We stayed at the Hotel Heliconia over the holiday break at the end of 2012, and it was an amazing, intimate and very welcoming experience.
Firstly, we were supposed to stay for 3 days, but due to rain in Bocas, when we called the owners Loes and Kees, they were happy to accommodate us starting a couple days early. They were very helpful in providing detailed directions on how to get there, and Loes was kind enough to cook us a brilliant hot dinner late on Christmas eve.
Loes and Kees, the owners have an incredible ability to connect with their guests, put them at ease, and treat them almost as part of the family - we spent many hours on their verandah chatting with them over glasses of wine. And the food .....we are vegetarian, and Loes made gourmet meals for us everyday.
The property is really nice ...an oasis of reforestation, and Kees was happy to walk us through it and chat in detail about his plans and vision for restoring biodiversity in the Azuero peninsula. The place is also about 20 min walk from the beachside village of Malena - we did a day excursion there to visit a local waterfall, spent some time on the beach and had lunch there. The highlight of the trip was watching baby turtles hatch and make their way into the sea - Loes and Kees work with the local turtle conservation group which does a phenomenal job every night.
Kees was also an amazing guide - he took us birdwatching in Cerro Hoya national park, and we had a nice bonus with a trip to a private pond at a local rancher's. The highlight of the trip was also the 2 day trip that Kees organized to Isla Coiba - plenty of snorkeling, amazing rainforest hikes, beach time, and of course many happy hours watching the brilliant bay.
Overall, I can't recommend this place highly enough - its like a home away from home, with the added benefit of time with friendly and conversational owners, and a level of customization and personalization that is just extraordinary. They will treat you like intelligent, curious adults and you'll have a fantastic time. Do not go here expecting fake service, 24-hour pools and TV with a 100 channels - this is a very different place, and you'll realize what you miss everywhere else!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
January 22, 2013
Dear Vijay K,
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Thank you for your review. We are happy that you enjoyed your stay at Hotel Heliconia and the trip to Coiba.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.