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“great place” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Panama's Paradise Saigoncito

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Panama's Paradise Saigoncito
Area Saigon, Bocas Town, Isla Colon 507, Panama   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
1 review
“great place”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2012

i stayed in number five. had a little kitchen with everything you could think of, great for when its poring rain , tonys market is great with meat dept. very close. kinda outta town which is great becuz yur sourrounded by locals , very polite, very safe. the neighborhood "appears" rough but hey yuor in a foreign country. free bike from bocas bicis is true and in good condition, my wheel got loose and they fixed it for free. overall the hotel is kinda like bungalows, there are four buildings ,two are for owner and staff, jenni the operator rocks, shes very freindly and proffesional, will accomadate preety much everything she can within reason of course, some reviews have said things about bugs and rats and the like, but that is everywhere in bocas, isaw a lizard on my beer can once and it is actually pretty cool, stay at the tortuga if yur a wuss, overall i liked this place a lot, it rained everyday so i just hung out on the porch swinging in the hammock drinking beers. relaxing like your supposed to do on vacation. bocas town is chill, the locals heckle you a bit but not as severe as ticos or belizians. panmanians are fiercly proud people, and yes your a tourist, so the price for you is much much more when taking water taxis just haggle a bit and the price becomes reasonable very quickly . land taxis are cheap 60 cents to town a dollar is bit much, ive had one guy try to get five outta me, i laughed, he laughed and drove away. bocas rocks, jenni rocks and saigoncito is a great place to stay, avoid the rainy season or you will wind up in a hammock drinking balboas all day. oh the agony

Room Tip: e mail jenni describe what your looking for she will figure what is best and is usually right
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 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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257 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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 (24)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
197 reviews 197 reviews
63 hotel reviews
Reviews in 80 cities Reviews in 80 cities
129 helpful votes 129 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2012

We had an apartment room in Panama Paradise and absolutely loved it. Everything was included that you needed and there were 2 local supermarkets just down the road. The room opened onto a shared balcony with hammocks and tables & chairs.

The location isn’t perfect but you do get complimentary bike hire which makes getting into town really simple.

This is a great place to stay in a really lovely part of Central America

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Melbourne, Australia
Top Contributor
81 reviews 81 reviews
72 hotel reviews
Reviews in 72 cities Reviews in 72 cities
72 helpful votes 72 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2012

Panama's Paradise is on a small block toward the back of town. Though the owner can offer free bikes from a nearby rental company, we enjoyed the half hour walk or so into town.

We stayed in a large cabin for 3, which had a fridge, stove and private bathroom with second small balcony. The cabins were great enough as they were rustic enough to maintain a charm and artistic light fittings, a great choice of colors, decoration and candles made the stay very comfortable. The decking was a great place to watch the evening storms roll in from the comfort of hammocks.

There is a nearby Supermarket which supplies everything you need if you plan to self-cater. The owner Jenny can assist in booking onward trips as well as day trips.

We'd also like to congratulate her on the birth of her child whilst we were there. Surprisingly she was up and back at the work the very next day.

Highly recommended.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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
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Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Costa Rica
12 reviews 12 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2012

We spent a couple of days in Bocas and stayed here - wow! Couldn't believe the gorgeous little cabana we got to stay at for such a great price. Best value for sure!
The free bike rentals just made it even better and easier to get into town, and visit the better beaches. I would even say its a little necessary as there isn't a great local beach to swim at, but several between 5 and 13 km away (just make sure you get a bike in good condition! some are old and sketchy, we had to swap one out). Its also just a few minutes walk to a local supermarket - "Tony's".
We just got a $1 taxi ride from the water taxi when we got to the island, but you could walk it if you don't have too much with you!
Jenny, the owner, is so lovely and kind, and has a lot of local knowledge. She even recommended a place to stay in Costa Rica and arranged transport for us. We happily would have stayed longer if we weren't so curious to explore the other islands- the whole experience was superb.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
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Panama City, Panama
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 5, 2012

We stayed for 7 nights (stay 6, get one for free). There are free bikes for your stay! Saigoncito is a bit away from the towncenter, which is okay, as you have the bikes to take you there in 5 minutes - walking is approx. 20 min. When you arrive in Bocas Town by boat take a taxi for $1 per person, unless you don't have a heavy luggage and prefer walking.
The hostel is run by Jenny, who moved to Panama from the Netherlands. She was very helpful and nice all the time. We have been staying in a room with fully equipped kitchen (Saigoncito No. 5), the rooms are all different, none has AC, but there a fans guaranteeing cool nights, while it can get pretty hot during the day. In our room unfortunately the basin was leaking a bit, causing the carpet being wet and smelly all the time. The deck outside the rooms are the perfect place to chill out (as long as mosquitos don't fly by) - there are some couches and hammocks for relaxing. There are hummingbirds flying by all the time. You get new towels and soap everyday, if you like.
If you look for a place outside of the party-town of Bocas, this is your place to stay!
A small supermareket is in 3 min. walking distance. Laundry is 4$ for washing and drying.

Room Tip: Saigoncito #6, a triple-room looked really nice!!
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  • Stayed September 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sao Paulo, SP
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2012

Loved it! My cabana was surrounded by nature, with hummingbirds visiting every minute while i was on the hammock sipping a cold beer. They provide clean towels everyday, and clean the room on the 3rd night, I think. There's a safe and even hot showers, but trust me, you'll only use the cold water. When getting your free bike, make sure you choose a good one, since there're some pretty old and rusty ones. There's supermarkets pretty nearby and getting a taxi was not really a problem (only on the Feria del Mar days, but the whole city was chaotic). The only problem I found was the mosquitoes. Maybe closing the cracks between the walls and floor would fix the problem. The beds do come with mosquito nets though, and bear in mind I'm a mosquito magnet. The rooms have ceiling fans and extra fans, but no AC. That was not really a problem for me, but I know some people find it important.There was some rubbish outside (bottles, baby dippers, soda cans), but i think it comes with the high tides. Not sure if it was the hostel's fault really. Otherwise, an excellent place to stay.

  • Stayed September 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Arlington Heights, Illinois
19 reviews 19 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
65 helpful votes 65 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2012

This review is WAY over due.

We stayed here for 5 days in January, 2012. We booked the room on Hostelworld.com which gives good discounts. I personally have never stayed in a hostel or a budget place before and it was an adventure to me. Until now I’ve only traveled to All–Inclusive, full amenities type of places. I knew that Paradise will not have the “amenities” that I’m used to so I kept my mind open to whatever may come.

The Paradise is located literally within 2 mile walk of the airport. We were backpacking on our trip to Panama so we had just that with us and we did not want to spend any extra money on any extra “frivolities” such cabs when we could walk. The place is not hard to find. Also it is in the same 2 mile walking distance to the Bocas Town and all of its glory. A huge bonus is the free bike rentals that Paradise offers to its patrons. We took a FULL and complete advantage of it.

Jenny greeted us at the main gate; she knew our names and was expecting us. That was kinda cool (what hotel staff knows who you are before they even see you?). She took us into her house (yes she lives there) to register and give us the keys. She even upgraded our room to have our own kitchen. Some rooms have a shared kitchen and some have their own. She was very pleasant, very accommodating and gave us all info we needed to make our stay pleasant. Jenny actually went on a vacation right after that but her back-up Suzanna was just a great! She was very nice and just as accommodating. The rooms were put together and cleaned every day. I have to mention that it’s not a place where the staff waits on you foot and hand, they pretty much leave you be and just show up to do the bare minimum – so you feel “like home” minus doing the chores.

The buildings are all surrounded by a jungle, the plants, flowers, geckos, hummingbirds are all around you! The truth is…if you stay here you pretty much are looking for a laid back experience and it is truly AWESOME if that’s what you want. If you are looking for a full amenity place – go somewhere else! Yes there are holes and bugs. I might have even seen a roach, so what? You have to remember you are in the JUNGLE on an ISLAND bugs live there and I bet you they live in the “nicer” places on the same island as well. The room we had (#6), some people call it the Hummingbird Room, was GREAT! It had a kitchen, a bath, a bedroom and another bed that could be used as a living area, and a balcony. It is located in one of the buildings (2 more rooms on the floor) with a HUGE covered deck which everyone uses as a hang-out room. They had hammocks, books to read, coffee tables, couches, tables for breakfast etc. The hummingbirds were everywhere! Very cool and very tranquillo!
The beds are equipped with the mosquito nets and are made-up every day. The bedding is changed upon request. The kitchen is equipped with the stuff you might need – a fridge, a stove, a sink, pots & pans, and even dishes! (there is “Tony’s Market”, a convenience store, within 5 minute walk and we took a FULL advantage of that). The bathroom is basically what one would expect from a bathroom – a toilet, a shower and a sink. There are rules though – the water is scarce so you have to conserve, even if you are a guest. Since this is an island, Panamanian government fills water tanks 2 times a day – morning & evening. Just keep in mind when you turn on the sink or flush the toilet and the water does not come out you have to wait till the tanks are filled again. They do ask to be mindful and not to waste water. Of course you can go to a place that probably has their own wells or has extra tanks that they fill just in case with rain/pumped ocean water then filter it...but it won’t be Paradise. Also don’t freak out at the shower head itself…. It might be a shock (almost literally) to some people but if you follow the rules that are written down for all guests in the guest book you will be fine. It works and people around the world use the same “technology”.

Free bike rentals – this is a great perk since it cuts down travel time to almost anywhere on this island. And all bikes have baskets – so if you are going to the beach or going shoping for food to stock your fridge it’s easy! I must say that the arrangement Jenny has with the rental place is great! And the owner is also very nice! We had some minor issues with one of our bikes and she was very helpful and accommodating – even after hours! You have to leave a deposit but you get it back when you return your bikes and locks. Also at Paradise they have a shed so you can put away your bikes and not worry about them at night.

Across the street there is a pier that takes people to a fancy hotel on one of the islands, but you can go there and enjoy a sunset over the water.

Also I have to write about Juan. Juan lives in a house next to Paradise. He must be over 70 years old but he LOVES (and I mean LOVES!!!!) Elvis, Paul Anka and Tom Jones. You will probably hear it – he plays his favorite music all the time. And it may seem annoying but really it’s kind of cool. So please, be kind to Juan! He also loves that people come to see his country and if you speak Spanish you will not have a problem talking with him but if you happen to be an American and speak only English he just might demand your company. He loves practicing his English! He’s very kind and very generous so be kind to him! He was truly one of the highlights of our trip.

Take your bikes all the way to the Play Bluff. It may be a little hard at times to pedal since a lot of the way you have to go on a beach in the sand but it’s worth it. There is a Play Bluff Café (owned by a Belgian couple)and they serve MONKEY BALLS –try it, see what you think.

Take one of the buses from the Bocas Town to Bocas Del Drago it’s about 2 bucks for 2 people, you will drive to the jungle and will see how locals live, then you can walk all the way up the beach along the shore to Starfish beach. Bring a picnic and a towel! It’s a popular beach among the tourists and locals. Very beautiful!

Take a boat from Bocas Town to Cayo Caremero, have a drink at Aqua Lounge or walk along the shore. You just might see sloths sleeping in the trees along the beaches, and catch live music at the Cosmic Crab Cafe.

Also via a boat ride go to Isla Bastimentos – here they have a forest/jungle preserve with a famous Red Frog Beach. Unfortunately we did not see the frogs …but we were approached by a local child who offered to show the frog to us for a dollar! We went to the Turtle Beach and it was so private that there was no one else but the two of us.

Eat chicken/beef skewers from the street cart vendors – the best meat on a stick for less than 2 bucks!

Indian food at OM Cafe is great! The owner is very warm and welcoming.

The BEST fish & chips I’ve ever had is at the Starfish Coffee on the main street in town.

A true taste of local food we found at Beso del Drago – family owned and locals eat there, the owner is super nice and the food is very good! It’s literally down the street from Paradise on a way to Playa Bluff.

Gringo’s is a cool spot if you want Mexican food – an American expat owner is a cool dude!

Overall Panama’s Paradise Saigonsito is AWESOME! Jenny is a great host and Suzanna is a wonderful back up. The place is very low key and super tranquillo. A truly great local experience. And for those who think that this place is a sub-par to the local living conditions – stay somewhere else. It’s not hard to believe that people actually live this way – Jenny lives on premises and so does Suzanna (across the street on the water), and if you venture into the parts of town away from the tourist hustle and bustle you will see very similar living conditions. It’s not bad, it’s not good, it’s just the way it is. And be nice if Juan invites you to his home (which he just might) for a conversation over a cup of wine with Tom Jones singing in the background. We loved Paradise so much that we deemed it probably the best vacation we’ve had so far and we cannot stop talking about it!

Room Tip: we had room #6 and we loved it. they also have cabanas that have 2 rooms and some rooms like the one...
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  • Stayed January 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
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 Panama's Paradise Saigoncito

Address: Area Saigon, Bocas Town, Isla Colon 507, Panama
Location: Panama > Bocas del Toro Province > Isla Colon > Bocas Town
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 31 Specialty Lodging in Bocas Town
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Panama's Paradise Caribbean Cabanas "Saigoncito" are located just a five minutes bike-ride away from Bocas Town and around the corner from the beach. This is your home away from home and the perfect place to find out what life is like in Panama's Paradise. The authentic Cabanas are built in the Caribbean style and are surrounded by local daily activities. Inside you find all the luxury that you're familiar with at home. Experience the Caribbean and enjoy your stay! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Panama`s Paradise Saigoncito Hotel Bocas Town
Panama's Paradise Saigoncito Bocas Del Toro - Bocas Town

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