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“Best Deal on the Beach in Bocas” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Tesoro Escondido

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Tesoro Escondido
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Bluff Beach Road | Bluff Beach, Bocas Town, Isla Colon, Panama   |  
Hotel amenities
Sacramento, California
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Best Deal on the Beach in Bocas”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2012

Monique has created an oasis that provides a wonderful experience of the area - the jungle, the beach, the birds, monkeys and other wildlife, while providing enough creature comforts to be at ease. I sat all one day watching birds and flowers and listening to the waves while others walked to swim on the beach. After you've worked up an appetite you can enjoy one of the seemingly endless interpretations of local cuisine including fish, meat or vegetarian offerings and dessert creations that were unique. Ice creams flavored with fruit from the surrounding grounds and cacao from Monique's farm reminded us of where we were and the history and cultures of Panama.

Visitors can choose a room in the main lodge - each individual and quaint with windows painted in cheerful natural motifs and showers that let in light through colored glass (each a Monique creation!), or a more private 'cabina' by the sea. The 'Dolphin', 'Turtle' and 'Dragonfly' cabinas each have their own colored glass walls in those motifs. Wi-fi is provided but there is no television to interfere - believe me you won't miss it.

Location is about a 15-minute drive from Bocas Town, making visitors think twice before going in, but this is a place for exploration and reflection. Monique can make recommendations and arrangements for day trips via boat, snorkel/scuba, rain forest, indigenous cacao farm, and other adventures that guests might request. Her knowledge of the area and its offerings lets guests make the best use of their time - or you can simply enjoy a relaxing vacation reading on the deck in the beautiful surroundings as I did

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled solo
    • 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.
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240 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    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 (43)
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English first
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica
Top Contributor
74 reviews 74 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2012

We live in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica full time, so for a trip to something tropical to be special... well, it must be pretty special. Tesoro is a great little escape. "Escape" is not used sparingly. When you get to Isla Colon (just 3-1/2 hours and $17 a person) grab a few essentials (wine, coffee, yogurt, fruit, bread, cheese) so you can relax in your cabin and not leave for the first day. Sitting on the deck drinking wine (or coffee) and watching the waves crash below is just stunning. The lodge is comfy and cozy, but we really just needed a day to decompress from our own busy tourist business before we felt like we wanted to be social. I alternated between sleeping in the hammock and reading/overlooking the waves.
The second day we took an 1-1/2 hour walk (very easy, flat terrain) to a special spot called The Piscina, or The Pool. A natural feature of the sea cutting a deep shallow bay. After an hour of walking, watch for two sturdy (longer than usual) walking sticks, these will become indispensible to help you balance a 10 meter stretch of swampy mud balancing on floating logs. Take a lunch; we enjoyed the tuna salad the young man at the hotel made for us.
Dinner in was good, a fresh salad followed by a hearty chicken breast, white rice, and curry vegetables, for about $12. They have a full bar, though a limited wine menu.
We skipped breakfast both days, opting for granola and yogurt in the cabina. But it seems they have a pretty good breakfast offering for about $6.
The cabina is funky and sweet. It's obvious it's about 16 years old and built when getting things was not as easy as it is today, but that doesn't mean anything negative. Our own home in Costa Rica, built 9 years ago, is similar in it's mish/mash construction and enginuity.
Everything was clean and maintained to the standards to keep the casual traveler happy. A neat freak or a home stager might squabble, but we loved the use of local cast-offs to create art and function out of ordinary items.
The owner, Monique, is delightful and genuinely happy to have you as guests. She'll fill you will stories or respect your need for solitude... a great combination in a host. The days we visited a lovely young couple from Belgium were fulfilling some volunteer experience. They did most of the entertaining, and it's obvious they are smitten with the opportunity they have to live/work and play host, their excitement was contagious.
Just as they advertise, it is a 4 mile trip from town, the taxi ride will likely cost you $10 to $12. The day we left, hoping to get an early start, we asked for a taxi. Told it would take 45 minutes, we asked while we finished packing and squaring away our bill. The taxi actually took about 2 hours to arrive, probably due to the issue that it was hauling a big supply of water, gas, etc out to the lodge. I really like the trade-off that only one taxi made the trip, and that they economize and save fuel and all that, but it did delay our day considerably by getting a much later start for us on what would be the only day in Bocas Town to do our tours out for snorkeling, etc... and we paid full price. So, while this maybe an issue for the taxi more than the lodge, it kind of dampened our enthusiasm on departure to be held up when we were far ready to get going. They were good enough to let us send the last $30 back with the next cab as we ran short on money and they don't accept credit, prefering we not pay through paypal or auto deposit. Rooms and food are a bit high, two people, two nights, two dinners (complete with dessert), and two coffees were $230 with tax.
Overall, I loved it. Great people, great location, wonderful place to relax. We will strongly recommend to our clients who are looking for casual, artsy/funky, and escape-worthy.

Room Tip: We loved the Dolphin cabin, great view and quieter than the Turtle.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 25, 2012

We plan first to stay there just for one night, but at the end we do it for 3 nights. It is a really charming place, really relaxing with such a nice views. From the restaurant you can enjoy a great lunch with the ocean in front of you. We had our private in the second floor with our own bathroom. We used the kitchen for a couple of breakfasts and everything was working well. If you are on a budget be sure to buy all the stuff on town before taking the 20 min taxi ride to the hotel because once there you will not find a super market. If you can, try some food from the restaurant, a little bit expensive, but worth it.

It was so relaxing, going to our private beach for a while, come back and sleep in the hammock with a nice view. We loved the fact that we fall asleep each night hearing the ocean sounds (it is really close to the rooms).

The owner, Monique, is really kind, she helped us a lot. Dogs take care of each guest, and so they did with us, guiding us through the short trails to the beaches and sitting next to the belongings. We even made friends there, having great time with the couple working at that moment. Aranud cook really good food and Julie prepare great cocktails. The last day we were really sad of leaving but we went away with great memories.

Just be aware this is a hotel for relaxing, not for party. Downtown is far away, so no dance clubs or anything will be reached easily.

  • Stayed October 2012, 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Windsor, Canada
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2012

Tesoro is paradise! My husband and I have been to Tesoro Escondido twice and we loved it both times we went. The grounds are beautiful, full of greenery and raw beach. The rooms are secluded, nicely decorated and clean. It's definitely a place for people that don't mind fending for themselves a little but it also has a kitchen and bar to service anyone. Food is delicious and the owner Monique and Jim are a pleasure:)

  • Stayed October 2011, 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hartford, Connecticut, United States
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2012

Read some of the reviews and they say it all. Tesoro Escondido is THE perfect eco lodge. Right next to bluff beach, you can take a 3 minute walk and arrive at a spectacular beach, which I must also say, does not get crowded. It is a $10 cab ride to and from town, but you pair up with others to save $. Most of the people staying here have the same mentality: they are open-minded. Now about Monique - she is wonderful! A wonderful host, and employees the perfect crew for such an establishment. I just wish she would work with others across Panama and make high quality eco-lodges a possibility. Note: bring your own towels if you are staying a longer period of time, or get them washed (very cheaply I might add) at the lavenderia in town. Just drop of the clothes in the morning, and pick them up at the end of the day. Also, I think we booked Room 1 and got less creepy crawlies than you might find in the cabins. LOVE this place, LOVE Panama.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Muenster, Germany
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2012 via mobile

This place is a paradise! We stayed for 4 days at the turtle cabin and it was perfect! The cabin was spacious and decorated with a lot of taste! We had a big terrace over the sea with hammocks where the time just past away! The location was also ideal because you have a 4km beautiful sand beach just around the corner! The proprietor is very nice and helps you with whatever you need and also a very good chef! The atmosphere was really nice! We are definately coming back!

  • Stayed August 2012
    • 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Okinawa Prefecture, Japan
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
45 hotel reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
72 helpful votes 72 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 9, 2012

I loved staying in this place! Monique was a fantastic host, interesting to talk to and running a perfect establishment right down to the sloth who hangs out in the tree in front of the verandah looking over the sea. It is far from town (nowhere near it, in fact!) and you aren't going to attempt to walk it so you will need taxis if you want to go anywhere. We stayed in Turtle Cabin and loved it! If you want to do catering, bring food and an ice block. We decided to eat all meals in the guesthouse rather than dragging things out there ourselves just for 2 days. This place is peaceful, a great hangout, wonderful food (though they should stock up on Diet Coke!) and I'd highly recommend it. Diet Coke can be purchased in the restaurant near across from Bluff Beach, maybe a 15-20 minute walk from Monique's place. Stock up if you need the stuff!!

Only negative things are nothing to do with Monique but rather the area: I'm not a strong swimmer so I found the surf at Bluff Beach too much for me to go in there and there were a lot of very nasty sand flies around.

Room Tip: We chose Turtle Cabin as I love the sound of surf breaking against the shore.
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  • Stayed April 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
    • 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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Additional Information about Tesoro Escondido

Address: Bluff Beach Road | Bluff Beach, Bocas Town, Isla Colon, Panama
Location: Panama > Bocas del Toro Province > Isla Colon > Bocas Town
Amenities:
Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 28 Specialty Lodging in Bocas Town
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Rustic and charming facility with stunning beach front location. 6 rooms in main house and 3 cabinas, all with private bathrooms and kitchens. 2 small beaches are on either side of the property. Bluff Beach located 1 minute away. Within walking distance to La Curba and Dumper surf breaks. Paunch surf break is 15 minutes away. 4 miles from Bocas town. Free wireless internet in main house. Delicious prepared food available on site. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Tesoro Escondido Hotel Bocas Town
Tesoro Escondido Bocas Del Toro, Panama - Bocas Town

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