I stayed at this place for the 4 longest nights of my life. Bugs everywhere, the Turtle cabina had not been cleaned for ages. There were dead bugs and live bugs all over the place. The floor of the shower was "moving". There were spider webs all over the walls with dead bugs. Mold everywhere. You had to beg for a fresh towel, and never did anyone enter to so much as mop the filthy floor. The staff were very nice, but only did the bare minimum to keep things going. Apparently they are volunteers who trade services for room and board. they all do a lot of sitting around and surfing the net, not much maintenance going on. You have to call for a taxi to go anywhere but the nearby beach, so you are stuck if you dont want to pay the $10 cab fare each way. Prices for food and drinks are much higher than you would think. I was counting the hours until we moved into a nice place in town. This place is cheap, and there's a reason. I would rather sleep in a tent on the beach!
Stay away from this place!
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dear Elaine and family
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In response to your review, I first wanted to provide others some background on your stay. You stayed here, because friends of yours who were getting married in Bocas were staying here. You had a choice of two places in town and our lodge here at Bluff Beach, as part of the places that the wedding couple had scoped out for their friends. I suspect that you might not have picked this place on your own.
I exchanged a lot of emails with that couple, and I really believe there were little doubt in their minds as to what kind of place we are and how far from town we are and how much the taxi cost. It is quite unfair to blame us for our location when said location is well detailed and explained, and under normal circumstances, what people seek. To be AWAY from town. There are really not that many ways for me to say we are 4 miles from town in the jungle.... In the reverse situation as yours, subsequent to the wedding couple’s arrival, one of their friend, Richard, who was staying in town, really hated it there, and wanted to come here (after having been here to check it out for himself and staying for dinner). At that time, he asked me how I thought he should handle things with his current host in town. My response to him was that the owner was a very decent and nice person, and if he explained he was not happy there I was pretty sure she would reimburse his deposit, because why would she want someone unhappy in her place. It is what I would do, and I was pretty confident it is what she would do. Which she did....
So with that said, since you were part of that same group, I am TOTALLY surprised you did not say something after the first longest night of your life. I would have HAPPILY reimbursed you your deposit, and helped you with phone calls and what not, in terms of finding something more suited to your needs. Considering the pain and suffering you went through, was it not worth at least to ask about it? It possibly could not have been you being worried about hurting my feelings? In talking to staff here, no one had the slightest or tiniest inkling you were not happy. You must be a fierce poker player.
After reading your review, I first felt mortified, and then after reading it again, I felt sad. Sad that you equate insects with filth. Insects are a very important part of the food chain. Destroy them, and you destroy an entire ecosystem. I will not spray poison, which I would have to do every 3 to 4 weeks to keep us “bug free”, because these poisons accumulate in the environment, and kill a host of other creatures, including beneficial insects and geckos. These insects pollinate our plants, and further provide food from the fruits of these plants and and the insects themselves at some point also provide food for other animals such as birds. I have come here to try and live in harmony with nature, not to kill it. I do however, spray the 3 thatch roofs with pyrethrin, twice a year.
Of course I would not want to sleep in a bed covered with creepy crawlies, nobody does, but this is not the case here and neither does the shower floor “move”. My place is open to nature, it has always been and always will be. But nothing is hermetically sealed. We have walls and window screens and mosquito nets over the beds, which I can assure you will do more to protect you than if you were sleeping on the beach in a tent. Although you state, along with your daughter, that you would rather sleep in a tent on the beach, from your review, I don’t think you would last one hour camping here. The tropics are VERY productive...there are all sorts of things lurking around.
I spend a lot of time reading at night, with the light on and no mosquito net. After all my years here, I am intimately familiar with the insects that come in. The majority are beautiful moths. Big, medium and tiny ones. I have a magnifying glass on my night stand and do spent quite a bit of time looking at them. They have the most beautiful colors and patterns. Some look like lace, other like they have gold paint on. Little jewels really. How sad I am that you cant see nor appreciate their beauty or the beauty of the nature around us.
The cabina was cleaned as the previous guest vacated for your arrival (guest who extended their stay beyond their scheduled reservation and moved to in room 5 by the way, so I guess the turtle could not have been THAT bad). And you did not have to beg for anything. Asking is not begging. We usually change sheets and towel in the cabinas once during a one week stay, so the 3rd or 4th day, and more upon request. I offer towels more often when it is raining, because I know nothing stays dry. We are off the grid and on solar and cannot have high electricity use. This is how we operate, and most people familiar with the concept of eco lodge will not find it strange. You requested towels on day 2, which you received, and we changed your sheets and towels again, on day 3. We cannot control the elements, but we can control our service, and usually it is our strong suit. As part of the small wedding group , you had many things scheduled, and really we did not see much of you at all. But I can assure you that I will personally do my best to accommodate guests requests, answer all questions, and make suggestions when appropriate. I spoke to the young woman who changed your sheets and she said she did not mop because there were shoes and “stuff” all over the floor, and I have instructed my staff to not touch anything that belongs to the guests. The floor was moped on the morning of your arrival, and was not filthy then. Since it rained on day two, it is possible you tracked some mud inside.
On the food price, as you yourself mentioned in the review, we are a $10 taxi ride away. It costs us more to get supplies here than it would were we in town. Yet, our meal prices are comparable to what you would pay for a decent restaurant in town. We use quality ingredients and make almost everything from scratch. Our drink prices may be a bit higher than in town, but as you noticed while here, unlike most places that have a bar and restaurant, people are welcome to bring their own wine, beer and other alcohol. We also cannot compete with the $1 beer places, who somewhat on the McDonald model, bank on high volume sales, and thus can afford to sell cheaper. We cater only to our guests. In that same vein, and because we make everything fresh and on the premise, we can accommodate different dietary restrictions and everything can be personalized.
For the rest of your review, it does contain some inaccuracies. I have 6 local, permanent and paid workers. Their work range from cleaning, helping in the kitchen, maintenance and getting the occasional coconut for the guests that requests it. Because their english is limited and the majority of our guests do not speak spanish, in ADDITION to them, I have usually 1 or 2 english-speaking volunteers who help in the kitchen of the restaurant, an area that sees the most guest interaction. They work during the restaurant hours, and in between have free time. Sometimes they check their emails during their free time, or might even read a book. But it is not like everyone is surfing the internet and nobody is working. In addition, these volunteers have professional experience in the field, such as one of the volunteer who was here during your stay, who is a professional consultant in the field of food and restaurant, in addition to having run her own lodge. She is the one who served you coffee before 7am, even though the restaurant opens at 8am. Knowing how hard they all work, your comment that they only do the bare minimum is unfair and would be totally offensive if not totally confusing now since you left a $50 (fifty) dollar tip. So I realize that you and I must travel in Parallel universes because in my universe, if I leave a $50 tip after a 4 days stay, it denotes a modicum of appreciation for the service I received or my level of happiness upon my departure. So I am baffled again by the disparity of behavior and nice feedback from you and Lauren (adult daughter, see her review under the handle of latravel44, 4 reviews above yours), while here and your review(s) now.
The parallel universe is further exemplified by the fact that there were eight people staying here as part of the wedding group, including your family of four. You and your daughter, as part of your family of 4 have provided two very negative reviews. Yet, the other 4 people have rated us very favorably, including Richard who came here after not being happy in town. two reviews are located immediately above your daughter Lauren’s (latravel44) review, and two more immediately above yours. Furthermore, the one review immediately below yours and the one below the review of Lauren are from guests who were here at the same time you were. You also state you moved to a nice place in town, indeed a much more expensive, very nice boutique hotel with all possible amenities, but how can you possibly and fairly compare this place with that one?
I do not want to leave this on a sour or bitter note, because even in this case, the review serves a valuable purpose. I certainly hope it discourages people who are insects phobic from coming as well as those who might have high end expectation of luxury from a simple and rustic eco lodge. Furthermore, if you need to be in town a lot, this may not be the place for you either. I have discouraged people who might have been perfectly happy here, only because they had a daily class scheduled in town, and I thought the taxi costs might be too onerous. One can rent bicycles in town, but at $10 per day, for 2 people there is no savings over a round trip in taxi. Small ATVs are also available, but while fun and giving loads of flexibility, they are not a cheap option.
Thanks for your time and happy travels to you.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.