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“Amazing Pacific Retreat” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Pacific Bay Resort

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Pacific Bay Resort
, Punta Bejuco, Panama   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Punta Bejuco
Portland, OR
Level Contributor
10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Amazing Pacific Retreat”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2013

Just wanted to add our review that we really enjoyed our stay at Pacific Bay Resort earlier this month. Frank was a gracious and very helpful host, even when our travel plans were thrown off and we had to change our stay somewhat. We really appreciate his dedication to the animals and natural environment on the property, and it is clear that he is not running the resort to become rich, but rather to provide guests with an enjoyable stay while preserving the natural habitat here. The beaches are beautiful and were our first (and best) introduction to the tropical Panama idyll. We saw more animals in two nights here than anywhere else on our trip, and enjoyed swimming and kayaking the area. The staff were great and the food was some of the best that we were lucky enough to try on our entire trip.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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
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48 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (14)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Kansas City, Missouri
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 10, 2012

The Pacific Bay Resort experience is truly amazing. It is more than a hotel or resort, it is truly a unique vacation all by itself.

It all starts with getting there. You truly feel like you a going to the end of the world- the final leg of the journey being a 20 minute boat taxi which drops you off at PBR. It kind of feels like you've arrived on Gilligans Island. No cars, no electricity, no TVs. I was there about 20 minutes when I first heard the unsettling sound of howler monkeys in the distance- as if I didn't already feel like I was isolated enough!

Shortly after arriving my friends and I got a tour of the place. The cabins are surprising nice. Maybe I was expecting to rough it more since I knew their was no electricity and stuff, but the rooms are neat and clean. The solar setup works great and the bathrooms have all the modern conveniences. After settling in we went up and checked out the dining room/bar area. It is a bit of a hike up the hill, but the reward at the top is a spectacular view. You can see the mainland, mountians in the distance, and one of PBRs private beaches up closer.

The biggest surprise of the place is the food. I don't eat meat and had some other dietary requests and was honestly expecting to eat a lot of my protein bar stash. Special diets and remote deserted tropical places usually don't go together. I was totally wrong- the food was truly spectacular. Gourmet cooking. I don't often get out my camera and photograph my food but I did twice in 3 days at PBR. And I can't even tell you what I ate! One of the best dishes I ever had was a vegetable I've never had before (looked similar to cucumber) that was hollowed out and filled with amazing stuffing. It wasn't until I had been there a couple days that I discovered the owner of PBR had previously owned a restaurant in Boston.

My favorite part of the place is the south beach- a park like area with a beautiful white sand beach, hammocks between all the palms by the water, just true paradise. When you get tired of utter relaxation you can explore and see all kinds of beautiful plants and animals. This place is truly unspoiled. I had deer taking bites of apple from my hand, having never dealt with roads and traffic and city people.

By the time I left I felt that the owner- Frank- was a treasured friend and plan to return every year. This place isn't for everybody- it isn't an all inclusive resort with all the amenities. Your hair dryer isn't going to work. Thankfully you won't care though- It is one of the last truly remote off-grid places to get away from all that.

Room Tip: I gave the fitness an excellent rating, even though there isn't one. I think you will agree aft...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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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Panama City, Panama, Panama
1 review
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2012

Its difficult to write this after our first visit over 2 years ago. This time I travelled with my girlfriend. By the time we left after only 2 days there, we left with the feeling that we cannot go back there. Sure we knew there was no TV, aircon, internet.. none of that was a problem, even that the accomodation was embarassingly dated and in urgent need of renovation. You put up with it given that the location is so remote. We are talking basic things;

1. The food - everyone raves about this. Super ordinary experience here, and worst of all not enough of anything. For the time we were there, both of us woke up HUNGRY! Breakfast is too basic and too little, so by the time you make the trek back up to the restaurant at lunchtime, you need a 3 course meal. If you are paying 150 dollars a night, then you dont expect to be hungry at the end of a meal, and when you ask politely (albeit uncomfortably) for more.. you are given a luke warm sancocho which he gave to his staff. Also inedible.

2. The service - our 2nd breakfast. We were greeted by the owner coming to our table at 8.30am to smoke a cigarette next to us while we were trying to eat toast!!!!

3. Drinking water - dont drink it despite what they say! take a closer look at the water through
a transparent glass. Its not clean enough to drink. Probably a big reason why both of us left the place with bad stomachs.

4. Sand Flies - November is a humid month, so they are even worse than normal. Go prepared with a lot of repellent, otherwise you will get eaten alive day and night!!!

5. The owners behaviour towards my partner left us questioning his dignity and self-respect.

I think if you know what to expect, and you catch the owner with a different vibe on a different day, where he cared about service and not about getting your partner into bed with him, then you might have a better time than we did.

In conclusion, the place has fallen from glory in a big way. There are now lots of places in Panama that charge 150 dollars a night, and many of them will leave you far more satisfied than this one.

Before going back for the second time, I was raving about the place and very excited to go back. All I can say is, having been there again, I will not be going back or taking friends or even family there again.

Room Tip: chiriqui or veraguas.. otherwise you'll need a long and very steep walk to get to anywhere..
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
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Pasadena, California
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2012 via mobile

Spent two weeks traveling around Panama with my wife and two boys ages 17 and 15. We had a great time exploring the Panama Canal zone, Lago Gatun, the Boca Chica region, Boquete and Bocas del Toro, however we all enjoyed our stay at the Pacific Bay Resort (PBR) the most. We probably saw and did more at PBR in two days than we did anywhere else 
It had a great balance of natural scenic beauty, invigorating activities, relaxation, amazing wildlife and solitude. Early one morning sipping some excellent coffee, I observed a group of howler monkeys making their way from tree to tree around the main lodge, whilst taking in spectacular views of Volcan Baru and nearby island beaches dotting the serene Pacific waters.
One afternoon, while my wife was reading on a swaying hammock strung between coconut palms on her own private beach, and while my boys were catching nice waves on boogie boards at the adjacent beach, I decided to explore the other side of the bay. Walking along the soft yet firm sand, climbing a few rocks, peering into small caves and crossing a shallow sandbar at low tide, I came across some fascinating geological formations where there were about 7 different colored parallel plates of rock jutting out of the sea. I wanted to explore the interior of Frank's daughter's jungle island but felt that would be better left for another time. So, I had to settle for collecting some beautiful sea shells and swimming in the warm ocean waters. 
Frank led us on a private guided tour around the "island" perimeter searching the tide pools for octopi or crabs. Later we kayaked in the calm open ocean amongst sea turtles and we wanted to kayak into the mouth of the river and venture upstream searching for small caiman and sloths but the tide was too low. We had hoped to snorkel at nearby Isla Seca or dive for a lobster dinner, but just did not have enough time. 
Late one evening on our cottage porch we viewed directly overhead both northern and southern hemisphere constellations, while simultaneously enjoying a spectacular lightening storm over the distant Chiriqui highlands, the combination which was uniquely breathtaking.
Despite what I have written, this place is not for everyone. These are not five star accommodations although very clean, spacious and comfortable. Thankfully there is no TV or internet. My biggest complaint would be the slippery cart paths one has to negotiate to get around the property. However, if you are somewhat able-bodied and are not too pampered, if you enjoy natural scenic beauty and a little adventure this may be just the spot for you. Frank is a delightful character of innumerable talents who passion is to ensure that you enjoy this island playland as much as he does. We certainly did and we all hope to be back someday!

Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
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Scottsdale, Arizona
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2012

A wonderful place to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. The food and staff were outstanding! The owner was not only the "Jungle Whisperer, but our friend, guide, teacher, and made you feel right at home. He has a lot of love in his heart and great stories to share. You come to this place with a smile, and leave with one! A true JOY and experience in every way! The cabins are just beautiful, we were impressed!!!! It is like having your own private
sanctuary and island. Definitely worth the trip! :-)

Room Tip: The pink cabin down by the water if you want your own private beach and to hear the sounds of the o...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 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.
Belmont, Massachusetts, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2012

I am writing to share our favorite discovery on a recent (July 2012) trip to Panama.

If your idea of a tropical getaway entails all-you-can-eat buffet, satellite TV, sub-zero air conditioning and jet skis, now would be a good time to stop reading. However, if you prefer to see Panama’s lush Pacific coast the way God made it, the Panama Beach Resort is your ticket. Accessible only by 20 minute motor boat ride from the tiny fishing village of Boca Chica, just off the Pan-American Highway en route to David, the PBR is actually a peninsula jutting into a sheltered bay, but with the slender neck of land connecting it to the shore covered in a dense green rain forest, it is best to think of PBR as a private island. The resort consists of just 10 reasonably priced, simply appointed, comfortable and immaculate cabins tucked into acres of unspoiled rainforest rich in wildlife and ringed with three football field length, pristine, white sand beaches.

The personable laid-back proprietor, who refers to himself fittingly as the “custodian,” Frank (frank@pacificbayresort.org,) turned his back on a successful career as a Boston-based restaurateur and real estate investor to follow his heart to this healthier, unharried, natural retreat. And PBR is a perfect mirror held up to his quest for renewal and reconnection. The entire estate is a model of self-sufficiency, sustainable use of resources and environmental sensitivity. From the solar panels that furnish all power, to home grown fruits, vegetables and herbs, to landscaping materials from the surrounding forest, everywhere the resort experience focuses upon what nature provides.

Frank may have put a career as a restaurateur behind him but not his love of fine dining. PBR serves its guests three truly gourmet meals a day, achieving a remarkable subtlety and complexity using simple, fresh ingredients often including fish pulled from the bay within sight of the resort and a wide variety of homegrown groceries.

There may be no pool with a swim-up bar; but even when all the cabins are full it is common to have a lovely beach all to yourself! There may be no humming AC but the rooms are well cooled by ceiling fans and dependable sea breezes. There may be no para-sailing, but In just two days of roaming the extensive grounds, we had chance encounters with howler monkeys, deer, agouti, black squirrels, several large and colorful species of crab, and nameless legions of exotic birds. And the resort is happy to lend its guest a sea kayak to explore the shoreline or to arrange excursions to snorkel or dive nearby corral reefs or to watch whales and dolphins in season. There may be no TV, but it is heaven-on-earth to pass the day reading in a swaying hammock. And, in what is perhaps the most remarkable facet of the experience, at night, there is not a single artificial light – not one – to be seen anywhere on the resort or the mainland beyond!

To put it more simply, the resort really delivers on it motto, “harmony at the jungle’s edge.” There is nowhere else like this and we simply loved it.

Richard H. & Deborah B.
Belmont, Massachusetts
2012

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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.
Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2012

Pacific Bay Resort was the perfect way to end our vacation in Panama. Imagine a secluded tropical location accessible only by 20 min boat ride, in the middle of a tamed jungle with three white sand, isolated beaches, with comfortable cabins and the friendliest staff you will find anywhere. That is Pacific Bay! Owned by a former Boston resident (Frank) we makes you feel right at home along with the rest of the welcoming staff who work to make sure you have a relaxing vacation.

Highlights of our time at Pacific Bay Resort:
- On one of the 3 secluded beaches of the resort, the only two people there, peacefully hanging in hammocks hung especially for us in the shady spot of our choosing
- The sunset from the main house/restaurant
- The personalized tour of the property by Frank
- Petting a baby deer who Frank and the staff have befriended
- Listening to howler monkies while falling asleep
- Sea kayaking in the aqua blue ocean (if we had been a bit braver, we could have gone to nearby deserted island to explore)
- THE FOOD! The amazing Chef Andy made us the most delicious food we found in Panama! My favorite was the poached pear for dessert, the home-made foccacia bread, and fresh fruit for breakfast. And it's included in the price!

It is off the beaten path, so it takes some effort to get there . . . but that is part of the point! It is also an extremely good value (Frank specifically created this place as an affordable option for the average person to be able to enjoy). The resort does a lot to support the local community, which made us feel great about spending time here as tourists.

Will DEFINITELY be back!

Room Tip: Some of the rooms are a bit of climb to the main house, so ask for a cabin closer to the main house...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Pacific Bay Resort

Address: , Punta Bejuco, Panama
Location: Panama > Chiriqui Province > Punta Bejuco
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Punta Bejuco
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 11
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Also Known As:
Pacific Bay Hotel Punta Bejuco
Pacific Bay Resort Panama/Punta Bejuco

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