Location: Panama > Bocas del Toro Province > Isla Colon
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi )
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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