Laguna Azul Eco Lodge

Isla Privada, Proxima a Isla Colon We Are 35 Minutes From Isla COlon, Punta Laurel, Isla Popa 0101 Panama
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About

5.0
#1 of 2 lodges in Isla Popa
Location
4.7
Cleanliness
4.9
Service
4.8
Value
4.6
The Laguna Azul Eco Boutique Hotel is built right on the sea, surrounded by untouched mangrove. It has different spacious ambiances: living room, dining room, and a beautiful terrace facing the open sea. The Hotel has direct access to the beaches and protected waters of Bocas del Toro. The nearest beach is only a 15-minute boat ride. The area is ideal for snorkeling or canoeing, and is home to turtles and dolphins. Our ZEN decoration will invite you to relax and enjoy the Caribbean soothing and calmness breeze while watching the sea and the dolphins from our terrace and/or our open living room area In our floating deck/solarium you can enjoy sun bathing, reading or simply spend your time sipping delicious cocktails and drinks.
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Property amenities
Free High Speed Internet (WiFi)
Wifi
Free breakfast
Diving
Meeting rooms
Massage
Non-smoking hotel
Laundry service
Bar / lounge
Restaurant
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Room features
Desk
Room service
Safe
Wake-up service / alarm clock
Kitchenette
Bath / shower
Complimentary toiletries
Hair dryer
Room types
Non-smoking rooms
Suites
Good to know
HOTEL CLASS
HOTEL STYLE
Great View
Languages Spoken
Spanish

Location

Isla Privada, Proxima a Isla Colon We Are 35 Minutes From Isla COlon, Punta Laurel, Isla Popa 0101 Panama
Getting there
Bocas Del Toro Airport
14.6 mi
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Changuinola Airport
29.8 mi
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76Reviews3Q+A13Room tips
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Detailed Reviews
CherylGlendaleAZ wrote a review Mar 2016
Eagle, Idaho340 contributions193 helpful votes
I had to put a bit of time between my review and visit. We visited this past Feb.
Overall, even with all my cons...I still give it 4 ratings or "very good".

First off the pros. If you want peace and quiet, this is a wonderful property. It really is a simple yet beautiful property and location. We never have enjoyed snorkeling as much as this trip. Every day they offer included tours. Our favorite by far was the kayak tour through the nearby "river". You'll be gone about 2 hours and you leave right from the hotel via kayak. Just beautiful!

The rooms are very large and comfortable and the staff overall are friendly.

You'll be picked up at the airport and taken by private boat to the hotel. If you have the "slow boat", it's almost an hour each way. If you have the "fast boat", it's about 30-40 minutes.

Wifi was actually pretty good considering the remoteness.

The cons though...ugh. When you pay $500 USD per night, you expect just a tad more service.
1. We had no hot water the entire stay. There was a large group coming in from Costa Rica right after us and we heard they too would not have hot water. Every single person we've told that we paid $500 a night and had zero hot water, well needless to say they were horrified! Luckily after the initial shock, you did get used to the coldness because it was hot outside.

The reason: Juan Carlos the Manager said something about a value but after spending 3 nights with him I think the real reason is he's trying to save money. The property is being sold and he's only been the manager since Dec. and I think he's concerned about his future. Just my thought but I bet it's not far from the truth. Reading other more recent reviews, they too had hot water issues.

2. The hotel sent me out a questionnaire the week prior to our arrival asking me what we did and didn't like to eat (with a list). I told him we liked everything EXCEPT octopus. Not sure why he sends this list out because we had octopus every single day. I still feel horrible those poor little octopus' gave up their lives for nothing.

3. Juan Carlos will "push" tours on you. He almost makes you feel bad about wanting to stay in and read, nap, snorkel, etc. My husband was getting a bit irritated at him so had to be forceful before he backed off. Our biggest problem with the tours was everything was so far away! It required about 1 hour each way via boat so you're gone all day. My advise: don't be afraid to speak up if you need time to relax. Also tell him your time preferences, if you want to only be gone 2 hours, speak up.

4. Liquor is not top shelf by any means. There also isn't much variety although the white wine was pretty good. Appetizers are Chex Mix...every day.

5. You will have extra costs during your stay. Luckily, we did bring a little extra cash with us. Staff tips are not included (and you're basically told you need to leave something for each person). Additionally, some of the tours require entrance fees into the parks. Not a lot of money, $5 or $10 per person per day but it does add up so bring cash! Not to drive the $500 per night into the ground but I just didn't expect this and no one told us ahead of time.

6. The food is good but fairly basic. I do have to give props though to Andre. He's a jack of all trades. He's the chef, the guide, the personality of the place.

7. Bring bug spray and make sure you wear it! You probably won't see 1 thing flying around but beware, they are there. I was really good about using my spray the first two nights. After not seeing anything I thought "I think I'm good without". Wrong! I got 200 bites in one night and never felt or saw anything on me.

8. Beware of the floating pad outside the hotel with the lawn chairs. There is something living there that claims it and doesn't like intruders. You'll be terrorized until you leave. I'm not sure if they were flies or bees but they are big, noisy and aggressive. Management really should go out there and fix the problem. I know...nature. But why have a swim pad if you can't use it.

Even though this is a fairly negative review, we did love our stay. I think the biggest problem is management unfortunately (specifically Juan Carlos). He tends to tell half truths about everything. Our in room safe also didn't work. We asked him about it and he said he'd send the maid up right away with a new one. After talking with the other couple onsite they too didn't have a working safe and were the told the exact same thing. Needless to say we never did get a working safe. He will also take the slow boat to save gas whenever possible. It's not currently a 5 star resort but could be.
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Date of stay: February 2016
Value
Rooms
Service
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
Room Tip: Corner rooms are really nice
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Josemarrakech wrote a review Jul 2011
Boadilla37 contributions33 helpful votes
I cannot find the right words to describe this secluded portion of paradise. From the location (far from any noise of "civilisation"), the place itself, the people just ready to help you always with a smile, the food (each day a beatiful surprise), everything in Laguna Azul is just set to relax your mind and pamper your senses. The price might seem high at first sight but it is a real bargain when you discover how much a real "all inclusive" can actually contain. On top of all that, we were lucky to be visited a couple of times by a family of dolphins just passing in front of the beautiful hotel verandah. For snorkelers, all you have to do is go down four steps from the verandah and you are on topo of a coral reef full of sealife.
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Date of stay: June 2011
Value
Cleanliness
Service
Sleep Quality
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Rafael O wrote a review Mar 2015
Province of Heredia, Costa Rica5 contributions5 helpful votes
If you whant to unplug and get a way from everthing this is the best place to do it . Amazing location excelent service . Best place ever! Like heaven on earth! Will go again with my family as soon as posible.
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Date of stay: March 2015
Value
Service
Sleep Quality
Trip type: Traveled on business
Room Tip: Rooms on the second floor have great view
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
johnselles wrote a review Apr 2012
jaco1 contribution5 helpful votes
This place is amazing but it could be so much more , the peace and quite is second to none and the beauty of the souroundings is fantastic, with abundant sea life all around you for your veiwng pleasure.The room was nice clean but be where there are no airconditioners so sleeping pills are a must. The staff ,Clarisol , Lorin and Joel were great , The food was in our opinion average at best when considering the amout of money you pay to stay here. We felt there should have been more varity which was lacking , it was as if the kitchen was was not stocked properly.The real disapointment for this place was the tours that they included , we felt very rushed throught the tours and very uninformed as far as we could see the touring staff was very unintersted in making this a pleasnt experince only to get it over with , showing us that this area is a long ways from learning the fundementals of tourism , truely a shame as this place could easily rank way up on my list but fell short by leaps amd bounds. My hat goes off to the srtaff mentioned above but without a total team effort it will never be a success.
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Date of stay: April 2012
Value
Rooms
Location
Cleanliness
Service
Sleep Quality
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
cicixee wrote a review Jan 2012
LA53 contributions19 helpful votes
This was one of the most relaxing destinations in our trip to Panama. It's just you, 7 other rooms, the staff, the hotel, and WATER! It's sooo peaceful and relaxing. The rooms are superclean. The food is really great if you love seafood. The view is UNREAL!!!!!! It's really heaven on earth!

The only reason this hotel didn't get 5 stars from me is because of the lack of flexibility they had. They claim they are all inclusive and that so many activities are included but you only have the choice of going with the activity they chose for the day. Also, we were there for 2 nights/3 days and could only do one of the activities which is pretty unfair especially when you are paying 500 USD/night which is a fortunate in Panama. The staff (who were soooo nice) seemed like they wanted to accomodate us but they weren't allowed to because the boss (one of the partners) would not let them. He wouldn't let the activity boat drive 15 minutes extra (they said he didn't want to pay for gas) to drop us off one day and because of that, we missed a whole day of activity. When you are paying 500/day, you expect customer service to be better than this. And it was great except for the lack of flexibility by the boss. He was so unaccommodating that for me the experience lost not one but two stars.

Also, be ware...lots of sand flies but it's not the hotels fault. You are on a remote island so that is out of control. The hotel did manage to keep the flies out of the rooms though. :)
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Date of stay: December 2011Trip type: Traveled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
markwillow wrote a review Apr 2013
Indianapolis34 contributions5 helpful votes
+1
What a great vacation location to unplug! Laguna Azul is a 30 minute boat ride through the mangroves from Bocas Town where you land. We were greeted at the airport (by two gentleman we later met as Chito and Ferdinando) our luggage carried away and shuttled to a boat dock a few blocks away to a waiting boat (one of the resorts water taxis.) Pulling up via boat we were welcomed by several. We were greet by Oscar, the Hotel Manager and given the lay of the land. He escorted us to our room where a plate of fresh fruit and cold water was waiting for us. The room was clean (spotless) and glistening with wood. Modest interior decorations were only fitting. The bath was everything you would expect from a luxury facility. The huge shower was awesome, but please watch your water usage as it is an eco-friendly facility. Our room looked out onto the water. Gentle breezes came thru the sliding doors and kept us comfortable with ceiling fan. No air conditioning, but we didn't really need it or miss it with the cross draft from our corner room.

Francisco, the Chef, prepared awesome meals. Breakfasts were awesome with fresh fruit, yogurt, fresh juice, eggs however you liked them, bacon and toast. Lunches and dinners were more of the same. Oscar told us to ask for whatever we wanted as meals and we could eat whenever we wanted. We set the schedule. Of course it is all inclusive, but prepared fresh to your order. So don't be bashful about asking. The first night we asked for lobster. And lobster we got. We were served probably a four to five pound lobster freshly caught that morning. Eat the fish. Unbelievable. Local fishermen bring it to the resort daily. You can't get it any more fresh than that morning. And let Francisco prepare it his way. You won't be disappointed.

Our daughter is not a big seafood fan so they prepared everything from steak to chicken to pasta for her. She ordered pan (bread) the first few meals. After that the ladies simply started bringing it to her with each meal. All yummy! Don't be bashful about requesting food, snacks, beverages. They are very attentive to meet your needs, but if not, serve yourself. Or ask. We enjoyed having an appetizer in the afternoon with cocktails and Francisco was happy to bring out cheese, toasted pita and fresh pico de gallo. This is NOT your all inclusive buffet. Much classier and much better quality since all prepared personally for you. Coffee all day, cold sodas, wine poured generously, mixed drinks to order. I ask Oscar if he had cigars. He didn't but was quick to offer to pick some up in Boca Town the next day for me and he did. Cubans.

Laguna Azul has snorkel gear available for your use. You can snorkel right off the deck (steps walk you right into the water and coral reef) out to the floating dock. We spent one afternoon simply floating in the sun. We saw coral, a barracuda and a Ray, as well as other topical fish. The water the day we snorkeled was a little cloudy from overnight rain and rough surf.

We found Oscar and staff to be very flexible with the excursions. (By the way, they're all included, so take advantage of them if you can.) Essentially, they'll boat you to just about anywhere you want to go. During our stay there was only one other couple at the resort. They were a charming older couple from Argentina. (Allowed us to practice even more of our Spanish.) We did one excursion with them to Salt Creek Village. This is the village that Ferdinando grew up in. (See my pictures.) He actually introduced us to his father and uncle the day we were there. Very interesting to learn about the culture and see their village.

We did an excursion another day to Red Frog Beach. (There are other beaches as well but we liked Red Frog.) There were people there but not populated at all. Chito (boat driver) and Ferdinando (resort porter) accompanied the three of us. Francisco packed us a cooler of beer and sandwiches and off we went. (Towels too.) Chito stayed with the boat at the marina, but Ferdinando spent the day on the beach with us. He arranged for lounge chairs for us under a palapa on the beach. We walked the beach and played in the surf and he was happy to watch our valuables. One of the most amazing beaches that we had ever been to. The beaches seemed to be totally untouched and the water was simply amazing. The beach bar was just steps from the beach and served very good food with great atmosphere and views of the beach. At Red Frog Beach you can arrange to zip line, hike the rainforest, do a ropes course or take surfing lessons. They rent boogie boards and surf boards at the beach as well. We had great waves the day we were there.

We also took an excursion to Dolphin Bay and had lots of fun taking pictures and video of all the dolphins playing. This is really fun to do and only a short boat ride away. Make sure you do it.

There is wireless at the resort, but it is limited to a very specific area outside of the office. Originally I thought this would be a pain, but quickly learned that we were much better without it. Truly an opportunity to unplug. (I read two books int he four days we were there.) Not only that but we took advantage of the games at Laguna Azul and played backgammon, chess and some cut throat matches of Monopoly. (Community Chest cards were in Spanish so we had to adapt a little.)

We did have rain on one afternoon. Expect some rain. That's why they call it the rainforest. Read up on the rainy season in Bocas del Toro and plan your trip accordingly. We didn't mind the showers when they came, but we also had some great sunshine to enjoy as well.

All in all, this was an awesome vacation. Mom, Dad and even the 16 year old daughter had a blast (with limited access to the internet!) If you're looking for a high energy, all inclusive resort a la Cancun resort, etc. then don't go. If you're looking for a private, peaceful, once in a lifetime, exotic getaway this is it. Enjoy!
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Date of stay: March 2013
Value
Rooms
Location
Cleanliness
Service
Sleep Quality
Trip type: Traveled with family
Room Tip: We were fortunate to have Room 1 on the corner on the second floor which had two double beds....
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
BWBrooklynNY wrote a review Mar 2012
New York City, New York12 contributions9 helpful votes
I almost don't want to share its so beautiful here, i want to keep it all to myself !! It was a perfect spot to get away from the busy everyday lives we all have. I spent 5 nights here, and it was fantastic. From the moment I was picked up at the airport I felt comfortable , safe, taken care of and looked after without feeling like anyone was around me all the time. The food was fantastic and innovative easily the best lobster and calamari i ever had in my life! I am an easy traveler and this place made it even more easy to relax and forget about the world in such a beautiful spot. I really can't say enough about how wonderful it is. The people who work there really like working there , you can tell and they really enjoy each other ... it makes a difference when you are away from your own home and it shows. I would easily return !
Thanks to everyone at Laguna Azul. - Blake
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Date of stay: March 2012
Value
Rooms
Location
Cleanliness
Service
Sleep Quality
Trip type: Traveled with friends
Room Tip: all rooms seemed nice, but i would agree with some of the other travelers that the rooms on the...
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Daniel T wrote a review Apr 2011
Vermont10 contributions5 helpful votes
I believe that words cannot describe how wonderful my experience at Laguna Azul was. Ruben and his team are some of the most welcoming people I met in my trip to Panama.
Laguna Azul is in short: The perfect place to escape, relax and rejuvenate.
Everything about the stay could not be more perfect. The rooms are elegant and simple with a marvelous view over the water and Cayo Zapatilla in the distance. The food is unreal, a real experience of everything local with a gourmet twist. The dining room also commands a view of the coral reef where the house sits atop.
Finally my stay could not have been more perfect if it wasn't for the staff. Everyone was geared towards my service in a friendly and polite manner.
Cant wait to go back!
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Date of stay: December 2010
Value
Rooms
Location
Cleanliness
Service
Sleep Quality
Trip type: Traveled solo
Room Tip: All the rooms have views to the water.
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Surfstar103 wrote a review Jan 2011
Seaford, New York5 contributions4 helpful votes
We arrived by plane to Bocas Del Toro on 1/16/11 and were met at the airport by Rueben who is the owner of Azul Nature Lodge. After a 30 minute boat ride we found ourselves in paradise. We were met at the dock by the staff which outnumbered us by 3 to 1 and led to the resort for our welcome drink.
With 7 guest rooms and only one other couple there, we felt like we had the place to ourselves.
When you make your reservation, they send you a checklist of what you would like to eat or anything that you don’t like. Most of the meals are seafood which is caught the day before. The three meals a day (three course lunch and dinner) were excellent. Remember though if you like seafood but not octopus (like my wife), you better let them know since you have no idea what you're eating until they put it in front of you.
The staff is so friendly and they go out of their way to please you. They take you on one tour a day with a cooler of beer, soda, water, and sandwiches.
This is an echo lodge and Rueban put a lot of thought into it. The septic and water systems are state of the art so that the area will not get polluted like some areas of Bocas.
But again, this place is not for everyone. It is not Cancun. There is no TV or internet in your room although they are both located on the main floor. The resort is isolated. In the afternoon when you come back from the tours, you are at the resort till the next day’s tour although they have snorkeling equipment to go right out front, dugout canoes to paddle around, or a gym with stationary bikes, etc. And believe me they really pamper you.
We spent three night here and five nights on Bocas. When we saw what people were paying for rooms, meals, drinks and tours separately, Laguna Azul Eco Resort was a bargain.
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Date of stay: January 2011
Value
Rooms
Location
Cleanliness
Service
Sleep Quality
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Marsden85 wrote a review Mar 2016
Manchester, United Kingdom22 contributions7 helpful votes
Fabulous spot in middle of mangroves
Stylish set up with a deck/dining area over the water and a spacious lounge area and bar.
Staff very charming,and attentive.
Great food,including lobster dinners.but everything to a standard.
Bedrooms very comfortable,everything works,
Snorkelling with good visibility(hotel lent us equipment.)
Great place to go out in a kayak.as wel.
lPretty much totally silent at night.
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Date of stay: February 2016
Value
Rooms
Service
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Answer from Fernando Q
Heredia, Heredia, Costa Rica1 contribution
if i take the all inclusive package, what is the food like and the variety of the alcoholic beverages? Our menu is based on Sea tood . If you are allergic we can prepared something else , our alcoholic beverage included beer, wine . Are there free transfers to and from the hotel to the airport, if not approximately how many $ is that? transfers are included in the rate . Are there free and included activities daily and if so what are they? one daily tour , except check in day If i want to go to the beach for the day are there free transfers there or do i need to pay for this $$$ ??? we offer a daily tour
optiquera asked a question Feb 2020
alicante112 contributions13 helpful votes
Cómo puedo reservar? Gracias
CherylGlendaleAZ wrote a tip Mar 2016
Eagle, Idaho340 contributions193 helpful votes
"Corner rooms are really nice"
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RioVistaGA wrote a tip Dec 2015
Hunt, Texas14 contributions7 helpful votes
"All rooms face the Bay"
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Rafael O wrote a tip Mar 2015
Province of Heredia, Costa Rica5 contributions5 helpful votes
"Rooms on the second floor have great view"
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Shirley K wrote a tip Mar 2015
Troy, Michigan1 contribution1 helpful vote
"I think I would ask for a corner room next time."
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Barbara B wrote a tip Jan 2015
Columbus, Ohio2 contributions1 helpful vote
"We had a large corner room and found it very comfortable."
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Not the right property for you?
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ALSO KNOWN AS
laguna azul eco hotel isla popa
LOCATION
PanamaBocas del Toro ProvincePunta LaurelIsla Popa
NUMBER OF ROOMS
8
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LAGUNA AZUL ECO LODGE - Reviews (Isla Popa, Panama)

Frequently Asked Questions about Laguna Azul Eco Lodge
Which popular attractions are close to Laguna Azul Eco Lodge?
Nearby attractions include Crawl Cay (Kraal Cay) (3.7 miles) and Cayo Coral (4.4 miles).
What are some of the property amenities at Laguna Azul Eco Lodge?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include free wifi, free breakfast, and an on-site restaurant.
What food & drink options are available at Laguna Azul Eco Lodge?
Guests can enjoy free breakfast, an on-site restaurant, and a lounge during their stay.